A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism, 1st Edition

  • Victoria Smolkin
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 1400890101
  • ISBN-13: 9781400890101
  • DDC: 211
  • 352 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2018 | Published/Released November 2019
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2018

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When the Bolsheviks set out to build a new world in the wake of the Russian Revolution, they expected religion to die off. Soviet power used tools like education, propaganda and terror to turn its vision of a Communist world without religion into reality, yet it never succeeded. This history of Soviet atheism from the 1917 revolution to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 draws on archival material and in-depth interviews with proponents of Communist ideological campaigns, and argues that to understand the Soviet experiment, we must make sense of Soviet atheism. It shows how atheism was reimagined as an alternative cosmology with its own set of beliefs, practices, and spiritual commitments. Through the process, Soviet leadership realized that removing religion from the sacred spaces of Soviet life was not enough. Then, in the final years of the experiment, Gorbachev—in a stunning and unexpected reversal—abandoned atheism and reintroduced religion into Soviet public life.

Table of Contents

Front Cover.
Half Title Page.
Title Page.
Copyright Page.
A Sacred Space Is Never Empty.
1: The Religious Front: Militant Atheism under Lenin and Stalin.
2: The Specter Haunting Soviet Communism: Antireligious Campaigns Under Khrushchev.
3: Cosmic Enlightenment: Soviet Atheism as Science.
4: The Ticket to the Soviet Soul: Soviet Atheism as Worldview.
5: “We Have to Figure Out Where We Lost People”: Soviet Atheism as Social Science.
6: The Communist Party between State and Church: Soviet Atheism and Socialist Rituals.
7: The Socialist Way of Life: Soviet Atheism and Spiritual Culture.
Utopia's Orphan: Soviet Atheism and the Death of the Communist Project.
A Note on the Type.