Table of contents:
- The son of a laundress and a shoemaker
- How Comrade Stalin appeared
- Struggle with Trotsky for power
- War against religion
- Godless five-year plan
- Museums of Atheism
- Churches reopen during World War II
- You can destroy religion and destroy churches, but faith in God is not
When the October Revolution shook the Russian Empire in 1917, the era of communist rule began. The new country had to live according to new laws. Religion was viewed by the leaders of the world proletariat as an obstacle to a prosperous socialist society. As Karl Marx said, "communism begins where atheism begins." Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin is a figure in history as famous as he is controversial. It so happened that it was he who spearheaded a uniquely brutal campaign against religion and religious leaders.
The son of a laundress and a shoemaker
In Soviet times, Comrade Stalin's birthday was a national holiday. It was celebrated on December 9th. However, later historians found out that this date was wrong. Joseph Dzhugashvili was born on December 6, 1879. On this occasion, there are a lot of guesses and conjectures. But, researchers believe that the leader did not want to hide or distort anything, he simply did not know the exact date of his birth.
The childhood of the future "father of nations" was very difficult. Soso was born, as they would say now, in a dysfunctional family. My father was a shoemaker, he drank without drying out. In a drunken stupor, he beat both his son and his wife. Mother was a washerwoman. According to the deep conviction of the woman, her son had to be raised exclusively with the help of a belt. She sincerely believed that it was necessary to regularly beat the crap out of the stubborn son. Later, in pursuit of the goal of raising Joseph as a decent person, his mother sent him to study at a theological school.
The future leader graduated from college with honors. As the best student he was sent to study at the Tbilisi Seminary. There he took a great interest in revolutionary activities and abandoned his studies. Dzhugashvili's brilliant successes gradually faded away. Despite the fact that many believe that Joseph did not finish his studies, this is not so. The young man just ignored the final exams. What was the reason for this, until now, no one knows. The official wording of the reason for the expulsion of Joseph Dzhugashvili from the seminary: "for failure to appear for exams for an unknown reason."
In 1906, Soso married a woman named Kato Svanidze. Researchers claim that only this woman he loved all his life. Kato bore him a son, who was named Jacob. Unfortunately, the woman died of consumption, just a year after the wedding. It is interesting that the renounced religion, then already a professional revolutionary, fell in love with a devoutly believing woman.
How Comrade Stalin appeared
The growth of Stalin's authority in party circles began after the strike and demonstration organized by him in 1902 in Batum. He participated in various party congresses abroad, where he met Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Gradually, they began to call him one of the revolutionary leaders. By this time, Dzhugashvili had disappeared. Joseph Stalin was born. He changed many aliases, eventually leaving this one. In a hot revolutionary year, Comrade Stalin married Nadezhda Alliluyeva. A year later, Joseph Vissarionovich became famous for the brilliantly conducted military operation in the defense of Tsaritsyn.
Struggle with Trotsky for power
Despite all his merits, the first years of secular power, Joseph Vissarionovich remained in the shadow of the leaders who were Lenin and Trotsky. When Stalin was appointed to the post of general secretary of the party, he skillfully used his position. He quickly placed his people in all key positions, thus concentrating all power in his hands. All that remained was to get rid of Lenin and Trotsky.
By this time Vladimir Ilyich was hopelessly ill and no longer represented any danger. Trotsky, on the other hand, was an incredibly powerful adversary. In the end, Stalin won. By the end of the 1920s, no one stood in front of the father of nations on the path to absolute power.
In 1932, Stalin's wife committed suicide. After this tragedy, Joseph Vissarionovich closed in on himself, hardened. He stopped believing people. He even shot his close friend Bukharin in 1938. Massive repressions began in the country. Words such as industrialization, collectivization and "great terror" are firmly associated with the name of the leader. The victims of repression were not only representatives of the intelligentsia, but also old revolutionaries.
In the 1930s alone, almost one and a half million people were convicted, and almost seven hundred thousand were shot. All administrative structures were almost completely cleaned out, especially in the Red Army and the NKVD. These losses in the future were costly in the Great Patriotic War. They greatly weakened the state's defenses. On the other hand, the practically free labor of exiles and prisoners helped to build many infrastructure and industrial facilities throughout the country.
War against religion
Militant atheism was promoted in the USSR. Joseph Stalin became a fierce follower of the "opium for the people" theory. He believed that religion must be eradicated, that this is the main obstacle to a bright communist future. Religion, according to the leader, was evidence of class oppression. Rolling up his sleeves, Stalin fought fiercely with the bourgeois relic of the past. Before World War II, when some restrictions were eased, he closed all churches, synagogues and mosques. Thousands of clerics and religious leaders have been killed or sent to prison. Stalin tried not only to destroy religion, he tried to eradicate even the very idea of God. The leader saw in this the deliverance from the hated heritage of the past, which hindered his progress towards future progress and science.
