In this episode, Kristen Ghodsee speaks with professor Page Herrlinger at Bowdoin College about the political ramifications of Alexandra Kollontai's untimely seizure of the Alexandra Nesky monastery on January 19, 1918. As Commissar of Social Welfare, it was Kollontai's responsibility to find a place for the wounded soldiers returning from the front after the armistice of December 1917. She did not expect the fierce resistance she encountered.
Herrlinger is an historian of Russia, and argues that Kollontai fundamentally misunderstood the important role that faith played in the lives of the Russian women Kollontai was trying to emancipate. Herrlinger's forthcoming book, Holy Sobriety in Modern Russia: A Faith Healer and His Followers, will be out in August 2023.
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