THE ANTI-RELIGIOUS POLICY OF THE SOVIET STATE IN TRANSCARPATHIA IN 1953

Authors

  • Iurii DANYLETS PhD (History), Associate Professor of the Department of the Archaeology, Ethnology and Cultural Studies, Uzhhorod National University, Ukraine https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0592-3907
  • Vasyl Mishchanyn PhD hab. (History), Associate Professor of the Department of Modern History of Ukraine and Foreign Countries, Uzhhorod National University, Ukraine https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1705-0333

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.24919/2519-058X.24.264735

Abstract

The purpose of the study is to analyze the religious policy of the Soviet authorities in Transcarpathia concerning confessions in the region during the final stage of Stalinism and trace the beginnings of the intensification of the anti-religious campaign in 1953. To analyze the activities of the republican and regional commissioners (in the affairs of religious cults and in the affairs of the Ruska Orthodox Church) in implementing the religious policy of the Soviet Union center, the reaction of certain denominations leaders to the authorities actions, (non)reception of atheistic propaganda and agitation by the population. The research methodology is based on the principles of historicism, systematicity, scientificity, verification, authorial objectivity, as well as the use of general scientific (analysis, synthesis, generalization), special and historical (historical and typological, historical and systemic) methods. The scientific novelty consists in the attempt to analyze one of the most difficult stages of the state-church relations of the Soviet period in the multi-confessional Transcarpathia. The Conclusions. The religious situation in Transcarpathia was difficult during the final period of Stalinism. In 1949, the Greek Catholic Church, one of the largest denominations in the region, was liquidated by the Soviet state by force. Part of the Greek-Catholic priesthood “reunited” with the Orthodox Church, part officially switched to civilian work, continuing to perform religious rites confidentially. More than a hundred priests were sentenced to long prison terms. Having resolved the issue with the Greek Catholic Church, the authorities tried to establish a complete control over the remaining denominations. At that time, in particular, the largest was the Orthodox denomination, which in 1945 left the Serbian Orthodox Church and came under the jurisdiction of the Ruska Orthodox Church. The Roman Catholic Church also maintained a fairly strong position. At that time the main task of the communist government was to “reduce the religiosity of the population”. Already at the end of 1952 and at the beginning of 1953, the authorities took active actions. At the regional, district, and local levels, lecturers conducted hundreds of lectures on natural and scientific, anti-religious topics, showed films, and held explanatory talks. The first anti-religious publications appeared in the regional press. It should be noted that there was some progress in anti-religious work (going to work during religious holidays, 100% school attendance), however, this campaign did not achieve the predicted results. The Bolsheviks never succeeded in transforming the worldview of the population of Transcarpathia into a purely atheistic one.

Key words: the USSR, Zakarpattia region, the Soviet power, anti-religious policy, church, priests, lectures.

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2022-09-25

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