Was religion important in the destruction of ancient communities in the Balkans, Anatolia and Black Sea Regions, c. 1870–1923?

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Before 1923, the Balkans, Anatolia and the Black Sea regions had been home to a large number of religious groups, who had preserved ancient practices, languages and beliefs for centuries. Muslims were driven towards Anatolia with the expansion of the Russian Empire and the emergence of new states in the Balkans. This process often involved considerable violence that often had a quasi‐religious element to it. Similarly, the position of Jews in Imperial Russia deteriorated rapidly during the reign of the last two Romanov Tsars, with waves of pogroms that hit Odessa very badly. By the Civil War, whole Jewish communities were threatened. Ottoman Christians were simply killed or expelled in a long wave of violence between 1913 and 1923. Many contemporaries regarded the destruction of these communities as a predominantly religious phenomenon, but the crisis created by the increasing globalization of world trade (which was greater before 1914 than in the interwar decade) and attempts to create autarchic states should not be overlooked.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-371
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of South Eastern Europe and Black Sea Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

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