Age of Terror

russia274

The above image is a Russian anti-religious propaganda image from 1929 that is titled “On Easter Nobody Skips Work”. Other propaganda was used during this time to dimension the Church and what they stood for. This all took place because in 1929 the Russian government implemented more restrictions towards the Christian church. “The state stiffened the restrictions it had placed on the church in 1918 with a new law on religious organizations issued in 1929, giving the church little room to act, and reinforcing the restrictions by stiff penalties,” (17 Moments). The war on the church took off in the early 1920s but it is significant to note that in 1929 during the Cultural Revolution the discrimination turned from hierarchy to local establishments.

Activist took their hate on the church to action during the late 1920s. “Particularly ferocious was the attack on church property, which saw ancient churches converted into warehouses, and sacred objects melted down for their metals,”( 17 moments). This caused churches to close which caused villagers to have rage and anger towards the government. Police and government officials would specifically target church bells and use them for industrial projects like the picture below.

churchbells

The government not only destroyed church properties but they made it difficult for workers to attend church on Sunday’s by issuing machinery to operate on Sundays and a implementing a new work week schedule that required work on Sunday’s (linked is a video of the new uninterrupted work weeks). This idea was called Nepreryvka. “Introduction of the nepreryvka required cultural organizations, educational institutions, shops, baths, laundries, and other facilities to adjust to the staggered schedule”.  Not only were Christians targeted by their work schedules but church closings and new government implications led to so much worse. The Russian Orthodox Church were targeted the most during the 1920s and 1930s. “Nearly all of its clergy, and many of its believers, were shot or sent to labor camps. Theological schools were closed, and church publications were prohibited.” Within in 10 years of the wide spread church closings started in 1929, only 500 of 50,00 churches were still open in Russia (Anti-religious Campaigns). The result of the early 1920s restrictions against the church and the later issues of 1929, led masses of churches to close and greater violence against Christians in Russia.

 

 

“Anti-religious Campaigns.” Anti-religious Campaigns. August 31, 2016. Accessed February 26, 2017. https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/anti.html.

Geldern, James von Von. “Churches Closed.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. August 27, 2015. Accessed February 26, 2017. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1929-2/churches-closed/.

http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1929-2/churches-closed/churches-closed-images/#bwg63/462 (image 1)

http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1929-2/churches-closed/churches-closed-images/#bwg63/465 (image 2)

http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1929-2/churches-closed/churches-closed-video/uninterrupted-work-week-1929/ (video link)

 

 

13 thoughts on “Age of Terror

  1. Hi Maddie, I really enjoyed reading your post about the persecution that the Eastern Orthodox Church continued to suffer during the rise of the Soviet Union. I am not particularly familiar with Eastern Christianity, but I assume it looks similar enough to Western Christianity that this persecution is exactly what Christians were called to endure in the Bible and as such, it is not surprising to me to learn like we did in class that the older facets of the population continued to baptize their children and give them biblical instruction at home so that their faiths were not completely lost along with the physical manifestation of religion in Russia. Thanks for your post!

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  2. This is a great post about the impacts of the anti-religious movement on the culture and work order in Russia. One possible reason for the increased oppression on religion could be a desire to centralize all control to the government. Great work overall!

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  3. Great first image! The promotion of work was an innovative way to dismantle religion and the churches. I like how you mentioned that at the end of the 1920s, the cultural revolution began to target local establishments, as indoctrination also focused on the personal level, not just the collective. The video you included is a nice visual aid to the topic!

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  4. You used a lot of really great images and sources here! I think the picture of the bell is so symbolic and perfectly represents the point of your post. I also really like how you listed ways that secularization was encouraged and included the negative implications it had on those who were Christians. Great job!

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  5. Great post! I loved all the outside sources, image, and video! I agree with the above comment about the government wanting central control so they needed to get rid of religious authority in order to have complete control. I loved reading about this because I did not catch on to this too much in the readings and would never have known the extent to which religious officials, buildings, and people were persecuted during this time in Russia.

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  6. We essentially wrote about the same thing, so I like reading your perspective of this issue! You did a good job with defining and explaining the uninterrupted work week, which was such a major part of the religious side to the cultural revolution. I always thought that the Russian Orthodox Church (and Christianity as a whole) was really important to most Russian leaders because it held the value of traditionalism, so it is interesting reading how the church & clergy were being targeted and persecuted during this time.

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  7. This is an excellent post dealing with the severe and violent action taken by the Soviet state against the church, both its hierarchy and the believers. It’s easy to see why the Soviets were so dead-set on eliminating the role and influence the church had on the people of Russia. It had been one of the focal institutions in Russian society for generations. But the swiftness with which they accomplished their goals in leveling the church, physically, is astounding. I also think it would be interesting to see how the resurgence of Christianity within Russia after the fall of the USSR was accomplished. The post raised very interesting questions about the church in Russia under the Soviets.

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  8. Great post! It is really fascinating the extent to which the authorities were willing to go to in order to try to snuff out Christianity. I think that it would be important to note not only the anti-religious motivations, but also the economic reasons including the valuable raw materials the churches had like their gold and iron bells.

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  9. Great images and topic. I like how the blog was clear and I could follow along to see how much the government wanted to regulate the church. It’s also fitting that the Easter season will soon be upon us here as well.

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  10. It was very interesting to see what you wrote, concerning the anti-religious movement. You obviously had really cool facts and pictures due to your research. However, just to touch on the overall organization of your post, I wanted to say it was easy to read and follow, making it fun to look at your post. Good job.

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  11. I think it’s interesting that the government did this without the people eventually all rising up. I guess the Soviets had so much influence over their people that they could control almost every aspect of their life.

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  12. For a party that stressed workers rights they sure didn’t give workers any rights. Russia before this had an important relationship to Orthodox Christianity. At one point they even considered themeselves the “Third Rome” whos purpose in life was to protect Orthodox Christians from the Ottomans. It’s a shame that they severed that part of their culture during this time and even resulted to genocide of the clergy.

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