Between heroism and sainthood: New martyr Evgenii Rodionov as a moral model in contemporary Russia

TitleBetween heroism and sainthood: New martyr Evgenii Rodionov as a moral model in contemporary Russia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsFomina, Victoria
JournalHistory & Anthropology
Volume29
Issue1
Pagination101 - 120
Date Published2018/02//
Abstract

This paper explores the developing cult of a new martyr – the Russian soldier Evgenii Rodionov, killed in 1996 in Chechen captivity, allegedly for his refusal to convert to Islam. I examine how the notion of moral personhood – a capacity to have convictions and values and to stand by them – emerges as a central object of ethical problematization across the disparate narratives of the soldier’s death. I argue that the appeal of the radical model of morality personified by the soldier’s figure reflects a pervasive trend of longing for spirituality in contemporary Russia, which developed in response to the perceived moral collapse that followed the democratic transition. Through investigating how Evgenii’s image is being employed as a public symbol of patriotism and as a private moral exemplar for militaristically oriented young men, this article contributes to the understanding of the entangled relationship among religion, nationalism and conservative morality in contemporary Russia.

Short TitleHistory & Anthropology