Gorbachev Attacks Religion

As further evidence that Russia is not converted and that the consecration of Russia has not been done, we reprint here an article published in The Wanderer On January 15, 1987, that demonstrates that Russia still continues to wage war on Religion.

A late-November speech by Soviet Communist Party leader Mikhail Gorbachev calling for a "firm and uncompromising struggle against religious phenomena" has been interpreted in the West as a sign that his widely publicized reforms do not include a new attitude toward religion. Gorbachev gave the speech November 24, 1986, in Tashkent while on his way to India. In it, he declared that "we must be strict above all with Communists and senior officials, particularly those who say they defend our morality and ideals but in fact help promote backward views and themselves take part in religious ceremonies."

The Soviet leader's remarks were summarized in the Uzbek daily newspaper Pravda Vostoka, which means Truth of the East. That report was cited in the Keston College News Service of December 11, 1986, and was subject of an article in the January 12, 1987 issue of Time magazine.

Keston College commented that "the timing seems strange and may help to account for the limited publicity given to the speech (in the Soviet Union). After all, it is hardly tactful to attack religion in a predominantly Islamic republic on the eve of a visit to a country with a sizable Muslim minority."

Soviet Leaders Fear Religion

Keston also observed that "it is significant that this attack on religion has come from the mouth of the general secretary — something rare in modern times — and this speech does provide a timely reminder that the Soviet leadership remains committed to the struggle against religion."

Richard N. Ostling, Time's religion editor, commented that "the critique suggested the Kremlin is concerned that the state's struggle against religion has not been going well. Finally, the fact that Gorbachev chose Tashkent as the place to attack religion indicated that the Soviet leadership is specifically fearful about the currents of fundamentalist zealotry sweeping the Islamic world, which might eventually infect the fast-growing Muslim nationalities of Soviet Central Asia."