Martyred in the USSR: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union

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Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union
Martyred in the USSR Poster.jpg
Theatrical Poster
Directed by Kevin Gonzales
Distributed by 12 Point Productions
Language English

Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union is a documentary film about the persecution of believers under the militant atheism of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, an atheistic communist state.[1]

Contents

Plot

Litvin Vasily Vlasivich: survivor of militant atheism in the U.S.S.R.

Litvin Vasily Vlasivich is an Evangelical Christian who was born in the village of Piekary, in the country of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Litvin witnessed militant "atheistic communists try to demolish his church in the raion of Kaniv."[2] "For us, that what we saw with our eyes, heard with our ears, the story still lives within us. This story testifies to the suffering of Christians of all sorts; Catholics, Protestant and Evangelical.” It is evident that militant atheists in the former Soviet Union targeted all who had faith in God.

Enoch: survivor of militant atheism in the U.S.S.R.

Enoch was a believer who survived the persecution of the KGB. During an interview with Enoch, he stated that “the goal of the Communist [was to] build society without God.” Militant atheists in the former Soviet Union had signs that read, “Religion is the narcotics of the people” or “Religion is the poison of society,” a reference to Karl Marx's statement of "Religion is the Opiate of the Masses." Clearly, militant atheists wanted to eradicate religion from society.[3]

Nikolai: survivor of militant atheism in the U.S.S.R.

“When communist [sic] came to power they had a goal to build a new society without any faith in God or any religion." [In order to] "achieve their goal to eliminate religion they were arresting and executing believers, including the Orthodox.” “Many [who were] arrested were simply dying in concentration camps from the amount of time they spent there.” [Usually], “the police and KGB would come at night and they would knock on the door [of the believers] for whatever reason." "Once the door was open, they would storm inside, arrest, bind, and throw the believer in the car and take him away.”[4]

Film Crew

Director and Producer

Kevin Gonzales, having graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Art degree in Radio and Television Broadcast Production, has been in the broadcast video production industry for more than a decade. Kevin started his career as a news reporter, which led him on a three year journey in the industry that finally ended in Los Angeles at the famous KFWB in Hollywood California. There he got the bug to start his own company and moved back up to the San Francisco Bay Area where he started 12 Point Productions. Being heavily involved with his church, Christian City Church, he met the Bobarykin family who told Kevin of their persecution horrors while they lived in the USSR. Thus sparked the idea for the documentary.

Director of Photography

Ben is the Director of Photography at Transvideo Studios in Mountain View, CA where he leads the camera and lighting crews in creating live action elements for the company’s outstanding digital imagery. He studied photography at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, CA and earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Sacramento. He also teaches Lighting courses for De Anza College in Cupertino, CA and at the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) in San Francisco, CA. Notable projects include: Gila River and Mama: Winner Best Documentary San Francisco Peninsula Press Club 2012. Award winning Crime After Crime – Co-cinematographer – Premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Broadcast premiere November 2011 on The Oprah Winfrey Network.The Legend of Chloe – Producer & Cinematographer – Winner Best Film 2009 San Francisco 48 Hour Film Project.

Assistant Editor and Second Camera

Matt graduated from California State University, Long Beach, where he studied film and received his B.A. in Film and Electronic Arts. Matt moved back to the Bay Area and began an intense hands-on intenship with 12 Point Productions. Later, he became a video journalist for Voom HDNews, in Denver, CO. After spending a year in Colorado, he moved back to the Bay Area and continued freelancing for production companies such as 12 Point Productions, Salty Dog Films, Eye on the Bay, Paul Lucia Photography and Bella Pictures.

Researchers

Lead Archivist

John Das, having graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Life Sciences, has devoted his spare time researching the persecution in the former Soviet Union. John is a medical student and is currently working in a pathobiology laboratory at the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. He received is Bachelor of Science degree with magna cum laude and Honors College Scholar distinctions and graduated as the salutatorian of Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School prior to this. Outside of academia, John is active in both the United Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church. His interest in theology, linguistics, apologetics, and world history has led him to research the persecution of believers in the USSR, which has helped to make the production of the film Martyred in the U.S.S.R. possible.

Archivist

Larisa is a native of Samara, Russia, and experienced the persecution of religion first hand. She came to the states and is now is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Church-State Studies at Baylor University. While at Balyor she has become the head archivist for the Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society.

