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Category: History


 © 2008 of L.F. Popov


In the history of mankind the way to freedom of conscience a time was thorny and tragic. Confrontation of ideologies generated political struggle, the frequent military conflicts were followed by repressions concerning followers of any given outlooks. All this eventually was expressed in establishment of various legal forms of the state and church relations that in turn defined extent of achievement of freedom of conscience and its understanding. In the Soviet Union the process of evolution of freedom of conscience was same difficult, contradictory, as well as development of the legislation regulating its implementation. The course towards eradication of religion proclaimed Bolsheviks from consciousness of the people turned religion into object of methodical and purposeful atheistic processing. The policy of the Soviet government for religion and the believing population of the USSR accurately adhered to the same atheistic line from 1918 to 1991, at the same time in it it is possible to allocate both the periods of militant atheism, and years of the relative, obviously forced tolerance to belief and believers - disestablishment with the Decree of 1918, destruction of temples, plunder of values, arrests and executions of priests in 20 - the 30th; "ease" of religion in days of the Great Patriotic War, since 1949 again closing of churches and spiritual centers, complete control of financial and economic activity of temples and accounting of believers in 60 - the 80th [1].

Dependence of church on the state at complete dependence of the state from the only political party the position of church subordinated to any change of a political environment. Khruschev's "thaw" did not make basic changes to a political regime of the country. The situation in the religious sphere in 60 - substantially was defined the 70th by that understanding of the place and a role of atheism in the Soviet society which developed at the beginning of the 60th. Atheistic work was recognized as the main lever of formation of scientific and materialistic outlook. Achievement of "society without religion", and in the nearest future, appeared the program purpose. It was offered to consider religion as the "residual" phenomenon of presocialist formations, and manifestation of religiousness - as "a past remnant" and result of impact of bourgeois promotion. In other words socialism not "ответствен" for religion, it is not present the place within a socialist public system [2, page 67]. At the same time at the beginning of the 60th the provision on transition from dictatorship of the proletariat to the public state was put forward. In this regard a number of the decisions directed to improvement of precepts of law was accepted

respect for freedom of conscience. So, in December, 1965 the Council for affairs of religions at Council of ministers of the USSR was created. March 18, 1966. The presidium of the Supreme Council of RSFSR established the precepts of law promoting the statement of legitimate rights of believers, religious associations, attendants of a cult. Meanwhile the number of religious associations continued to be reduced. At a meeting of Council for affairs of religions at Council of ministers of the USSR on April 17, 1968 the vice-chairman of Council V.T. Furov provided the following data: "All in the USSR there are 45 religions, from them 16 large religious directions are registered legally. Before the October revolution in our country there were 77767 orthodox churches and houses of worship. For January 1 of 1960 - 13008 churches, and by the beginning 1968 they remained to 7420, less than 10% of pre-revolutionary time. In Orthodoxy for the last 8 anniversary (1960 - 1967) stopped the activity and 43% of their total" [3, l are removed from registration of 5588 churches, or. 63]. So reported about performance of the task set by N.S. Khrushchev in the form of "the cavalry attack to religion". In party documents of the 60th of the 20th century it was noted more than once that communism is not compatible to religion.

We will consider practice of realization of religious freedom in 60 - the beginning of the 80th of the 20th century as reflection of policy of the Soviet state for the religious organizations and the believing citizens. Before revolution of 1917 in the territory of the present Lipetsk region which was then a part of the Tambov, Voronezh, Oryol and Ryazan provinces there were about 550 orthodox churches, 14 monasteries (including the Zadonsky Bogoroditsky monastery which was registered in the top ten of the largest monasteries of tsarist Russia), several synagogues, the mosque, about 20 sacred sources. Sectarian associations totaled thousands of followers. In comparison with the pre-revolutionary period the number of orthodox churches in Soviet period was reduced by 22 times, sectarians - ten times. Monasteries, synagogues, the mosque, zhidovstvuyu-shchy and other religious associations [4, l consigned to the past. 7].

