Socialism: Ideals, Ideologies, and Local Practice

By C. M. Hann | Go to book overview

Chapter 9

The domestication of religion under Soviet communism

Tamara Dragadze


BACKGROUND

The questions I am concerned with are both historical and futuristic. First, what happened to mainstream religions in the USSR after the 1930s when, under Stalin, they were the object of targeted attack? Second, what happens when restrictions are relaxed in the perestroika period, and what are the prospects for religion in post-communist society? In seeking to answer these questions I shall be concerned with 'scientific Marxism' as a mode of thought as well as the religious ideologies of Islam and Christianity as found within the territories of what was, until very recently, the Soviet Union. Because there is such ethnographic diversity within this region (for example, Humphrey 1983; Dragadze 1988), I shall restrict the focus to ritual practices accompanying life crises and illness. In exploring this field I draw principally upon Emile Durkheim's classic opposition between 'sacred' and 'profane', and show how it can be applied in contemporary communist and post-communist societies. An important subsidiary theme is the notion of 'rationality', as it used to underlie official militant atheism in the Soviet Union.

For reasons of space it is impossible here to give a full account of communist policies towards religion in the USSR, which undoubtedly shared many features with communist religious policies elsewhere. 1 Among the tasks facing the Bolshevik regime after 1917 was to reconstitute the previous colonies of the tsarist Russian Empire into the Soviet Union. Another task, however, was to mobilize populations into serving a centralized command system whose legitimacy rested on the acceptance of a particular ideology. In my view this ideology was always a botched-up concoction of ad hoc measures, with constraints set only by the need to appear to adhere to some kind of Leninist version of a selection of pronouncements by Karl Marx. 2

Land and property reform ensured that the economic power base of official religious institutions was destroyed quite soon after the Revolution. A further aim was to destroy religious beliefs that could potentially compete with the ideology of the new state, and a great deal of attention was

-148-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Socialism: Ideals, Ideologies, and Local Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 271

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.