The Protestant landscape of the Tyumen Region: locations, size, and demographic composition of urban church meetings  

Poplavsky R.O., Cherepanov M.S., Bobrov I.V., Shisheliakina A.L.



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Modern sociological studies of Protestantism are focused mainly on how communities are formed and develop in the context of their relations with the state and between themselves, personal stories of the believers, and contents and forms of conducting religious practices. Researchers often neglect to describe the numbers and demographic characteristics of practicing believers, and to analyze changes of these parameters over time. In this paper, based on the materials of the field research conducted in Tyumen, Tobolsk, Ishim, and Yalutorovsk in 20142016, we identify the locations, demographic composition, and size dynamics of the Protestant prayer meetings. The paper showcases new data on Tyumen accounting for the associations which appeared after 2011 and for the first time presents materials on Tobolsk, Ishim, and Yalutorovsk. Non-participant structured observation was the principal method of the field research. Analysis of photographic documents posted on the web-sites and web-pages of the Protestant associations, as well as interviews with religious specialists were used as additional methods. We observed that there was an increase in the number of Protestant associations from 2008 to 2016: the number of the associations in Tyumen increased by five and about five new communes appeared in the other cities. The most attended weekly prayer meetings were recorded in Tyumen in 2016. They gathered up to 200 people. The largest services in Ishim and Yalutorovsk in 2015 were attended by up to 70 people. The communal prayers in Tobolsk in 2014 were attended by up to 170 people. We have identified the following factors that influence the size of the prayer meetings: ownership of the premises by the association and the period of its activity in the region. Communes who have their own premises are larger than those renting an office or a building of another Protestant association. Also, churches formed in the early or mid-1990s feature the largest numbers of the parishioners. It was found that in all studied cities middle-aged women represent the largest group of the parishioners, which is consistent with the results of research in other Russian cities and towns.

Keywords: Protestant landscape of the Russian Federation, Protestants, Tyumen Region, religious practices, structured observation.


Acknowledgments. The authors would like to thank everybody without whose participation this article wouldn't have been written. Svetlana Valentinovna Bobrova worked out checklists for observation at religious events. Students of the Institute of History and Political Science of Tyumen State University participated in observations at all the events under the guidance of the researchers of Institute of the Problems of Northern Development (Tyumen Scientific Centre, SB RAS).

Funding. The research was funded by RFBR and Tyumen Region, project number 20-45-720004.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 03.03.2021

Article is published: 15.06.2022


Poplavsky R.O., Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation, E-mail:,


Cherepanov M.S., Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation, E-mail:,


Bobrov I.V., Independent researcher, USA, Denver, Colorado, E-mail:,


Shisheliakina A.L., University of Tartu, Ülikooli, 18, Tartu, Estonia, 50090, E-mail:,