Filippov Boris

How the monopoly of “scientific atheism” in Soviet social science was ruined

Filippov Boris (2022) "How the monopoly of “scientific atheism” in Soviet social science was ruined ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2022, vol. 104, pp. 107-122 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI2022104.107-122


As an integral part of Marxism-Leninism, scientific atheism was being protected fromcriticism with the help of an information blockade. Teaching its basics (from 1959) in higher education institutions formed such a theoretical attitude to religion, which practically excluded from the socio-cultural and scientific space any full-fledged knowledge about religion, religious institutions, religious figures and thinkers. But if atheism in the USSR was planted using the full power of ideological services and the entire system of higher education of the country, then resistance to it was an individual matter. And it remained so throughout the entire Soviet period. Realizing the negative attitude of society towards the anti-religious and anti-church campaigns, Soviet leaders stopped to destruct churches. Shortly after the fall of N. Khrushchev, the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments (VOOPiK) was created, which began to be legal opposition to anti-church policy. Since the late 60s , religious samizdat has begun to develop. Our article is devoted to two special cases from the history of destruction in the scientific space of the information blockade on religious and ecclesiastical matters. This blockade breakthrough was carried out by employees of two major Soviet ideological institutes: the editorial office of the Philosophical Encyclopedia and the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the USSR Academy of Sciences (INION of the USSR Academy of Sciences). Preparation of The Philosophical Encyclopedia started during the years of the anti-religious and anti-church campaign. It seemed that the situation itself excluded any resistance to the ideological policy of the CPSU. But it was in this edition that the young philosophers, led by Renata Galtseva, with their articles on Russian religious philosophy, dealt a tangible blow to the monopoly of scientific atheism. The second blow was inflicted by INION employees with their abstract collections. They managed to show what role religion and churches have played and continue to play in people's lives, in socialist countries including. The author was a contemporary, and in some cases a participant in the events described in the article.


scientific atheism, information blockade, individual resistance, Philosophical Encyclopedia, Institute of Scientific Information, abstract collections, "samizdat", religious revival.s


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Information about the author

Filippov Boris

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for Humanities; 23B Novokuznetskaia Str., Moscow 115184, Russian Federation;
Post: professor;
ORCID: 0000-0001-8250-3688;
Email: boris-philipov@yandex.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.


In memory of Renata Galtseva