Christian sectarians in the civil service in 1909-1914: on the issue of the admission of mennonites and molokans to the postal and telegraph service

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Introduction. The relevance of the research topic is due to the weak elaboration in the works of modern historians of the problem of participation in civil service in the Russian Empire at the beginning of the twentieth century of representatives of non-Orthodox Christian denominations (Mennonites and Molokans). Methods and materials. The article presents correspondence of the Main Directorate of Posts and Telegraphs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire on the issue of admission to the postal and telegraph service of Molokans and Mennonites in 1909-1914. This set of documents reflects the practical implementation of the principle of freedom of conscience in the Russian Empire during the period of gradual abandonment of civil rights and freedoms declared in the course of the Revolution of 1905. The documents also record the transformations that took place in the worldview of Mennonites and Molokans. The research uses historical-comparative, problem- chronological methods, methods of archeography and historical source studies. Analysis. The purpose of the article was to identify the attitude of state bodies to the admission to the civil service (on the example of the postal and telegraph department) of candidates from among sectarians (Mennonites and Molokans) after the revolution of 1905-1907. An active liberal reform of the Russian religious legislation there was in 1905-1912. However, the religious factor continued playing a role in entering the civil service. The documents reflect the negative attitude towards the admission of sectarians (primarily Molokans) to the civil service of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Department for Foreign Confessions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They focused on the anti-state tenets of the Molokan creed. The management of the Main Directorate of Posts and Telegraphs in 1914 decided to ban Molokans from taking positions in the postal and telegraph department. It is noted that in the Mennonite ethnoconfession, a revision of the attitude to family and marriage, to the role of women, to civil service begins. Molokans at the beginning of the twentieth centuryalso rejected some tenets of faith, in particular, pacifism and denial of the state oath. Authors’contribution. O.Yu. Redkina identified and prepared archival documents for publication, conducted a historical source and archeographic description. T.P. Nazarova considered the transformation in the worldview of Mennonites and Molokans at the beginning of the twentieth century, their attitude to civil service, to the position of women in the family and society.


Russian empire, civil service, mennonites, molokans, sectarians, state-confessional relations, postal and telegraph service

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IDR: 149142900   |   DOI: 10.15688/jvolsu4.2023.2.10

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