Voices of the Voiceless, Religion, Communism and the Keston Archive (Book Review)

Pamir Dietrich, Ayşe
To create the conditions for the development of a new socialist society, the Bolsheviks led a major campaign against the Orthodox Church that had supported the Whites during the Civil War, and began to supervise all religious activities in the Soviet Union. According to Lenin, religion served as opium for the Russian people, and was an obstacle to building socialism. A decree of February 1918 separated church and state, deprived churches of property and rights of ownership, and nationalized them. Intensive Soviet persecution of religious leaders and believers of all religious groups began. The Militant Godless League was formed by Stalin in 1925to conduct propaganda campaigns. It periodically promoted atheism, ridiculed and humiliated religion. To weaken the influence of the Orthodox Church, the Soviets supported the Living Church to split the clergy and the Russian Orthodox Church. However, during World War II, Stalin used the church for the purposes of mobilization, and the state also restored the Patriarchate in 1943 as a propaganda agent, but it was closed again after the war. Despite official restrictions and pressures, religious life continued to exist. This book is a collection of twenty-five essays about how ordinary believers practiced Christianity, Islam and Buddhism in an atmosphere of repression, the treatment of the Orthodox pilgrims, and the atheist campaign conducted by the Samizdat. Other articles deal with the state’s failure to suppress religious belief and the persecution of both individual believers and entire communities under the Communist system. The contents of this book are based on antireligious materials, as well as personal and government papers from the Cold War period that were collected by a group of British Christian researchers and preserved in the the Keston Archive of Baylor University. In the Voices of the Voiceless, the archival material that the authors used in this book is very important to understand the history of the religious experience and to provide insights into the state’s antireligious campaign under Soviet communist system during and after the Cold War. The Keston Archive provided abundant material and documents for the researhers to shed light on the sensitive issue of religion and its survival under the communist system.
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Citation Formats
A. Pamir Dietrich, “Voices of the Voiceless, Religion, Communism and the Keston Archive (Book Review),” International Journal of Russian Studies, vol. 9, no. 9/1 2020, pp. 104–105, 2020, Accessed: 00, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.ijors.net/issue9_1_2020/reviews/ayse_dietrich.html.