I’ve started reading The Gulag Archipelago. It’s a sobering book, accounting how well (for a time) one state managed to oppress and control millions of people – with violence, persecution, suspicion, and betrayal. (For accounts of this book, see this 1974 review, and this opinion piece after the author’s death.)
Stalin’s oppression in the USSR was not only violent, but general. All kinds of people were dragged into the gulags. Among them were ‘the religious’, as Solzhenitsyn notes. In reading his description, I could not help but note the general plan: it sounds as contemporary as modern liberal mockery of Christian practice.
(Of course, in the West we use law to beat people, instead of using straight violence. And this is certainly better than persecution was in the USSR!)
Here’s the relevant quotation:
True, they were supposedly being arrested and tried not for their actual faith but for openly declaring their convictions and for bringing up their children in the same spirit. As Tanya Khodkevich wrote:
You can pray freely
But just so God alone can hear.
… A person convinced that he possessed spiritual truth was required to conceal it from his own children! In the twenties the religious education of children was classified as a political crime