Polit Buro and the Church

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  Politburo And The Church, Kremlin Archives

N. Petrovsky, S.G. Petrov

Cipher telegram of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) to the provincial executive committees and the provincial committees of the RCP (b) on the fight against robbery of church valuables. April 2, 1922

No. 23-36

April 2, 1922




Moscow on April 2, the first connection with the confiscation of church valuables, cases of robbery, theft from churches, have become more frequent. robbery embezzlement pt W [o] swarm the attitude of already taken place robbery embezzlement aristocratic priests and persons who signed agreements to bring them to court for embezzlement of the people's property pt 35 Third, when confiscating church valuables, sometimes it is necessary to leave full-fledged objects in churches due to the fact that there are no lowvalue points to replace their objects.The replacement should be made in the widest possible sizes using free low-value objects from other churches and monasteries of the province. Also, the former shops of church utensils.



-                      L. 52. Typewritten copy of that time, certified by the deputy head of the cipher bureau of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) S.F. Chechulin. Below is a handwritten note about the mailing: "from No. 2029 / sh to No. 2097 / sh inclusive." The formula " Encrypted " in the same handwriting . Secrecy formula stamped.

-                      G ARF, f. 1235, op. 140, d.59, l. 21. Typewritten copy of that time, signed by A. G. Beloborodov. His hand at the bottom of the litter: “Signed on 5.IV and sent to Comrade Ikonnikov. A. B [eloborodov] " and the last phrase in the text " Also ... utensils. " Above the typewritten formula: 1) " Secret "; 2) " cipher ". The last sentence of the text is missing the word “free”.

-                      Published without semantic discrepancies with the date April 4, 1922: Badelin V.I. Gold of the Church ... p. 161, 162.

Notes and Comments:

35 This Directive was initiated by the GPU and the Bureau of the Central CICC. At the meeting of the Bureau on March 31, 1922, which took place with the active participation of Unshlikht (protocol No. 5), a resolution was adopted on clause 5 "On robberies from churches": , to give directives to the localities so that local executive committees oblige the priests and chairmen of church councils who signed an agreement that they are responsible primarily for robberies and embezzlement from theirs (sic! - Comp.)churches. In relation to the churches in which robberies have already been discovered, arrest the priests and the persons who signed the agreements. The Moscow Commission to carry out this measure immediately. Suggest to local executive committees to give orders on guarding churches ”- GARF, f. 1235, op. 140, d.59, l. 36. Orders for the urgent organization of such processes were sent to the localities through the GPU.

On April 6, 1922, the Bureau of the Central CICC heard the question “On the establishment of a process in connection with thefts from churches” (Minutes Ks 7, p. 9). Decided: “To instruct the GPU to speed up the setting up of the proceedings on thefts in churches in connection with the confiscation of church [church] valuables. To ask the GPU and the Moscow State Pedagogical University to strengthen the intelligence work in churches during the holidays. To instruct the GPU of all the Participants to confiscate those guilty of embezzlement of valuables to immediately prosecute the Military Collegium of the Revolutionary Tribunal, who, behind closed doors, immediately investigate the case and issue appropriate decisions. In cases of provocation, the case is subject to publication in the press ”- ibid, l. 38-rev.

On April 20, 1922, the Bureau of the Central CICC decided (Minutes No. 10, item 2) "to propose to the People's Commissariat of Justice to issue a circular on the responsibility of church councils for church property"; in the event of the sale of this property, it was proposed, along with a criminal case, to initiate a civil suit and to recover from the property of the defendants, that is, all members of the church council. Recall that the fact of embezzlement was determined by comparing the available church items with pre-revolutionary statements - ibid., Fol. 41. See also comm. 21 to d. 23.