The article deals with the attitude to Muslim communities in the USSR in the 1960s–1980s. Special attention is paid to the status of Muslims in the Altai, where during the existence of the Russian empire period, lived a significant number of followers of this religion. Special attention is paid to the attitude of the state to the Islamic communities as elements of the preservation of national identity of a large part of the soviet people. The authors come to the conclusion that the preservation of Islamic traditions in a large part of the population of the Soviet State was identified with the observance of traditions and self-identification with a particular ethnic group. Islam had been playing the role of an ethnic marker for centuries, as confirmed by years of anti-religious propaganda. During the 1960s–1980s, the preservation of religious worldview among “ethnic Muslims” is still noted, which is well confirmed by archival materials. The policy of the Soviet government towards Muslim communities was not always carried out in an unambiguous way. As evidenced by historical materials, even since the mid-1960s, when the course of liberalization of religious policy was planned to a certain extent, Muslim communities also remain under close control by the commissioners for religious affairs. The article also reflects the facts of professional competence of the commissioners for religious affairs in the regions, the activities of which largely depended on the implementation of state and religious policy in the field.
Keywords: Muslims, commissioner for religious affairs, Altai Krai, Muslim communities, Council for Religious Affairs, state and confessional policy
About the authors
Petr K. Dashkovskiy – DSc (History), Associate Professor,
Head of the Department of Political History, National, State, and Confessional Relations,
Head of the Laboratory of the Ethnocultural and Religious Studies of the Faculty of Mass Communications, Philology and Political
Elena A. Shershneva – PhD (History), Assistant Professor at the Department of Political History, Altai State University;