The article describes religious policy of the Soviet government concerning the Protestant communities on the basis of archival materials. Two different models of Soviet policy in the field of religion are analyzed, using the activities of the Commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs in the Donetsk region in relation to Pentecostals and Adventists as an example. Ukrainian SSR was the "Bible belt" of the Soviet Union. Donetsk region was characterized by high percentage of Protestant communities in general and Adventist communities in particular. Most of the Adventist communities in the region were officially registered, and their members did not show significant dissident inclinations. Therefore, the case of Adventists serves as an example of the more tolerant Soviet religious policy, far from the usual stereotypes about repression and atheism. A slightly harsher attitude by the Soviet authorities can be observed towards the Pentecostal community. After the events of 1945, when the Soviet government forced Pentecostals and Baptists to unite, all Pentecostal communities automatically joined the ranks of opposition. Still, during 1965-1991, some registered Pentecostals made contact with the Soviet authorities. Unregistered communities remained a big problem for the Commissioner and were persecuted until liberalization of religious policy in the late 1980s. The authors pay particular attention to the examples of the way Pentecostal and Adventist regional leaders balanced the necessity to maintain friendly relationship with the authorities and the desire to worship God. It was this kind of controversy that became the main issue of the activities of Protestant religious organizations in the late USSR.
Salata, Oksana and Nikiforov, Karen
"Adventists and Pentecostals of Donetsk Region in the Late Soviet Era: Between the Scylla of Legalization and the Charybdis of Opposition,"
Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe: Vol. 41
, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/ree/vol41/iss4/10