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TitleLiving Faithfully in an Unjust World: Compassionate Care in Russia
TagsUniversity Of California
LanguageEnglish
File Size70.4 MB
Total Pages279
Table of Contents
                            Title Page
Copyright
Dedication
Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface
Note on Transliteration
1. Compassion
2. Faith in a Secular Humanism
3. Practical Love
4. Developing Faith in a More Civil Society
5. Living a Life of Service
6. The Business of Being Kind
7. The Deficits of Generosity
8. Conclusion: Precarious Faith
Notes
References
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Living Faithfully
in an Unjust World

Page 139

120 d e v e l o p i n g f a i t h

What faith communities have done most eff ectively, according to the
perspective of their supporters, is to protect and maintain the human con-
nections through which civic life emerges and fl ourishes, especially during
periods such as the current moment when many Russians—assistance
providers, benefi ciaries, and ordinary citizens alike—continue to voice
concerns that neoliberal trends deemphasize these more subjective,
“human” qualities in favor of impersonality and objectivity.

Reconsidering the place of religious communities as legitimate and
protective civil society actors also provides insight into understanding
why religious bodies—the Russian Orthodox Church, most notably—have
historically played such a signifi cant role in both ordinary Russian daily
life and national political aff airs beyond providing systems of morality and
safeguarding cultural heritage (Hann and Goltz, eds. 2010; Mitrokhin
2004). By appropriating and reconstituting the civil sphere, faith-based
organizations are actively transforming not just the relationship between
religious and secular spheres, but also changing the tasks for which each
sphere is responsible. Institutions and ideologies that may be more famil-
iar to secular actors—state agencies, political parties, and businesses—are
increasingly engaging in the work of policing tradition and morality, while
institutions and ideologies more ordinarily associated with the religious
sphere are increasingly engaging in the work of ensuring social stability.
These reorientations of spheres conventionally delineated as “religious”
and “secular” off er new lenses for considering the extent to which “reli-
gious” qualities such as faith and ideology can ever be completely absent
from the work of secular development organizations, a point raised by
observers of development elsewhere in the world (Comaroff and Comaroff
2001; Escobar 1995).

Moreover, the experiences of faith-based organizations provide insight
into how domestic development is evolving in Russia. Despite the fact that
aid from foreign governments and foreign institutions was most promi-
nent during the 1990s and early 2000s in Russia, today domestic faith-
based organizations are funding development projects both throughout
Russia and abroad (Bernbaum 2006; Livshin 2006; Rakhuba 2006). The
eff orts of Russia’s religious communities to cultivate ethics of tithing and
donation among their congregants have inspired similar eff orts among
Russia’s secular assistance and development organizations. In 2009,

Page 140

d e v e l o p i n g f a i t h 121

Russia’s newly created charity and development agency, the National
Charitable Foundation of Russia (Natsional’nyi Blagotvoritel’nyi Fond
Rossii), launched a broad citizen-focused fund-raising campaign and
began issuing grants to domestic assistance groups, including faith-based
organizations. After meeting with this agency’s director during summer
2009, Sosedi’s director of development reported not only the new agency’s
enthusiasm for Sosedi activities but also its strong encouragement for
Sosedi to submit a funding proposal. The successes of faith-based organi-
zations thus present striking alternatives for enlisting and sustaining
grassroots support in ways that create permanent communities of
caring.

Finally, the work of faith communities in Moscow invites questions
about whether they are more eff ective than their secular counterparts.
Issues of effi cacy are impossible to measure objectively, however, as the
diversity of assistance programs within Russia prevents precise compari-
son. More problematic is that even though both faith-based organizations
and secular organizations must follow detailed accounting practices for
the Russian government, their own organization’s administrators, and
their funders, Russia’s long history of informal economic practices means
that the accuracy of fi nancial fi gures and personnel information is often
questionable.

Nevertheless, one measure of effi cacy may be that of offi cial recognition
from the Russian state. Over the past several years, the activities of NGOs
operating in Russia have been curtailed, or even eliminated, through both
offi cial legislation and more informal means such as harassment, prompt-
ing high-profi le development agencies such as the Ford Foundation and
the Peace Corps (among others) to leave Russia. Curiously, during this
same period, a growing group of faith communities, including St. James,
have successfully navigated complicated federal requirements to register
legally both their congregations and their nonprofi t NGOs. While it is
inappropriate to speculate on the decisions by Russian offi cials, these
forms of offi cial legal recognition raise intriguing questions about how the
state might view—or misrecognize—the activities of these particular
NGOs. In these cases, it appears that faith-based organizations have
achieved some degree of success by capitalizing on the categorical confu-
sions and misrecognitions that are endemic to development activities to

