According to the late Alexander Yakovlev, who was himself a senior member of the Politburo; over 200,000 members of the Christian clergy were killed in the Soviet Union. Mostly shot, but many were crucified, buried alive, scalped, or murdered in other horrifyingly sadistic methods. According to American scholar Michael P. Riccards, each day, Lenin insisted on personally checking the death lists of murdered clergy.
By 1928, the Bolsheviks had destroyed, closed, or converted for other uses; 37.5% of the 48,000 parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church. By 1939, it was over 99%. During the Wehrmacht's initial success following the June 22, 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union, Stalin did permit thousands of churches to reopen (under the guidance of Party approved clergy) in an attempt to placate his long oppressed populace. But following the war, under first Stalin and even into Khrushchev's reign, the churches were once again closed in their thousands.
Yakovlev, in his 2002 book A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia, does claim that only Stalin's death in March 1953, prevented the planned expulsion of Jews from major industrial centres in Russia, and that Stalin closed synagogues. Although an article which appeared in The Washington Times (Nov 28, 1995), cites Yakovlev as claiming; that in 1969, only 14.6% of the churches in the Soviet Union still remained open, "and Jewish religious buildings were destroyed in similar proportion." But this is unlikely. Yakovlev does have a 15 page chapter entitled "Anti-Semitism" in his aforementioned book, devoted almost an entirely to post-WW2 anti-Zionism in the Soviet Union, but he does not state that Jewish religious buildings were destroyed in "similar proportion" to the churches.
In 1927, when the Bolhseviks were busy destroying churches and slaughtering the clergy, in their attempts to complete destroy Christianity in the Soviet Union, they were allowing Jews to build new synagogues, according to Rabbi Jacob Minkin, of New York City's prestigious Temple Beth El, writing in his weekly column The Jewish World, published in the Syacuse Herald Magazine:
No Fear for Jews in Soviet Russia
At a meeting of Jewish literati in Warsaw at which the subject of discussion was the Jewish colonies in Soviet Russia, some highly interesting facts regarding the Jews in these colonies came to light.
It was originally the desire of the Soviet government to obliterate all traces of religion from these colonists. But it has had to forego this intention, due to the persistency of the Jews in clinging to their religion.
It is strange, indeed, to visit the houses of these Jews and find on one side of the room a portrait of Lenin and on the other side a holy ark with scrolls, Bibles and sets of Talmud. It is also interesting to note that, as as soon as these Jews become communially established, they begin to reorganize their religious life by importing Hebrew teachers to instruct their children. In the richer colonies they are even building synagogues. In the poorer colonies they gather for divine worship in private houses as their fathers did of yore.
In Crimea, Mongolia, and other Soviet strongholds, we find the same situation obtaining. These holy arks in the houses of the Jews, rising as they do almost to the ceiling, parallel to the portrait on the opposite wall, stand, there as a challenge to Lenin and his atheism. The tradition and social heritage of the Jew can withstand the attack of fanatical godlessness, even as it withstood those bigotries and superstitions of old.