The Adventures of a Jesuit in Russia: how the Soviet Government Fought with Father Edmund Walsh (1922—1923)
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The Adventures of a Jesuit in Russia: how the Soviet Government Fought with Father Edmund Walsh (1922—1923)
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Evgenia Tokareva 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

The unprecedented famine that swept the southern regions of Russia in 1921—1922 forced the Soviet government to turn to the Western powers for help. The work of foreign aid missions in Russia contributed to the improvement of the economic situation in the country and became one of the factors that led to the beginning of its exit from isolation and the establishment of international contacts. However, the attitude of the Soviet authorities to the aid missions was far from unambiguous. The Soviet authorities could hardly put up with the presence of representatives of Western powers on the territory of Russia. The work of the missions was hindered in every possible way, their employees were suspected of espionage and counter-revolutionary activities. To the greatest extent, this concerned the Papal Famine Relief Mission, which worked in the country for two years, from August 1922 to September 1924. The presence of its members, who belonged to four Catholic orders (Jesuits, Salesians, Verbites, and Claretians), was especially undesirable in the years when religious persecutions were unfolding in the country and the first major trials of the Orthodox and Catholic clergy took place. The head of the Mission, the American Jesuit Fr. Edmund Walsh caused particular anger of the Soviet authorities because he reported unfavourable information to the Vatican and tried to intervene at the time of the greatest pressure on the Catholic clergy. The article describes the incidents that have become the most characteristic and indicative of the attitude of the Soviet authorities to Walsh. The article uses materials from the archives of the Catholic Church (the Archive of the 2nd section of the Vatican State Secretariat, the Historical Archive of the Society of Jesus, the Central Archive of the Salesian Order), as well as the Archive of Georgetown University (USA) and several Russian archives (the Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, the State Archive of the Russian Federation).

Vatican, USSR, Papal Famine Relief Mission, the Jesuits, the Salesians
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