The Khrushchev era brought a policy of religious repression in response to a resurgence of religious adherence after WWII. But a close evaluation of archival sources reveals distinctive features to its implementation in the Baltics, compared with other parts of the USSR and with the Orthodox Church. The study richly describes the erosion of church institutional interests, such as maintenance of registered churches and clergy, legal and financial autonomy, publications and theological education. But having adapted to their national context, republic-level state officials often pursued the campaign disproportionately against non-national churches, such as Catholics and so-called sects, thereby provoking bureaucratic tensions with party hardliners, both in Moscow and at the republic level. Motivated by its heightened anti- Vatican stance, Moscow’s foreign policy opening—to the World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation, and the German churches—brought the Lutheran churches limited leverage against reluctant local and republic officials.
Robert F. Goeckel. "Soviet Religious Policy in the Baltics under Khrushchev, 1957-1964." Politics and Religion, 3 (2010), 352–388 # Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, 2010 doi:10.1017/S1755048310000088 1755-0483/10