I‘m not religious. How can I be, if we had no God in the USSR? Religion was not officially outlawed: you could go to church, if you were ready to risk your “good name“, and if you could find one open church at all.
Most of the Russian people were religious believers prior the 1917 revolution, and the Orthodox Church was involved not only in ordinary peoples lifes, but was deeply integrated in the monarchy.
It didn’t go down well with the Bolsheviks (The Communist Party of Soviet Union), who came to Power after the 1917 revolution. The Church was not only the face of the old order, but a dangerous competitor in fight for people’s loyalty. There could be no other authority in the young soviet Russia, but The Party. The Witch-hunt began…
Religious buildings were destroyed or turned into warehouses, housing, workshops, worker’s clubs and even public toilets. The believers were sent to prisons, labour camps and mental hospitals. By the 1941, there were only 500 out of 54 000 churches open , and thousands of people paid dearly for believing in God.
Atheism was taught in schools; rich in tradition religious ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals, were replaced by the “right” soviet alternatives and practises …
During WW2 the Orthodox Church was “restored”: The Red Army suffered major defeats, and Stalin needed every man and women, every soul for, what he called,”Sacred War“. He reopened thousands of churches and allowed religious publications and services in order to boost patriotism in people.
After the War, religion was tolerated to a certain degree: people were free to worship in private and in remained churches. But any public display of believing in God was a no-go. The churches were still being closed on a daily basis, and people were still sent in exile and prisons for their believes. The God was once again enemy of the state.
I’m not religious. I just couldn’t be .By the time I was born, religion was invisible, nearly non-existent under the control of the Communist Party. One could hear one word here, a whisper there…Just few faint words behind the closed doors.
When my grandma had insisted, that I must be baptised, I was 7 or 8 years old. I had no idea, what baptising means (maybe something like a birthday party?), and could not understand, why my mum cries at nights after intense arguments with my grandma.My mum was a member in The Communist Party, just like the majority of the USSR people. You had to be, or you were against the Regime and had no place in the socialistic paradise. She was just scared.
Eventually, I WAS baptised, my grandma was happy and my mum got off with a visit to local authorities and a lecture on being the right kind of communist. Sweet 80s.
In the school, there were no lessons on religion either. Instead, we had to learn how to march. Once in a week we had to gather us outside , or, if the weather was bad, in our school gym and march in an organised order.
“Left.Left.One Two Three. Left.Left.One Two Three”
Hour after hour, after hour we were marching and singing patriotic songs.
“Left.Left.One Two Three.We wiiiiiiiil destrooooooy the o-old world …» There was no God in our lifes.
I’m not religious, but I believe .
I believe in being kind to others and not judging people. It doesn’t matter what language you speak ,your skin colour ,which God you are praying to…Just have your heart in the right place and we are ok.
There was no God in our life back then,but I finaly found one. His name is Love…