Smykalin, Aleksandr Sergeevich – Doctor of Science (Law), Professor, Head of the Department "History of State and Law" at the Ural State Law Academy (Yekaterinburg).
The paper is devoted to the topical problems of the relationships between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Russian state in chronological development from the Decree of January 23, 1918 "On Separation of the Church from the State and the nationalization (confiscation) of the Church property", to the beginning of the Great Patriotic war. The author sequentially considers the stages of ideological confrontation between the Church and the Communist State. The author notes that the attitude of the church towards the new Soviet power transformed from loyal to hostile and during the Civil war they acted on the side of the White Guard. The attitude of the Bolsheviks towards the Church was initially hostile. After the Civil war, during the New Economic Policy the relationships of the state and the church in the main did not change. The Church was not given the status of legal entity. It was the security authorities who inspired the renovationist movement that actually resulted in the split of the ROC within the country. At the turn of the 1920s - 1930s the USSR closed churches in large numbers. The Constitution of the USSR of 1936 formally provided for church people with nonbelievers but, in fact, the Constitution restricted the freedom of religious propaganda and activities to the minimum. The Commission for the cult issues under the Presidium of TzIK (Central Electoral Committee) was abolished which meant liquidating the very possibility for contacts between the church and the government. The Supreme Council of the USSR, a new higher organ of power that was being formed at that time had no room for the Commission for the Cult issues. The mentioned circumstances were the major reason for the situation that there was scarcely any church life before the Great Patriotic war. It was only the union of the Western Ukraine, Western Belorussia and Baltic republics that led to the reappearance of monasteries in the territory of the country, which had been closed in the USSR by administrative means.
Key words: Church, state, legal entity, stages of development, problems of previous periods and present.