The first fieldwork in the Omsk region in the continuation of the Living Communities project (March 12-20, 2023)

Our team members Valeria Elagina, Tatiana Krikhtova, Kirill Markin and Ivan Zabaev successfully carried out a fieldwork in the Omsk region (March 12-20, 2023). This has been the first trip in a series of the ethnographic expeditions in the ongoing “Living Communities” research project.

During the fieldwork, parishes of the Tara and Omsk diocese were covered in three settlements: one parish in Omsk, two parishes in Tara (the second largest city in the region after Omsk) and one rural parish in the Tara district.

During this time, 29 people were interviewed: among them were clergy, employees of the diocese, participants in a training workshop on social design, as well as 9 people who were additionally recruited from members of parish communities (including municipal employees). The involvement of respondents who are not members of the Orthodox communities helped to understand the place of church parishes in the social landscape of the city, as well as the degree of awareness of citizens about the projects implemented by the Tara diocese.

In interviews with parishioners, the researchers talked about church social work, changes in parish life associated with the appointment of a new bishop, as well as the peculiarities of living in a region whose livelihood in the cold season is mainly associated with wood heating.

As a prospect for further development of the project, the researchers discussed the possibility of attracting specialists with knowledge of the specifics of regional and municipal budgeting, economic geography and sociology.