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The Anti-Religious Campaign in the Soviet Union

  • N. S. Timasheff
Extract

During the years 1939–45, a spectacular change occurred in the anti-religious policy of the Soviet government. The pattern of direct persecution was discarded and replaced by a more subtle pattern of ostentatious compromise in combination with indirect pressure. The compromise was publicly demonstrated at the meeting of the National Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (January-February 1945) convoked, by permission of the Soviet government, to elect a new Patriarch in place of the deceased Sergius. The Council was attended by a number of high dignitaries of the non-Russian Orthodox Churches; many of them were flown to the Council in Soviet bombers. At the end of the Council, a gala reception was organized for its members by G. Karpov, the chairman of the Council for the Affairs of the Orthodox Church; during that reception two choirs could be heard, the Patriarch's choir and the Moscow Philharmonic choir sponsored by the Soviet government. The enthroning of the new Patriarch Alexei was filmed and the film displayed in all the movie theaters of the Union.

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1 Sovietskaya Kultura, 01, 1954; The Catholic World, 11 1954.

2 Catholic Universe Bulletin, 10 15, 1954.

3 Except when another year is mentioned, references are to publications having appeared in 1954.

4 The Catholic World, 11 1954.

5 Reported in New York Times, Nov. 13.

6 Literaturnaya Gazeta, July 29; Comsomolskaya Pravda, Aug. 6 and 8; Pravda, Aug. 11.

7 The New York Times, Nov. 13.

8 Ibid., Nov. 29

9 Catholic Exponent, 02 4, 1955.

10 The New York Times, 04 3, 1955.

11 The New York Times, 03 8, 1955. His exact words are: “Three more churches have opened in Moscow since the first of the year, and the number is now more than 55” (a figure often repeated during the past few years).

12 Cf. Timasheff, N. S., Religion in Soviet Russia (1942) p. 28.

13 Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, No. 11, p. 3.

14 With this legend, the present writer has concluded his book Religion in Soviet Russia (p. 162). For him, it was highly encouraging to learn that the legend had not been forgotten in Russia.

15 Uchitelskaya Gazeta, July 28.

16 Here and later on, the same sources have been used as cited above, when a story (identified by the name of the locality) has been told first.

17 Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, 1953 No. 10, p. 9.

18 Trud, June 28.

19 Comsomolskaya Pravda, July 29.

20 Ibid., Aug. 31.

21 Ibid., Sept. 8.

22 Ibid., July 1.

23 Ibid., July 1 and 31.

24 Trud, June 28.

25 The New York Times, November 13.

26 Literaturnaya Gazeta, Feb. 4.

27 Ibid., Oct. 14.

28 Comsomolskaya Pravda, 12 18, 1953.

29 The New York Times, 03 8, 1955.

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The Review of Politics
  • ISSN: 0034-6705
  • EISSN: 1748-6858
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-politics
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