Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

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Putin’s Church Militant: Does It Matter, and Why?
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Please join the Harriman Institute for a lecture by Director Valentina Izmirlieva.

The projection of imperial power through overtly religious pageantry, symbols and narratives has been a key element of Russia’s identity politics under Putin, informing not only the Kremlin’s aggressive international policies but also shaping in a distinctly messianic key the domestic perceptions of Russia’s global role. Professor Izmirlieva’s talk will explore the utility of the Russian Orthodox Church in this process and the significant transformations within the Orthodox sphere that facilitate the radical militarization of Russian society.

Valentina Izmirlieva is the Director of the Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies and Professor of Slavic Literatures at Columbia University. She is a scholar of Balkan and East Slavic religious and political cultures, with a focus on multi-ethnic and multi-religious empires and their successor states. The topics of her publications range from the medieval societies of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, including Kyivan Rus’, to the post-Soviet cultural space. She founded and leads Black Sea Networks, a global initiative to investigate the Black Sea as a hub of cultural, political, and historical interest. The recipient of many awards and distinctions, including Fellowship at the Center for Scholars and Writers at NYPL, Professor Izmirlieva delivered the inaugural memorial Shevelov lecture of Ukrainian Studies in 2018.