The Historical Reality of Stalin’s Oppression of Islam
It really seems Stalin was primarily a bureaucrat who purged state enemies rather than class enemies, meaning that his main goal was to eliminate threats rather than promote class unity across religious lines. In that respect, Trotsky was theoretically “right” (but didn’t know how to run a country). Of course if your ideology is right winged like me, then that is good instead of bad. For people who are convinced that Stalin was the most logical follower of Lenin and Marx, and that the true Marxist line closely mirrors the true Islamic line, this post is bad news.
The only real defense people on the other side of the debate can make is to either deny history, disagree with this aspect of Stalin’s legacy or argue that material conditions justified Stalin’s actions but do not currently justify opposition to Islam due to the position of American imperialism and the non-existence of the Soviet State (lesser evils).
If they chose the last approach, they would have to concede that if Communism had the strength it did before 1989, then opposition to Islam would be logical.
When Joseph Stalin consolidated power in the second half of 1920s, his religion policy changed. Mosques were closed or turned into warehouses throughout Central Asia (comment by metal gear : this is technocracy). Religious leaders were persecuted, religious schools were closed down and Waqf’s were outlawed. The Soviet government took the Paranji veil that the women wore (as part of the Islamic Hijab interpretation of Modesty) as evidence that the Muslim women were oppressed, and began the Hujum to try and forcefully remove it. This backfired, and the veil became more popular than ever among the workers, whereas prior to this was mostly used by the middle, wealthier classes. Stalin’s Cult of personality, left virtually no place for any religious sentiment.
Stalin also forcibly moved Chechens and several other small nationalities residing primarily in southwestern Russia (Crimean Tatars, Balkars, Karachais, Meshketian Turks, Kalmyks and others) from their homelands during World War II, lest they rise up against him in favour of Nazi Germany (comment by Metal Gear : everyone knows that).
During Stalin’s reign, Crimean Tatar Muslims were victims of mass deportation. The deportation had begun on 17 May 1944 in all Crimean inhabited localities. More than 32,000 NKVD troops participated in this action. 193,865 Crimean Tatars were deported, 151,136 of them to Uzbek SSR, 8,597 to Mari ASSR, 4,286 to Kazakh SSR, the rest 29,846 to the various oblasts of RSFSR.
From May to November 10,105 Crimean Tatars died of starvation in Uzbekistan (7% of deported to Uzbek SSR). Nearly 30,000 (20%) died in exile during the year and a half by the NKVD data and nearly 46% by the data of the Crimean Tatar activists. According to Soviet dissident information, many Crimean Tatars were made to work in the large-scale projects conducted by the Soviet GULAG system.