Skip to main content

Azamat Gabuev | Stalin as a Neo-Pagan Deity in Contemporary Russia

December 10, 2021

Visiting Scholar at Cornell University Azamat Gabuev presents his lecture “Stalin as a Neo-Pagan Deity in Contemporary Russia” on Dec. 8, 2021.

The word “cult” has been used with regards to Stalin since a famous report made by Khrushchev “On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences”. But in post-soviet Russia it returns from political to primary religious meanings. Regardless of his lifetime atheism, Stalin is often associated with mysticism. He became a character of mythologies of neo-pagan religions such as Rodnovery and Assianism. At the same time, the cult of Stalin grew under the veil of Russian Orthodox Church. Not being canonized as a saint, he was depicted in icons, murals and acts in folk-hagiography. Moreover, there are authorized concepts such as “Mystic Salinism” by Alexander Prokhanov. Thus, Stalin could be described as a common deity for separate cults.

Azamat Gabuev was born in 1985 in Vladikavkaz. In 2011 he has earned PhD (kandidat nauk) in Law from Kutafin Moscow State Law University. He has been living in Moscow since 2015, where he works as a lawyer. His stories have been published in Russian literary journals including Darial, Oktiabr, and Druzhba Narodov, as well as Russian Esquire. He has been longlisted for two literary prizes in Russia: the Neformat prize in 2009, and the Debut Prize in 2011. In 2018, EKSMO published his first book A Cold Day in the Sun, which was shortlisted in 2019 for the Fiction35 literary prize. Azamat Gabuev is a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Cornell University for the fall semester 2021.

This lecture is hosted by the Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. Listen on Soundcloud here.