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It was also a tool, and a willing tool, of Tsarism. With the growth of the revolutionary movement towards the end of the 19 th Century the Russian clergy asked to be allowed to cooperate with the Tsarist Secret Service in tracking down revolutionaries and many played no small role in this respect. After the massacre of the St. Marxism always regarded all modern religions and churches, and every kind of religious organisation as instruments of that bourgeois reaction whose aim is to defend exploitation, stupefying the working class.

But in the same article Lenin made it clear that the Bolsheviks did not expect religion immediately to disappear, even after the seizure of power.

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Engels, to whom Lenin refers, had established this some forty years previously in Anti-Duhring where he wrote:. Only in a fully socialist society can religion be expected to disappear completely for only then will the social basis of religion — the fear of the masses caused by their helplessness before the blind forces of production — cease to exist. While doing this, we must carefully avoid anything that can wound the feelings of believers, for such a method can only lead to the strengthening of religious fanaticism.

With this objective in view the Soviet State decreed the separation of the Church from the State and freed the educational system from all Church influence. All citizens were given the right to carry on both religious and anti-religious propaganda. The property of the Church was confiscated but the church buildings were returned for the use of the clergy. The Church retained freedom of worship, association, meeting and propaganda. In , in order to get funds for buying foodstuffs abroad in order to relieve the famine, the Soviet Government decreed the confiscation of gold, silver and precious stones belonging to the Church.

The Patriarch ordered the clergy to resist and a bitter struggle resulted in the course of which 45 clergy were executed and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. By this time it was obvious that the Soviet Government had come to stay and a section of the clergy hastened to make their peace with it upon the best terms they could. A split in the Orthodox Church was the consequence. Such was the situation before the rise of the Stalinist Bureaucracy and its victory over the Bolshevik-Leninist Left Opposition. The Church continued to function in the Soviet Union, but the masses had turned from it, especially in the towns.

Its support amongst the youth was very small, and its main basis lay amongst the more backward masses, especially the older generation of peasants. The clergy lived upon donations from their supporters and were entirely cut off from Soviet life. Priests had no right to vote in Soviet elections or to be elected to Soviet organisations. For the class-conscious Soviet worker the Church was a relic of the past which was destined gradually to wither away under the influence of the rising material and cultural standards of the masses.

Such would without doubt have been the course of development had the isolation of the Soviet State been broken by the World Revolution and the growth of the Stalinist Bureaucracy been thus prevented. We would have witnessed the fulfilment of the confident prophesy of the A. The attitude of t he Bureaucracy towards the Church has passed through the usual zig-zags of Stalinist policy. During the ultra-left period of forcible collectivisation and the Five Year Plan in Four an attempt was made to liquidate the Church and its influence by government decree.

Starting in churches were forcibly closed and priests arrested and exiled all over the Soviet Union. Religion, they believed, could be liquidated, like the kulak, by a stroke of the pen. The Great Famine of in which millions died in the Soviet Union did more for the strengthening of the hold of the Church over the masses that could have been done by any amount of religious propaganda.

Following on from Part One , this concluding section looks at how the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church adapted to the regime under Stalin and in fact became a privileged layer of Russian society. The hierarchy of other religious groups followed suit. Under Stalin, far from withering away, the influence of the Church began to increase.

It was first published in Workers International News , November But it had not long to wait.

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The Left zig-zag of the bureaucracy was inevitably followed by a turn to the right. The anti-religious processions which had been organised during the Church festivals of Christmas and Easter were abolished; the sale of Christmas trees was allowed once more; exiled priests were allowed to return to their parishes. The survey results highlight an east-west divide within Ukraine. Eastern Ukrainians, meanwhile, are more likely to favor a strong Russia on the world stage.

The survey also finds significant religious differences between residents of the two parts of the country. For example, people living in western Ukraine are more likely than those in the east to attend church on a weekly basis, to say religion is very important in their lives and to believe in God.

In addition, nearly all Catholics in Ukraine live in the western part of the country, and western Ukraine has a somewhat higher concentration of Orthodox Christians who identify with the Kiev patriarchate than does eastern Ukraine. Even accounting for these religious differences, statistical analysis of the survey results suggests that where Ukrainians live east or west is a strong determinant of their attitudes toward Russia and the West — stronger than their religious affiliation, ethnicity, age, gender or level of education.

Because of the security situation in eastern Ukraine, both the poll and the current poll exclude the contested regions of Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimea. This sentiment is shared by considerably fewer people in Catholic and religiously mixed countries in the region. People in Orthodox-majority countries tend to look more favorably toward Russian economic influence in the region. Larger shares of the public in Orthodox countries than elsewhere say Russian companies are having a good influence over the way things are going in their country.

And across roughly half the Orthodox countries surveyed, smaller shares say American companies have a good influence within their borders than say the same about Russian companies. Only in two Orthodox countries Ukraine and Romania do more adults give positive assessments of American companies than of Russian ones. Ukraine also is the only country surveyed where ethnic Russians are about equally likely to say American companies and Russian companies are having a good influence in their country.

In Estonia and Latvia, ethnic Russians are far more likely to rate favorably the influence of Russian than American companies. In part, the desire for a strong Russia may owe to a perceived values gap with the West. In Moldova and Armenia, for example, majorities say the dissolution of the Soviet Union in was bad for their country.

This question was asked only in countries that were once a part of the Soviet Union.

