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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June, 2007

THE BAPTISTS. FOLDER 2. THE CHEKIST ANTHOLOGY

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    This folder includes information on Cheka operations against the Evangelical Christian Baptist Church, (EHB) between 1917 and 1984.
    "The Baptists. Folder 2. The Chekist Anthology," June, 2007, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Contributed to CWIHP by Vasili Mitrokhin. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112847
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[Translation not available, please see original. Detailed summary below.]

This folder includes information on Cheka operations against the Evangelical Christin Baptist Church, (EHB) between 1917 and 1984. It is divided into six sections. The first section, entitled "The Baptists" provides background information and statistics on Cheka operations against the Baptists, anecdotes about religious radio broadcasts into Russia by emigres, a description of the penetration of the Polish Baptist community by the KGB in the 1960's, and a description of an operation against a conference of Kyrgyz Baptist leaders in 1968. Tactics for penetrating religious organizations and the role of KGB spies once they are inside targeted organizations are also discussed. The section concludes with an analysis of how widespread religious persecution backfired by strengthening religious opposition, KGB disinformation techniques, and the role that Americans, and American religious organizations, played in providing material support to publishers of religious manuscripts and brochures.

Sections two and four are case histories of dissidents named Baturin and Redin respectively. Both men were Baptist leaders, and in both cases KGB officers attempted to dissuade them from continuing their underground activities by registering their organizations officially with the Soviet government. In both cases they failed. Baturin ultimately went on a hunger strike and was sentenced to four years in prison, while a KGB report on Redin which asserted that one of his goals was to amend the USSR's law on religious believers was somehow leaked to Radio Liberty and broadcast. The leak resulted in Redin's being placed under intensive surveillance by the KGB. He was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport along with his wife, son, and other followers while on his way to Murmansk.

Section three is a case history of an agent code named "Umnov" who was active in the mid 1970's. Umnov's father was a Baptist leader, but Umnov and his brother were KGB agents who penetrated their father's organization and uncovered the location of its printing press.

Section five, entitled "Suyeverii" (Superstitious Folk) is an account of a KGB operation against anti-Soviet religious groups in Krasnodar. It involved inserting first one agent, code named "Karpov", followed by three others, into a Baptist group in Krasnodar Krai. Each agent had a skill which made them useful to publishers of religious materials, which facilitated their infiltration. The operation concluded when the press, located on an isolated farm 75km from Krasnodar was raided by the KGB and shut down.

The final page of this folder is an order handed down by Yuri Andropov at a 16 August, 1978 meeting of the Collegium of the KGB. Andropov stated that it was necessary to decrease the role of ideology in the fight against religious groups, while increasing the level of training for KGB agents involved in combating them.



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