During the famine that plagued Russia during the early 1920s, the relationship between the Church and state was deteriorating. The Bolsheviks hatched a plan to defeat the Orthodox Church in one decisive blow.
With the state in a famine, Lenin needed something to help gain support of the peasants that were struggling through this time. The Bolsheviks, realizing that the Orthodox Church had a vast amount of wealth, ordered them to turn over all their riches in order to help the state provide food for those suffering. Until this point, the Bolsheviks were hesitant to attack the Church since the working class relied on the Church and the Bolsheviks did not want to lose the support of the people. But in a letter from Lenin to the Politiburo, he realized something that could solve his dilemma: with the people suffering and some members of the Church refusing to comply with the order, he could turn the Church into an enemy of the people. Yes, he is going to paint the Church as hoarding riches while the peasantry starves to death. He wrote in his letter that the peasants will have no choice but to side with the Bolsheviks if the Church is seen as not even caring for its flock. Lenin was very serious about this, and wrote later in the letter that they should take any means necessary to get the wealth from the Church.
By July of 1922, only a few months after the order came out, the Russians had collected a vast amount of wealth. In a telegraph from the Finance Department describing the goods taken throughout the RSFSR, the Bolsheviks had managed to confiscate enough gold, silver, precious stones, and other riches to rival the ancient Emperors of Rome.
These actions against the Church helped solidify the relationship between the new government in power and the peasantry.