Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
James Kapalo
Theology in the Public Square Lecture Series
Religious Repression and Its Consequences in Eastern Europe
Waterford Institute of Technology
Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures
Optional Fields
Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with other religious minority groups, were the target of mass deportations to the Gulag in Stalin’s Soviet Union in the 1950s, where many of them perished of cold and starvation. On April 20th 2017, the Russian Supreme Court outlawed the group’s activities once again, arguing that they constitute a “threat to public order and public security”. The arguments and methods being deployed by the Russian authorities today mirror those used by the KGB in Soviet times. Religious minorities are often amongst the first victims of authoritarian and repressive regimes that seek to control every aspect of public life. In this lecture, I explore the legacy of religious repression in Eastern Europe, drawing examples from Romania and the Soviet Union, and look at the outcomes of the various ways in post-communist era that ideas of historical redress, reconciliation, commemoration and social justice have been pursued in regard to religious persecutions.