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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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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

The Socialist Way of Life

The Socialist Way of Life

Soviet Atheism and Spiritual Culture

(p.194) Chapter Seven The Socialist Way of Life
A Sacred Space Is Never Empty

Victoria Smolkin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the Soviet Communist Party sought to cultivate a socialist way of life in order to overcome ideological indifference and develop atheist conviction, especially among the youth. Using the social sciences and the results of sociological research, the Soviet Communist Party identified a particularly worrisome trend: young people's growing indifference to religion and atheism. The chapter first considers how the party shifted the focus of atheist work to the production of the socialist way of life as a spiritual project before discussing the creative intelligentsia's god-seeking. It then explores the ways that the party tried to address Soviet society's growing interest in spiritual culture, the spiritual consumerism and indifference of Soviet youth, and the debate over the role of atheism in the greater project of building Soviet Communism. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the return of religion to public life and its implications.

Keywords:   atheism, Soviet Communist Party, youth, religion, creative intelligentsia, spiritual culture, spiritual consumerism, Soviet Communism, public life

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