Table of Contents
The Soviet Religious Propaganda
The Council for Rellgous Affairs 6
The Twentieth Century Poteskirt
Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
Hlllenlun of Christianity In)
All-Union Council of Evangelical Christians-Baptists 20
Catholics in the Soviet
The Anti-Zionist Coanlttee
Central Asian Muslims: 27
Christian Peace Conference
Asian Buddhist Council for Peace
Soviets and World Islas: Losing Ground
Berlin Conference of European Catholics 58
Chrlstl International, International Catholic(PCI)
Liberation Theology: 60
Implications and Outlook 67
The Soviets have had sone success In manipulating various international religious organizations and In shaping certain religious thenes to support Soviet foreign policy objectives. Using high-profile ecumenical gatherings and persistent personal Interaction with Western and Third World religious leaders and organizations, Soviet churchmen haveignificant nunber of their counterparts: that "opinions" expressed by Soviet churchnen (official propaganda) are Independently derived and freely held; that Soviet and Bloc religious figuresegree of societal pronlnence and Influence comparable to that of their Western colleagues; and that the Soviet ^overnisent is working in earnest to secure andtable, peaceful (V" world. Western and Third World religious leaders who remain unconvinced of the peaceful Intentions of the Soviet state nonetheless often cose to accept the superpowers and their allies as being morally equivalent, thereby obscuring the fundanental differences between democratic and Communist/totalitarian societies.
The projection of Soviet policy positions and propaganda into Western and Third World religious debates is likely toprobablythe Gorbachev era. Nonetheless, there appears toealization anong Soviet propagandists that "traditional" active^ measures and propaganda activities have become ineffectual among the more sophisticated
target audiences of Western Europe and North Aaerlca. Although traditional Soviet religious fronts such as the Christian Peace Conference are losing redibility and Influence In the West, new methods and venues of access are taking their place. The revamping of the CPSO CC International Department under former Ambassador to the US Anatolly Dobrynln suggests that propaganda activities aimed at religious audiences are likely to becone sore nuanced and
audience-specific. The creation and support of so-called "fronts ^
more flexible international organizations aimed at nenbcrs ofpecific professions or at specificone such new propaganda
In particular, Soviet propaganda organs appear to beophisticated nedla blitz8 to commeaorate the Milleniua of Christiant,Xy in Russia. While any genuine resurgence of religious coonltoent within Soviet society is routinely checked, the outward appearance of state tolerance will be greatly enhanced by the full co-operation of the official Soviet church hierarchy.
Moscow has been largely unsuccessful, however, in exploiting SovietMuslims to curry favour In thoird World.
exception of the radical, Soviet-allied Islamic nations, "official"
Muslim clerics are generally rebuffed for their subservience to an Moreover, the Soviet Invasion and occupation of Afghanistanwhat little Influence It had garnered in Islaaic religious
radually Increasing level of communications, the long-tern standoff In Kreolln-Vatican relations has changed little under the Papacy of John Paul II. Likewise, the Russian Orthodox Church has maintained correct if not always cordial relations with Rooan Catholicism. The heightened interest of John Paul II In overcoming denoninational barriers presents an as yet unexplored opportunity for warner Bast-west ecumenical ties; but Moscow's wariness of Vatican support for Christian dissent within the Soviet Union makes significant improvements unlikely. It is equally unlikely that John Paul II will be able to travel to the Soviet Union for the celebration of the Nlllenlum of Christianity In Russia.
fronts such as the Christian Peace Conference have also provided sympathetic fora for the rhetoric of liberation theology.
Although Russian Orthodox Church missions outside the Soviet Union were once
used extensively as stations for intelligence-gathering activities, this
practice appears to have been generally curtailed. The payoff has;>
been of marginal significance, and the risk of conproolslng the Church's
ostensible Independence seems to have outweighed any potential benefit. The
extent to which Russian Orthodox and other religious bodies are used as
Intelligence covers remains unclear. While
Intelligence officers have been given long-term Church cover under KGB
maintain that this practice generally
The Soviet Religious Propaganda Apparatus
General guidelines and specific directives regarding Soviet foreign policy positions and corresponding propaganda activities are approved within the International Department (ID) of the CPSU Central Committee. Within the IDection responsible for general oversight of "nass organizations" and their International activities. The Council for Religious Affairsubordinate body of the Council of Ministers, is responsible for nalntalnlng overall control of church-state relations In the USSR. Policy guidance regarding religious propaganda appears to flow fro* the ID to the CRA, and thence to the particular religious organizations and persons to be tasked.
Although the means by which propaganda is disseainated from the CPSU Central Conalttee to individual religious leaders is unclear, some channels have been Identified. Domestically, the regional heads of the local Coma ittees on Religious Affairs (CRAs} control the actions and statements of clergymen through networks of Informants which Infiltrate the various religious communities. For foreign disseolnatlon, appropriate propaganda formulations
appear to be connunicated to soviet churchnen primarily by the cc international department. input and oversight of this process can involve several other foreign policy cooponents, however, such as the ministry of foreign affairs, various institutes of the academy of sciences, and the kcb'sactiveaccording to stanlslav levchenko, works closely with the international department. [
the council for rellgous affairs
as part of forner general secretary andropov's campaign to clean out aging brezhnevltes, cra chairman kuroyedov was retired in. the new chairman, kharchev, is said tostrong ideologue." shortly after his
appointment as craegularly scheduled synodal meeting of the russian orthodox hierarchy was delayed to ensure that kharchev was on hand.
Various sources, Including the Soviet press, suggest that current General Secretary Gorbachev intends to continue reinvlgoratlng both the International Department and the CRA. [
It nay prove to be of sooe significance that Kharchevareer Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) diplomat ratherarty propagandist. The role of religious figures in the foreign dissemination of Soviet policy positions and propaganda nay Increase under Kharchev's guidance. For exanple, Cardinal Sin, Prinate of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, has been Invited to visit Moscow In7 by the Russian Orthodox Church. As the Cardinalignificant player in the ouster of the Marcos regime, this nayign of Moscow's desire to Inprove relations with Manila. The
intimated that the Cardinal nay also be visiting In the capacity of Infomal representative of Pope John Paul II.
the twentieth century potemkln village
part of the soviet domestic church-state arrangenent provides that church leaders play the role of unofficial goodwill representatives for the soviet state in hosting their western and third world counterparts on visits to the ussr. while the dissenlnatlon of specific propaganda themes night be the purpose inarticular visitoreign delegation, the overriding policy goal of such hospitality is to convey the appearance of religious freedom for all believers in soviet society. the larger policy goal is for the foreign religious envoys to bring home with them favourable impressions of official soviet tolerance and respect for "believers* rights."
over tine, however, such church conferences in the sovietmost often by the russian orthodoxcome to be seen by many western religious leaders as predetermined media events soviet churchmen arc nonetheless quite successful at attracting visiting delegationsariety of reasons: many well-intentioned clergymen believe that they can convince soviet political and religious leaders of their sincere desire for mutual understanding and accommodation; others recognize that they are being
ilpulated by soviet propaganda organs, but feel that maintaining ties with co-rellglonlsts in the soviet bloc is more important;he opportunityree or substantially subsidized trip to the Soviet union, with
prospects for International media exposure, frequently is the determining
Inor example, Moscow sponsored several simultaneous peace conference^ targeting members of various professions including religious representatives for participation. All expenses, Including travel to and froo the conference, were paid for by the Soviet government. Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Tuvenally, Imam Pashazade (Pashayev) of the Muslim Religious Council for the (Soviet) Transcaucasus, and the Soviet Buddhist representative Lana Erdyneyev co-chaired the religious component of the peace conference.
