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4.9 New communist religion and values’ substitution
Step by step the government introduced and substituted the Christian values with
adoration and cultivation of communist’s leaders –claiming them gods and fathers;
thus in context of politicized tasks, monumental sculpture was regarded as one of
the most effective tools. Presumably, a specificity of Russian mentality was a religious
defined Russian history during centuries. Already in the pre-Revolutionary epoch the
population was educated in respect, fear and recognition of an absolute right and
power of a governing structure. Trying to shatter the Orthodox Church as a social
institution the Revolution was not capable to destroy the old established stereotype
of relationship between the State and a person, where obedience was the main
trait. Old religious traditions were deformed in euphoric mood of the revolution. The
revolutionists manifested a creation of a new world and were concentrated on
mass’s popularization of their ideology based on anticlericalism and atheism
Once Russian philosopher N. Berdiaev mentioned: “The Communist party by its
structure, by its spirit’s organization reminds a kind of atheistic sect – religious atheistic
sect, who sized the power”
. Meanwhile already in XIX century French historian
and philosopher E. Renan wrote: “Any victory on religion is useless unless it won’t be
substituted by another belief, which in the same scale satisfies the necessity of
. The writer was convinced that any man needed a moral pedagogy, which
could not be satisfied either by family or by state.
Would it be justified to suggest the appearance of a new communist’s religion? The
worship of a new population’s State was cultivated and the whole new
mythological system was created which narratively explained the historical
background in which grew and developed the first State of working-class in the
world. L. Andreeva affirmed that the communistic despotism had its proper ideology
– total and whole futuristic communism: “The antipathy of communistic regime
towards the orthodox institution can be explained by the fact that communists saw
in it it’s idea’s twin by the legalization of a total power, but in a totalitarian society
Кашеваров, А.Н. Церковь и власть. Русская Православная Церковь в первые годы Советской
власти. СПб.: Репринт, 1999, С.266.
История гражданской войны в СССР. Т.1, М.: Наука, 1935, С.328.
Ярославский, Е. Материалы к XII главе курса истории ВКП (б). М.: Молодая гвардия., 1946, С.56.
can exist only one totalitarian ideology”
. The Orthodox Church which completed
the role of not political but a moral power was substituted by communist’s ideology
which brought the destruction of the old world. N. Berdiaev observed that Russian
communism had not Christian bases but was linked with Russian anti-humanism,
united with Russian state’s absolutism, which regarded a man as a medium.
Berdiaev also mentioned that evil for Marxism is a way to good. “A new society, a
new man born by an increase of evil and darkness, a soul of a new man is formed
by negative effects, by hate, vengeance, violence. This is a demonic element in
Marxism, which is considered as dialectic
Evil gives a birth to good – it’s a principle position and statement of Marxism, which
indicates what is good and what is evil. In one of his speeches V. Lenin affirmed that
morality has to be in obedience of interests of proletariat’s class – struggle, defining
morality basing on class-necessities. He outlined that Bolsheviks “we don’t believe in
an eternal morality”
. It permits to draw a conclusion that good – is everything
what corresponds to the needs of the proletariat, evil – all that disturbs the party’s
activities. Those convictions were widely publicized in the1920s. The writers
unconsciously created the ideology of a free of moral obligations new State. With
the appearance of a leader which embodied the State, - the functions of new
ideology creator naturally were transmitted to him, thus he started a realization of
people’s moral pedagogy. For example A. Zalkind in his book The Revolution and
the youth tried to prove a senselessness of religious principles: do not steal, don’t kill,
respect your father – everything was reinterpreted. Zalkind affirmed that Bible – is an
explotator’s book, that “for the proletariat there is no a self-sufficient treasure of a
human life. Interests of the Revolutionist’s class are more important than ones of a
. In these terms Soviet communism may be interpreted as a religious
phenomenon. A prominent Russian poet Alexander Block already in 1918 predicted
the construction’s principle of a light future which was based at the certain
destruction of all old:
“Fellow, hold a rifle, don’t be scared!
Let’s take a shot at Saint Russia –
Full of izba,
История гражданской войны в СССР. Т.2, М.: Наука, 1947, С.592.
Ярославский, E. Материалы к XII главе курса истории ВКП (б). М.: Молодая гвардия, 1946, С.25.
Коновалова, Ж.Ф. Церковь и власть. M.: Наука, 1995, С.65.
