Secret Operations of the Soviet Security Services against the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ukraine (1949—1955)
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Secret Operations of the Soviet Security Services against the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ukraine (1949—1955)
Annotation
PII
S207987840016688-5-1
DOI
10.18254/S207987840016688-5
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Tatiana Vagramenko 
Affiliation: University of Barcelona
Address: Spain, Barcelona
Abstract

This article reconstructs the history of one KGB operation against the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ukraine, launched by the Ukrainian security services in 1951. The operation aimed to infiltrate the Jehovah’s Witness underground organization in Ukraine and to organize a Witness country committee as a covert operation. The plan was designed such that the Soviet security service became the head of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization, and the headquarters of the official Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society became a channel in their counter-intelligence operations. This article tells about the failures and unexpected side-effects of the secret operation caused by internal conflicts within the Soviet politics of religion. Paradoxically, in the context of a disintegrated Witness underground network, caused by the post-war deportations and mass arrests, severed communication channels with the Watch Tower Society and the absence of religious literature, the Soviet security service became an alternative communication channel between the faith communities and a source of religious reproduction (including the source of the production of Watch Tower literature). This study dwells upon historical materials from recently opened SBU (former KGB) archives in Ukraine.

Keywords
Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet Ukraine, Soviet secret police, MGB, KGB, agents and informers, surveillance, religious repressions, Soviet secret police archives
Received
30.06.2021
Publication date
15.09.2021
Number of characters
73363
Number of purchasers
2
Views
453
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
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