Posts Tagged ‘Soviet Union’
The collapse of the Soviet Union marked the end of seventy years of anti-religious policies—of a period in which religious expression was severely curtailed and religious institutions were always controlled, at times co-opted, and at other times brutally repressed, with the aim of effecting the demise of religion, an aim which was never fully realized. The post-1991 era was radically different, at least in those newly independent countries that adopted and implemented liberal laws regarding religious expression and organization. It might be expected that religious leaders and practitioners would have a straightforwardly positive view of this widening scope for religious activities, but this turned out not always to be the case.
“Some of our comrades conceive this humanism as though it were a young, fair-haired girl walking through a scented meadow, a damsel wreathed in flowers.” So reported Hélène Iswolsky, daughter of the last tsarist ambassador to Paris, citing a Soviet poet and “fanatical adherent of out-and-out communism” as to why the new Stalinist humanism was the real one, so long as it was defined correctly. “The picture is certainly attractive, and yet I must reject it,” the poet continued. “Something within me revolts against it. … We are always talking about ‘love, joy, and pride,’ which form the ingredients of humanism, but our younger writers are too apt to forget the fourth element of humanism, which is expressed in the austere but beautiful idea of hatred.”