Jettisoning its ideological baggage, Communism has finally knelt in front of religion in its fatherland! As the Indian communists are all set to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of the Russian Communist leader and ideologue V I Lenin, the Russian Communist Party is batting for the God and religion, which Karl Marx termed ‘the opium of the people’. According to Russia Today, the state-funded news channel of Russia, the Russian communist party has no objection to the idea of including ‘God’ in the constitution of the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had called a meeting on amending the Russian Constitution last week and sought suggestions on a variety of topics. Akin to this, the Russian Orthodox Church has recently demanded the Government to add a reference to ‘God’ to the constitution.
Before the Communists usurped power that led to the establishment of the Soviet Union, the Russians were extremely religious population. The USSR had officially promoted materialism as a state policy. The Communist Government had banned all religious institutions in the country. ‘The Communist Party destroyed churches, mosques, and temples; it executed religious leaders; it flooded the schools and media with anti-religious propaganda; and it introduced a belief system called “scientific atheism,” complete with atheist rituals, proselytizers, and a promise of worldly salvation. But in the end, a majority of older Soviet citizens retained their religious beliefs and a crop of citizens too young to have experienced pre-Soviet times acquired religious beliefs.’*
But after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Church regained its power and became very popular in the country, attracting millions of Ex-Communists to the path of God. Presently, of the total modern Russian population, over 80 per cent believe in God.
With God and religion becoming popular in the country, Gennady Zyuganov, the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is reportedly distancing his party from traditional communist doctrines. In an attempt to appropriate the teachings of Christ, Zyuganov had once called Jesus Christ the first communist on earth! So his fellow comrades are not very surprised by the new stand.
*Paul Froese, Paul. “Forced secularization in Soviet Russia: Why an atheistic monopoly failed.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 43.1 (2004): 35-50