After the 1917 revolution, Buddhists, along with members of other religions, were the target of repression from the new authorities. When they had to altogether abandon their religions in the beginning of the 1940s, there were practically no remaining clergy or churches.
The Soviet government sought to build a communist society free from religion. As the mainstay of the Russian Empire was Christian Orthodoxy, it was dealt the first blow by Communism. Arrests and executions of the clergy, as well as the nationalisation of church property, began almost immediately after the revolution.
The communists employed a slightly different approach with the Buddhists. First, it was profitable for the Communists to play the role of liberators to the Kalmyks, Buryats, and Tuvans, who had been “oppressed minorities of the Tsarist regime.” Then, the Bolsheviks wanted to win the support of the Dalai Lama and the Buddhists to promote “world revolution” in the Buddhist East. But as soon as the Bolsheviks realized that this was not possible, the gradual destruction of Buddhism began.