The Image of the Enemy: the True Orthodox Church in the Photographs of the Soviet Secret Police
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The Image of the Enemy: the True Orthodox Church in the Photographs of the Soviet Secret Police
Annotation
PII
S207987840021690-8-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Tatiana Vagramenko 
Affiliation: University College Cork — National University of Ireland
Address: Ireland, Cork
Abstract

This article focuses on the formation of the image of the “ecclesiastic-monarchist underground” and “True Orthodox church” as reflected in the documents and photographs produced by the Soviet secret police during the late-1920s to the late-1950s. The concept of the “True Orthodox church”, as an incrimination in criminal cases against religious believers, was developed on the pages of penal files, agent-operational files, secret reports and manuals of the secret police. It, however, oftentimes had little in common with the historical phenomenon of the catacomb True Orthodox church. The Soviet system framed popular religious traditions as political resistance and counterrevolutionary conspiracy in visual terms, a process in which the secret police too played an important role. The research integrates into the scholarship previously unknown archival documents, photographs, charts and photocollages pertaining to criminal cases against the alleged followers of the True Orthodox church. The analysis of this visual material discloses the internal mechanisms of knowledge production, when the secret police photograph served as a kind of “ideological blueprint” and when it was subject to manipulation, the purpose of which was to expose the enemy and to prove the crime.

Keywords
True Orthodox church, Soviet secret police, photography, secret police archives, religious repressions, the Soviet period
Received
08.06.2022
Publication date
31.08.2022
Number of characters
84886
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0
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99
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