University of Tartu
Abstract. This article deals with the attitude of the Soviet state towards the so-called religious cults (all religious associations except the Russian Orthodox Church) in 1944-1949. Following a change in Stalin's policy on religion in 1943, a special Council for the Affairs of Religious Cults (CARC) was established for the regulation of the relations between "religious cults" and the state. At first (1945), "religious cults" were categorized only on the basis of their political views they had adhered to until then (neglecting Marxist ideology). In 1946-1949, religious associations were increasingly classified on the basis of their influence in society. Several organizations, including the Lutheran Church, improved their reputation due to their greater political loyalty. Traditional churches attained a better position thanks to their relatively low public activity, whereas active free churches came under attack. The CARC was quite independent in its policy; however, it primarily expressed the views of the Soviet government.
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