ZOiS Forum | #30PostSovietYears

The challenge of religious freedom

Online panel discussion

with Caroline von Gall (Freie Universität Berlin), Viktoria Lomasko (Russian artist), Tsypylma Darieva (ZOiS) and Regina Elsner (ZOiS)
HSIU CHUAN YU / Alamy Stock

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the new-found religious freedom, spiritual life has re-emerged in unprecedented diversity in all the regions of the atheist former Soviet Union. Previously banned faiths with historical roots in the region have emerged from their underground existence, while missionaries have flocked to the region in a bid to recruit new adherents. The diversity of minor religions, new and traditional alike, has presented the Orthodox Churches and political elites in the region with a major challenge. The legacy of the negotiations on religious freedom continues to imprint itself on inter-faith relations, as well as on interactions with a largely secular society.


  • Caroline von Gall is Professor for Eastern European Law and Public Law and guest professor at the Freie Universität Berlin for the 2021 summer semester.
  • Viktoria Lomasko is a Russian artist and curator.
  • Tsypylma Darieva is a senior researcher at the ZOiS. She coordinates the research cluster Migration and Diversity.
  • Regina Elsner is a researcher at the ZOiS.


Taking #30PostSovietYears as its theme for 2021, the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS), in cooperation with the Körber Foundation, the German Association for East European Studies (DGO), the German Historical Institute Moscow, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Russia and Memorial International, is hosting a series of events and online formats that revisit the watershed year of 1991 and examine the legacies of the Soviet era.


The event is part of the series ZOiS Forum that brings together academic, artistic, and political perspectives on the issues driving Eastern Europe today.


Anja Krüger
Communications Coordinator