In nearly every country, adults over the age of 5o i. Ethnicity makes a difference as well: Ethnic Russians in Ukraine, Latvia and Estonia are more likely than people of other ethnicities in these countries to say the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a bad thing. Neither man is viewed positively across the region as a whole. But in several former Soviet republics, including Russia and his native Georgia, more people view Stalin favorably than view Gorbachev favorably. Meanwhile, Gorbachev receives more favorable ratings than Stalin does in the Baltic countries, as well as in Poland, Hungary, Croatia and the Czech Republic.

Elsewhere, Pew Research Center has documented the wide range of public reactions to political and economic change between and Just as in that study, the new survey finds many people across the region harbor doubts about democracy. In many countries across Central and Eastern Europe, substantial shares of the public — including roughly one-third or more of adults in Bulgaria, Belarus, Russia and Moldova — take the position that under some circumstances, a nondemocratic government is preferable.

People in Orthodox-majority countries are more inclined than those elsewhere in the region to say their governments should support the spread of religious values and beliefs in the country and that governments should provide funding for their dominant, national churches. Support for government efforts to spread religious values is considerably lower in most Catholic countries — in Poland, Croatia and Hungary, majorities instead take the position that religion should be kept separate from government policies.

In addition, even though relatively few people in Orthodox-majority countries in the region say they personally attend church on a weekly basis, many more say their national Orthodox Church should receive government funding. Across several Orthodox- and Catholic-majority countries, people who do not identify with the predominant religion whether Orthodoxy or Catholicism are less likely than others to support the government spread of religious values as well as public funding for the church.

But, in some cases, people in religious minority groups are nearly as likely as those in the majority to say the government should financially support the dominant church. The survey also probed views on religious and ethnic diversity.

Answers vary significantly across the region, with large majorities in countries that were part of the former Yugoslavia Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia , which went through ethnic and religious wars in the s, saying that a multicultural society is preferable. Muslims tend to be more likely than Orthodox Christians and Catholics in the region to favor a multicultural society.

In addition to measuring broad attitudes toward diversity and pluralism, the survey also explored opinions about a number of specific religious and ethnic groups in the region.


For example, how do the two largest religious groups in the region — Orthodox Christians and Catholics — view each other? To begin with, many members of both Christian traditions say that Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have a lot in common. But the Orthodox-Catholic schism is nearly 1, years old it is conventionally dated to , following a period of growing estrangement between the Eastern patriarchates and the Latin Church of Rome. And some modern Orthodox leaders have condemned the idea of reuniting with the Roman Catholic Church, expressing fears that liberal Western values would supplant traditional Orthodox ones.

In countries that have significant Catholic and Orthodox populations, Catholics are, on balance, more likely to favor communion between the two churches. In some cases, the estrangement between the two Christian traditions runs deeper. The survey asked Orthodox Christians and Catholics whether they would be willing to accept each other as fellow citizens of their country, as neighbors or as family members.

Russians Return to Religion, But Not to Church | Pew Research Center

In most countries, the vast majority of both groups say they would accept each other as citizens and as neighbors. But the survey reveals at least some hesitation on the part of both Orthodox Christians and Catholics to accept the other as family members, with Catholics somewhat more accepting of Orthodox Christians than vice versa. The survey also posed similar questions about three other religious or ethnic groups. Respondents were asked whether they would be willing to accept Jews, Muslims and Roma as citizens of their country, neighbors and family.

Roma also known as Romani or Gypsies, a term some consider pejorative face the lowest overall levels of acceptance.

Hammer, sickle, crucifix?

There is little or no difference between Catholics and Orthodox Christians when it comes to views of Roma. On balance, acceptance of Jews is higher than of Muslims. But there are some differences in the attitudes of the major Christian groups toward these minorities. Overall, Catholics appear more willing than Orthodox Christians to accept Jews as family members. On the other hand, Orthodox Christians are generally more inclined than Catholics across the region to accept Muslims as fellow citizens and neighbors. This may reflect, at least in part, the sizable Muslim populations in some countries that also have large Orthodox populations.

Russians Return to Religion, But Not to Church

Orthodox-majority Russia has approximately 14 million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in the region in total number , and Bosnia has substantial populations of both Muslims and Orthodox Christians, but fewer Catholics. People in Georgia and Armenia consistently show low levels of acceptance of all three groups as family members compared with other countries in the region. Roughly a quarter in Georgia and Armenia say they would be willing to accept Jews as family members.

Pew Research Center previously polled Muslims in the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as in the Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo, as part of a survey of Muslims in 40 countries around the world. Bosnia and Kazakhstan also were included in the survey. The survey found relatively low levels of religious belief and practice among Muslims in the former Soviet bloc countries compared with Muslims elsewhere around the world.

No more than half of Muslims surveyed in Russia, the Balkans and in Central Asia say religion is very important in their lives, compared with the vast majorities of Muslims living in the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa. Following the same pattern, fewer Muslims in most countries of the former Soviet bloc than elsewhere say they practice core tenets of their faith, such as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, or giving zakat a portion of their accumulated wealth to the needy. And considerably fewer in most countries favor making sharia the official law of the land in their countries.

The current survey has large enough sample sizes of Muslims for analysis in Bosnia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia. Muslims in Kazakhstan and Russia largely show levels of religious belief and observance similar to those highlighted in the report. A lack of survey data dating back to the early s on the attitudes of Muslim publics makes it difficult to determine the extent to which these populations have experienced religious revival since the fall of the Soviet Union.

About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Around the world, different ways of being religious Believing. In Print columnist addition: unique; skills.

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