This historical study is based on a research in the State Central Archive of Uzbekistan (fund 2456). The author first underlines the paradoxical situation created by the opening of the Gulag and the liberation of masses of prisoners of conscience, on the one side, and by the launching of new campaigns of repression of religious practice, on the other (with special mention of two resolutions of the Central Committee of the CPSU taken on July 7 and November 10, 1954 — the latter tempering the severity of the former). Another turn-out is introduced through two resolutions taken, respectively, on March 11, 1959 “On the Situation and Measures for the Improvement of Mass Political Work among the Workers of the Stalinist Society” (which opened a new period of reinforcement of atheistic propaganda) and on August 27 of the same year “On the Measures for the Improvement of the Work of the All-Soviet Society for the Propagation of Political and Scientific Knowledge” (which opened a period of opened struggle against religious practice and personnel). New Pressure on the latter was materialised by a press campaigns orchestrated by Upolnomochennyi N. F. Voronichev against the Archbishop of Tashkent and Middle Asia, Hermogenes Golubev, the popular builder of the Uspenskii Sobor of Tashkent and of a new church in Samarqand, who was first accused of corruption and then dismissed from his charge. The author’s narrative goes on with the mention of the resolutions taken in the early 1960s against religious practice in general, with special limitation of the action of the Orthodox Church, and with the acknowledgement of impotence in Uzbekistan on the following year (the country counting 23 churches against only 5 in neighbouring Tajikistan). It ends with the evocation of secret plans elaborated from 1961 onwards for the suppression of the archbishopric of Tashkent and for its fusion with that of Almaty, in order to lessen the influence of the Orthodox hierarchy in southern Central Asia. In short, the study provides an interesting overview of anti-Orthodox measures taken during the Khrushchev period, though its exclusive reliance on official archive documents and statistics does not allow the author to tackle more underground or simply informal aspects of Orthodox religious practice and life during a period of time particularly rich of contradictions — as would put it Marxist analysts.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-4.1.C-333