ABSTRACT

After the Nazi invasion, the Soviet Union needed the support of Great Britain and the United States in the fi ght against Hitler. The negative image of the Soviet regime in the West, however, was a serious obstacle to the antifascist alliance of Stalin with Churchill and Roosevelt. To solve this problem, on June 24, 1941, the Kremlin established the Soviet Information Bureau with the task of improving Western opinion about the Stalinist regime. According to some Russian researchers, its effi cacy was undermined by its limited access to workers’ newspapers, whose readers were the Kremlin’s most important target. 1 Washington and London did not want their wartime partnership with Moscow to give rise to leftist movements in their own countries. Moreover, they did not want to be accused of betraying the democratic values of their societies. Western people were especially sensitive to the issue of freedom of religion. Therefore, the British and American governments conditioned their involvement in the war against Hitler on a relaxation of political control of religious life in the Soviet Union.