The images below are from the Soviet anti-religious magazine, Bezbozhnik, which translates to “Atheist” or “The Godless.” It ran from 1922 to 1941, and its daily edition, “The Godless at the Workplace,” ran from 1923 to 1931. The scathing publication was founded by the League of Militant Atheists, an organization of the Soviet Communist Party members, members of its youth league, workers and veterans, so while it was in many ways a party project, it was not state-sponsored satire.
The Soviet Union adopted a formal position of state-atheism after the revolution but it wasn’t a clean break. The expropriation of church property and the murder or persecution of clergy was certainly the most obvious supplantation of power, but the USSR was a giant mass of land, most of it rural and much of it pious, so the cultural crusade against religion was an ongoing campaign for the hearts and minds of citizens who might resist a sudden massive secularization. The monstrous, violent art you see below depicted religion as the enemy of the worker and footman to capitalism. You’ll notice a wide array of religions depicted, as the USSR was very religiously diverse.
Depicting the Muhammad, the Christian god, and a Jewish Kabbalist. Despite the ethnic cartoons, the founder and majority of staff were Jewish.
Mocking the “piety” of racist America with the title, “God’s country”
The Pope, with Jesus and the Bible astride a cannon, aimed at the 35 million European unemployed
Jesus, dumped like so much industrial waste
Deities getting smooshed by a Five Year Plan
Even Buddha gets his share of hate
God is responsible for plagues
Luring the people to church with music
A soldier literally skewering god. The books under his arm read “Lenin” and “Technology.”