Imams, Priests, and Commissars: The Religious Factor in the Administration of a Soviet Muslim Region (Tatarstan, 1922–1938)

Religious Minorities in Communist Regime
By Juliette Cadiot

This article examines changes in religious policy in the USSR in the 1920s and 1930s by focusing on the place of different religious communities in the Muslim-majority Republic of Tatarstan. It demonstrates the strong differentiation of Soviet religious policy between different faiths in the early 1920s, and the spread of political repression or supervision of religious practices during the collectivization campaigns of the 1930s. By focusing on the work of the Cults Commission, which was responsible for receiving complaints from the clergy, it emphasizes in particular the rooting of religious sociability in the Tatar countryside and the high degree of confidence, until a late date, of Muslim communities in the revolutionary authorities, in spite of antireligious campaigns.

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