The Historical Reality of Stalin’s Oppression of Islam

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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.[3] 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.[2][4] 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.[5] Stalin’s Cult of personality, left virtually no place for any religious sentiment.[4][2]

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).[6]

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.[7]

Metal Gear @ October 15, 2009

26 Responses to “The Historical Reality of Stalin’s Oppression of Islam”

  1. Besoshvili Says:

    The mischaracterization of Stalin as a mere bureaucrat was exactly what led to Trotsky’s downfall within the CPSU(B); he (Trotsky) was politically inept compared to Stalin, who was able to unite the Party when confronted with the threat of factionalism, thanks in large part to his dynamic political and organizational skills. But in no way was he simply a bureaucrat who purged state enemies.

    As for the rest of the post – will comment later.

  2. = The Historical Reality of Stalin’s Oppression of Islam = « Black Sea Tatar Says:

    [...] October 16, 2009 in Crimean Tatars NewsTags: crimean, crimeea, crimeeni, kirim, kirimlar, qirim, qirimtatar, rimea, tatar, tatarlar, tatars http://www.freemediaproductions.info/Editorials/2009/10/15/the-historical-reality-of-stalins-oppress… [...]

  3. Metal Gear Says:

    It appears someone liked what I wrote.

  4. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    There was nothing anti-Islamic about these deportations. They also deported the Kalmyks en masse, who were Buddhists, and they had already deported Koreans, Volga Germans, and any other groups in border lands who they thought might be unreliable. And just what the hell is the source for that article? It looks like something out of Wikipedia.

  5. Red St. Just Says:

    It is from Wikipedia; and if you go down below the article and check out the sources, you’ll see exactly where this stuff comes from:

    # ^ Douglas Northrop, Veiled Empire: Gender and Power in Stalinist Central Asia, Cornell University Press, 2004.

    # ^ Robert Conquest, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities

  6. Metal Gear Says:

    So I predicted right.

    Your response is to deny history, and argue that Stalin was a Muslim lover.

  7. Metal Gear Says:

    I’m googling around. http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=181

    Under Stalin, Islam, like Christianity, was ruthlessly repressed.

    Here is another source. http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=181

    I shall try to show that Bolshevik policy from 1917 to the mid-1920s was radically different from the witchhunt that Stalin launched against Islam from 1927, and that in those early years the Bolsheviks welcomed practising Muslims into the Communist Party and pursued large-scale united front work with Islamic organisations.


    During World War II, hundreds of thousands of foreign peoples joined with Hitler’s legions to bring theirs people into special status in Hitler’s New Order. Tens of thousands among them were Muslims, where the majority of them came from Soviet Union. Under the banner of the crescent and the swastika, these Soviet Muslims believe to become holy warriors to liberated (spelling error) theirs land. But the end of this unholy alliance was a disaster for them.

    If your goal is to shift the image of Stalinism to Islamic paradise, then good luck. People aren’t that stupid and nobody will take you seriously. I am not intentionally selecting Trotsky sources but just googling and posting what I’m finding.

    Another thing, I 100% support Stalin’s anti-religious activism that Lenin did not engage in. The fact that it deviates doesn’t matter to me.

  8. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    Robert Conquest…heh heh.. But seriously, what I try to explain to people like you Metal Gear, is that you don’t gain knowledge on this stuff by Googling. Unless you find some scholarly study in PDF format, you are going to need to leave your house, go to a library or bookstore, and start spending some money on books, checking the author’s credentials, comparing their findings with others, and checking their primary sources. The internet cannot make experts of people.

  9. Metal Gear Says:

    How could Stalin rule the way he did (extremely authoritarian, purging every political opponent) and not oppress religious movements.

    Remember people could use Mosques to plot the overthrow of the Government.

    Even Saddam Hussein, who pretended to support Islam, really oppressed it. You really can’t have an atheistic dictatorship (or a Communist party with a clear leader) and not inevitably have to oppress religious movements.

    Lenin was a “softer” leader than Stalin.

  10. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    Bizarre question, yet had you done your research you would have found that just as restrictions on the Orthodox Church were eased during the war, so were those on Islam, and many Mosques reopened, imams exhorted followers’ duty to defend the motherland, and Islamic communities raised money for the front and for weapons.

    Nor did Stalin purge every political opponent as you claim.

    Your claims here are too black-and-white and ahistorical.

  11. Metal Gear Says:

    Frankly, I don’t trust you or even Beria on issues regarding USSR and Islam. You guys have too much of a fedish for Islam and distort history to fit your fedish. The general feeling towards Stalin, as expressed by both his supporters and Islamic groups who hate him (and most hate him), is that his atheism and cult of personality affected the practice of religion.

    I may enjoy your company as people, but you guys have ulterior motives. Lenin may have initially supported “Islamic affirmative action” but that was a pragmatic welcoming measure. As soon as they remained Muslims instead of materialists, eventually it hurt them. It was practicing Jews, Orthodox Christians too. And yes the Tzars persecuted Muslims too so maybe relatively they were less persecuted but Stalin still persecuted them (rightfully).

  12. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    What the fuck would we know, we’ve just spent a better portion of our lives actually reading scholarly works about Stalin as well as the man’s own writings, and I can’t speak for Berianidze but I am damn sure I have a solid working knowledge of the USSR’s actions in WWII.

    What do you have? Wikipedia and Robert Conquest. Furthermore, I don’t have any kind of fetish for Islam. What you fail to understand, is that history does not bend to what you want to believe, and you can’t shoehorn people’s actions into your own self-constructed framework.

