Poplavsky, “Pentecostal Churches in Russia”

Poplavsky, Roman. 2012. Pentecostal Churches in Russia: changing self-images and enculturation in Tyumen. Religion, State, and Society 40(1):112-132.

Abstract: This article deals with the process of inculturation of Pentecostal communities in Russia. From the perspective of Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of a linguistic market I describe the current negative image of Protestants in Russia, which derives from Orthodox conceptions of ‘canonical territory’ and ‘non-traditional religions’, and I show how Pentecostal churches in Tyumen’ oblast’, in Western Siberia just beyond the Urals, are trying to influence the political and religious discourse through changing this image by words and in practice. I identify three strategies of inculturation by Pentecostals: inrooting, stressing their lack of dependence on foreign missions and reluctance to use denominational labels. I pay special attention to changes in the ways in which Russian Pentecostals do evangelisation and social work. I conclude that it is self-censorship that is helping Pentecostals move to a new language in their dialogue with Russian society and the authorities.