Rus Articles Journal

How the Soviet power fought against church in postrevolutionary years?

After October events of 1917 the relation of the new government to church originally were not hostile. But succession of events already put the country on an era threshold total atheism . It is natural that the revolution in a political system which overthrew imperial autocracy responded revolution and concerning the state to church.

The Orthodox church became the catalyst of this process, strangely enough, extremely negatively having reacted to intention of the government to consider the draft of the decree about disestablishment. In the letter to V. I. Lenin the metropolitan Petrograd Veniamin (Kazan) directly warned power structures of the state that they did not carry out the estimated draft of the decree . On opened on January 20, 1918. in Moscow the second session of the Local council the patriarch Tikhon acted with an anafematstvovaniye of Bolsheviks and called the believing children of Orthodox Church with such monsters of the human race not to enter any communication .

Such position of church was apprehended by the power as attempt of open intervention in a difficult political situation in the country. Urgent adoption of the decree by Council of People`s Commissars " became the reply of the state; About a freedom of worship, church and religious societies received the second name " in literature; About disestablishment and schools from " church;. The decree complicated position of church, deprived of it the rights of the legal entity and the right to own property.

Was not promoted improvement of the relations with the new power and by the fact that the patriarch Tikhon at big confluence of believers made memorial service for Nicholas II in Kazan Cathedral at the Red Square.

Actively supported by Bolshevik party and the Soviet power, in the country mass withdrawal from religion began, centuries-old communications of various sectors of society with church and, first of all, with dominating - orthodox began to be torn. Fight against church during this period reached the culmination in 1922 when the decree of VTsIK about withdrawal of the church values which are in use of groups of believers was adopted and mass trials over the clergy rendering counteraction to a robbery of churches began. Already to the middle of year 231 trials took place, on a dock there were 732 persons, many of them were shot.

The fact that at meetings of the Politburo of the Central Committee of RCP(b) in a year 34 questions of Russian Orthodox Church were considered also demonstrates to heat of a situation. The Head Political Department (HPD) in which directly the VI office of the Confidential department headed by E. A. Tuchkov dealt with these problems became the main performer of decisions of the Politburo on religious questions. In 1923 only in production of the VI office there was 301 investigative business on which 375 people were arrested. In only 1921 - 23 about 10 thousand people from whom about 2 thousand are shot were repressed. During withdrawals the religious organizations lost property and jewelry for the sum of 7 billion 150 million gold rubles.

On October 13, 1922 at a meeting of Organizational bureau of the Central Committee the Antireligious commission of the Politburo of the Central Committee of RCP(b) consisting of 100 permanent members which sought to paralyze church life of citizens of Russia was created. Yemelyan Yaroslavsky was the permanent chairman of the commission. In 1924 the commission made the decision on creation of the Union of militant atheists of the USSR. Antireligious activity became an official state policy.

Especially painfully new power treated attempts of Orthodox church to spiritually nurture the military personnel of Red Army. The metropolitan Veniamin heading military clergy in army of the baron Wrangel remembered that already as the head voyenno - spiritual department, making the sermon from Aleksandro`s porch - the Nevsky temple in Sevastopol he spoke: For Church both white and red, if only they the believers who are equally accepted . But to resist to the large-scale antireligious promotion developed in Red Army and supported with drastic repressive measures, the church could not.

Even after the end of civil war when mass demobilization of army began, the power was forced to consider that the number of the believing Red Army men, even on official statistics, continued to be very high. Poll of recruits in 20 - e during the Luga camp collecting showed years that recognized religion and believed in God of 62,5% of recruits, and 56% - visited church.

In February, 1923 at a meeting of the antireligious commission the question of methods and forms of antireligious work in Red Army was considered. Political management of RKKA in the circular No. 47/17 of March 7, 1923 focused political bodies on creation in military units of groups of atheists and antireligious circles. In total for 1922 - 1923 35 circulars on various questions of antireligious work were sent to troops: About the organization of circles of atheists in parts of the district About the anti-Christmas company in parts etc. In June, 1927 by the order No. 51 it is entered Provision on cells of the " union; Atheists in parts of PKKA . For preparation godless shots at Agitpropotdele PURA in July, 1927 short-term courses are created. The withdrawal pains of consciousness of the believing soldiers became the main task of propagandists of atheism, and the part of huge school of education of youth in the spirit of atheistic outlook was assigned to army.

On August 8, 1929 on enlarged meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee E. Yaroslavsky made the report on progress of fight against religion then on the basis of the adopted resolution Molotov and Kaganovich signed the Resolution About the religious associations according to which all religious organizations appeared by counterrevolutionary force. The resolution of VTsIK and SNK RSFSR of April 8, 1929 with changes and additions, in particular the Decree of Presidium of VS RSFSR of June 23, 1975, worked up to collapse of the USSR. It became a sentence for many priests who were assessed with excessive taxes in case of which failure to pay - could arrest, and arrivals - to close. Bodies of People`s Commissariat for Internal Affairs became the main tool of implementation of the resolution.

All from 1918 for 1931 only in RSFSR 10056 Orthodox Christians of society were closed ( tikhonovets - 8568, obnovlenets - 1488). The extensive damage was caused to the religious organizations and other faiths.

And still in the hardest conditions the Russian Orthodox Church continued vicarial service, using any opportunities for a spiritual okormleniye of children. The first eases for church and believers came only in days of the Great Patriotic War.]