Along with the Bolshevik rise to power came the restructuring of societal norms. The Bolsheviks sought to delegitimize the power that the church had in Russia, and instead turned to secularizing traditional Russian society. As Freeze says, “…the Bolsheviks also devoted special energy to redefining the family and the individual” (p.331).
During the period after the Bolsheviks rose to power, the churches saw a renewed hostility from the government. Stiffer restrictions were placed on organized religion, imposing penalties on non-compliant churches and “…giving the church little room to act” (von Geldern). The attack on church property was especially vicious, as buildings were turned into warehouses and precious objects, such as metals, were melted down to assist the Bolsheviks with their goal towards industrialization.
Coupled along with delegitimization of the church, measures were taken to purge religion out of society and to create a more secular state. The Bolsheviks saw the present family structure as a, “…patriarchal, religiously sanctioned family as tsarist society in microcosm” (Freeze, p. 331). In turn, the government enacted laws that made divorces readily available, and accorded equality to women. Under the tsarist regime, the law of churches made divorce almost impossible to obtain. Allowing divorce to be easily obtained created a social revolution in Russian society. The Bolsheviks sought to rid Russian society of the patriarchal norms that had defined society for so long. Adultery was dropped from the list of criminal offenses and laws took away legal authority that men had over their wives and children. Legal abortions were also introduced into society. The Family Code of 1926 also further helped to afford more rights to women and secularize family and society.
“Russia: A History” Gregory L. Freeze