Repressions of the Orthodox Clergy during the Period of Collectivization in the Territory of Modern Rostov Region

(Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

The ecclesiastic and clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Soviet state were a social group that was of interest for conducting repressive policies against them. This was due to the clergy's rejection of the anti-religious ideology of the government, as well as collectivization, which affected not only the financial interests of the clergy, but also the interests of the parishioners, at whose expense they actually existed. In contrast to the repressions of the clergy of other regions of the USSR, the criminal prosecution of the Don priests and clerics had special features. In the opinion of the Soviet authorities, they were an integral part of
the Don Cossacks, with whom they were related by blood: until 1920, the children of priests often became Cossacks and served inthe Great Don Army.
The study of the complex of criminal investigative cases allowed us to identify the reasons for bringing ecclesiastic and clergymen to criminal responsibility during the period of collectivization. The most common was the participation of the clergy in
“the kulak and the priest's white guard counter-revolutionary groups”. According to the OGPU (JSPD – Joint State Political Directorate) version, in such groups the priest acted either as a creator and leader of small groups of Cossacks, or as a performer who propagandized sabotage of events of the Soviet power. Other reasons were also anti-Soviet propaganda, which meant condemnation of political views expressed by the clergy, criticism of the participation of young people in Komsomol organizations and the involvement of women in the women's movement, complaints about inflated income and property taxes, anti-kolkhoz agitation. Since 1933, attempts to protect the Church from closure have been the reason for repression of the clergy. A special reason for accusing the clergy of anti-Soviet propaganda was the interpretation of events in the categories of the apocalyptic. Understanding the Soviet government as the Antichrist caused a negative reaction of the OGPU (JSPD) representatives.
The activity of clergy repression during the period of collectivization occurred in 1929–1933, their peak – in 1930–1931.
Analysis of criminal investigation cases allowed us to make preliminary statistical calculations, according to which sentences to capital punishment was a small percentage of the total number of sentences, number of sentences to penal labor camps was nearly the same as the number of administrative expulsions.
collectivization, North Caucasus, Azov-Black Sea region, repression of the Orthodox clergy, Don Cossacks, kulak-priest counter-revolutionary groups, anti-Soviet propaganda, interpretations of "collective farm construction" in apocalyptic categories

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