The Persecution Of Religion And Politics Essay

1023 Words Oct 6th, 2015 5 Pages
The Persecution of Religion in Stalinist Russia

Throughout history, religion has played an important role in shaping culture, government and the economy, but it is important to also consider times when the absence of religion has done the same. Under the control of Joseph Stalin and the Communist party in the early 1920s, Russia became the first nation to institutionalize atheism. Propelled by the ideals of communism and the example of his predecessor, Stalin sought to secularize the nation and to bring an end to religion in Russia. This paper will explore the tensions between religion and politics in Stalinist Russia, focusing particularly on how Stalin’s political agenda affected his religious policies.

In order to understand the Russian attitude towards religion during Stalin’s regime, it is necessary to review the policies of his predecessor, Vladimir Lenin. The de- cline of religion in Russia began after the 1917 Revolution, when the Bolsheviks came into power. Led by their founder, Vladimir Lenin, the Bolsheviks sought to restructure the Russian economy, abolish the ownership of private property, and to foster communist doctrine within the Russian population. One of the more interesting aspects of the Communist movement, however, was its opposition to religion. Lenin based his religious beliefs on the work of Karl Marx, who famously wrote that “religion is the opium of the people” (Marx, 1976). Lenin believed that religion only existed to exploit and confuse the…

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