Russian Orthodoxy: Still the State Church
Despite unrelenting state repression, the Russian Orthodox Church (The Moscow Patriarchate) continues toizeable following in Soviet society. The spiritual and adninlstratlve head of this body Is Its presiding bishop, the Patriarch of Moscow. Upon the demise of the last pre-Revolutionary Patriarch, it appeared that Stalin was planning to have the office abolished, as Peter the Great had done two centuries earlier. The sudden end to the Soviet-Nazi Alliance, however, left Stalin in needeans of rallying the people to the war effort. As part of his policy of abandoning the rhetoric
of an International proletariat in favour of appealing to the nationalist sentlnents of the Russian people, he allowed the Church to be revived, butaner, "Leninlzed" reIncarnation. | hoto of Russian Orthodox bishops laying wreath at Kreolin Wall)
The confined paraneters of "peroissible" donestlc religious activity have changed very little under succeeding Soviet leaders. The extent to which religious groups are exploited for propaganda purposes, however, has steadily increased. This bifurcated religious policy has been described as "no politics at hose, nothing but politics abroad."
The Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
Beginning with the creation of the Soviet front Christian Peace Conference8 and the granting of pernlsslon for the Russian Orthodox Church to Join the World Council of Churchesoviet religious leaders have becone increasingly outspoken in their advocacy of Soviet foreign policy objectives. Indeed, vigorous support of Soviet policies hasart of the largerwhich defines church-state relations In the USSR.
Because the entire administrative structure of the Rusfian Orthodox Church Isoftenstate security organs, the Soviet leadership can be assured that only "reliable" clerics will reach positions of authority and high public profile. Voices of dissent are treated first as Insubordination within the Church hierarchy; only when the Church Is unable toaverick clergyman^A* he^turned over to state authoritiesrinlnal dissident. Church leaders and administrators have thuseen sense of where the parameters of permissible activity lie. Regardless of the personal sentiments of an individual cleric, he generally can be counted upon to exercise prudent self-censorship when dealing with foreigners.
In contrast to the often anti-Soviet propensities found among the clergy of other religious groups, the Russian Orthodox hierarchy's loyalty and reliability Is often rewarded by the Soviet government with special perks and favourable publicity. In Itommrunlst, Vladimir Kuroyedov, then Chairman of the Council for Religious Affairs of the USSR Council of Ministers, writes:
It must be said that the vast majority of the representatives of the priesthood In our country correctly understand the laws on religious cults and observe them; they display political loyalty to the policies of the Soviet state. However, there is no family without its black sheep, as the saying goes. We still have religious extremists, both within and close to the church.
the overall relationship between the soviet leadership and the russian orthodox hierarchy, whileoercive game of cat-and-aouse, has developed over time from one which was almost all stick and no carrot into oneleast for seniorcome to include nore and more carrot, and with only tacit reference to the stick. kuroyedov concludes his article inwith an implicit tribute to the propaganda value of the russian orthodox church:
the churches functioning in the ussr take an active part in thestrengthen universal peace, to avert the threat of another worldhalt the arms race, to establish just relations between peoples. activity meets with the approval of citizens and all theis auch appreciated by the soviet government.
the russian orthodox church is integrated financially as well as structurally into the soviet foreign propaganda apparatus. regular, sizeable contributions of funds from the church's still ample coffers to the official soviet peace fundongstanding aspect of the "gentlemen's agreement" between church and state in the ussr. this fund is controlled by the soviet peace committee, which co-ordinates the activities of all soviet front organizations.| |
in at least one instance, the russian orthodox church has benefitted from the soviet state's heavy-handed control of religion. he secessionist
Ukrainian Catholic Church was forcibly reunited with Russian Orthodoxy. The Soviet government, long distrustful of Ukrainian ties to Rose, actively supported this merger. 6 was the fortieth anniversary of the L'vovwhich the reunionengthy, laudatory statement, giving rare coverageeligious event. |
Conversely, the Soviet government also canontroversial policy decision by couching it In terns of respecting the separate church-state spheres of influence.
The Soviet government may be increasing the foreign policy role of the Church, especially In situations where state-to-state or party-to-party relations have proven Ineffectual. For example.
the Soviets have shown their Interest In Improving
with Lebanese Christians. In December, the Moscow Patriarchate Invited the Maronlte Lebanese Patriarch to visit the Soviet Union. Soviet diplomats are reported to have conveyed through the Russian Orthodoxommitment to
Patriarch Piaen, long known to be obsequiously receptive to government and Party guidance, has beenlace of unprecedented prominence In the recent anti-SOI and nuclear weapons test moratorium campaigns. Inengthy "open letter" to President Reagan, attributed to the Patriarch, was given front-page coverage by Izvestlya and broadcast worldwide through the TASS wire service. Both the "open letter" and the Patriarchal Easter sermon6 echoed official Soviet propaganda formulations regarding arms control issues. The Patriarch's comments also Included an Interesting counterattack on the human rights front: he called for Soviet believers toetter writing campaign In support of "persecuted" American churchmen participating in the sanctuary movement for refugees In El
Although the Patriarch and other Church leaders have been used as oouthpieces for Soviet propaganda formulations In the past, the recent exposure granted religious figures in the Soviet Internal media is unprecedented. Also, the Patriarch's call for an active response by Soviet believers to events taking place In the United States served to add credibility to the genuineness of the Church's endorsement of Soviet foreign policy positions. Such
state-approved "religious activism" has the additional effect of buttressing
the new leadership's claims of greater societal freedom and openness. Propaganda experts such as CC International Department head Dobrynln no doubt realize that the appearance of vigorous participation by religious leaders in Soviet policy "debates" attracts favourable attention in the Western media.
Soviet government control Bechanisns within the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious bodies are so pervasive and ingrained, they are not easily perceived by Western observers. The natural penchant for projecting one's own experiences onto another society thus works to the advantage of the Soviet propaganda organs. Western visitors to the Soviet Union observe open, functioning churches and assune that beneath this ostensible evidence of religious freedomhurch-state dynamic similar to that In their own societies. The reality of government control over Church policy rarely emerges.
