Why Did The USSR Tolerate The Russian Orthodox Church?

Unlike fascism, which was largely tolerant of Catholic and Protestant Christianity (as long as they didn’t oppose nationalism and the fascists), Marxism-Leninism was an explicitly atheist and anti-theist political movement.

Yet the Russian Orthodox Church wasn’t outlawed in the Soviet Union, was it?
Stalin didn’t send all the church elders to gulags, did he?
Why not?

Was the Soviet Union less anti-Jewish that Czarist Russia had been? (Pogroms had been common under the czarist governments, going back centuries.)

(In everything I’ve ever heard or read about the Soviet Union throughout my life I can’t recall anyone ever addressing the relationship between the communist government and organized religion. Of these, my understanding is the Russian Orthodox church being by far the largest. So if I’m wrong I’m happy to be corrected.)

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This is addressed in depth on “The Cold War” channel.

The Russian Orthodox Church varied from outright persecution in the 1930’s to toleration after 1941. After The German invasion, the Soviet Union conciously turned down the ‘atheist socialism’ rhetoric and re-emphasized nationalism and heritage, including the Russian Orthodox Church… the Church and Srate reuimed their historic relationship where the stare tolerated the Church and the Church supported the State.

After WWII the Soviet Union sadly developed a nasty anti-semitic streak.

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The Soviets dynamited a bunch of churches in the 1930s as part of their “The State is God” campaign. The rest were co-opted for State use. The religions (designated “cults”) themselves were suppressed by various laws, which were hoped to eradicate religious practices by making them too dangerous (and expensive) to continue.

After the war, suppression resumed.

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