Recent Pravda articles show the government is alarmed over the continued influence of religion.

As the Soviet Union celebrates the sixty-seventh anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, the country’s battle against religion shows no signs of letting up. The Soviet press is calling for more intensified atheistic propaganda, according to Keston College, a center that studies religion in Communist lands.

In June 1983, the Central Committee Plenum of the Communist party voted to redouble the government’s atheistic propaganda efforts. Pravda, the central committee newspaper, published two articles in October that outlined the shortcomings of the effort to promote atheism. The articles’ front-page position indicated the high level of government concern over the observance of religious rites among Soviet citizens, especially among youth.

The first article asserted that Soviet workers need to be “armed” with scientific-materialist ideology supported by firm atheist convictions to fulfill their role as defined by the Communist party. The article acknowleged that a “significant section” of the populace is still under the influence of religion. The campaign to instill atheism must concentrate on young people, the article said. It suggested that atheist education be unified with the moral, political, aesthetic, and labor education of the youth. In addition, Pravda suggested that propagandists should observe the Leninist dictum that “we should struggle against religion armed by our ideology … making use of our press and the power of the written word.”

Several cities and regions were cited for shortcomings in atheist education. The town of Vladimir, one of Russia’s most ancient centers of Christianity, was mentioned along with the Lvov region ...

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