Soviet religion policy through religious dissidents from Leonid Brezhnev to Mikhail Gorbachev : a comparative study of Aida Skripnikova and Valeri Barinov.
In an attempt to eradicate belief in God and religion from the lives of its citizens, the Soviet Union arrested, tried, and imprisoned thousands of religious believers during its seventy-year reign. Two of the most influential of these believers were Aida Skripnikova and Valeri Barinov. Skripnikova, arrested and tried on three separate occasions beginning in the mid-1960s, was known for her zealous work and tireless efforts to help other religious prisoners. Barinov, arrested numerous times in the early 1980s, utilized his musical talent to evangelize the youth in Leningrad. Spanning nearly two decades, Skripnikova and Barinov witnessed four changes in Soviet leadership from Leonid Brezhnev to Mikhail Gorbachev. By examining Skripnikova’s and Barinov’s lives and trials, an understanding, and perhaps even a pattern of liberalization, can be seen in the religion policy of the Soviet Union from Brezhnev to Gorbachev.