Founder of the Keston Institute & Expert in Russian Religious Climate

Rev. Dr. Canon Michael Bourdeaux, founder of Keston College in England, spearheaded a laborious, often lonely struggle to examine and explain the systematic destruction of religion in Iron Curtain nations during the Cold War. From his time as an exchange student in Moscow in 1960, he worked to defend the rights of faiths in these countries to worship as they chose. When the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc regimes collapsed, Bourdeaux's efforts for universal religious freedom were embraced by authorities, evidencing the strength of his beliefs. (Bio courtesy from the Templeton Foundation)

Expert in Russian Religious Studies

Dr. Christopher Marsh spent ten years at Baylor University as a professor of Political Science and Religious Studies in Russia. In addition, at Baylor, Dr Marsh was the Director of the Keston Institute Currently he is the Associate Professor of Political Science at US Army School of Advanced Military Studies.

Analysis

Rev. Brennan M. Baker, a Methodist Christian seminarian, has critiqued Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union

Rev. Brennan M. Baker, a Methodist Christian seminarian, has commented on the importance of producing Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union. He states that "this documentary was thought provoking and informative. Producing this film is imperative because atheists have suppressed the historical facts of what actually happened during this Communist Era." Rev. Baker goes on to say that "not only are historical facts suppressed, but also, voices of those religious people who were martyred, are silenced. This documentary has become the voices of millions who were murdered because of their faith in God." Rev. Baker challenges everyone to watch this documentary and hear the voices of those whom survived the Soviet purges.










Promotion

Martyred in the USSR: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union official donation letter
Martyred in the USSR official red gel bracelet
Flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Государственный флаг СССР)

12 Point Productions started a promotion campaign on the film Martyred in the USSR: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union, which includes the sale of red and yellow gel bracelets, the colours of the flag of the Soviet Union, with the words "Martyred in the USSR", in addition to the official website of the film. Moreover, when individuals purchase a red band, they also receive a thank you letter from the director of the film, Kevin Gonzales. The original donation letter itself was designed by the lead archivist of the film, John Das, and was later edited by the said director.













Media

Professor James Hannam of the University of Cambridge, a physicist and scholar in the area of the History and Philosophy of Science, lauded Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union, stating that he often gets "annoyed at the free pass that the Soviet Union often gets in the history of 20th century tyranny."[5] Tribute to Liberty is an organization who's mission is to establish a Canadian memorial to victims of Communism. In Volume 5, Issue 1 Winter 2013, Tribute to Liberty wrote an article about the documentary Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union. In the article, Tribute to Liberty stressed the importance of this documentary: "What makes this story extremely important is that the new generation in Russia knows nothing about their past and will deny that the brutality ever happened."[6] Congressman Randy Forbes also praised the film, thanking those involved with the film "for your commitment to religious freedom, and for your interest in speaking out on behalf of those facing persecution for their faith."[7] Similarly, Rick Schenker, the President of Ratio Christi, a student organization with chapters at universities around the world, wrote an article about Martyred in the U.S.S.R. titled "Militant Atheists and the 'Other' Holocausts", which informs the public that the "documentary should help to educate a new group of atheists that are leaning in a dangerous direction. I am referring to the “new atheism movement” led by academics like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens, who are currently making their mark on western universities. Their challenge forcing religious believers to give evidence for the veracity of their beliefs is much needed. However, since man is a political animal, the drive toward a utopian culture of "reason" could lead to the same outcome the world experienced with Soviet Russia and Communist China if we are not careful."[8] Greg West reproduced this article on The Poached Egg.[9] Bob Unruh of WND also published an article on the film titled "Horrific Human Toll of Militant Atheism Exposed", which documents the fact that one atrocity witness told the filmmakers, the Soviets would take people, “dig holes in the ground and bury them like chess pieces.”[10] Christopher Collins, who published an article in The Examiner about Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union, wrote that 'One of those communist goals was to infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a "religious crutch."'[11] Chris Hall, a Technical Service Engineer, in The Sign of The Cross, wrote that Martyred in the USSR "seems an interesting and worthy project, I hope it gets the funding it needs".[12]

