Economic ethics of the Contemporary Russian Orthodox Church

Project coordinator: Ivan Zabaev

Duration of the project: start 2012

About the project

In the end of XX – beginning of the XXI in the conditions of Russian society transformation and Russian economy rapid modernization, the necessity to take into account Russian specific historical experience is recognized as an important point in the discussion of the ways of economic reforms. Orthodox religion, which was dominating in Russia through the greater part of its’ history and which is reviving nowadays as one of the most influential institutions in contemporary social and intellectual life, becomes significant in this context.

Sociological studies data tell us about serious pro-Orthodox consensus existing in Russian society: 94% of population demonstrate “very good” or “good” attitude towards Orthodox religion. Rates of positive attitude towards other religions are much lower. Besides, we can suppose, that significant part of Russian population percepts Orthodoxy not only as religion itself, but as a symbol of Russian singularity and spiritual value of this singularity.

So, Russian Orthodox Church, due to it’s dominating position in the religious field, can have serious influence on Russians behavior. This relates also to the behavior in the economic sphere. However, there is no clear understanding about the ways of such an influence today and in the future. Taking Max Weber terminology, we can formulate the following question: what kind of categories do orthodox “religious virtuosos” use for comprehension of the economy and human being place in the “economic domain”, and what kind of categories do other believers use in certain economic situations as “instructions”.

In 2004 – 2009 we were studying the problem of economic action motivation within Orthodox Christianity. Results of the study are published in the number of articles in Russian language. Some results are also presented in English and Serbian languages.

Articles in English, covering main results of the project, as well as a book in Russian and in English are expected to be completed on the next phase of the project.


Zabaev Ivan. 2012. "Orthodox Ethic and the Spirit of Socialism. Towards a Substantiation of the Hypothesis [in Serbian]." Philosophy and Society, 23 (1): 1-20.