Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Patricia Ehrkamp


This thesis examines how and under what influences communities of Islamic faith have developed in post-Soviet Russia. My arguments are based on research conducted in Astrakhan, Russia in the summer of 2009. Astrakhan is the capital of Astrakhan Oblast in southwest Russia and has a reputation for being a multi-confessional and multi-ethnic city. Astrakhan is home to Russians, Tatars, Kazakhs, Kalmyks, and many other nationalities. I draw from interviews and newspaper analysis to examine what the local landscape of Islam looks like in Astrakhan, how has it changed since the collapse of the USSR, and what future trends are emerging. Mosque renovations and demolitions are the center of my analysis.

Drawing on scholarship in critical geopolitics and critical geographies of religion, this paper seeks to understand how the Kremlin and other levels of government influence the development of Islam locally within Astrakhan. Interviews are used to study local understandings of the changing forms of Islam in Astrakhan, and to see if locals believe that the state has been supportive to the Islamic community. My research contributes to wider scholarship on the importance of the relationship between the state and local Islamic communities for Islamic nation-building in the Russian Federation.

Included in

Geography Commons