The talk show, The Glazov Gang, featured the director of the film and commented on the documentary as well in the episode titled "Putin and the Shadow of the KGB". The talk show host, Jamie Glazov, commented that the film was special to him because his "family was persecuted by the Soviet regime and by the KGB for several reasons, including our Christianity."[13] Leon Weinstein, a Soviet Jew who was also featured on the program, stated "that when you strongly believe in God, you are hard to break and they were trying to break people and many of my friends or relatives of my friends who were in camps are always saying that the people who were unbreakable were people who had faith. In Gulags, they were the only people, almost the only people that [sic] were practically impossible to make them, you know, run and tell the guards about someone who did something."[13]

FrontPage Magazine also published an interview with the director of the film, Kevin Gonzales, who discussed the origins of the documentary and stated: "I wasn’t really looking for it and it kind of just fell in my lap. I’ve done news and corporate video most of my career and I wanted to make the switch to the more creative side so I thought a documentary would be the best way to do it. I was looking for a topic but I’m here to tell you, this one would have been the last thing on my mind to produce. I was in church one day and was talking to one of the parishioners, Oxsana, and asked her where she was from. She told me she was from a small town in Russia and of course, the first thing I asked, being a nosey producer, was “How was practicing a faith of any kind during the Cold War?” and it started from there. She told me she remembers her dad, a local pastor, telling her and her siblings to hide under the bed because the KGB was banging on their front door. Oxsana moved to the US when she was five so she told me I should really interview her parents because they have more first- hand knowledge and so a year later I went down to Orange County, just outside of LA, and interviewed her dad, grandfather and two family friends. Their stories were amazing and I knew this would make a fantastic documentary."[14] When FrontPage Magazine asked Gonzales what the film might achieve, he replied that "I want to tell a story that has never been told before and to show how the elimination of religion will lead to situations like North Korea, China, and the French Revolution. There have been some articles and brief mentions about it on TV or in a documentary, but no one has dived into the outright attack against the religious realm by the Soviet government. Many focus on the Lenin or Stalin era but the persecution was going on all the way up to the fall of the Berlin Wall."[14]

In regard to social media, Martyred in the USSR: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union also has a Facebook page with several hundred "likes".[15] In addition, the film's Twitter page has also garnered several followers as well.[16]

See Also

References

  1. Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the Former Soviet Union. 12 Point Productions. Retrieved on 21 February 2013.
  2. One Man's Story - Litvin Vasily Vlasivich survives Militant Atheism in the USSR. First Post. Retrieved on 24 February 2013.
  3. Gonzales, Kevin (27 August 2011). Enoch Militant Atheist Survivor. 12 Point Productions. Retrieved on 21 February 2013.
  4. Gonzales, Kevin (27 August 2011). Nicoli Militant Atheist Survivor. 12 Point Productions. Retrieved on 21 February 2013.
  5. Martyred in the USSR. Bede UK (3 February 2013). Retrieved on 1 August 2013.
  6. New Documentary:Martyred in the U.S.S.R.. Tribute to Liberty (2013). Retrieved on 27 February 2013. [Dead link]
  7. A message from Congressman Randy Forbes on Martyred in the USSR: Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union. Congressman Randy Forbes (26 March 2013). Retrieved on 1 August 2013.
  8. Militant Atheists and the 'Other' Holocausts. Ratio Christi (1 August 2013). Retrieved on 1 February 2013.
  9. Militant Atheists and the 'Other' Holocausts. The Poached Egg (5 August 2013). Retrieved on 10 August 2013.
  10. Horrific Human Toll of Militant Atheism Exposed. WND (23 March 2013). Retrieved on 1 August 2013.
  11. Horrific Human Toll of Militant Atheism Exposed. WND (23 March 2013). Retrieved on 1 August 2013.
  12. Martyred in the USSR - Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union. The Sign of The Cross (25 March 2013). Retrieved on 1 August 2013.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Putin and the Shadow of the KGB — on The Glazov Gang. Frontpage Magazine (5 April 2013). Retrieved on 1 August 2013.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Martyred in the USSR, Militant Atheism in the Former Soviet Union. Frontpage Magazine (19 March 2013). Retrieved on 1 August 2013.
  15. Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the Former Soviet Union. Facebook. Retrieved on 21 February 2013.
  16. Martyred in the U.S.S.R.: Militant Atheism in the Former Soviet Union. Twitter. Retrieved on 23 February 2013.

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