Lenin’s words: “Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country” was not only the resume of bolchevik economy, it also applied for the stand they took on religion, which is aptly illustrated by this image.
Technique was the miracle of the communist. It represented for him the liberation of oppressed mankind from the slavery of the capital and from the dependence on nature and on God, a Russian-messianistic interpretation of industrialisation’s redemptive work.
Stalin’s words: “We have put the USSR in a motor car and the muzhik in a tractor!” directly gave rise to the idea that with motor cars and tractors religion should be overrun. In the old days the Russian peasant prayed to God when a thunderstorm broke loose, he bowed and made the sign of the Cross in front of icons of saints or the prophet Elias (who was associated with thunderstorms by popular belief). This image now tells us that he doesn’t have to do that anymore, modern technique will provide the solution.
“How God electrified the village, how God swung from his quiver the lightning bolts and the prophet Elias drives his roaring wagon over the storm clouds: down below in a half collapsed peasant hut the muzhiks are trembling before the icons.”
“How the village electrified itself: high poles that catch lightning bolts, everywhere electrical wires are spun above the village and the windows of the houses spread clear light. In clean, renovated huts the peasant and his family bathe in a stream of electrical light, where they are reading books. Images of Marx, Engels and Lenin have substituted the icons.”
source: Besboshnik u stanka (The godless at the work-bench) 1925, VIII, 9