Religion Is the Opiate of the People

In the 1920’s you had strong anti-religious propaganda across Russia. There were severe laws against religious organizations. The policy of the Soviets seemed to be slowly crush any religion in Russia and push a new cultural dynamic for Russia overall. The Soviets achieved this by the destruction of churches in the great industrialization project. The industrialization of Russia gave the Soviets a way to physically remove religion out of Russia. These effects can be seen politically, socially, and economically.

In 1929 you had the uninterrupted work week, which was meant to increase productivity by keeping machines in operation throughout the year, and to wean workers away from Sundays and religious holidays as days of rest. The only exception was revolutionary holiday celebrations, which gave every business and person off. This policy changed the social and economic dynamics by making work the most important part in a Russian life, not religion. It also gave Russia the ability economically to manufacture at a high level which only helped their economy.

The great industrialization project allowed for materials from the churches to be used for scrap or metal. This is depicted in the picture below. churchbellspic

There is also another great poster that the Soviets used called, “Down with Easter, Up with Industry,” this pretty much summed up the goal of the Soviets. It highlighted the importance of industry and portrayed religion as filthy as pigs. These images are good propaganda that was used to push the Soviet agenda.


Essentially, the closing of churches is one of the last final struggles that the Soviets had from the old autocracy that ruled before. This final chapter puts the stamp on a long list of things the Soviets did to centralize power. The closing of churches changed a long standing belief in Russia and turned it into an industrial power that would be tested during World War II.


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