Christian Repression and Survival in Post-Soviet Central Asia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Christians across Central Asia live in fear and under substantial repression because of their faith. Central Asian governments, the Russian Orthodox Church, and sometimes Muslim communities are sources of growing repression. These conditions have worsened significantly since the late 1990s, as the Central Asian governments have adopted a series of laws and administrative measures to restrict religious freedoms. Christian response strategies vary depending on the level of regime repression. In slightly cases with a somewhat more open civic space (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan), Christians have cautiously engaged in missionary outreach, legal challenges to the state, lobbying against legislative threats to religion, inter-faith cooperation, appealing to the U.N., and developing relationships with transnational Christian missionaries. Pursuing charitable work is both a Christian activity and strategy that has engendered some positive results, because governments have come to depend on Christian services. However, in more repressive cases (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan), Christians today can do little more than survive underground, practicing their faith in house churches. Overall, Christian strategies have preserved faith but have rarely ameliorated political conditions, and are unlikely to do so unless governments recognize the mutual benefits of allowing Christians to be open in their faith and to engage in civic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnder Caesar’s Sword
Subtitle of host publicationHow Christians Respond to Persecution
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9781108348331
ISBN (Print)9781108425308
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2018.


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