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Recovery of the Church-State Relationship: The Religious Policy in the Soviet Russia between 1943-1957
When the Bolsheviks took over the administration in Russia in 1917, a tough policy against the religion began to be pursued. There was no religion in communist rule. In Soviet Russia, where most of the people were Orthodox Christians, there was heavy pressure against the Russian Orthodox Church. Especially in the 1930s, the anti-religious campaign was accelerated, many churches were closed down and their property was seized by the communist government. The Soviet authorities forbade the patriarchal election. This policy in Soviet Russia was going to change after the developments in World War II. After the Germans attacked the USSR, Orthodox religious leaders were beside the Soviet regime against the Nazis. The people were encouraged to defend the Russian lands. This “patriotic” attitude of the church attracted Stalin’s attention and in the fall of 1943 Stalin met with three Orthodox Metropolitans. After that, there was an improvement in church-state relations. Churches started to open again, religious freedoms increased. The reason behind Stalin’s new religious policy was not just the “patriotic” activity of the church. The Soviet regime, which widened its territory after World War II, tried to show the Western World that the Soviet government was tolerant of the religion and tried to reduce the West’s anxiety of Soviet expansion. This study is an analysis of the politics of the Soviet administration towards the Church from 1943, when church-state relations began to recover, until 1957, when anti-religious campaign started to increase again.

USSR, Russian Orthodox Church, Joseph Stalin, Metropolitan Sergii, Nikita Khrushchev

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