«Contamination with communism» as a factor of liquidation of the traditional religiosity of ukrainian peasantry (1917 – beginning of 1930s)

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Roman Oryshchenko


Introduction. The article is a continuation of the thematic series of publications devoted to the history of elimination of traditional religiosity of the Ukrainian peasantry of the Naddnipryanshchyna. While continuing to analyze the memoirs of Dmytro Hoychenko and other contemporaries of the events, the author traces peculiarities of refusal of the now absolute majority of Ukrainian peasants, living on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR in the 1920s – early 1930s, from traditional religious (Christian) beliefs.

Purpose. The objective of the study is to develop new knowledge about understanding of the accelerated conversion of rural believers to atheists. At the same time, the author pays principal attention to the Bolshevik regime policy, the nature and methods of its influence on the village.

Methods. Prosopographic analysis, which involves the study of peasant life strategy as a certain compromise between individual and social history of the village, is the feature of methodology of the issue research.

Results. In the course of systematic study of the sources the author managed to find out that the apostasy, considered in the preceding article, would hardly have been possible if traditional religiosity was not replaced by communist ideology. The policy of spreading atheistic (communist) ideas was implemented not only by means of propaganda, but also by forcible methods. At the same time, they acquired an overwhelming character, covering all aspects of life of the rural person – from school to military service, career aspirations. The author substantiates the earlier opinion that with the strengthening of their power, the Bolsheviks began a major «full-scale attack». The God was «overcome» by a person’s fear for his/her life and hunger. The Bolsheviks succeeded in conquering the traditional religiosity of the Ukrainian peasantry not by means of explanatory talks, but by brutal violence, mass repressions and physical harassment.

Originality. The novelty of the results obtained is that it was communism with its direct impact on the perception and deep feelings of the peasantry, that managed to destroy traditional religiosity.

Conclusion. The problem is potentially challenging for further research, primarily in the context of expanding the source base, in particular, involvement and elaboration of published memoirs of contemporaries of the events.

Article Details



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