The ideological basis of the religious policy in Soviet-type regimes


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25 years ago the French sociologist Patrick Michel claimed that „a situation in which all studies into conflicts between religion and Soviet-type regimes in Central Europe are limited to the usual analysis of the relationship between the institutionalized church and state has existed far too long. Without excluding this extremely important approach, we need to construct some other approaches”1. In this way Michel criticized the perception of the confrontation between the states and churches in Central and Eastern Europe only on the political and institutional level. In his view, „religion cannot be reduced to an institutional form and it shows an incredible tendency to escape from the area in which formalized factors would like to place and isolate it”2. Among other things, this very nature of religion caused the reaction of the authorities in the form of strong opposition to its free development and its adaptation in society.

Today experts on religious policy commonly refer to the paradigm of Michel and recognize the crucial role of ideology in the religious policy of communists in the authority or under the direct Soviet influence’. This trend incorporates the findings of Polish authors. Michel Pietrzak stating that the religious policy of the communist regime in Poland was determined by two main premises first pointed out the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, and then „the changing political reasons and considerations”4.

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