Temperance Movement

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Temperance Movement


(Russian, trezvennichestvo), a religious sectarian movement that arose in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among the urban petite bourgeoisie. Followers of the temperance movement strove for religious and moral perfection and for “salvation of the soul” through abstention from drinking, smoking, and other vices.

The tenets of the movement included belief in the “beneficial power” of the “prophets” (leaders of temperance groups and sects). The movement was characterized by superstitions, charlatanism, and the staging of “miraculous healings.” A number of temperance sects were named for their leaders; examples are the Churikovtsy, Koloskovtsy, Anisimovtsy, and Mironovtsy.

After the October Revolution of 1917, as a result of the sharp decline in the number of religious believers in the USSR, the number of followers of the temperance movement decreased considerably. There are still a few followers in some regions of the RSFSR.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.