Religion in the Soviet Union

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					RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION
               RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


SOVIET RELIGIOUS POLICY
 Varied significantly over time &
circumstance

 Atheism was official doctrine

 State & Party took on
attributes of religion

 Identified religion closely with
nationality
               RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


MARXIST-LENINIST APPROACH
 Religion was “opiate of the masses”

 It was by-product of economic
exploitation & social oppression

 Would no longer be
necessary in socialist society

 But Soviet leadership
never fully believed it would
disappear
                RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


SOVIET POLICY TOWARD ORTHODOXY
 Authorities sought to control,
exploit, & ultimately eliminate it

 1st ecclesiastical legislation =
“Decree on the Separation of
Church & State”

 League of Militant Godless
harassed believers

 Anti-religious education &
propaganda, propagated atheism
              RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION

SOVIET POLICY TOWARD ORTHODOXY
 Tolerance of Church during World
War II to garner support for war

 Khrushchev reversed policy of
cooperation with Church

 Further crackdown by Brezhnev

  Non-Russian Orthodox
 Churches persecuted due to
 affiliation with nationalism
 Resurgence under Gorbachev
               RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


SOVIET POLICY TOWARD CATHOLICS
 Policies influenced by recognition of
outside authority, i.e. Pope

 Linked to nationalism
   particularly in Lithuanian
  & Ukrainian republics

 Intense persecution
               RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


SOVIET POLICY TOWARD PROTESTANTS
 Some actually benefited from
Soviet power
  • Communists lifted repression
  imposed by tsarist system

 But in 1929 Soviets issued
decree outlawing proselytizing,
arrested many

 Despite this, managed to attract
many new members
               RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


SOVIET POLICY TOWARD ISLAM
 Soviets initially accorded more
tolerance to Muslims
  • Allowed public rituals, sharia
  courts, Muslim schools, mullahs
  retained rights
 Mid-1920s saw change in policies
  • Muslim rebels, Basmachi,
  brought under control
  • Now state moved against Islam:
  closed schools, sharia courts, mosques
               RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


SOVIET POLICY TOWARD ISLAM
 Stalin launched campaign of direct
persecution
  • Attacked Islamic traditions: veiling
  of women, polygamy, Kalym
  • Tried to end ritual prayers & fasts
  that interfered with labor discipline
  • Prohibited pilgrimage to Mecca
 Separated Muslim nationalities
administratively to prevent unification
 After Stalin, Soviet authorities
allowed limited Muslim activity
               RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


SOVIET POLICY TOWARD JEWS
 Jews designated as religion &
nationality
 Tsarist persecution attracted many
to revolutionary movement
 Bolsheviks tried to end
discrimination against Jews

  • Assimilated Jews advanced in
  education & professions
 Created Jewish autonomous
region = Birobidzhan
               RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


SOVIET POLICY TOWARD JEWS
 Jewish religious practices suppressed
   • Abolished community councils,
   outlawed Hebrew language,
   training of rabbis
  • Most synagogues closed
 Anti-Semitism & violence never
disappeared
 After World War II, Stalin
initiated anti-Semitic campaign
               RELIGION IN THE SOVIET UNION


SOVIET POLICY TOWARD JEWS
 Official persecution &
discrimination ended after Stalin

 But reintroduced after 1967

 Many Jews became part of
dissident movement

 Numerous appeals for right
to emigrate to Israel =
REFUSNIKS

				
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