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While Western Esotericism, New Age, and New Religious Movements have become well-established academic research fields within the past decade, Russia is still a fairly white spot on the academic map. What has been done is barely noticed outside of Russia, when it comes to esoteric, occult, New Age, and related dimensions.
This blog has been created by a German-Russian research group of eight scholars, five from the European University, St. Petersburg, and three from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz/Germersheim. Our project “New Religious Cultures in Late and Post-Soviet Russia: Ideologies, Discourses, Networks” is dedicated to the socio-anthropological study of new religious cultures that attracted global attention at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries and that in the modern scientific literature is often referred to as “New Age”.
The project focuses on the history and social dimensions of New Age culture in the USSR of the 1960s–1980s and post-Soviet Russia. Even though New Age culture in the late Soviet and post-Soviet countries should be analyzed in the context of global social and cultural trends, it seems essential to respond to the question, which factors exactly did determine the genesis and the evolution of New Age ideas and practices in Soviet culture. At the same time, it seems extremely important to learn about the role of culture in the context of New Age social and ideological continuities between the late Soviet and post-Soviet eras, as well as the social functions and ideas of New Age practices in modern Russia.