Menue phone
all research fellows

Prof. Dr. Klaus Buchenau

Senior Research Fellow


Areas of Interest

  • Historical corruption research
  • History of religions 
  • South East Europe 
  • Eastern Europe

Russian secularities through the lens of Christian-Muslim relations in the Volga region, 16th to 21st centuries

Russia has a centuries-long history of Christian-Muslim coexistence, which is known to specialists in the field but rarely used to gather comparative knowledge on secularities worldwide. What makes the Russian case interesting from a Western perspective is that in Russia, Islam exists under the domination of a Christian majority, and has existed since the 16th century. Since then, Muslim-Christian relations and the relationship between Muslim populations and the state have gone through several phases. The Putin era now witnesses an ideological fixation which cherishes a conservative consensus of “traditional faiths” as a pillar of the russkij mir. Russia thus claims to have found its own conservative diversity management, which stresses the common ground of traditional faiths, meaning esteem for forefathers, established social hierarchies, or individual sacrifice to the collective. My research will first reconstruct this contemporary Russian narrative, especially in connection to Islam. Then, I will ask in how far this narrative is an adequate representation of reality, using the Volga Tatars with their centuries-long history of coexistence with Russians as the main example. Does the Eurasianist idea of Christian-Muslim harmony, so dominant in today’s Russia, correlate with the history of coexistence? How do the people concerned, i.e., Russians and Tatars living together in the Volga region, recognize this narrative? Are there alternative models of coexistence that have been excluded from the official canon of Putinism? Last but not least, what does “secularity” mean in such a society?


2009 - 2013

Research fellow, history department, University of Munich (Germany)


Habilitation (State doctorate) in History with a work on Orthodox Anti-Westernism in Serbia and Russia (19th-21st century)

2006 - 2008

Humboldt fellow in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Sarato

2004 - 2006

Master of Arts in Slavonic languages and history with a thesis on comparative sociolinguistics (German-Russian-Polish)

Relevant Publications

  • Buchenau, Klaus. "Christentum und Kommunismus: wirklich nur eine Konfliktgeschichte?" In Christen und totalitäre Herrschaft in den Ländern Ostmittel- und Südosteuropas von 1945 bis in die 1960er Jahre, ed. Rainer Bendel, 9–22. Forschungen und Quellen zur Kirchen- und Kulturgeschichte der Deutschen in Ostmittel- und Südosteuropa 53. Köln: Brill, 2022 [in print].
  • Buchenau, Klaus. "Konfessionalisierung? Reflexion über die Entwicklung der Orthodoxie in Südosteuropa seit dem 19. Jahrhundert." In Orthodoxa Confessio? Konfessionsbildung, Konfessionalisierung und ihre Folgen in der östlichen Christenheit Europas, ed. Mihai-D. Grigore, and Florian Kührer-Wielach, 111–35. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018.
  • Buchenau, Klaus. "Socialist Secularities: the Diversity of a Universalist Model." In Multiple Secularities Beyond the West: Religion and Modernity in the Global Age, ed. Monika Wohlrab-Sahr, Marian Burchardt, and Matthias Middell, 259–80. Berlin: De Gruyter 2015.
  • Buchenau, Klaus. "Sozialer Protest in religiöser Sprache: Die orthodoxe Bewegung in der Podkarpatská Rus, 1919-1938." Bohemia 52, no. 2 (2012): 277–302.
  • Buchenau, Klaus. Auf russischen Spuren, Orthodoxe Antiwestler in Serbien 1850-1945. Balkanologische Veröffentlichungen 51. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011.
  • Buchenau, Klaus. "Orthodox Values and Modern Necessities." In Civic and Uncivic Values: Serbia in the Post-Milošević Era, ed. Ola Listhaug, Sabrina Ramet, and Dragana Dulić, 111–42. Budapest, New York: CEU Press, 2011.
  • Buchenau, Klaus. "Orthodoxes Christentum und Menschenrechte." In: Menschenrechte – Globale Dimensionen eines universellen Anspruchs, ed. Nicole Janz, Thomas Risse, 161–76. Berlin: Nomos, 2007.
  • Buchenau, Klaus. Kämpfende Kirchen: Jugoslawiens religiöse Hypothek. Erfurter Studien zur Kulturgeschichte des orthodoxen Christentums 2. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2006.