Slezin A.A. The conflict of generations in the spiritual sphere of rural society in the second half of the 1920s // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2023. V.8. №1. P. 45-66.
The author identifies the anti-religious aspects of the Soviet “turning to the village” policy, focusing on the main directions in the evolution of anti-religious activities of the communist youth in the mid-1920s and on the changes in the value orientations of peasant generations in the critical period of the Russian history. The study aims at assessing the peasantry’s reaction to the “revolutionary turn” generation (born at the turn of the 19th — 20th centuries) activities and the reasons for the generational conflict, based on the analysis of the spiritual sphere of the Russian village. The author argues that this conflict turned into an intergenerational gap in the Russian village, which is an understudied aspect of the village split into antagonistic camps, used by the Party leadership to accelerate socialist modernization. The anti-religious activities of communist organizations after the “turning to the village” policy seemed to significantly soften forms and methods of the work with the peasantry, but a more thorough analysis shows that such activities remained a powerful factor of the conflict. For instance, value orientations of peasant generations were becoming more different. The spiritual legacy, which the “revolutionary turn” generation was to pass on to its successors, was rejected by the younger generation. The “new faith” completely denied the old traditions and irreconcilable theomachism. Peasants of the “revolutionary turn” generation expressed their attitude to anti-religious activities in the form of hooliganism, and radical measures were a response. The study of the national youth movement (including the negative one) and of the features of the intergenerational conflict in the Russian village are of particular relevance in the search for an educational model that meets the contemporary demands of the state and society.
Peasants, religion, generations, revolutionary turn, youth, Komsomol, intergenerational gap, “turning to the village” policy, atheist alliance, NEP.
About the author
Anatoly A. Slezin, DSc (History), Chief Researcher, Tambov State Technical University, Sovetskaya St., 106/5, Tambov, 392000.