Bolshevik Atheist Propaganda

Society of the Godless (Общество безбожников in Russian); other names include Союз воинствующих безбожников (The Union of Belligerent Atheists or The League of the Militant Godless) and Союз безбожников (The Union of the Godless), was a mass volunteer antireligious organization of Soviet workers and others in 1925-1947. It "consisted of Party members, hooligans from the Komsomol youth movement, immature workers and army veterans".

S.o.G. was an antireligious movement that developed in Soviet Russia under the influence of the ideological and cultural views and policies of the Communist Party. The newspaper Bezbozhnik (Godless, Atheist) (1922-1941), founded and edited by Yemelyan Yaroslavsky[1], played a significant role in S.o.G.'s establishment, and had a wide network of correspondents and readers. In August of 1924, like-minded individuals founded the Club of 'Bezbozhnik's friends in Moscow. In April of 1925, the First Congress of this club took place, where they established a united All-Soviet antireligious society under the name of The Union of the Godless. In 1929, the Second Congress changed the society's name to The Union of Belligerent (or Militant) Atheists. The Central Committee chose Yaroslavsky as its leader (who occupied this post continuously).

S.o.G. embraced workers, peasants, students, and intelligentsia. It had its first affiliates at factories, plants, collective farms (kolkhoz), and educational institutions. By the beginning of 1941, S.o.G. had about 3.5 million members of 100 nationalities. It had about 96,000 offices across the country. Guided by Bolshevik principles of antireligious propaganda and party's orders with regards to religion, S.o.G. aimed at fighting religion in all its manifestations and forming scientific mindset among the workers. It popularized atheism and scientific achievements, conducted individual work with religious people, prepared propagandists and atheistic campaigners, published scientific literature and periodicals, organized museums and exhibitions, conducted scientific research in the field of atheism and critics of religion. S.o.G.'s slogan was "Struggle against religion is a struggle for socialism", which was meant to tie in their atheist views with economy, politics, and culture. S.o.G. had vast international connections; it was part of the International of Proletarian Freethinkers and later of the Worldwide Freethinkers Union.

The League was a "nominally independent organization established by the Communist Party to promote atheism." It published newspapers, journals, and other materials that lampooned religion; it sponsored lectures and films; it organized demonstrations and parades; it set up antireligious museums; and it led a concerted effort to persuade Soviet citizens that religious beliefs and practices were "wrong" and harmful, and that good citizens ought to embrace a scientific, atheistic worldview.

In 1947, S.o.G.'s duties of scientific and atheistic propaganda were transferred to the All-Soviet society Znaniye.

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