The  ISFNR Belief Narrative Network Online Lectures deal with folk beliefs of all kinds, and the narratives that are used to pass them on. The idea is that in the first week of each month, various international scholars present pre-recorded lectures on the subject of their choice which will later go on to be freely available on the ISFNR web site to anyone who wishes to make use of them as part of their research or in their teaching. The initial on-line showing is  nonetheless always followed by a half an hour live on-line zoom meeting in which those who attend will be able to ask the speaker questions. 

The lectures take place on the first Friday of each month at 17.00 Central European time, except during the summer months of July and August. 

Next lecture

Alexander Panchenko

A Religion of War: How Messianic Sentiments, Military Rituals, and Conspiracy Theories Made Putinism Effective

June 03, 2022. at 5 p.m. CEST

Speaker's Biography:

Alexander Panchenko is a professor of the European University at St. Petersburg (Russia) and a visiting professor of the University of Tartu (Estonia). His research interests include vernacular religion, contemporary folklore and popular culture, new religious movements and New Age spirituality, anthropology of conspiracy theories.


The Russian invasion of Ukraine brought catastrophic consequences to all of Europe and might even lead to a global war. A large number of Russians have relatives and friends living in Ukraine. Yet, it is obvious that many Russian citizens uncritically believe the official propaganda put forth by Putin’s regime and support the war. In the lecture, I will try to make sense of this paradox and explain what kind of cosmology and ritual practice made Putinism as a political doctrine so successful with ordinary Russians.