Ah, ah, without cross
The construction’s principle was religious: former halidoms were sacrificed to new
idols; new cult as its first statement defined an obligatory denial of all the old (I mean
the negation of the old world – religion, values, culture, and history). The old
became a synonym of evil, imperfection, erroneous. Within the years this denial and
dualism became absurd: proletariat’s kingdom was considered as a light kingdom,
while the kingdom of capitalism – a kingdom of darkness. N. Berdiaev wrote in this
context: “Monism of Marxist’s system – is its main defect. Totalitarian’s State monism is
not combined with Christianity; it turns a State into a church”
Accordingly, the substitution took place: the State which proclaimed itself atheistic
misappropriated a function of a religious institution: it was in charge of the issues not
only concerning the socialistic construction but also the metaphysic matter:
defining what is evil and what is good. The history teaches that the higher is a level
of religious inspiration – the more active must be a witch-hunt. The very process of
hunting is important and necessary: whether witches are really culpable or not – is
not a matter of principle. Firm criteria are necessary in a struggle with a help of
which our and not our shall be defined and interior hidden enemies could be found.
With time those criteria were created and were determined. A struggle with an evil
becomes a life –normative. From this point of view Stalin’s thesis on an increase of a
class struggle as far as socialism is under construction – perfectly reflects pseudo
religious processes which took place in the Soviet State. Gradually from the first years
of the revolution was formed the cult of its leader – V. Lenin which becomes an
overman and a synonym of a godhood with typical traits of the cyclisity: messianic
purpose – a struggle for people, - a victory, which creates a new unity
Andreeva affirmed that was created a pseudo religious cult of Lenin as a God-
Father, his successor Stalin, likewise Egyptian pharaohs, by an appointment inherited
a divine nature of Lenin according the formula “Stalin – is Lenin today”
Was established the religious attitude towards a leader, whose essays and writings
were officially announced as classical ones. Any serious scientific publication had to
Блок, А. Указ. соч. M.: Общественные науки, 2005, С.518.
Бердяев, Н.А. Истоки и смысл русского коммунизма. М.: Наука, 1990, С.149.
Фирсов, С. Перевернутая религия: советская мифология и коммунистический культ. К вопросу
о новом революционном сознании и освобожденном человеке. M.: Лекции, 1994, C.25.
Андреева, Л.А. Религия и власть в России. Религиозные и квазирелигиозные доктрины как
способ легализации политической власти в России. М.: Наука, 2001, С.244.
contain a reference to the writings of communist leaders. It would be appropriate to
call Lenin a communistic man without sins as God’s Son – Jesus Christ. Meanwhile
Lenin’s fellows were precious as they were his followers- Leninists. A dignity of any
person was defined depending on Lenin’s words or attitude to him. Often Lenin
contradicted himself in his evaluations so, consequently, a lot depended on the
interpreter’s version. Thus gradually was formed a communist canon. Along with
canonical literature existed an apocrific one: the narratives on Lenin, which passed
the official censorship. Academician U. Sokolov observed in his monograph Russian
that in Soviet folklore in parallel with exact characteristic of a real
personality existed Lenin’s depiction as a great warrior and a giant. “Moreover
Lenin’s image in folk poetry sometimes takes a cosmic character”
. Sokolov wrote
that the leader was compared with a sun. Naturally the leader was endowed with
traits of the earth’s god. So far the old religious form absorbed a new atheistic
Lenin’s death stopped the socialistic construction of a new world vision. The
opposition life-death found its resolution in a realization of the idea of Lenin’s
immortality, whose cult gradually overwhelmed the people’s conscience
Mausoleum’s construction contributed to Lenin’s cult. “Thus the most significant
Soviet myth got its ritual confirmation”
. Till the end of Gorbochiov’s epoch the
mausoleum functioned as the main sanctuary and a symbol of the soviet regime.
Consequently, the Mausoleum became a Mecca of the communist religion. The
idea of its architects had to reflect: “the grandeur, simplicity and power of Lenin’s
ideas and had to state the firmness of Lenin’s deeds”
The main fact of the mausoleum’s construction was an outstanding event in the
communist Russia; presumably a few years before the leader’s death in 1918 -1920ss
throughout all country was hold a company of saints’ relic’s confiscation. On 25 of
august in 1920 the Narkomiust of RFSSR took a special directive on Saint’s relics, in
which was stated that the legal proceedings await the ones who would break a law
as a charlatan
. In these terms the government considered Church representatives
as charlatans. Needless to say that the communists judged the main idea of relics’
Соколов, Ю.М. Русский фольклор. М.: Общественные науки, 1941, С.312.
Коновалова, Ж.Ф. Миф в советской истории и культуре. СПб.: Ладья, 1998, С.63.
