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A Sacred Space Is Never EmptyA History of Soviet Atheism$
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Victoria Smolkin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174273

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174273.001.0001

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The Specter Haunting Soviet Communism

The Specter Haunting Soviet Communism

Antireligious Campaigns under Khrushchev

(p.57) Chapter Two The Specter Haunting Soviet Communism
A Sacred Space Is Never Empty

Victoria Smolkin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the wave of antireligious and atheist campaigns launched during the Khrushchev era, beginning with the Hundred Days campaign of 1954 and again in 1958 until Nikita Khrushchev's forced retirement in 1964. It explains why the Soviet state disrupted the postwar stability of church–state relations and again viewed religion as a problem, and why Khrushchev brought atheism back after it was cast aside by Joseph Stalin. The chapter discusses the Hundred Days campaign and its impact on Soviet religious life, Khrushchev's antireligious propaganda of 1958–1964, and the factors that led to the Soviet Communist Party's renewed offensive against religion, including anxiety about religious revival. It shows that Khrushchev's antireligious campaigns are part of his efforts to redefine the course of Soviet Communism after Stalin's death. For Khrushchev, political de-Stalinization, economic modernization, and ideological mobilization were all necessary to infuse revolutionary vitality back to the ideology of Marxism–Leninism.

Keywords:   antireligious propaganda, Hundred Days campaign, Nikita Khrushchev, religion, atheism, Joseph Stalin, Soviet Communist Party, Soviet Communism, de-Stalinization, Marxism–Leninism

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