Baptist booklet about freedom, Russia 1917



Baptist booklet about freedom, Russia 1917


The image depicts the cover page of a booklet published in 1917 in Saint Petersburg. The booklet is entitled “Long live freedom! But what is the true freedom?” and was published at the printing house named “The seventeenth year”. The year 1917 was a turning point in Russian history, marked by a democratic revolution followed by the Bolshevik cue d'etat in October the same year. The Revolution eliminated the restrictive confessional policies imposed by the old Tsarist regime, and in 1917 the Baptists and other minority religious groups were granted unprecedented freedom to practice their religion. The Revolution was welcomed by Baptist communities, and the question of what is real freedom and how to use it had become central to their religious life. The Evangelical literature of the time compared the Revolution to a spiritual resurrection and the booklet shown here explores the idea of freedom from a religious perspective.

The booklet “Long live freedom! But what is the true freedom?” was confiscated by the secret police from a group of believers in Soviet Moldavia in 1937, in a period in which Baptists were perceived by the Soviet state as a threat. The booklet was enclosed in the criminal investigation case file and served as evidence of illegal religious activity of nine arrested Baptists. The main accusation against the arrested believers was that they were Romanian spies. Four of them were sentenced to the death penalty, and five to 10 years of imprisonment.
The booklet is enclosed in the file R-3401-1-3308 from the National Archive of the Republic of Moldova. The file does not contain any other confiscated materials.

For related entries see:


Material culture--Religious aspects
Christian sects--Soviet Union
Communism and religion
Trials (Political crimes and offences)--Soviet Union
Religious sects


Dumitru Lisnic, "Baptist booklet about freedom , Russia 1917"


Archiva Națională a Republicii Moldova - ANRM, fond R-3401, inv. 1, file 3308.


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme No . 677355




Archiva Națională a Republicii Moldova








Archiva Națională a Republicii Moldova - ANRM, fond R-3401, inv. 1, file 3308

Bibliographic Citation

Dumitru Lisnic,

Date Created

March 2021

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