Абрамов А. У кремлевской стены. М.:Наука, 1988, С.11-12.
existence and people’s worship. The Bolsheviks were active supporters of the idea of
cadaver’s cremation. Lenin personally signed a decree on admissibility and even a
preference of cadaver’s cremation. Trotsky in this context was opposing the decision
to construct Lenin’s Mausoleum at the Red square: “The attitude to Lenin as to a
revolutionary leader was substituted by the attitude as to a head of Church
. Thus the Red square became kind of a cemetery – communist cult
centre on open air, which symbolized the eternal life of the new regime constructors.
The appearance of the best apprentice naturally continued Lenin’s cult, which
proved his superiority in struggle with the former Lenin’s fellows. The creation of a
mythic Stalin started with an ideal Lenin’s figure creation.
We could simply imagine another cultivated leader on Stalin’s place in a range of
the leaders, as its reason - a creation of a predetermined scheme which supposed
an idealization of heroes. In a violent struggle with a church, destroying and
humiliating on its sacred objects, the communists counterpoised them proper saints
and relics. The traditional conscience would not adapt new system of values if they
won’t bear the old form-package. In our case form completely substituted the
content. Stalin possibly won as in the country where a personality was not
appreciated he became a flare of a collective’s in conscience. Always declaring his
loyalty to Leninism, still he indicated that Marxism is not a dogma. Stalin normally
used to take into account a mass’s level of readiness to the comprehension of his
ideas. The phrase: you should speak in a manner in which words feel narrowly and
We should remember that the majority of mass public which listened to Stalin’s
speeches was a group of non-educated people, which were able to understand
only declarations-slogans, catchwords. In judgment of Russian philosopher E. Batalov
Stalin’s cult was conditioned by existence of an appropriate social conscience,
which sanctioned by its quality determination of everything that takes place in the
country, being a spiritual basis of reproduction and cult and the whole system
E. Batalov affirms a thesis proposed in the early XX century by the anarcho-
syndicalists (first of all by Saurel) which states that revolution’s myth is the most
effective tool in revolutionary mobilization of masses. “Saurel was sure that not with
the revolution’s theory, consciously and rationally adapted by minds, but precisely
Панченко, А.А. Осьмое чудо света. Канун. M.: Вып.2. СПб., 1996, С.169.
Баталов, Э. “Перестройка сознания - императив истории”. M.: Общественные науки, 1988, № 5,
with a help of an irrational myth we intuitively get the whole idea of socialism, which
we would not get in case of using only rational declarations ”
. People had to
believe in the official declarations, hoping to face in the nearest future a wealthy
life. Even if belief supposes a miracle, then communistic miracles cannot be
In the post-revolutionary epoch a special attitude towards enemies was formed. We
can trace it on example of the former Stalin’s political concurrent L. Trotsky, which
together with his followers was persecuted and in public opinion was transformed
from one of the loyal revolutionary leaders to the fascist’s servant and betrayer.
Trotsky was blamed and became a worldwide antihero. The hate towards ex fellows
is not surprising as holiness does not coexist with meanness and evil with good. The
revolutionary Marxism unexpectedly for persecuted by Stalin Bolsheviks showed itself
from a different side, having in account, that Revolution is not a norm, but pathology
of social development. Soon after Lenin’s death Stalin recalled that his fellow
observed, that after a revolution is over a normal order must be established, Stalin
answered: “It’s really bad if people who want to be revolutionists forget that the
most normal order in history is a revolutionary order”
Stalin was right – the revolutionary order destroyed the revolutionist, pathology was
regarded as a norm. So far in Soviet world vision terms the communist religious
Thus, all worlds appeared to obey the dialectic laws of Marxism, bolsheviks-leninists
better than anyone are acknowledged with these laws, the best of them – Stalin;
accordingly he is the central figure of the whole circle of the dialectic cosmos. In
some years Stalin is regarded in the social conscience not only as a leader but also
as a symbol of happiness, a kind of a country’s talisman which in case of its loss can
produce a universal catastrophe. This social orientation was widely mirrored in all
graphics, but especially in posters
. The posters visualized a personification of
people’s happiness and prosperity in Stalin’s figure as if he was its main condition.
Genial leader of all the progressive humanity was a visual manifestation of an
Баталов, Э. “Перестройка сознания - императив истории”. M.: Общественные науки, 1988, № 5,
Сталин, И. О Ленине. М.: Общественные науки, 1937, С.24.
Фирсов, С. Перевернутая религия: советская мифология и коммунистический культ. К вопросу
о новом революционном сознании и освобожденном человеке. Cапись университетск. M.:
Лекции, 1994, C.3.
absolute good and wealth; consequently, his power signified happiness for
everybody and could not be temporal.
