CLIO FINAL - page 24

move their veil at gunpoint. All over Central Asia,
women wore the veil as a sign of defiance, creating
a symbol of resistance against the government, and
making the veil, which had previously been worn al-
most exclusively by the Muslimmiddle class, more
popular than it had been before with the working
During the 1930s and 1940s, the depor-
tation of potentially troublesome ethnic groups
was a technique frequently carried out by Josef
Stalin’s government. One major example of this is
Operation Lentil, the expulsion of the Chechen and
Ingush peoples from the caucuses on the basis of
alleged collaboration with Nazi Germany during the
German occupation of Crimea. Just under 200,000
Crimean Muslims were deported, half of the total
Chechen population. Several Muslim groups such as
Chechens were scattered by deportation, leading to
a diaspora, with many settling in theWest.
When Stalin died in 1953, a two year power
struggle took place, with Nikita Khrushchev emerg-
ing victorious. During this struggle, Khrushchev
delivered his “Secret Speech”, denouncing Stalin
and heralding a less oppressive Soviet Union. How-
ever, Khrushchev, held very radical views towards
religion. In 1959, he began a vicious campaign of
religious abolition. This involved oppressive laws
and campaigns, including restrictions on parents
raising their children in a religious fashion, banning
pilgrimages and circumcision, and the destruction
of many places of faith; under Khrushchev, 3567
mosques were closed down in Uzbekistan alone.
When Khrushchev was removed from office in 1964
following increasing unpopularity, his subordinate
“Muslims of Russia…all you whose mosques and prayer
houses have been destroyed... your beliefs and practices, your
national and cultural institutions are forever free and invio-
late. Know that your rights, like those of all the peoples of
Russia, are under the mighty protection of the revolution”.
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