Page 278

i n d e x 259

refusal: denial of service, 78; as interaction,
198, 207, 208–209, 214; limits of compas-
sion, 220–222; moral dimensions,
211–212

registration: aid process, 48, 73; legal recog-
nition, 34, 35, 108, 109, 116, 170

rehabilitation, 14, 130
reinvestment, 162
religious aspects: institutional system, 58,

133, 139; requirements for assistance, 29,
144–145; as secular institution, 63, 145–
146; of social work, 51, 62–63, 123–125,
155, 176–177; theological dimensions, 50,
52, 53, 60, 64

resettlement, 133, 186, 187
responsibility, 20, 129, 136, 155
rightness, 56, 58–59, 60, 174; and morality,

61–63
Robbins, Joel, 67, 70, 229
roundtables, 50, 91, 92, 114, 115, 118, 150
routines, 73
rules, 73
Russian Empire, 126, 127, 128
Russian Orthodox Church (ROC): criticisms

of, 29, 134, 172–173; economic role, 11;
interfaith relations, 40–41, 48, 54, 173;
political role, 22–23, 58, 120, 127–129,
137; post-Soviet rebuilding, 31, 132; reli-
gious aspects, 44–45, 143, 145; social
work, 42, 43

Russian Red Cross, 7

salvation, 60
Sant’Egidio, 25, 55, 80, 84, 85, 188–189,

234n5
scarcity, 167, 171, 172
secular: defi nitions of, 28, 29; relationship to

assistance organizations, 107, 146; rela-
tionship to religion, 7, 14, 63

secular humanism, 21. See also humanism
secularism, 30, 57, 109
self-interest, 164
service: activity, 150, 153; civic activity, 125;

philosophies of, 126, 146; religious mod-
els, 89, 96, 123–124, 232n12

serving, 87, 123, 190
serving economy, 155, 160
sexism, 196
shared experiences, 69
sharing economy, 165
shortages, 131, 166
social action, 7, 57, 60, 61, 88, 89, 136

social defense, 12
social justice: civic orientation, 7, 8; collabo-

rative projects, 42; ideals of, 20, 64; as
religious practice, 47, 55, 59, 63, 89

social media, 12, 148, 181, 187
social ministry, 16, 79
social problems, 3, 4, 5, 67, 127, 176
social protection, 10, 131
social services, 10, 11, 22
social stability, 3
social welfare, 2, 8, 9, 10, 22, 124
social work, 42, 43, 155
Soviet Union, 9
spiritual economies, 70, 235n4
stability, 56
standing, 71–72, 73, 74
state, Russian: civil society, 110; management

of compassion, 10, 12; relationship to reli-
gion, 23, 129, 130, 155; state-making, 127;
welfare provision, 133, 163

state-building, 128
street ministry, 73–74, 80, 115, 148
subbotniki, 237n6. See also voluntarism;

volunteers
success, 14, 100, 176
suff ering, 65, 66, 162, 176
suff ering subject, 67, 68
surplus, 171, 191, 192, 200
survival strategies, 173
sympathy, 162

taking, 172, 173, 174
tax credits, 182
taxes, 181
terminology: assistance terms, 69, 105,

106–107, 108–109; religious terms,
52–53, 139

Third Sector, 110, 111
tithing, 60, 120, 150, 170
tolerance, 11, 12, 37, 45, 91, 118
traffi c, 3, 74
traffi cking, 218, 239n8
trauma, 66

uncertainty, 18, 149, 150, 178, 210, 223

value, 161
venture philanthropy, 159
Verdery, Katherine, 172
veterans, 3
victims, 66, 134
violence, 1, 82, 134

Page 279

260 i n d e x

virtuous circle, 161–162, 211
voluntarism: aff ective dimensions, 83 fi g., 84;

civic activity, 9, 131, 138, 191; profession-
alization of, 136, 180; as part of daily life,
148, 189–190

voluntary associations, 38, 111, 126, 138
volunteers: entertainment, 141; professionali-

zation of, 122, 153, 179; recruitment, 51,
84; religious background, 55; role of
Africans, 98, 99; work of, 74, 78, 80,

97, 98, 141, 150, 151, 151 fi g., 152, 152
fi g., 166

“volun-tourism,” 141
vulnerability, 66, 67

walking, 71, 74
weddings, 81, 82
welfare offi ces, 73
work, 97, 130, 147, 160, 180
work training, 157

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