V. Govorkov, Thanks to Stalin for our happy childhood!, 1936, poster.
V. Koretsky, Beloved Stalin – People’s happiness, 1950s, poster.
In The USSR the State was divinized and a governmental structure was perceived as
a sacral institution. Theocratic traits of the Soviet State were so obvious that Stalin’s
contemporary A. Toinby permitted himself to give a verdict: “In such a totalitarian
State of the Byzantine style a church can be either Christian or Marxist’s as long as it
serves to the interests of secular state’s governing”
In the Soviet mythological pseudo religious culture the images of demiurge and the
people’s father were united, and his constant feats (victory of enemies at the battle
field and elsewhere) manifested a sacral strength of the great leader
Respectably, in all the official places portraits of Stalin and his fellows became a
necessary attribute, which testimonies people’s loyalty.
Thus, the burial of Stalin in 1953 in the Kremlin’s Mausoleum was a logical
consequence of his divinization. The pseudo religious activity was crucial function of
the State – leitmotiv of its existence, so in these terms the demolishing of the
personality’s cult had faced a range of dangerous consequences for the firmness of
the system which existed already for decades. It happened on 30 of June in 1956 by
the decree of the CKPSS on the Demolishing of personality’s cult and its
were destroyed, many Stalin’s decisions were subjects for change and critics. Finally,
Тойнби, А. Византийское наследие России. Цивилизация перед судом истории. Сборник, М.:
Наука, 1995, С.114.
Коновалова, Ж.Ф. Указ. соч. M.: Лекции, 1994, С.78.
Stalin was completely decried and condemned by the decision of 1961 taken at the
XXII Meeting of the KPSS. As a crucial moment of his desacralization was a
withdrawal of his cadaver from the mausoleum and his burial in the range of other
revolutionary activists near the Kremlin’s wall.
Disclosure and denouncement of the cult and the refusal of the firm dualistic world
vision, leaded to the epoch of the social renaissance - a thaw, which consequently
increased the sceptical attitude towards the communist myths. The society already
did not completely believe in the promise of the XXII party congress – to construct
communism by the1980s. The future transformation of this promise - a creation of the
theory of the developed socialism served as another proof of the official state’s
crisis. Though the form remained the same (the political leader was regarded as the
main authority of the communist religion and a guardian of the Marxist - Lenin’s
canons) the cultivated places, dedicated to Lenin, continued playing the role of
relics, which was also a fact for Lenin’s cadaver in the Kremlin’s Mausoleum – the
crisis of the official religion was obvious. The official political dates of celebrations
turned into carnivals and entertainments. The following of the preform lost its
symbolic significance. The appearance in the middle of 1980s of an alternative none
and anti-communist literature signified the desacralisation of the Soviet power,
separation of democracy from the dictatorship.
Our departure point of view was the idea that Soviet communism became a
pseudo religion and in these terms in E. From’s opinion could be accepted: he wrote
that a disarrangement and distortion of freedom principle was the main trouble of
all the great religions: “As soon as they become mass’s institutions, managed by the
. Indeed, the principles of a total freedom are not
characteristic for religion: it requests to follow a range of concrete rules. But really
significant religions in spite of religious bureaucracy, first of all, help to awake a
human personality in God, so its final purpose is to a achieve a personal freedom as
a main perspective, while a pseudo religion aims to turn a man into a slave of
another human being, proclaimed an earth’s god.
The Soviet inverse religion, which used old cult’s forms and proclaimed a profane as
a sacral, leaded to the further absorption of a person by a collective, strengthening
the collective unconscious, consequently harming the idea of an individual personal
growth. It can be outlined as the main problem which the past left to the former
Фромм, Э. Психоанализ и религия. M.: Наука,1994, C.54.
.Returning to The Soviet Lelia, first impression of the female sculpture
is that the artist shapes the figure roughly even schematically. But if viewer looks
more attentively, he observes that every detail is carefully worked on: the muscles of
her emphasized feet and hands, every finger, her neck seems to underline veins. The
author searches the contemporary language of expression in sculpture. She
combines sharp straight lines of the figure together with naturally portrayed face,
shaped in realistic manner, but the wavy lines of her dress add richness to the texture
and the figure becomes more expressive and it also outlines an emotional fullness of
the image. The contrasts of light and shadow even more emphasize the dramatic
tension of the figure’s mood. By the means of severe and laconic traits and lines the
author tries to reveal the main idea of the sculpture – a young woman’s spirit’s
– the example to follow for the whole nation. In addition it incarnates and
demonstrates the Russian female character’s traits – fearlessness and an inner
strength and even readiness to sacrifice proper lives protecting their beloved. And
by beloved the State meant a native land first of all. The sculptor successfully
achieved to depict the main creative thought and idea he aimed to express.
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