Pentecostals in the BSSR. An alternative way of life in a hero-city after Stalin

This paper addresses the Pentecostal’s awkward, but ‘stubborn’ way of life in the late Soviet Union, specifically under Khrushchev and Brezhnev.  Despite a climate of ‘thaw’ and ‘de-Stalinization’, it was the defined goal of Soviet religious policy to dispose of ‘sectarianism’. Under these circumstances, the believers of the Pentecostal Churches suffered in a special way. Using the example of Minsk, this article analyses the interdependencies between the legal framework, the control tasks of the religious authorities on site and the (survival) strategies of the Minsk Pentecostals against the backdrop of a rapidly growing resp. changing city. In spite of a permanent game of hide-and-seek with the authorities, including the militia and KGB, the Pentecostals succeeded in preserving their common faith. Moreover, due to their religious persistence, they posed a particular challenge for the Soviet regime.