The most interesting thing is that Stalin was familiar with religion and faith firsthand. He also graduated from seminary. Revolutionary ideals were more expensive. On this path, Joseph Vissarionovich sacrificed many, many. The highest goal, in his opinion, was worth it, justifying any means.
There is, of course, some truth in these reflections. The church was a powerful force. Despite all the anti-religious measures under Lenin, the number of believers did not decrease. The peasants were especially loyal in this regard. For them, church liturgy was part of their way of life. A strong church was too risky a prospect. This could jeopardize the success of the entire revolution.
Godless five-year plan
The practice of the godless five-year plan began in 1928. The anti-religious organization "League of Militant Atheists" was created. Churches were closed, all property was confiscated. Leaders were imprisoned or shot. The few surviving clergymen were replaced by people loyal to the authorities. This made the church toothless and useless. God was no longer here. The hotbed of dissent and counter-revolution was completely destroyed.
This plan was based on a relatively simple idea. The traditional national consciousness was eradicated. It was necessary to build a society based on the universal principles of socialism. These principles were later used by other communist countries.
Religion and faith in everyday life were fought not only with social reforms and repression. Large-scale propaganda was carried out.The press was filled with atheistic publications. Believers were called "dark", ridiculed. It even introduced a continuous work week to wean people off weekends and attending religious meetings.
Museums of Atheism
Plundered mosques, synagogues and churches were turned into anti-religious "museums of atheism." Dioramas were organized there, showing violent scenes and explaining scientific phenomena in an atheistic manner. Icons and relics were devoid of their mysticism. They came to be regarded as ordinary objects. The general public was not particularly impressed by this. Despite this, many of these museums became popular and remained open until the 1980s.
All this time, the League of Militant Atheists distributed anti-religious publications, organized lectures and demonstrations. They did their best, helping atheist propaganda to penetrate almost all spheres of life in the country of the Soviets. The popularity of such a press was not at all a sign of the victory of atheism. Many believers bought these newspapers and magazines to get news in this area.
Churches reopen during World War II
By 1939, only about 200 churches remained in the USSR. For comparison, there were about 46,000 of them before the revolution! The clergy and laity were executed or placed in labor camps, while only four bishops remained "at large." The church was defeated.
When the Great Patriotic War began, the Nazis began to open churches in the occupied Soviet territories. In particular, in Ukraine. This was done to arouse the sympathy of the local population. After that, Stalin decided to use it too. Temples began reopening throughout the country. This was done exclusively for political purposes. The leader was a staunch atheist, he considered religion nonsense and nonsense.
During a meeting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Stalin was incredibly and completely sincerely surprised to learn that the president was attending religious services. Joseph Vissarionovich asked the diplomat Averell Harriman: “Is the president, being such an intelligent person, really so religious? Or is he doing it in pursuit of political goals?"
You can destroy religion and destroy churches, but faith in God is not
Despite all the efforts of Stalin, it was not possible to convert the people to absolute atheism. The church was destroyed, and a fake was created in return. All this could not kill faith in people. Even in the terrible year of 1937, a survey of the Soviet population showed that 57 percent of the population of the Soviet state identify themselves as "believers." Stalin's conviction that "a rational adult naturally throws away religious superstitions over time, like a child rattle" - turned out to be mistaken.
After the Great Patriotic War, the anti-religious struggle continued. Religious education was completely absent, Bibles were banned, they were imprisoned and exiled for their faith. Nevertheless, by the end of the 80s, the Soviet government had to admit that they had lost this battle.
Of course, objective reasons can be given. After all, the urban Bolsheviks, from a cultural point of view, had incredibly little in common with the peasants. Rural residents, on the other hand, made up the majority of the population. For peasants, militant atheism was never fun enough. He could not replace centuries of religious practice with it. In addition, the memory of the 1917 revolution and Stalin's rule was slowly dying out.
Until now, historians argue about the role of the "leader of the peoples" in the Great Patriotic War and the development of the USSR as a whole. And yet it cannot be denied that his role was very significant in both. Great generals such as Konev, Zhukov, and Rokossovsky recognized that Comrade Stalin was the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, not only in form, but also in substance. The country's economic development, successful industrialization, developed infrastructure - all this can be attributed to the achievements of the father of nations.
Stalin ended his godless life quite naturally. There were no close people left next to him who could help. When Joseph Vissarionovich had a stroke, he lay without medical assistance for twelve hours! They were simply afraid to go to him. The father of nations died, being left in absolute loneliness. Did he think about God when life was gradually leaving him?
Read more about how they tried to fight religion with calendar reform in our article. why there were no days off in the Soviet Union for 11 years.
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