    I suggest you post on the topic of Stalin after a minimum of reading Stalin: A New History.

  13. Metal Gear Says:

    It doesn’t matter how much you read. Every Christian preacher reads and I still think they are idiots who don’t know history and make it up to fit their religion. I could read the bible for 5 minutes and understand it more than they do in their entire lifetime of distortion. Congratulations, you went to Borders or Barnes and Noble. Perhaps you deserve a phd.

    Liars read. Liars write too and well intentioned people (sometimes) believe them. Liars often claim to be the most well read, to mask the fact that they are lying. As much as I don’t dislike you and beria, you have motives to lie. Your motive is that you hate “right wing fascism” and think Stalin oppressing religion makes him more like a fascist and Beria’s motive is his positive disposition towards Islam and the fact that many of his comrades are Muslims or at least clever sympathizers who pretend to be.

  14. Metal Gear Says:


    Here’s some “book reading” though incomplete.

  15. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    No matter how much you try to rewrite the rules of epistomology it isn’t going to work. In fact, the page of the one book you posted actually supported precisely what I said in so many words.

    There is a difference between simply reading stuff, and study. Study means you keep track of the latest academic works of real historians. You read their papers and books on the same subject and compare them, taking into account the evidence to support each claim. When something isn’t clear, you track down that author and e-mail them about it and they will usually happily clarify any misunderstandings.

    Till you understand that all your pronouncements about what Stalin was or wasn’t is just a layman’s opinion that tends to be at odds with the facts. This would be a good time to take a step back, stop writing, and start reading. I know there is at least one person out there who wishes someone cared enough to smack him upside the head like this before he published embarassing articles.

  16. Metal Gear Says:

    So you admit that Stalin oppressed religion until WWII where he downplayed it so he could get people to join the army?

  17. Besoshvili Says:

    Stalin didn’t oppress religion; the decision was made with the approval of the politburo to relocate potentially questionable nationalities from regions close to the front – a very important security measure. This is not religious repression.

  18. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    The Bolsheviks’initial position on religion was quite simple- it was to be a personal matter, and the land of the churches and mosques were to become peoples’ property. Alas, as much as major religions claim that they are about having a personal relationship with god, they did not like this pronouncement one bit, particularly the Orthodox Church. Religious fanatics resisted, religious fanatics lost. End of story.

    More importantly, if we are speaking of deportations, several non-Muslim groups were relocated before and during the war, which I have already alluded to.

  19. Metal Gear Says:

    Another person joins the club of the obvious, or the club that realizes that Marxism is antagonistic towards religion (rightfully).

    When discussing with Marxist-Leninists, it is common to find they uphold the banner of anti-imperialism and profess to be the vanguard of the oppressed peoples of the world. Yet, should we not consider Marxist oppression of religious practice oppressive in itself? When Enver Hoxha came to power in Albania, he tried to do away with Islam and Christianity, he closed the Masjids and Churches or converted them to other purposes. In China during the reign of Mao Zedong, several Taoist, Christian and Islamic buildings were also destroyed. It is known that during the Cultural Revolution, some Masjids were used to feed pigs or for Marxist meetings. Similarly the Soviet Union never looked favourably on religion and if I am not mistaken, during the early days of the revolution several of the Clergymen had to surrender their faith or face execution. The Soviets also oppressed the Muslims both within their own borders and in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. If Marxists truly uphold liberty and self-determation, why do they put down religion to the extent that they do?

  20. Metal Gear Says:

    “Marxism is a materialist worldview and so is thoroughly atheist. But because it understands religion to have roots in oppression and alienation, Marxist political parties don’t demand that their members or supporters are atheists too. So atheism was never included in the Bolsheviks’ programme.”

    True as far as it goes, and a reasonable corrective to the Stalinist attitude of “enlightenment by force”, but one-sided. Where is the recognition of religion as institutional oppression? In painting Islam purely as the “cry of the oppressed”, he glosses over its role as oppressor itself. This becomes important later when Crouch talks about the attitude of the Bolsheviks to religious schools. It’s impossible not to read his words, from our 21st-century perspective, as a “Bolshevik” defence of religious education.

    Here is another accusation that Stalin’s position on religion was unmarxist (and frankly fairly fascist).

  21. Metal Gear Says:

    Stalin seems to have been much more anti-Islamic than Lenin.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    I agree with you 100% solid analysis metal gear.

  23. Metal Gear Says:


    My article is fairly high in google and believe it or not, I’m not writing the comments that agree with me or writing the articles that agree with me on the other blogs.

    It seems most people agree with me.

  24. Metal Gear Says:

    This was a troll post by the way. Me and Beso agreed to have me “play” the right wing reactionary, to “disrupt” things a bit.

    I disagree with basically everything in this post, except realistically I do think Stalin ruled with an iron fist over everyone including Muslims.

  25. Palestinian By Proxy | American-Rattlesnake Says:

    [...] it’s possible that militant Stalinists and those who want to eradicate any remnant of Judaism from the Jewish State might be able to [...]

  26. Tony McDouglas Says:


    The policy of Stalin was not friendly towards Islam. It is a fact that under him many mosques were closed. Imams were also persecuted.

    Furthermore, the reopening of mosques and churches during the war is not a sign that of any accommodation of Islam by Stalin. Instead it was a pragmatic move to ensure the support of the people.

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