Author Topic: Demise of the Russian Empire and USSR - What was religion's role?  (Read 2162 times)

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Offline edubs31

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This seems to have been touched on in other threads but I thought might be worthy of its own topic.

At the risk of starting a bitter feud over a taboo subject that I hope we can all avoid...how important do we all think religion, and the lack there of, was to the toppling of the Russian Empire and subsequent demise of the Soviet state? I think 20th century Russia gives fabulous proof of the dangers of both an ultra-religious society (or at least a devoutly religious head of state) and a society devoid of religion.

As I'm sure many of you would agree I believe the state should neither sponsor a religion nor restrict religious worship. But how big a role did the strongly theocratic views of the Tsar and his virtually neurotic Empress wife have in contributing to their empire's downfall. Did Nicholas and Alexandra's religious ultra-conservatism keep them from making the type of progressive decisions needed to keep up with the rapid social changes during their reign? An obvious example of this would be the guilt Alix expressed over Alexei's hemophilia, considering it a punishment from God for her conversion from Lutheranism to Russian Orthodoxy. Her misguided faith in the "mysticism" of Rasputin and the influence she wielded over her impressionable husband clearly had severe consequences.

Conversely the Bolshevik/Communist Soviet Union advocated the suppression and eventual elimination of religion. In this instance the extreme leftist approach of persecuting religion also had negative impact on the sustainability of the state...although one could argue how much the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union had to do with "Godlessness" as opposed to severe economic problems which were also in a state of crisis during Nicholas II's reign. Thoughts?
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