In 60 - the 80th in the territory of the Voronezh and Lipetsk regions worked respectively 51 and 25 registered religious associations of Russian Orthodox Church, 140 sectarian associations from which it was only 22 registered. The condition of many church buildings transferred to believers was quite deplorable. The legislation did not allow repair of churches by parishioners without the permission of district executive committees. The situation sometimes became critical. And on April 7, 1968 in Borisoglebsk of the Voronezh region there was a tragedy: at a congestion about two thousand believers in orthodox church

panic as a result of which a big group of citizens suffered was provoked, 11 people died. Of course, newspapers did not report about it, but the confidential resolution of Council for affairs of religions at Council of ministers of the USSR of June 11, 1968 was accepted. In it the following was noted: "It occurred because in the church building a long time repairs were not made. About 100 complaints came only to the central bodies in 1967 from the Voronezh region. Many societies of believers systematically send to Moscow delegations and walkers with complaints to violations of the law about cults" [3, l. 36]. Any desire of believers to put the temple or the adjacent territory in order was regarded as "connivance to churchmen". The representative of Council for religions on the Voronezh region L.I. Bykovsky estimated as violation of the law about cults the fact that in the village. Lower Boyevo of Kashirsky district in 1976 religious society built around church a metal fencing of 264 m with a total cost of 6,193 rubles, and in Ostrogozhsky district in the village. Distant Polubyanka church activists organized a whip-round among fellows villager for production of a fencing around the rural cemetery, money admitted to churches according to the sheet with the signature of bringing - only 2,214 rubles [5]. From a position of today's time it seems ridiculous control of purchase of footwear to the church watchman. But in July, 1977 the fact of purchases of valenoks for 30 rubles was noted in the reference "About results of check of compliance with the law about cults in Olkhovat-sky district".

In the Lipetsk region some executives were focused on dispersing church "twenty", and then to close church too. And though the representative A. Kalugin regarded actions of heads in 1964 as "administration", but any did not take measures. The Chaplyginsky district executive committee offered that the church choir in church of the village of Krivopolyanye sang free of charge. The chairman of executive committee of Dvurechensky village council Chebotaryov did not allow even to insert glasses into windows of church and to establish the cross broken by wind on the building of the temple. The Dankovsky Executive Committee of the City Soviet of People's Deputies disconnected electricity in church. The chairman of executive committee of religious society of Preobrazhenovsky church of Lipetsk applied in the Executive Committee of the City Soviet of People's Deputies for permission to make repairs of the building of church. Refused to it it, he allegedly offered the secretary of the Executive Committee of the City Soviet of People's Deputies Batrakov a bribe in the sum of 100 rubles. Farm laborers called the prosecutor, drew up the statement, sent business to court [6].

Power structures did everything not to allow transfer of the church buildings which are empty, but subject to repair by the believer. So, the executive committee of the Borisoglebsk Council of deputies of workers of the Voronezh region in October, 1965 asked the Voronezh regional council of deputies of workers to excite the petition before Council for cases of Russian Orthodox Church at Council of ministers of the USSR of transfer of church buildings (invalid churches) in the village of Gubari to collective farm "Dawn", in the village Sands to collective farm Peskovsky under economic needs. The answer from was received on November 15, 1965

the vice-chairman of executive committee of a regional council I. Raz-dymalin, that there are no objections. And on July 13, 1966. Council for affairs of religions approved the offer of executive committee of the Voronezh regional council on transfer of buildings of churches to collective farms [7, l. 3-8]. Similar processes of transfer of buildings under cultural and community needs happened in all districts of the area. In October, 1965 the Bobrovsky regional council petitioned for transfer of the nonfunctioning building of church to the village of Mechetka to collective farm "Lenin's Testament" for re-equipment under Palace of culture. And this petition was satisfied. Though in February, 1965 M.V. Sukhoterin (resident of the village of Mechetka) strove on restoration of service in the temple and even went to Moscow [7, l. 42-47].

The state which formally proclaimed freedom of conscience actually sought to take under control of each citizen who came to church. In February, 1962. Council for affairs of religions distributes to all representatives the confidential order about need to establish such order that each occasional office in church was made only in the presence of a certain document - the receipt issued by executive bodies of religious societies in which it would be noted from whom money for commission of an occasional office (a baptism, a wedding, a funeral, etc.) with the indication of its home address is received. Existence of receipt-books gave the chance to representatives of Council, employees of district executive committees periodically to meet them and to use the data which are contained in them for rendering pressure upon the believing people. Citizens were forced to suppress the fact of a baptism of children for what left to other villages and areas. But their acts became all the same known to authorities. "In the Lipetsk region the facts when persons, actually not believers, but perform religious practices of a baptism of children still take place. So, the teacher of high school No. 10 of Lipetsk of Levykina S.A. in January, 1967 left to the family to Volgograd where in Kazan Cathedral christened the daughter Stela, 1966. The chief physician of state farm Pravda of Gryazinsky district, the member of the CPSU I.Ya. Kovalenko christened the child in church of the village of Knyazhe-Baygora. Experts of agriculture from the village of Pavlovki of Dobrinsky district L.A. Ilyin and P.F. Naidyonov also christened the children. The dead man (member of the CPSU) V.M. Pavlov from the settlement of Pokrovka was taken out from the house with brass band, and at the cemetery buried with the priest" [8]. Only in 1984 the instruction where it was explained that receiving from religious combinations of lists of the parents who christened the children, persons who were getting married in church is gross violation of the legislation on cults was sent to city and regional executive committees of Councils in the territory of which there were operating churches.