The MlUentum of Christianity In RuasU
Soviet propaganda organs are gearing upajor International mediaon the upcoming Millenium of the establishment of Christianity
Russiaoscow is planning to manipulate the year-long. to increase its Influence In religious circles beyond the Soviet bloc.
Specifically, Soviet propagandists will attempt to enlist religious
In promoting Soviet peace policies. Sources indicate that the
celebration of the Millenium will be usedorum to attack SOI and tondorse Soviet disarmament proposals, such aa the moratorium on nuclear fcjtweapons testing^ ajor goal of this campaign Is to create the Impression that Christian bodies in both the East and West are united in their opposition to SDI and in support of Soviet disarmament initiatives. |
Although Soviet propagandists areoreign media blitz, several sources Indicate that the government Intends to restrict severely the occasion's domestic impact. Various ecclesiastical "showcases" in the major Soviet cities have been designated recently as fool of Mllleniua activity. These "showcases" have beensometimes completely
for the purpose of hosting visiting clerics as part " of the Millenium celebration. In particular, the Soviet state Is restoring
the ancient Danllov (St. Daniel) Monastery In south-central Moscow for use as the Church's downtown administrative headquarters. Until now, the Patriarchal offices and residence have been located in the less accessible outlying village of Zagorsk. | |
In addition to providing the Church with an urban setting for its administrative offices, the Soviet government isotel for visiting clerics on the Danllov Monastery grounds. This will enhance the overall "Potemkin Village"he Hillenlum celebration: Western and Third Worldomplete immersion in Russian Orthodoxythe surrounding atheist Soviet society.
[Photo of Danllov Monastery undergoing repairs, from Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate]
harp increase in Church-related tourism to the Soviet Union, Soviet propagandists plan to highlight these recently refurbished ecclesiastical "showcases" throughout the Soviet Union to convey an atmosphere of religiousofvisiting clerics. Various sources confirm that the Soviet clergymen assigned to meet with foreign guests at these sites have been carefully chosen for their reputations as beingto be counted upon to adhere to official Soviet propaganda formulations when dealing with foreigners
the overall goal for soviet propagandists is to attract as nany prominent western clergynen as possible to the millenium celebrations in order to legitimize the official propaganda pronouncements which will accompany the religious aspects of the occasion.
all-unlon council of evangel teal christians-baptists
the all-unlon council of evangelical christians-baptists (aucecb) is the officially approved umbrella organization which co-ordinates and controls the activities of most protestant churches within the soviet union. while very small in relation to the russian orthodox church, aucecb is called upon to perform similar functions. the organization is regularly represented at soviet-approved ecunenical gatherings by its general. bychkov, or the council. logvlnenko. | |
[bio profiles and photos of bychkov and logvlnenko]
like the russian orthodox church, aucecb automatically adopts policy positions and propaganda lines dictated by the international department and the council for religious affairs. inucecblenary session in moscow atesolution was adopted urging "christians of the whole world" to treat with "particular censure" the devetopaent^of soi.
Because many Western ecumenicalas the World Council of
Churches and Us nationalpredoninan tly Protestant, AUCECB's participation in "East-WesK* exchanges" and "dialogues"seful, method of, bridging the denominational gap for the Russian Orthodox Church and, thereby,
the Soviet government.
"Protestant-to-Protestant" link is equally effective outside the Soviet Union. Inelegation of the AUCECBraternal visit to the Baptist Church In Nicaragua on the occasion of theh Convention Assembly. The rhetoric which ensued adhered to standard Sovlet-Hlcaraguan propaganda formulations.
Catholics In the Soviet Union
The Catholic presence in the USSR, In addition to being relatively small. Is divided ethnographically into two groups:atinoman Catholics of the Baltic republics (primarily Lithuania) and the Byelorussian SSR; and theyzantine rite" oratholics. While either religious community provides significant opportunities for propaganda!
traditionalatinatholic populations of theand Byelorussia, however, are officially recognized andSoviet propaganda organs. According to Igor Troyanovsky in Thein the USSR, (Moscow: Movostl Press Agency Publishing House,the rights of Roman Catholics are effectively guaranteed by Sovietcomplete freedom of conscience and religion Is ensured." the officially recognized Soviet Roman Catholic communitiesprimarily of the more restive and nationalistic Lithuanianethnic groups, and present few opportunities for effectiveexploitation,
Soviet propaganda organs nonetheless try toood faceelatively stagnant situation. Various Soviet publishing houses issueIn Spanish, Portuguese, andthe purportedly happy state of affairs of Catholicism In the USSR. eningrad film studio has evenilm on the subject: "Catholics In the USSR." The film deals only with("Latinoman Catholics, and highlights state-funded restorations of Catholic churches In the Baltic republics and Byelorussia. Julian Cardinal Valvods, the elderly primate of Soviet Catholics,are appearance to. that the Lord should save us, our land and the whole worldew war. Life Is good in Itself, and will be even better if we uphold peace."
tne anti-zionist committee
is addressed herein.
the soviet government considers jews to be primarily an ethnic group, such as the ukrainian and baltic minorities, rathereligious community. officially, the soviets therefore do not view the challenge they pose as being similar in nature to, for instance, the growth of unofficial, activist christian congregations. thus the whole "jewish question" is not a
"anti-zionist" rhetoric, however, plays an important role iniS anti-western and anti-israeli propaganda.
the soviets harbour an exaggerated notion of "zionist influence" in the west, having largely swallowed their own propaganda.
zionism is an effective american propaganda tool for
generating anti-soviet sentiment in the west and subversive activism within the indigenous soviet jewish population.
in this regard, soviet propagandists have counterattacked with rhetoric distinguishingpatriotic" soviet jews from "reactionarydissidents and refuseniks. there are,mall number of soviet jews
who allow themselves to be used for such counterpropaganda. in the religious
sphere, adol'f shayevlch, chief rabbi of the moscow choral synagogue, fulfills this role. [
The Anti-Zionist Coanlttec of Soviet Society was created in3 to counter the negative publicity surrounding the plight of Soviet Jews. It is headed by the retired Soviet Army Colonel Ceneral David Dragunskiy, who Is an ethnic Jew. In Its openinghe Committee accused the US of "using International Zionismey weapon in Its attempts to change the existing military balance through an Intensified aros race and to conduct psychological |
The Antl-Zlonlst Coaaltteeour of the Soviet Union by American Jewishs reported in the Soviet publication Mew Tines, Committee Chalraan Dragunskiy led the groupour of oany aajor Soviet cities, visiting, aaong other sites, the Babi Tar Memorial In Kiev. Of this visit, Mew Times reports:ewish supporter of the peacean Anerlcan participant] observed, 'I want to end the shane of Israel behaving like the aurderers In Babi Yar. As anledge all ay energy to changing the policies of ay governent to one of peace.'"
