People, Church, and State in Modern Russia

By Paul B. Anderson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
"Freedom for Anti-Religious Propaganda"

BY the end of 1932 greater calm was restored. A period of relative equilibrium ensued. The Second Five Year Plan was in the offing, promising consumption goods from the machinery installed during the First Five Year Plan. The famine of 1932-33 was localized; although from three to five million perished in southeastern districts, the rest of the country suffered only moderately. The peasants irksomely tried to adapt themselves to collectivized life. Schools, both in town and village, were filled to bursting. Young men and women worked by day and studied by night in order to build Magnitogorsk and other industrial giants, the symbols of the mighty new socialized state. In the fifteen years since "October" a generation, probably more than a generation, had passed on. The new generation remembered the hardships of 1920-21, but had only secondhand knowledge of capitalistic society, and they reacted to capitalistic theory or the remnants of capitalism as if they were an anachronism, not an active principle or potential danger in society. Such "relics" as religion, wooden ploughs, private shops, were scorned rather than hated; they ignored their existence rather than feeling any urge to fight them, as had been felt by the older generation. The theory of "samotyok"--socialism will come of itself-- arose and had to be combatted by the Party organs. The population had to be rendered more alert; socialism must

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