In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2009. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, S. 149–162
Soviet-style socialism and Islam represented two variants of those world views that claimed universal validity and competed for influence in the “age of ideologies”. Although Soviet politicians were guided by atheistic principles, Soviet policy towards countries with a significant Islamic population varied according to domestic policy, bilateral relations and the overall international situation. Stalin and especially Khrushchev and Brezhnev experimented with concessions in the realm of foreign policy when dealing with colonial or newly independent countries, sometimes regardless of their respective domestic religious policy. Whenever it suited his political aims, Khrushchev courted Islamic representatives, invited religious delegations to the USSR and even turned a blind eye to the repression of communists – for example in Egypt – just like Brezhnev did later with Iran. At the same time, Soviet representatives were active in international Islamic organisations and movements. But all those efforts were undone when Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. The constellation of the 20th century shows clearly that the antagonism was not either interreligious or between secular social systems of capitalism or communism, but that they transgressed these lines.