Media, Propaganda and Religion

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  • Media, Propaganda and Religion
    • Communism and Religion
      • Lenin and Khrushchev were committed to the destruction of religion, Stalin was pragmatic, Brezhnev willing to rethink relationship between communism and Islam
      • Lenin and early Marx supporters believed religion was an enemy. 'Opium of the masses', revolution should liberate working people from capitalism and delusion of religion
      • Lenin was critical of Orthodox Church, was a friend of Tsar, and extremely rich, government was suspicious because religion opposed communist values, independent of communist government so could organised opposition, Therefore state tended to oppress religion
      • Lenin reflected two different moves; commitment to equality of all people, and a terror campaign on the church
        • 1917 Land Decree gave peasants rights so seize church lands, 1918 separation of church and state meant no privilege, no subsidies and nationalization of property, 1922 conscience for people guaranteed
      • Lenin terrorized church; Arch priest murdered, Orthodox priests massacred, Metropolitan tortured and shot
      • Communism was less antagonistic towards Islam as it had no links to Tsar
        • However in 1920; closed mosques, discouraged pilgrimage, attacked Shrines, campaigned against Islamic clothing, opened anti Islam muesli - Because 'crimes based on custom' and loyalty of Aisa
      • Stalin was pragmatic when dealing with religion, closed churches and mosques because of resistance, purged religious groups who resisted
        • In war Stalin made a pragmatic alliance with church; national identity link, comfort for dead, encouragement in battle
        • In WW2; anti religious propaganda stopped, religious figures given residency, ended the war of censorship, re open churches -  in return for naming Stalin Gods chosen savior
      • Khrushchev approach was more hard line, revived anti religious campaign, church attendance was a form of resistance, claiming communism would end in a generation
        • Anti religious campaign introduced; church closure, propaganda, anti religious magazines, closure of roman catholic monasteries, surveillance, denied access to holy sites
        • Used space program to attack religion, no God found, focus on stopping women believers, reforms succeeded in lowering religion but not destroying it due to resistance of mainly women
      • Brezhnev backtracked from Khrushchev, church closures stopped, promoted atheism rather than attacking. Promoted teaching of atheism, supported anti US Islam groups, believing it to compatible with socialism, religious numbers stayed the same
    • Personality Cults
      • Cult of Lenin led to trust in his leadership, future leaders looked to Lenin's legacy to legitimize their actions
      • Cult of Stalin served political purpose, showed him as heroic genius, trustworthy successor of Lenin, blamed failures on local leaders
      • Cult was told with the myth of two leaders emphasizing the role Stalin played in revolution and his closeness with Lenin; history was edited, paintings altered, photos changed. This removed opposition
      • The Vohdz turned Stalin into an infallible celebrated figure, Vohdz meant leader, powers had no obvious limit, Stalins birthday became a national holiday
      • Generalissimo was Stalins cult after WW2, showing him as a war leader, not only a revolutionary thinker, but a military genius, the man who defeated Hitler
      • Khrushchev 'Lenin lives' used to show his qualities in Khrushchev, founded on Lenins revolution rather than Stalins terror. (Lenin was shown as approachable, humane)
        • Khrushchev was; disciple of lenin, responsible for modern success, respected statesman, hero of war, authority on art, science etc, great reformer
          • This cult backfired as his celebrated associated success backfired and failed
      • Cult of Brezhnev showed him as pragmatic; A great Leninist, Military hero, dedicated to ensure world peace, true man of the people
        • Cult of Brezhnev backfired, army role was overstated, army was big not peaceful, he lived a luxurious life, joked about, people were cynical
      • Cult helped Lenin and Stalin retain power, yet after that sustaining cult was much harder, later leaders caught out, not believable
    • State Control of Mass Media and Propaganda
      • Lenin viewed press and media as central to advancing revolution and communist ideas.
        • Lenin government controlled press by; Decree of Press (emergency powers that closed down opposition), State monopoly of media, Nationalised telegraph (electric news), established press tribunal to censor people, establish news distribution
      • Economic controls under War communism allowed government control of media
      • Early propaganda was pluralistic, Lenin dislike government propaganda, however a cult appeared of Lenin after a failed assassination attempt, comparing him to Christ
      • Lenin was shown with a cap, in a simple message, as a kind leader, statues were made, in 1920's shown as man of people, humane leader, Lenin disliked this but understood the importance
      • Cult of books occurred in 1922, special holding libraries were made 'book gulags'
      • Stalin purged opposition media, edited Lenin's writings, Soviet history re written, bad news restrictions enforced (even bad weather!), cult of Stalin turned him into divine figure, realist art, perfect society
      • Under Khrushchev and Brezhnev, media changed, consumer magazines published showing failures with Soviet society (women & consumer issues)
        • Khrushchev did not censor, it made its own campaigns about people who caused problems (e.g drunks)
      • Soviet cinema and television liberalised media, but focused on communist victory
        • Brezhnev used TV to hide truth. Showed off leadership (he was old)
      • Lost control of printing media, kgb tried to stop but western magazine appeared that undermined soviet


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