Soviet Union Table of Contents
The rise of Russian nationalism was another notable development during the first years of Gorbachev's rule. Begun as a movement for preservation and restoration of historic monuments and for a more balanced treatment of the tsarist past, it increasingly assumed a politically conservative character. The chauvinistic, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic group called Pamiat (Memory) won considerable public support among Russians and official toleration in Moscow and Leningrad. In a more positive manifestation of Russian nationalism, the government granted new visibility and prestige to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox hierarchy was given favorable exposure in the Soviet media, and in 1988 the government sponsored celebrations in Moscow of the millennium of the adoption of Christianity in Kievan Rus'. The regime, in an unprecedented event, permitted the broadcast of a televised Easter Mass celebrated by the Russian Orthodox Church. It also handed over to the Russian Orthodox Church some of the most important shrines and hundreds of churches, many of which had previously belonged to Ukrainian religious denominations.
Data as of May 1989