Perhaps even more significant is thencompanion Religion and Social Conflictnin the USA, which “analyzes thenways of ‘extinguishing’ social conflictnwith the help of religion.” Christians,npay attention.nTitles like USSR Through IndiannEyes, Red Star and Green Crescent,nand A Tree in the Centre of Kabul tellnanother side of the same story: Russiansnlove religion. “Socialism,” runsnthe catalog blurb, “has turned thenonce-backward outlying regions ofntsarist Russia into flourishing republicsn[like Kazakhstan?] that are now far innadvance of certain neighbouring countriesn[like Afghanistan?] which werenformerly comparable as regards traditions,nreligion, and way of life.” Moslems,ntake note. Here is USSR: AnGenuine United Nations. Indeed, whynhave the UN—are you listening. AmbassadornKirkpatrick?—if the SovietnFrontiers of Tomorrow promises tonunite all nations in a world WherenHuman Rights Are Real?nBut is the USSR: A Dictatorship orna Democracy? If you do not think thenquestion rhetorical, you had betternread The Anatomy of Lies and Why WenReturned to the Soviet Union. Fornthere is one religion which the Russiansndo not love as passionately asnthey do their beloved Russian OrthodoxnChristianity, dreamy Buddhism,nor sweet Islam: Yes, the Jews arenCaught in the Act again, as usual, andnZionism Stands Accused in the pagesnof Wormwood. The last book, accordingnto the blurb,nis about Zionism and Zionists.nThe Soviet writer exposesnZionism for what it reallynis—the shady sides of thenZionist “promised land,” thenreactionary substance ofnZionism, the tragic fate ofnSoviet Jews caught in thenZionist web.nThe italics are mine.nAccording to one of my father’snaxioms, all Soviet history must beninterpreted in terms of political movementnfrom the totalitarian “left” to thentotalitarian “right.” In other words, asnit develops and matures, totalitarianismnis bound to jettison the “left-wing”nheritage of the Enlightenment andnemploy as its new ideological tool then”right-wing” heritage of anti-Westernn(and, of course, anti-Semitic) nationalism,nin combination with OrthodoxnChristianity which it can well adapt fornthis use. Save for such interruptions asnWorld War II, when Stalin’s “communist”ntotalitarianism had to dissociatenitself conspicuously from the “nationalist”ntotalitarianism of Hitler, andnthe post-1953 “liberalization”—whennanother such detour was occasioned byna prolonged power struggle—the trendntoward the universal nationalist state ofnStalin’s dreams has continued to thisnday. Shortiy before his death, Stalinnwas—according to rumor—exploringnthe possibilities of having himselfncrowned with the full participation ofnthe Orthodox Church. This did notnstartle those in the 1950’s who appreciatednthe logic of such an interpretationnof history. Today, we need not benstartled by the fact that the Soviets arenreturning to the old plan devised bynthe erstwhile seminarian losif Djugashvili.nKeston College, in Kent, which specializesnin religious affairs with particularnattention to Soviet Russia and itsncaptive nations, has helped to bringnout a new book. The Bear’s Hug bynGerald Buss. Subtitied “Religious Beliefnand the Soviet State,” it looks atnthe history of the Church since 1917,ngiving attention to its martyrs andnheroes; it also contains information,nnew to many Western readers, that isnpertinent to our discussion.nThe news from Moscow is that thenRussian Orthodox Church will be celebratingnits millennium in 1988, andnthere is now littie doubt that we maynlook forward to a new union of churchnand state in Russia. Consistent withnthe continued drift to the “right,” suchna “new attitude to religion” will be ofnincalculable strategic value to the regime,nparticularly in areas like CentralnAmerica and even, with certain adjustments,nin the Moslem World. To bensure, this is not the point of Mr. Buss’snbook. Yet the persecution of thenChurch in Soviet Russia and its exploitationnfor political purposes arencomplementary, not contradictory realities;nreading The Bear’s Hug with thenstrategic concerns of Soviet rulers innmind, we may draw our own conclusions.nAt 9 p.m. on September 3, 1943,nStalin summoned the three OrthodoxnMetropolitans to the Kremlin. Thennnhistoric meeting, it is usually said,nrevealed the Marshal’s intention tonmake the Church a part of the warneffort. Yet the meeting took place somensix months after the surrender of thenGermans at Stalingrad, in every waynthe turning point of the war, and afternthe success of the Kursk-Orel counteroffensive;nthe Allies had just landed innItaly, and the armistice, while still notnannounced publicly, had been signedn(with Stalin’s approval, in his country’snname) on September 3, the day of thenmeeting. As far as the “war effort” wasnconcerned, Stalin needed the Churchnless than ever before. Yet from 1943 ton1953, according to Mr. Buss, “thennumber of functioning churches grewnto a maximum of about one half of thenprerevolutionary total of aboutn50,000,” from an estimated 1939 totalnof “under 1,000, and possibly muchnlower.” On the occasion of Stalin’sn70th birthday on December 21, 1949,nthe churches resounded with a TenDeum, as he was hailed homileticallynfor his deyania (apostolic deeds) as “anpaternally solicitous guardian of allnaspects of our human existence.”nIn the last decade of Stalin’s rule,nthe new Soviet Church was becomingnfirmly established as a handmaiden ofnthe totalitarian state charged with thenimportant task of disseminating propagandanand projecting influence. Predictably,nthe “de-Stalinization” policiesnof Stalin’s successors were accompaniednby anti-Church activity (byn1965, according to Mr. Buss, “fewernthan 8,000 churches” remainednopen). It appears inevitable that thencurrent Soviet regime will use nextnyear’s celebration of the millennium toncorrect the strategic blunder of itsnpredecessors, restoring the Church tonits proper place in Soviet policy, ideology,nand propaganda. It should be nonmore difficult for master propagandistsnto combine the “new attitude to religion”nwith the “modern vision of Russia”nthan, in another context, it was toncombine the music of Richard Wagnernwith the production of tanks. The onlynquestion is whether the West will greetnthis new attitude as yet another of allnthe glad tidings from Gorbachev’s Russia.nAndrei Navrozov is poetry editor ofnChronicles.nJUNE 1987 / 43n