Godless Utopia

Soviet Anti-Religious Propaganda


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ISBN: 9780995745575 Category:

Roland Elliott Brown, FUEL


The first book to tell the visual story of the USSR’s war against religion of all denominations, from the 1917 revolution to its fall in 1991

‘We’ve finished the earthly tsars and we’re coming for the heavenly ones!’. Thus spoke the Soviet Union’s first atheist propagandists as they declared war on ‘the opium of the people’ across the USSR.

Soviet atheism is the great lost subject of the 20th century. Pope Pius XI led a ‘crusade of prayer’ against it. George Orwell satirised it in Animal Farm. The Nazis called it a Jewish plot. Franklin D Roosevelt pressured Stalin to abandon it. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn blamed it for Russia’s catastrophes. Ronald Reagan put it at the core of his ‘Evil Empire’ speech. And yet, because the Soviet Union promoted atheism almost entirely for domestic consumption, decades’ worth of arcane and astonishing antireligious imagery remains unknown in the West.

Drawing on the early Soviet atheist magazines Godless and Godless at the Machine, and post-war posters by Communist Party publishers, Roland Elliott Brown presents an unsettling tour of atheist ideology in the USSR. Here are uncanny, imaginative and downright blasphemous visions from the very guts of the Soviet atheist apparatus: sinister priests rub shoulders with cross-bearing colonial torturers, greedy mullahs, a cyclopean Jehovah, and a crypto-fascist Jesus; Russian cosmonauts mock God from space while vigilant border guards nab American Bible smugglers.

Godless Utopia is the occult grimoire of a lost socialist anti-theology.

Additional information

Weight 557 g
Dimensions 21 x 16.8 cm
Publisher name FUEL Design & Publishing
Publication date 15 December 2019
Number of pages
Format Hardback
Contributors Edited by Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell, Foreword by Martin Rawson
Dimensions 21 x 16.8 cm
Weight 557 g


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Roland Elliott Brown is a London-based journalist and arts writer haunted by echoes of 20th century ideologies. He has reported from Iran for Foreign Policy and has written extensively about history, politics and human rights struggles in the Islamic Republic. His writings on books and imagery - usually connected with Russia and Iran - have appeared in the Spectator and the Guardian. Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell have been publishing books on Soviet culture since 2004, from the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia to Soviet Bus Stops.