Moscow propagandists nay have begun rachetlng up anti-Zionist rhetoric to the point of abandoning the "good Jew/bad Zionist" distinction, however. Zionism, published In6 by Aleksandr Z. Rananenko in Leningrad, contains an explicit call for "struggle against the Jewish religion." The
author calls for Soviet writers to "carry out uncoapronislng criticism of Judalsa despite the efforts of the clergy of this aggressively anti-Communist
religion to pursue their activities under the mask ofo the Soviet Onion)." If Romanenko's views are Indicativeew, harsher propaganda trend, It suggests that Soviet pollcy-oakers have abandoned any pretense of arriving at some accommodation with Soviet Jews who Insist on maintaining their religious heritage, as well as with world Jewish opinion. ropaganda campaign night appear more rational in the context of what appears toew wave of Increased Soviet permissiveness in granting Jewish refusenlks permission to emigrate. The Implicit sossage In such co-ordinated changes In propaganda and emigration policy would be that Soviet Jews should either forsake open religious adherence in order to remain in the Soviet Onion, or emigrate to Israel or the West.
"Official" Soviet Judaism apparently retains some usefulness in Moscow's estimation, however. Inobel Peace Prize Winner Bile Wlesel travelled to the Soviet Unionuest of the state. During his stay, he net with Rabbi Shayevlch and attended services at the Moscow Choral
Soviet policymakers may be divided among themselves as to the extent to which discussion and debate on Soviet Judaism should be permitted. Inrominent American television talk show host travelled to the Soviet Union to conduct "random" Interviews with representatives of various segments of Soviet society. He was originally promised access to both official Soviet Jewish spokesmen and the Jewish refusenlk community. His Intention was to
Central Asian Muslims:
For foreign consumption, Soviet propagandists are most deferential to the cultural and religious practices of Central Asian Husllns. One Soviet propagandist, writing In English, describes life In the Central Asian republics in this manner:
"Host of then [older Soviet Muslins] grew up In Soviet tines. These people believe In Allah and have performed their religious rites for five or six decades within the Soviet system. nder Soviet law Muslim communities have the right to build mosques or rent prayer houses, and they have every opportunity to make use of this right." [Muslims in the OSSR, by Leon Emin (Moscow: Hovosti Agency Press Publishing
An article appearing In the Less accessible Azeri language, however, is far less indulgent toward the vestiges of Muslim religion and culture in Soviet Central Asia:
Our Ideological opponents, by fighting against communism under the banner
of Islam, are trying to describe the cultural and historical heritage of the peoples of the Soviet Easteligioushe conditions of socialism make it impossible for religion to have an influence on
national forms. But ethnic-religious relations still remain in the cultural sector, in the costons of part of the population, In their way
of life and habitsegacy froa theThe progress of
socialist nations is constantly eliminating the religious Influence froa peoples' traditions and custons. [Zh. Kannadova, "Superficial 'Defenders' of 'Huslln Culture,'" In- | |
Religiously based custons and traditions are thus distinguished froa genuine religious conviction. This is the offioial Party line not only for Muslims, but for all ethnicities and religious coaaunities in the Soviet
A recently published article in Sovestkaya, however,
suggests that even such rhetorical deference to social custons rooted in Islaaic religious culture may be declining. Attacking what he perceives as "Muslim exclusivity" within the "Soviet multi-nationzbek SSR Acadeny of Sciences Academician Tusupov argues against retaining such traditional Muslim practices as praying five times dally and fasting during Ramadan, the month of penitence. Even when such practices arc Justified by "oodern science" asduring prayer as physical exercise, and fastingeans of weightare "reactionary" and should be abandoned. Tusupov advocates inter-ethnlc marriage (between Muslims and non-Muslims) as one method of eradicating Islamic cultural practices.
Despite such harsh rhetoric, Moscow Is not unaware of the cultural-religious
sensitivities of its indigenous Muslins. Whenever possible, concessions to
the religious needs of Soviet Central Asians are arranged so as to include some propaganda benefitis the non-Soviet Muslim world.
Like their Christian counterparts, Muslin religious leaders understand and adhere to the confines of the Soviet church-state "gentleoen'soviet Islaaic clerics Invariably seek toPotemkin village" image of Muslim believers co-existing with non-Muslim Sovietsaroonious "multl-ethnlc" nation-state. In an interview with the Arabic publication al-'Awdah Inoviet Mufti Tal'gat Tadzhuddln
lphaslzed the vitality of Islam In Soviet Central Asia, the excellent condition of mosques, and the printing of the Koran In the various languages of Soviet Central Asia. Fulfilling his other role of unofficial goodwill ambassador for the Soviet government, Tadzhuddln recited the standard litany of Soviet "peace" proposals, Soviet observances to6 as the International Tear of Peace, and the "struggle" of the Soviet state to establish and nalntaln "world peace.'*
Soviet Kuslln religious leaders, In conjunction with the CRA, nave hosted conferences on various Islamic theses In the Soviet Union. Speeches and concluding resolutions invariably adhere to official Soviet propaganda. The presence In the Soviet Union of as nany asillion Muslinstrong attraction for Arabic and other predominantly Islanlc nations. let Soviet propaganda organs did not begin to exploit this advantageepartment of Foreign Relations with Muslinsthe central Council for Religious Affairs (CRA) of the USSR Council of Ministers--was established. In addition, parallel foreign relations departments were set up under each of the four Muslin administrative districts within the Soviet
Following the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. however, the World Muslin League (WML) called upon all Islaaic nations to boycott0 Soviet-hosted conference, scheduled to take place In Tashkent. Soviet propagandists Mere stung when, after considerable preparatory fanfare, attendance at0 conference fell far short of their goals. Moreover, nany Muslin delegates who did attend publicly chastised their hosts over the Afghan situation, as well as for restrictions on the practice of Islaa In the Soviet Union. Tbe few, terse references to the conference in the Soviet press bear witness to what oust have been an acrlaonlous aeetlng. Soviet propagandists considered0 conferenceisaster that no further such gatherings were atteapted in the neit all years. I
Contacts with foreign Muslims, however, did not cease during this period. The four Soviet religious boards continued extending Invitations to foreign delegations froa Individual countries to visit the USSR. Many visits involved repeat tours by long-tern foreign friends of the official Soviet Muslin establlshaent, which led these delegations over the well-worn paths of historical Islanlc sites in Soviet Central Asia.
