Fine for religious beliefs
The preserved payment receipt can represent one of the ways how communists fought against religion. In the bill, Mishino Praskovi was fined for 50 Soviet rubles in 1974 due to believing in God. Notably, this amount was quite a lot in the anti-religious state of the Soviet Union. In 1974, the currency of the Soviet Union was stronger than US dollars.
Let’s calculate how much does it cost to the Soviet citizen if authorities become aware of the religious beliefs?
In 1974, 1 dollar was equal to 0.75 rubles in 1974, so the punishment was about 66.7 in US dollars. According to Dollar Times, the value of $66.7 matched $370 in 1974 due to inflation. (https://www.dollartimes.com/inflation/inflation.php?amount=50&year=1974)
Overall situation in the entire USSR
The Russian Empire fell in 1917 after the October revolution. Lenin and the Bolsheviks took control of the state. Right after, they declared war against religion and religious people. Lenin in his book called “Socialism and Religion” agreed to the ideas of Karl Marx stating: “Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man” (SFR, https://www.sfr-21.org/lenin-religion.html)
The anti-religion campaign continued in the time of Joseph Stalin, the successor of Lenin.
The systematic, government-sponsored actions were taken to eliminate religion. We will give several of them (The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2017/oct/26/why-the-soviet-attempt-to-stamp-out-religion-failed):
- Several weeks after the October Revolution, all religious materials were removed from school curriculums.
- Churches, mosques, and monasteries either destroyed or turned into other unsuitable places.
- Thousands of imams, monks, bishops, and clergies were killed and sentenced.
- Television, newspapers, radio was full of anti-religion propaganda.
- Reading and keeping religious materials became illegal.
- Millions of believers in God were exiled to other lonely parts of the country.
Anti religion campaign in Uzbekistan SSR
Modern Uzbekistan was a country under the control of the Soviet Union until 1991. The high influence of Bolsheviks in the state allowed to establishment campaign against religion.
According to Nurrulla Otaxonov, the Uzbek writer, the pressure against religious people initially started in 1919. In 1922, the massive oppression started and a large number of believers were sentenced and killed. The opposition to religion continued in the 1930s. There were so many victims of religious persecution that the Soviets could not document all of them.
The writer also stated that there was a skilled religious teacher in Bukhara who trained over 200 students. When the Soviets tried to shoot them, one of the Soviet soldiers said: “The rifle’s bullet costs so much money to use for these worthless people. It is shame to waste bullets to them”. So they killed all of them with a knife. (AmerikaOvozi, https://www.amerikaovozi.com/a/a-36-2006-10-22-voa1-93338589/793952.html)
Overall, between 1937-1953 over 100,000 people persecuted and 13,000 executed. (O’zA, http://uza.uz/uz/society/tarix-xulosa-shukrona-29-04-2015)
To conclude, these are a drop in the bucket to show how all Soviet Republics were oppressed during the communist regime. Today, people are free to organize religious events and many different religious practitioners live in Uzbekistan. Hence, people in all countries should learn to appreciate the independence and sovereignty of their country.