This article deals with a radical change in the religious politics of the Soviet government between 1987 and 1988. Then, the celebration of the 1000th Anniversary of the Christianization of Rus’ became not only a Church issue but also an event of great political significance. Additionally, the official visit of Mikhail Gorbachev to the Vatican was designed in this period. The author argues that the communication problems which Gorbachev faced during his negotiations with Ronald Reagan in Geneva, Reykjav?k, and Moscow were the reason for this change. Since the anti-religious policy of the Soviet Union was one of the main obstacles to rapprochement between Reagan’s administration and the Soviet government, Gorbachev and his advisers decided to revise their approach to the Church issues. The author also assumes that Pope John Paul II unofficially played an important role in the negotiations between the US diplomats and the Soviet government. According to the article, the “Holy Alliance” between Reagan and Pope John Paul II had a significant impact on this negotiation process. Gorbachev’s visit to the Vatican was, in the author’s view, a link in the chain of events which led to the changes of Soviet religious politics. The legalization of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church was, according to the author, a price to pay for the normalization of the relationships both with the Vatican and with the USA. Based on recently published and unpublished sources, the author describes this process in a broad historical context and analyze the attitude of both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Holy See towards the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, religious freedom, and the role of religion in the public sphere.
of the CPSU Central Committee Secretariat, Politburo, religious policy, reputation, trust, Holy Synod, "Holy Alliance", Vatican, Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, jubilee, freedom of religion, M. Gorbachev, R. Reagan, John Paul II, K. Kharchev, V. Falin, A. Casaroli, A. Chernyaev
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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
*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.