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24 March 2023

What does it mean to be a Muslim in Russia today?

New book - Islam in Russia: Religion, Politics, and Society by Professor Marat Shterin - provides important insights into the treatment of minorities by the Russian state.

Islam in russia book cover

The new book, written and co-edited by Department of Theology and Religious Studies Professor Marat Shterin, delves into questions relating to Russia’s Muslim community and what it means to be a Muslim in Russia today. 

This book gives a voice to Muslim and non-Muslim scholars who challenge many assumptions about the reality and significance of Islam in Russia. With more than sixty ethnicities practicing Islam, Russia has the largest number of Muslims in Europe. As numerically the biggest religious minority tradition in the country, deeply connected to its imperial and Soviet legacies, Islam in Russia is extremely diverse culturally, socially and politically.

Professor Marat Shterin, Professor in Sociology of Religion

The book was written in collaboration with Professor Gregory Simons - associate professor in the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University - and Professor Eric Shiraev - Professor and Senior Research Associate in the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University.

Using a multidisciplinary approach, the authors explore in what ways, and with what impact, Islam in contemporary Russia has been shaped by the interactions of the Soviet legacy, local cultures and languages, and external forces. They also address the influence of Islam on Russia’s current Middle East policy and is a distinctive contribution to enhancing understanding of the complexity and fluidity of Muslim identity in post-Soviet Russian politics and society.

Successive post-Soviet political regimes, including under President Putin, have both celebrated Islam and sought to control it with highly punitive means in order to secure Muslims’ loyalty. Islamic institutions and actors are also significant players in Russia’s international relations. While I completed research for this book before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I believe its findings provide important insights into both the treatment of minorities by the state and the nature of its current political regime.

Professor Marat Shterin, Professor in Sociology of Religion

Islam in Russia: Religion, Politics and Society is available to purchase here.

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Marat Shterin

Professor in Sociology of Religion