Tatiana Goricheva, philosopher, theologian, and Russian dissident turned feminist, was an editor of the first Soviet free women’s journal, Woman and Russia: An Almanac for Women about Women, as well as a founder of Club Maria, the first free women’s club in the Soviet Union.
Goricheva considered herself a “subconscious feminist” before she joined the actual movement and began asking questions about life while receiving a philosophy degree at Leningrad University in the 1970s. The questions of women, sex, and love led her to Russian Orthodoxy and the concept of Sophia, the symbol of western feminism, considered the idea of feminism.
To answer her questions, Goricheva began a women’s study group. She and her husband also published a religious dissident journal titled 37. She was fired from at least two jobs for her dissenting views.
Goricheva’s activities in dissident and counterculture circles led to her meeting Tatiana Mamonova, an important figure of the Soviet feminist movement and a leader of Woman and Russia. Goricheva became a feminist because “the situation of women is the most evident expression of tragedy in our society” (Ruthchild 7). Along with Mamonova, Goricheva was one of the editors of the first issue of Woman and Russia. However, Goricheva and Mamonova went their separate ways. Mamonova continued Woman and Russia, while Goricheva founded Club Maria with some of the other editors.
Club Maria’s ideology rejected the rationalism of Western feminism and Marxism in favor of the spiritual truths of Orthodox Christianity. The women followed a uniquely Russian approach to feminism that emphasized community and spiritual-religious transformation. The group began the publication Maria.
Goricheva believed feminism opens vehicles for spiritual liberation. In her opinion, the issues created by Soviet Marxist ideology could only be remedied by a return to the Russian Orthodox Church, which she believed to be the most progressive force or movement in Russia. Goricheva wanted a return to traditional gender roles which reflected God as closely as possible. She believed Soviet men needed to study God and His image to be transformed.
On the night before the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Soviet authorities arrested and exiled many feminist leaders, including Goricheva and Mamonova. After her release, Goricheva attended a Russian Orthodox seminary in Paris and continued to write for Maria as well as articles for major emigre publications. She also lived in West Germany. In 1988, she returned to the Soviet Union where she remained involved in the feminist movement and wrote about her experiences.
More information about Tatiana Goricheva can be found at Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society.