Cover Osteuropa 6-8/2017

In Osteuropa 6-8/2017

Dead in red
Funereal rites in Russia after the Revolution

Svetlana Malyševa

Deutsche Fassung


The Bolsheviks introduced “red funerals” after the October Revolution. These civilian rituals were designed to replace Christian rites and spread the worldview of the new state. Outside of the major cities, however, this type of ceremony never took hold. It was abandoned at the latest after the Great Patriotic War, and religious customs were revived. Only state funerals at the Kremlin necropolis had to be conducted in observance of official Soviet rites. However, even these apparently worldly rituals were rooted in the Christian tradition. At the same time, many people regarded the Soviet practices, particularly the cremation of important individuals, as being a severe breach of cultural traditions.

(Osteuropa 6-8/2017, pp. 437–447)