Tlae nonetheless nay be working to the advantage of Soviet diplomats and propagandists. At the aost recent Soviet-hosted Islaaic conference, which
took place la early6 In Baku, Azerbaijan, as nany asslaaic nations sent religious delegations, including both Iran and Iraq. World
muslim league (wml) secretary general dr. abdullah omar naseef disputed this sanguine description of the baku gathering, however. speaking with offlclala of embassy cairo, naseef clalaed that he attended the conference only to protest the soviet occupation of afghanistan. ho clalaed that many if not aost of the non-soviet delegates "endorsed" his presentation, and only the palestine liberation organization representative took issue with his speech. while allowing that aany islaalc nations were represented at the conference, he described the overall attendance asspecially froa the culf states. [
the soviets nonetheless achieved certain tangible results froa the6 conference in baku. by delaying its announcement until just before the actual event, soviet propagandists were able to ensure against the presence of the sort of contingent of western news correspondents that attended0 tashkent conference and replayed its negative consequences. the result in baku was the sort of successful aedla event that can be replayed to soviet advantage throughout the third world. [
visits of muslin notables to the soviet union are generally on the rise, however gradually or grudgingly. wml secretary general naseef has indicated to
that an "unofficial, low level" wml delegation eight travel
to the ussrfact finding elsslon," but he offered no tentative dates or travel itinerary. apart froa the wml, the head of another islamic organization broke precedent by travelling to the ussr in
Islaaic Conference Organization (OIC) Secretary General Plrzada wasMoscow by Foreign Minister Shevardnadze and other high KFAPlrzadaollow-on visit Inebruary peace conference In Moscow. The two visitsto fall on either side or an OIC Sumit which took place inin Kuwait. Plrzada connunlcatedintention to use
these invitations to the USSR as opportunities to confront tho Soviets with the OIC's undlalnlshed ire over the situation In Afghanistan. The OIC Secretary General felt that the opportunity to raise the Issue of Afghanistan yet again was worth risking whatever propaganda benefit the Soviet government aay have realized froa his presenceoviet-sponsored peace asseably. Furthermore, ho expressed the hope that his actions would encourage other Muslin leaders to step up their criticism of the continued Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
The prorile of Soviet 'official" Islam was also raised somewhat in6Soviet religious" delegation headed by Mufti Babakhanov gained admission to the American Eabassy In Moscow to protest the US air raid on Libya. I
One of the official actions or the Baku conference was to setreparatory committee to organize rurther International coherences to which the representatives or Arab and other Islaaic nations will be Invited. This
coalttee is to be chaired by Allashukur Pashazadehairman of the Spiritual Directorate of Soviet Muslims of the Transaucasus, whose administrative office Is in Baku. This move not only institutionalizes the holding of these conferences, It also ensures that they will be under Soviet
Pashazde himself Is an unusual figure: He acceded to his present position at the age ofensation in the Soviet Islamic community in light of traditional Muslim deference to seniority). Hekilled representative of "official" Soviet Islam who knows arable, Persian, Turkish, Russian, and English. Heember of the Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Coma It tee presidium,orresponding member of the Jordanian Royal Academy. He studied under Ayatollah Khomeini at Qoa andepresentative of the Soviet minority) Shi'ite community. His appointment to the post of chairman of one of the four Muslim spiritual directorates Is Illustrative of Moscow's recent efforts to rejuvenate and revitalize Its apparatus for conducting relations with foreign Muslims.
Equally significant is Pashazade's status as chief representaive of the Soviet Shi'a community and, in this connexion, the choice of the predominantly Shi'Ite city of Baku as the site for6 all-Muslim conference. Moscow may have decided to shift Its focus in foreign Muslim relations toward the heretofore neglected Shi'ite branch of Islam. Shi'as generallyisgruntled minority in many Islamic nations, one which
Moscow may see as ripe for exploitation, especially to counterbalance the largely conservative Sunni establishment. In the second place, Shl'as constitute the majority In Iran, long regarded by the Soviets as the primary strategic objective among countries of the "Northern Tier" states bordering the USSR. Pashazade has been Involved in broadcasting radio propaganda to Iran. Inor example, he said "Me are proud of the fact that our country is the only place In the world where Sunnls and Shi'ltes can conduct prayer services In the same nosques at the same time.'1 ropaganda line, this Is neither new nor likely to sit well with the current Shi'ite regime in Tehran. Moscow has not found those presently in power in Iran easy to deal with, but It knows that Khomeini's days are numbered. The Soviets are likely to intensify their efforts to court his successors, and the establishment of good relationsroad spectrum of Muslim clerics throughout the Islamic world is an Important first step. I
Taking tn* Show on the Road
policy, arna control, national security, and related subjects, and seeas to be well informed in these matters. he can be extremely friendly and
pecial interest in making contacts with
churchmen and other officials. cordeyev participated6 world peace congress in copenhagen as athe russian orthodox church delegation.
the christian peace conference
the christian peace conference (cpc)extbook soviet front organization, formed on the initiative of the cpsu propaganda apparatus for the express purpose of insinuating soviet foreign policy positions and propaganda into western religious circles. in the west, its heyday has for the most part long passed, but it still operatesatheringplace for the already converted. the less sophisticated audiences of the third world nonetheless remain fertile ground for the cpc and its subsidiary organizations. pounded, tbe cpc holds "all-christian peace assemblies" every five to seven years. these assemblies are always held in prague, where the cpc is headquartered. [
meetings of the christian peace conference are dominated by the headquarters atari', as is the case with all soviet front groups. decisions and resolutions are generally prepared in advance of meetings, and the international aeabership serves largelyubber stamp, supposedly
enhancing the credibility of the soviet propaganda contained therein.
at the6 neetlng of the cpc
working coonittee in sofia, the west german cpc vice president said that the cpc aust not lose sight of its principal role, which he described as the formulation and elaboration of christian rationales for soviet policies.
the cpc adheres norm rigidly to official
soviet positions than most, if not all, other international front organizations.
the moscow patriarchate provides most members of the cpc working committee with prepaid airline tickets for travel to and from such meetings, thereby greatly reducing the cpc's operating costs. [ibid.
russian orthodox metropolitan fllaret of kiev is treated with "great deference" by other cpc officials, and that he controls the flow of funds froa the russian orthodoxfar the largestthe cpc. f
another aspect of front activities is that any expression of dissent froa official soviet propaganda is never reflected in organizational minutes or
resolutions,the4 meeting of the
international commission of theypically one-sided, anti-western
was approved. Afterwards,
took the floor to
himself and his church fron the coBmunlque and the entire content of the meeting just concluded. His remarks were ignored and were not recorded In either the minutes of the Commission meeting, or in any
the6 Working Committee meeting, the British participants proposedongratulatory telegram be sent to Cardinal Sin, leader of the Roman Catholic Church In The Philippines, commending hlo on the constructive role the Church played Ineaceful change of
In that country.
President of the CPCungarian, expressed enthusiasm for the idea, as did others in attendance. The Soviet delegation disagreed, however, claiming thatesture would be "premature". In subsequent private conversations, the Soviet churchmen explained their grounds for disapproval: The new regime In The Philippines Is viewed by the Soviet government as having been installed by the United States chiefly to ensure the security and permanence of American military bases In that country. The Aquino Administration Is viewedreature of Washington and therefore hostile to Soviet Interests, moreso than the Marcos regime because of President Aquino's apparent broad political support base and popularity. The ideaelegram to Cardinal Sin was subsequently dropped.