Bodies of the Soviet power, the USSR authorized for religions at Council of ministers had information on all citizens wishing to come to educational spiritual institutions or to go to serve to the temple. About their decision it was reported in the place of work, data on their private life gathered. The policy of the Soviet state and party on restriction deya-

telnost of the religious organizations and strict control of them could not but cause a flow of complaints from believers. Citizens could not understand why in the Constitution, in mass media it is told about freedom of conscience, and in practical life it is difficult to exercise this right. The representative of Council kept "The magazine of registration of visitors" where noted who and what questions asked. The analysis of a perspective of addresses of citizens became in the annual report of the representative which it sent to Council for affairs of religions, regional committee of the CPSU, regional executive committee, management of KGB [9].

Despite the active antireligious policy of the state the believers persistently fought decades for the legitimate rights. More than 20 years tried to obtain opening of church in the village. Big Homutets of the Dobrovsky Region of Lipetsk region of A.G. Kleymenov. She met human rights activists (Yakunin, Dudko, Sakharov), went on arrivals Lipetsk and the neighboring areas, urging believers to write complaints with the requirement of opening of churches. It is interesting that Council blames of district executive committee not that it does not register religious society, and what badly explains to believers uselessness of their invention. "The Dobrovsky district executive committee received the application for opening of church in the village. Big Homutets and registration of religious society in the village of Gudovo. Any of them for 5 months was not in essence considered. In 1976 from Dobrovsky district the statement with 926 signatures arrived. Then officials instead of laborious explanatory work among applicants went on the way of mass authentications of signatures, than caused discontent of a part of citizens" [4, l. 65].

Similar practice of realization of religious freedom in the Soviet society could not continue infinitely long as it was fraught with unpredictable consequences. It became obvious to the middle of the 80th. The reorganization which began in April, 1985 in all spheres of our society demanded high-quality changes and in the sphere of the state and church relations. Then essentially new social and political situation in the country began to develop, defining the next stage of development of political legal relations between the Soviet state, society and religious associations. It became obvious that the religion in Russia, having endured 70 years' pressure of totalitarianism, kept deep roots in national consciousness and the main qualities providing restoration of the positions in

Voronezh state timber college


Now in Russia there is a process of formation of the constitutional state, a humanization of the interpersonal relations, formation of civil society. In this regard the great value for the future of our country gains the nature of the developing relationship between people adhering to various world outlook orientations (including between believers and non-believers), their relations with the state acting through legislative and executive power and also between the state and non-believers. It is impossible to tell that presently these problems are aggravated to a limit. However in public life of the country during the Post-Soviet period tendencies to confrontation, a claim of some for exclusive situation in the state as "majority religion", "dominating in this region", attempts of creation of political associations on confessional sign for upholding of interests of any given social groups are distinctly shown. Studying concrete regional historical material will help to solve problems of creation of the state and church relations so that in the conditions of the multinational state to avoid ethno-national tension, to interfere with excessive politicizing of religion, to preserve civil peace and harmony in the territory of the Russian Federation.


1. Legislation on religious cults: Sb. materials and documents. M, 1971.
2. M.I. Odintsov. A way of seven decades: from confrontation to cooperation (the state and church relations in the history of the Soviet society)//On the way to freedom of conscience. M, 1989. Page 64-70.
3. State Archive of the Lipetsk Region (SALR), t. R-2184, op. 1, 17.
4. In the same place, 25.
5. State Archive of the Voronezh Region (SAVR), t. 967, op. 1, 284, l. 23-25.
6. GALO, f.R-2184, op. 1, 13, l. 86.
7. GAVO, t. 967, op. 3, 74.
8. GALO, f.R-2184, op. 1, 16, l. 68.
9. GAVO, t. 967, op. 1, 183, l. 2.

On June 27, 2007

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