Polit Buro and the Church

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  Politburo And The Church, Kremlin Archives

N. Petrovsky, S.G. Petrov

Letter from L. D. Trotsky to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) with proposals on measures for the confiscation of church valuables adopted by the Politburo. March 23, 1922

No. 23-25 *

March 23, 1922



1)                   Immediately allocate a million rubles for the confiscated church valuables to get bread for the hungry. Publicize this as a first appropriation.

2)                   Comrade. Kalinin summon one of the loyal bishops, for example Antonin, and involve him in the work of keeping records of the confiscated church values (as a specialist). Notify widely about this. 3) Comrade. Kalinin to be interviewed with the following content:

a)                   the seizure of valuables is by no means a struggle with religion and the church. The Pomgol Central Committee is quite ready to render assistance to believers in the acquisition of these or other items of religious use, in exchange for the confiscated values.

b)                  Quite apart from the question of religion, the clergy in the matter of confiscating values is clearly divided into two groups: One considers it necessary to provide help to the starving people from those church values that were created by the people themselves, and the other is clearly anti-national, greedy and predatory.

c)                   This second group, very numerous, having taken a hostile position in relation to the starving peasantry, thereby occupied a hostile position in relation to the Soviet regime. Refusing to help the starving people under all sorts of hypocritical pretexts and with Jesuit tricks, the ruling part of the clergy is at the same time engaged in clearly criminal counter-revolutionary agitation against the Soviet regime.

d)                  The decree on the confiscation of valuables arose on the initiative of the peasants of the starving provinces, the broad non-party masses and the Red Army. And now the multimillion-dollar masses from all sides demand the full and firm implementation of the decree. The fight against the decree is being waged by a handful of princes of the church and former merchants, contractors, and retired officials who support them, who often run the affairs of groups of believers. The overwhelming majority of believers are entirely on the side of the decree on the confiscation of valuables.

e)                   In response to the vicious and criminal statements of counterrevolutionaries that the collected values will not go to the aid of the starving peasants and their farms, the Central Committee of Pomgol, both in the center and through its local bodies, involves them in accounting and control over the expenditure of the collected church values, both loyal priests and lay believers.

f)                    1 * Without interfering as before in the affairs of the church, the Soviet government will not allow, of course, that the group of church princes, which previously always went along with the tsar, his ministers, landowners, nobles, capitalists, now wage a counterrevolutionary struggle against the power of the workers and peasants. The power of the king, the landowners and the bourgeoisie overthrown by the working people, not in order to allow the princes of the church to break and call for violation of Soviet laws issued for saving the lives of millions of starving peasants, peasant women and their children 20 .

4)  Allocate 10 billion in Soviet money for the costs of the seizure.

5)  The entire party press makes wide use of the fact reported 2 * in Izvestia under the heading "Reverend Smugglers" 21 . Write a number of articles. Repeat from day to day. Call for the preservation of church values plundered by a gang of priests, etc. and so on. L. TROTSKY.

23.III.22 g.

-  L. 37-38. Certified typewritten copy made simultaneously with l. 39 (No. 23-26).

-  L. 41-42. Another certified copy of the same typewritten bookmark.

-  APRF, f. 3, op. 1, d.268, l. 22-23- Draft minutes No. 116 of the Politburo meeting. Typewritten original, signature - facsimile. On l. 22 top left of the poll results records:

1)    "For - Stalin" (in purple ink by the secretary's hand);

2)    "For - Molotov" (autograph in red ink);

3)    "For L. Kamenev" (autograph in red pencil). Above is a handwritten litter referring to the ordinance

Politburo, minutes No. 116, item 17 of March 23, 1922 (No. 23-26). Below is a stamp about the document's belonging to the office work of the Politburo meeting, minutes No. 8, item 11 of May 26, 1922 (No. 2349). On l. 23 stamp of the Secret Archives of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) with an inventory number. Address at the beginning of the document: "IN THE POLITBURO". Above is printed: "P [ochto] -T [elegram] No." and handwritten "209".

Notes and Comments:

The file contains an undated cover letter on the letterhead of the Central Committee of the RCP (b), sent from the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) on behalf of VM Molotov “to vote” “To all members of the Politburo, Comrade Vol. Kamenev, Stalin, Zinoviev "signed by Deputy Secretary of the Politburo MN Burakova. (L. 40).

1   * Fixed in document g).

2   * Fixed in message document .

20                                         V GARF, f. 1235, op. 58, d. 38, l. 331-332 and 333-334 are two typewritten copies of the same bookmark under the heading “Values for the Hungry. (Conversation with the Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Central Committee of Pomgol, Comrade MI Kalinin) ". The content of the document fully complies with the instructions of L. D. Trotsky about an interview with Kalinin, approved on March 23, 1922, by a resolution of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) (No. 23-25, 23-26). Both texts are without date and signature. There is also a cover letter (vacation) sent on March 25, 1922 "by order of the Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, comrade KALININ", signed by the Secretary of the Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, addressed to the newspapers Poor, RABOCHY, RABOCHAYA MOSCOW and

KOMMUNIST with a request to "print it (conversation. - Comp.) In your newspaper on 26 / III-s / g. " (GARF, f. 1235, op. 58, d. 38, l. 330).

On March 25, 1922, this text was published in Izvestia of the AllRussian Central Executive Committee (No. 68) under the heading Fight against hunger. Values for the starving. "

21                                         Leonid Trotsky had in mind the article "The Reverend" Smugglers "by Mikhail Gorev (MV Galkin), published along with four other notes under the general heading" Towards the Seizure of Church Valuables "under the heading" Fighting Hunger "in Izvestia AllRussian Central Executive Committee "dated March 23, 1922 (No. 66). This note reported that on March 8, 1922, at the Inza station, in a train from Samara, agents of the" local Ortochek "detained three passengers with large hand luggage. Church liturgical objects made of precious metals were found. The arrested passengers "in the premises of Inzenskaya Ortochek" according to the documents presented turned out to be priests of the Samara province - Rybakov and Smirnov, and the third - Gorbunov - "either a member of the parish council, or the head of one of the churches of Samara province." the opinion of "Samara Justice Bodies",who initiated an investigation into this case, the “reverend” company ”went to Minsk to“ transport things abroad. ”Based on the above, the author of the note concluded that the three passengers accidentally discovered were just one link in“ a large organization, consisting of priests and members of kulak parish councils, engaged in the systematic purchase of church gold and silver in a hungry land and pumping it abroad. "engaged in the systematic purchase of church gold and silver in a hungry land and pumping it abroad. "engaged in the systematic purchase of church gold and silver in a hungry land and pumping it abroad. "