I Ml 31
The CPC invariablyurrent propaganda theses as promulgated by such Soviet propaganda organs as the CPSU CC International Departaent and the World Peace Council. Soon after the Soviet propaganda apparatus launched Its antl-SDI campaign, the CPC, meeting inocused Its attention on "The Movement Toward the Militarization of Outer Space Glamorized by the 'Star Wars' Mentality." [as per the draft HS of the State Dept. AHWG Report to Congress In compliance with the Gingrich Amendment] The thene chosen for5 "All-Chrlstlan Peace Assembly" was "God's call to choosehour Is late: Christians In resistance to the powers ofon the path to peace and Juatice for
[Photo5 CPC Session with caption provided by Journal of Moscow Patriarchate]
6 the CPC, like other Soviet fronts, organized all Its activities around the general theme of the UK International Year of Peaceoviet-sponsored and -controlled observance. The various regional CPC affiliates (The African Christian Peace Conference, The Latin American Christian Peace Conference, and The Asian Christian Peace Conference) scheduled assemblies, for which the CPC provided financial support. The Moscow Patriarchate supplied prepaid tickets for travel to and froa many of these events via Aeroflot, the Soviet civil airline. ^
Wo doubt sentient of the CPC'a diminished effectiveness among Its traditional Western constituency, Soviet propaganda policy-makers have shifted the
front's focus away froa traditional East-West peace activism, andosture of asserting the solidarity of Soviet bloc Christians with co-rellgionlsts In the Third World. [
JCPC leaders have begun to echo the rhetoric of Latin American
liberation theologians,oaaon commitment to struggle against Western "lmperlallse." [See "Liberationnfra.1 also, the CPC declared7Special Prayer Sunday dedicated to the bleeding and suffering people of Latin America and the Caribbean." The letter enouncing the CPC's intended observance of the occasion recalls the "nartyrdoas" of aany Christian alsslonarles in various right-wing, antt-Soviat Latin American countries. Instances of religious persecution by Karilst reglaes in the region, however, were not addressed.
the asian buddhist council for peaco
tho asian buddhist council for peace (abcp) is the soviet front responsible for maintaining and improving ties with buddhists worldwide. it claims fifteen affiliates in twelve countries. there are abcp "national centers" in bangladesh, tanpuchea, north korea, laos, mongolia, nepal, thailand, the soviet onion, and tletnaa; plus affiliates in sri lanka, japan, and india. bursa is the only countryignificant buddhist population which maintains no relations with abcp.
ostensibly, the organization la dominated by mongolia: its headquarters is in ulan bator, and itspresident, the secretary general, and deputy secretaryentirely mongolian. following tho usual pattern for soviet fronts, however, the sovietfroa the central siberian buryat autonomoussets the organization's policy. abcp nonetheless wields considerable influence in world buddhism.
the tibetan eille dalai lama is affiliated with abcp presumably because of its anti-chinese bias. abcp also aalntalns cordial relations with the non-alllgned world fellowship of buddhists. i
ABCP appears Lo have aore nonbcrs on the World Peace Council (WPC) than any other aeaber organization. In addition, both the UUCP's president and Its secretary general sit on the WPC'3 Presidential Committee; no international organization holds aore than two slots on this body, and only four other Soviet fronts have this aaxlaua representation. Despite recent setbacks, the WPC remains the most important of Soviet-controlled front organizations, and the steady increase of ABCP representation therein reflects the eaphasls Soviet propagandists are placing on the ABCP and Buddhism in general.
Like all other Soviet fronts, ABCP holds frequent international conferences controlled and funded by the CPSU CC International Department. The latest such gathering, In Vientiane ineatured demonstrations and resolutions condemning the US Strategic Defense Initiative. Other official proclamations: commended "the political courage or the USSR Inoratorium on nuclear weaponsecalled and condemned "the sufferings of our brothers In Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea caused by chemicalnd endorsed the Soviet-backed Asian-Pacific Zone or Peace (APZP) initiative. APZP, like other "zone of peace" initiatives,oviet front euphemism for agitating for the removal of American and allied military basesiventhis Instance, primarily the American naval and air bases In the Philippines. Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, the World Council of Churches, and the World Peace Council were among the non-Buddhist attendees, f
Soviet propagandists have been quite successful in tasking ABCP with spreading anti-American rhetoric in Sri Lanka. ajor Soviet foreign policy goal In the Indian Ocean is the establishment of the Indian Ocean Zone of Peaceuphealsa for the removal of American military bases on Diego Garcia. In Sri Lanka, several prominent Buddhist monks have sponsored events designed to Increase popular support for IOZP. The monks hold Important positions In such pro-Soviet fronts as the Ceylon Peace Council (the national affiliate of tne World Peacehe Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organizationnd the Sri Lankan-Soviet Friendship League; these organizations generally work to create an atmosphere of popular resentment In Sri Lanka toward the United States and Its Western allies. Inhe Sri Lankan Center of ABCP hosted Soviet Peace Coaaittec Deputy Chairman Igor Grabachov, gaining wide local publicity for his antl-Aaerlcan rhetoric.
the Coaatunlst Party of Sri Lanka (CPSL) decided to make use of Left-leaning Buddhist clerics to promote Soviet peace movement propaganda
Subsequently, all public meetings mere sponsored by the CPSL on various peace-related subjects during the remaining months At three of these sessions, members of the Buddhist clergy mere among the main speakers.
The Soviet government pays for exchange visits between Soviet and Sri Lankan aonks, and sponsors university scholarships for nocks to study in the USSR. The Sri Lankan chairman of the Sri Lankan-Soviet Bhlkkus (Buddhist Monks)
Association travelled to the USSRnd his Soviet counterpart visited
Sri Lanka in
Soviet propagandists seen to have less success elsewhere in the Buddhist world, however. At the Fifteenth Conference or the World Buddhist Federation, held in Kathmanduoviet-sponsored resolution calling for world nuclear dlsaraaaent was passed only after language attacking the US SOI propgraa was removed. esolution expressing concern over the persecution of Buddhists in Vietnam was passed over tha objections of tha Soviet and bloc delegations. The standard Soviet-backed resolution calling for the creation of an Indian Ocean Zone of
Soviets and World Islan: Losing Ground
The Soviets seek to exploit their indigenous Central Asian Muslims for propagandizing and Intelligence-gathering purposes throughout the Islaaic Third World tn much the same manner as the Russian Orthodox Church is used In the West. Soviet foreign policy and propaganda organs have had to work
assiduously,with littlerecover what little Influence Moscow had In the Muslim world prior tonvasion of Afghanistan.
Belying prioarlly on the resumed "all-Muslim" conferences hosted periodically In Soviet Central Asia, Soviet strategy appears to be to task "official" Soviet Muslim clerics with the dissemination of propaganda throughout the Islamic world. [See "Central Asianupra.] Moscow has met with
little success beyond Soviet borders, however, because of the Muslim world's
preoccupation with Soviet actions in Afghanistan, whenever possible, Soviet propagandists look to non-Soviet Muslim spokesmen to echo Moscow's policies In an effort to enhance the propaganda's credibility. For example, Haulawl Abdul Aziz Sadeq, head of the (DRfl) Afghan Religious Council, asserted In an Interview that the Soviet Union is not interfering in Afghan religious affairs. "One cannot find any trace of enmity toward Islam In the mere presenceimited Soviet troop contingent In Afghanistan. This iselp to atheists against
As indicated by the substance of Sadcq's statenent, Moscow has largely been on toe propaganda defensive throughouts- agazine published by the Afghan resistance In Peshawar refers to Soviet Central Asian republics as "colonized Islamic lands." Muslim clergynen seen as working at the behest of the Soviet-sponsored Afghan regime are considered traitors to their religion and their countrymen. The magazine, alolys editedaudi national identified only by his nom dc plume abu Ahmed.
The Soviet Union nonetheless has recently succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with several of the smaller Culf States. This Is due at least in part to careful exploitation of Central Asian Muslims for propaganda benefit. Once diplomatic relations with an Arab or otherwise Islamic nation have been established, the Soviet Foreign Ministry Is careful to ensure that several members of Its diplomaticwith, if at all possible, theCentral Asian Muslims. Very few non-Slavs have been accepted Into the privileged elite of the Soviet diplomatic corps, however; and the MFA occasionally has been embarassed by Instances of incompetence by Central Asian Muslim envoys.
Soviet restrictions on would-be pilgrims to Mecca Is an additional sourcewith Moslem religious leaders. Saudi Arabia remains ato Soviet diplomatic and intelligence personnel, however, andchosen for the annual hajj (pilgrimage) are carefully selectedtasked with Intelligence-gathering and/or propagandizing on theSoviets have been pressing
Riyadh to permit the placementoviet "mission" In Mecca to "support" Central Asian Muslims making the hai]. This Initiative has to some degree backfired, however; every time the Issue Is raised by the Soviet side, the Saudis take the opportunity to chastise the Soviet regime for permitting so few Central Asians to travel to Mecca.
/World Muslin League head Naseef is reported to have taken the
Soviet government to task on the sane subject at the6 "all-Muslin" conference in Baku, Azerbaijan. Waseef clained that6 only fifteen of fifty Billion Soviet Muslims Here permitted to Bake the haJJ.ubsequent conversationoviet KFA official, the Soviet defended his governnent's policy with the preposterous assertion that too many manpower hours would be lost were more Muslims permitted to make the annual trek! I I
there has been an Increase in the number of Soviet Central Asian Muslims who eabark on government-approved visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan, thereby making the
hajj without the prior permission or approval of either the Soviet or Saudi
Moscow's invasion and continuing occupation of Afghanistan remain secnlngiy insurmountable obstacles to improved relations with non-allied Muslim states. For example, the Fifth Islamic Conference Organization (OIC) conference, held In Kuwait inesolution condemning Soviet policy toward Afghanistan; the statement contained harsher wording than previous
resolutions on the sane subject. the oic statement represented yet another setback in the soviet campaign to convince nember nations of moscow's purportedly earnest efforts to restore an "islamic and non-alllgned afghanistan." in addition, afghanistan was represented at the oic gatheringebel mujahldeen alliance delegation, and not by soviet-backed dra government representatives. finally, the oic continues to deny admission to moscow's "official" sovietign of the islanlc world's unabated disdain for the religious envoys of an "atheist regime."
Although there were attempts at establishing Vatican-Kremlin contacts priorhe zealous atheism of the new Soviet regime precluded the possibility of any meaningful dialogue. The decisive turning point came when Pope John XXIII received Khrushchev's son-in-law Aleksel Adzhubel in His successor Paul VI continued to broaden relations with the USSR.e granted an audience to the titular Soviet head of state Nikolai Podgornly. I
The advent of Pope John Paulchurchaan trained In the arcane art of standing upommunistpresented new problems for Soviet propagandists. ole, John Paul II knows how far he can push Moscow. Moreover, he brings to this test of wills considerable charlsaa and Intellect. After an initial period of confrontational
two triumphant trips through hisPope has apparently set his sitesapprochement with Moscow. For both political and theological reasons, tha Vatican has set about making public overtures to both the Soviet government and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Moscow Patriarchate as yet has developed no apparent coherent response to this development. Any shift in policy toward the Vatican will have to be co-ordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the CPSU CC International Department, and the Council of Religious Affairs.
Writing In the CPSU Central Committee Journal Konaunlst, Vladimir Kuroyedov, then Chairman of the Council for Religious Affairs, reaffirmed the Soviet leadership's longstanding distrust of the Vatican:
There are instances when Soviet laws are broken by clerics of the Catholic Church, particularly in Lithuania. Certain representatives of Catholicism are engaged in subversive activities amongxtremist attempts of this iclnd, it oust be said, are supported by the Vatican, f
Inn the occasion ofh anniversary of the election of John XXIII to the papal throne, TASS commentator Anatolly Kraslkov described John Qlll'a predecessor, Plus XII,ope "who naintalned close relations first with Hitler and Mussolini and then with those who launched the cold war." Conversely, John XXIII "put an end to the pathological ant1-communism of Pius XII." Having made this distinction between two previous popes, Kraslkov described Pope John Paul II as having "refrained from giving preference to either of the two policies which were Incarnated in the specific deeds of either Pius XII or John XXIII."
I mi ii (Dim
Tbe attempt on the Pope's life1eated east-best war or words. Soviet propaganda organs chose to treat allegations of Soviet/East Bloc complicityreposterous provocation calculated to sour East-West relations. Inne Soviet television commentator alleged that the charges were Intended "to set Catholics against Coanunlsts." Such efforts were said to be doomed to failure, and Catholics and Communists would right together against the "military threat to |
Both berore and after the attempted assassination or the Pope, however, Soviet-Vatican relations have riuctuated erratically between public recriminations and back-channel rapprochement.
jit la rumoured that Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Yuvenally was at one point eased froa the office or Chairman or the Department of External Church Relations because of an unauthorized eeeting with Pope John Paul II. He was reinstated, however, Inuggesting the possibility that the Council for Religious Affairs subsequently approved of socking closer ties with the Vatican. | |
jRussian Orthodox Patriarch Plaen travelled to Warsaw in4 ostensibly to meet with the Primate of the Polish Orthodox Church. During his visit, however, the Patriarch invited Polish
flonan Catholic Cardinal Gleop to visit the Patriarchal residence inof Hoscoh later in the
exchange can be Interpretedositive Russian Orthodox response to the Pope's wishes for greater co-operation between the two churches.
