Reviews

The author, the Director of the Institute of History of Kazan, evokes the confiscation of ecclesiastical possessions in Soviet Tatarstan in the 1920s. The article’s is on the launching of the process in 1921-2. With its title borrowed from a report by the chief of the Tatar OGPU, the article is based on archive material from Moscow and Kazan, completed with elements from the periodical press. The author has also devoted efforts to the discovery and publication of photographical material from the National Museum of Tatarstan. On these rich grounds, he reveals how Soviet authorities and the Communist party have used the 1921 famine as an instrument for the intensification of antireligious repression. Till 1920 in Tatarstan there were 598 mosques, 273 Orthodox churches and 20 other, mainly Jewish, worship buildings. The major part of expropriated properties was made by Orthodox churches and monasteries. The author introduces interesting details on the confiscation procedure and on its peculiarities in religiously mixed Tatarstan. In 1921 for instance, the special commission for registration and confiscation examined the cases of seventeen mosques and found out nothing valuable. At the same time, silver objects were confiscated from the Kazan synagogue. The author concludes that if the confiscation of such assets did not contribute towards the struggle against the famine, it helped the Soviet regime to acquire experience in antireligious repression.

Olga Feklina, State University of Aviation, Ufa
CER: II-3.2.D-199