Religious Policy in the Soviet Union

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Church-state relations have undergone a number of changes during the seven decades of the existence of the Soviet Union. In the 1920s the state was politically and financially weak and its edicts often ignored, but the 1930s saw the beginning of an era of systematic anti-religious persecution. There was some relaxation in the last decade of Stalin's rule, but under Khrushchev the pressure on the Church was again stepped up. In the Brezhnev period this was moderated to a policy of slow strangulation of religion, and Gorbachev's leadership has seen a thorough liberalization and re-legitimation of religion. This book brings together fifteen of the West's leading scholars of religion in the USSR, and provides the most comprehensive analysis of the subject yet undertaken. Bringing much hitherto unknown material to light, the authors discuss the policy apparatus, programmes of atheisation and socialisation, cults and sects, and the world of Christianity.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book deserves to be in college and university libraries and on the book shelves of all who are interested in Soviet dealings with religion." Paul Mojzes, Slavic Review

"...opens a new stage in the study of religion in the USSR, no longer as a subject of political science but of historical research." Serhii Plokhy, Canadian Slavonic Papers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521022309
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/10/2005
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Notes on contributors
Pt. I Introduction
1 A survey of Soviet religious policy 3
2 Religious policy in the era of Gorbachev 31
Pt. II Policy apparatus
3 The Council for Religious Affairs 55
4 Some reflections about religious policy under Kharchev 84
5 The state, the church, and the oikumene: the Russian Orthodox Church and the World Council of Churches, 1948-1985 105
Pt. III Education, socialisation, and values
6 Fear no evil: schools and religion in Soviet Russia, 1917-1941 125
7 Soviet schools, atheism and religion 158
8 The Ten Commandments as values in Soviet people's consciousness 187
9 Out of the kitchen, out of the temple: religion, atheism and women in the Soviet Union 206
Pt. IV Cults and sects
10 Dilemmas of the spirit: religion and atheism in the Yakut-Sakha Republic 231
11 The spread of modern cults in the USSR 252
Pt. V The world of Christianity
12 The Russian Orthodox Renovationist Movement and its Russian historiography during the Soviet period 273
13 The re-emergence of the Ukrainian (Greek) Catholic Church in the USSR 292
14 Protestantism in the USSR 319
15 Epilogue: religion after the collapse 350
Appendix: Religious groups numbering 2,000 or more, in the USSR 355
Index 357
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