Inowever, the CPSU Central Cooaittee ordered the Soviet nedta to increase criticise of the Vatican in response to what it perceived as increasing Catholic antl-Sovletlsn.
In general, the Moscow Patriarchate has been careful to nalntain correct if not always cordial relations with the Vatican. The Russian Orthodox Church ia always represented at ongoing Orthodox-Catholic ecumenical dialogues, and at Vatican functions whenever Invited. Host recently, Metropolitan Fllaret of Kiev participated In the Vatican-sponsored World Day of Prayer for Peace In Assist, |
John Paul II Is seeking Soviet pernisslon to visit areas of the USSRo participate In coanenoratlons of the establlshnent of
Christianity In Lithuania and Russia. The Pope is unlikely to succeed in this, however. The Soviet government remains apprehensive that the Vatican might foment internal religious dissent, especially in Lithuania and the Ukraine, where Catholicism has reaained influential. Moreover, age-old denoBinational and nationalist antagonisms persist; both the predominantly Russian Soviet government and the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy remain distrustful of Vatican overtures, nonetheless, various sources report that John Paul II has not abandoned his efforts to broaden and stabilize Catholic Church relations withpolitically and ecumenically.
Berlin Conference of European Catholics
Headquartered In East Berlin, the Berlin Conference of European Catholics (BCEC) has the sane functions with respect to Catholics as the Christian Peace Conference (CPC) has with Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox communions. (Vatican policy does not permit representative organizations of the Roman Catholic Church to Join ecumenical organizations. Catholic organizations have sought and are often granted observer status in such bodies,arious other ecumenical organizations, including the World Council of Churches, consider themselves as sister organizations of BCEC and work closely with It. BCEC works most closely with the CPC, however, and participates alongside the CPC in such international fora ason-governmental organizations (KCOs) meetings and conferences, f"
The present Soviet policy regarding the liberation theology movenent ts at nost one or tacit approval of any indirect propaganda benefits accruing. Among the Soviet-allied nations, Cuba has taken the lead in exploring the potentials for propaganda exploitation and, ultimately, social destablllzatlon via the indigenous liberation theology movements in Latin America and elsewhere. If Cuba or any of Its client states such as Nicaragua can show success at manipulating and co-opting this phenomenon, the Soviet Intelligence community and propaganda apparatus nay decide to begin exploring such options.
Soviet propaganda has at least Indirectly endorsed aspects of liberation theology rhetoric. At the6 meeting of the Working Connittee or the Christian Peace Conrerence, CPC President Bishop Karoly Toth condemned the Roman Catholic hierarchy In Nicaragua for Its opposition to theconsolidation or power by the Sandlnlst government. He expressed dismay that "the orriclal Roman Catholic church-leadership of that country reacts so nervously and negatively to the revolution, as they have shown, and are [elsehwhere] demonstrating understanding and patience to some of the most oppressive regimes." Addressing "the question of the right relationshipevolutionary theology and the Gospel of Jesusoth
Thoseho are involved in the revolutionary struggle and
deeply coaaitted to the cause of the Sandlnlst revolution, IblSho means can be undertood and Interpreted as [being! dependent on and Identified with the ideology of the Sandlnists. These Christians in Nicaragua have decided to go their own way, which leads between apolitical spirituality and total political Identification with the revolutionary Party.
Clearly the aim of such rhetoric is to impart to these "revolutionary" Christians an artificial identity separate and distinct fron that of the secular Sandlnlst regime. It is likely that Soviet propagandists see this movement as being potentially co-opted elsewhere by Soviet surrogates. Addressing the Interaction of religion and politics In the aodern world, Doctor of Philosophical. Kchedlov asserted that clergymen havepositive role" In countries engaged in "anti-colonlal1st liberation struggles." Speaking before the Znaniye Society In Koscow inchedlov spoke favourably about "the growth of leftist trends within religious groups, including antedspecially in Latinclear referrence to the liberation theology movement. While condemning clergymen who "use bourgeois society's institutions to preserve and advance the church's Interests and to conbate praised Individual clerics who have taken up arms alongside communist rebels In Cuba and Nicaragua, and elsewhere In Latin America. The merits of liberation theologyolitical ideology, however, do not yet seem to have been addressed directly by Soviet ideologues. [
Asian CPC official was directed by Moscow to include regional representatives of the World Council of Churches in Its preparations for the Second Asian CPC Regional Asseably in Oiso, Japan in
The CPC has served to help spread the liberation theology movement beyond Its native Latin America on at least one occasion.
the CPC'a rationale for Including the WCC was to facilitate the participation of representatives of the South Korean National Council of Churchesn organization known for its coaaltiient to propagating the liberation theology eoveaent in Asia and the Pacific region. The CPC leadership believed that the South Korean government sight object to KNCC participationoviet-sponsored conference, but would allow KNCC representatives toCC event. The Korean delegation was Indeed permitted to attend the Olso Asseably.
At least one Soviet cleric has established ties with the indigenous Central American liberation theology movement. Inather Izadorsoviet Latvian Franciscan priest, travelled to Nicaraguaember of the Soviet Peace Committee. During his stay, he concelebrated massPopular"andinlsta) Church, and endorsed liberation theology in his sermons andewspaper Interview.
describes Father Openleks as
a Roman Catholic priest in good standing, but "faithful to the Communist
Party, not to the Holy
spies in cassocks:
The French government has repeatedly denied the entry visa applications of Brchblshop(Vladimir Hlkhaylovlch Gundyayev) currently of Smolensk, formerly of the Leningrad suburb ofsecurity reasons, and has Indicated to the Soviet MFA that it Hill refuse all further applications of the Archbishop on the same grounds. While the French governnent may have Irrefutable evidence that Klrlll has engaged in espionage, It is possible that his visa denials are the result of domestic pressure exerted by the
relatively sizeable and influential russian emigre coaounlty in france. the french branch of tho russian orthodox church predates the russian revolution and is not subordinate to the moscow patriarchate.
inpllcatlons and outlook
propagandists appear to be adopting more modest goals forctive measures, and adjusting to longer timetables. theJb^
religious propaganda likewise has become more subtle and audlenci nonetheless, the general content of soviet policy positions and yet remains largely the sane; only the methodology has changed to "soft-sell."
the focus often appears to be less on disseminating soviet propaganda than on developing long-term personal and professional relations with western and third world clergymen. ecent lecture restricted to party propagandists, vadla zagladln, first deputy of the cc international departnent, reportedly encouraged closer ties with non-communist religious peace activists. "christians play an important role in communist parties in manye is quoted as saying. "for example, in france andhe overall cpsu approach to religion should not create obstacles to cooperation with such groups."