VICTOR A. SHNIRELMAN
ABSTRACT A rapid growth of new religious movements, in terms of both their numbers and variability, was a surprising outcome of the move to democracy in post-Soviet societies. One of the movements is Neo-Paganism whose emergence paradoxically coincided with the celebration of the anniversary of the baptism of Rus 1,000 years ago and the birth of Christianity 2,000 years ago. The Neo-Pagan movements challenge Christian values—with regard to ethics, attitude towards the natural environment, view of the past, and approach towards cultural variability. The Neo-Pagan impact on Christianity in the post-Soviet lands is rooted in ethnic nationalism—a common phenomenon at the turn of the 1990s. Neo-pagans are searching for both a primordial past and a pure ethnic culture, which they view as invaluable resources to overcome the hardship and ideological vacuum of the transitional period. However, they do this in various ways and thus, various forms of Neo-Paganism manifest themselves between the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasia.