The Secret Police and the Religious Underground in Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe  book cover
1st Edition

The Secret Police and the Religious Underground in Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe

ISBN 9780367279998
Published August 13, 2021 by Routledge
354 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book addresses the complex intersection of secret police operations and the formation of the religious underground in communist-era Eastern Europe. It discusses how religious groups were perceived as dangerous to the totalitarian state whilst also being extremely vulnerable and yet at the same time very resourceful. It explores how this particular dynamic created the concept of the "religious underground" and produced an extremely rich secret police archival record. In a series of studies from across the region, the book explores the historical and legal context of secret police entanglement with religious groups, presents case studies on particular anti-religious operations and groups, offers methodological approaches to the secret police materials for the study of religions, and engages in contemporary ethical and political debates on the legacy and meaning of the archives in post-communism. 

Table of Contents

Introduction: Reframing the Religious Underground James A. Kapaló and Kinga Povedák Section One – Constructing the Enemy: Historical and Legal Contexts 1. Shifting images of a harmful sect: Operations against Inochentism in Soviet Ukraine, 1920-23 Dumitru Lisnic 2. Visualizing Invisible Dissent: Red-Dragonists, Conspiracy and the Soviet Secret Police Tatiana Vagramenko 3. The Legal Context of Religious Activities in Hungary between 1945 and 1989/90 Szilvia Köbel 4. Turning Religious Practices into Political Guilt: Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Narratives of the Securitate Files Corneliu Pintilescu 5. A Coercive Political Environment as Place of Testimony: Jehovah’s Witnesses in the era of State Socialism in Hungary, 1948-1989 Éva Petrás Section Two – Anti-religious Operations 6. Soviet State Security and the Cold War: Repression and Agent Infiltration of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the Moldavian SSR, 1944-late 1950s Igor Casu 7. The Secret Police and the Marian Apparition: Actions of the Polish Security Service Against the Miracle of Zabłudów in 1965 Maciej Krzywosz 8. Acting in the Underground: Life as a Hare Krishna Devotee in the Soviet Republic of Lithuania (1979–1989) Rasa Pranskevičiūtė-Amoson 9. Between Simplification and Absurdity: The Czech Protestant Milieu, "New Orientation" and the Secret Police Ondřej Matějka Section Three – Methodological Approaches to Religions in the Secret Police Archives 10. Secret Police Informer Files as Sources for the Study of Vernacular Religion under Communism Ágnes Hesz 11. Photographs of the Religious Underground: Tracing images between Archives and Communities Kinga Povedák 12. Feasting and Fasting: The Evidential Character of Material Religion in Secret Police Archives James A. Kapaló Section Four - Secret Police Archives in Postcommunism: Politics, Ethics and Communities 13. Studying the Postwar History of the Religious Denominations in Romanian Archives after 1989 Cristian Vasile 14. The Possibility of Research of Religious Minorities in the Secret Police Archives in the Former Yugoslavia Aleksandra Djurić Milovanović 15. If sex were a factor… The Securitate Archives and issues of morality in Documents Related to Religious Life Anca Șincan 16. Redeeming Memory: Neo-Protestant Churches and the Secret Police Archives in Romania Iuliana Cindrea-Nagy

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James A. Kapaló is a Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions, University College Cork, Ireland.

Kinga Povedák is a Research Fellow on the MTA-SZTE ‘Convivence’ Religious Pluralism Research Group at the University of Szeged, Hungary.