What role did nationality and religion play in the formation of the Soviet State?
After the 1917 Revolution, one of the Bolsheviks’ main objective was to reverse the deeply-rooted Russian Orthodox ideals in order to establish gosateizm (state atheism). The new regime confiscated church property, ridiculed religion and its followers, and propagated atheism in the education system. https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/anti.html
The Bolsheviks came up with a three-prong plan to undermine any church authority (including splitting the church from within, assaulting the religion of national minorities and confiscating the wealth of the Orthodox Church).
Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolsheviks, wrote in “The Attitude of the Workers’ Party to Religion:”
Religion is the opium of the people: this saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class.
The Bolsheviks advocated the complete elimination of the Church and surrender of the Church’s gold, gems, and precious metals, blaming the Church for the famine. Churches were ransacked and thousands of priests were trialed and executed.