Religion Behind the Iron Curtain

December 7, 1955

Report Outline
Shift in Russian Attitude Toward Religion
Status of Churches Under Communism
Communist Tactics Toward Religion

Shift in Russian Attitude Toward Religion

The early months of 1956 should tell whether the more liberal attitude toward religion displayed by the rulers of Russia in 1955 is to survive the chills of returning cold war. Several periods of benevolence in the past have been followed by resumption of violent measures against believers, churches, and religious leaders. Good treatment has been alternated with persecution as has seemed to serve the interests of the Soviet state.

Russian smiles for religion have been generally associated with the now departing spirit of Geneva. It is worth noting, however, that first signs of change in the attitude of the Kremlin began to appear well in advance of the July 1955 meeting of heads of government. There is some reason to believe that Stalin's successors regard the atheistic mission of Communism as substantially accomplished within their own country and see no present need for a return to the harsh measures of earlier years.

Visits of Western Church Leaders to U.S.S.R.

Russian leaders have made energetic efforts during the past year to convince the outside world that religious freedom exists under Communist rule. Knowing that official statements to that effect are not taken at face value in the West, they have increasingly opened their country to inspection by western churchmen and have permitted some of them to preach from Russian pulpits. Russian churchmen have been allowed at the same time to make exchange visits to countries outside the Soviet orbit.

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Apr. 27, 1960  Communist Party, U.S.A.
Nov. 07, 1956  Reds and Redefection
Apr. 11, 1956  Communists and Popular Fronts
Dec. 07, 1955  Religion Behind the Iron Curtain
Nov. 12, 1954  Communist Controls
Feb. 11, 1953  Red Teachers and Educational Freedom
Apr. 04, 1950  Loyalty and Security
Aug. 19, 1949  Church and Communism
Jul. 22, 1949  Reds in Trade Unions
Jul. 05, 1949  Academic Freedom
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Feb. 05, 1947  Investigations of Un-Americanism
Nov. 13, 1946  Communism in America
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Oct. 19, 1932  The Socialist Vote in 1932
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Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
Religious Movements