The Soviet communists were atheists but they were not secular in the Marxist sense. Stalin informed his communist party associates that he saw the bolsheviks as “a military-religious order.” He expected the bolsheviks to act like the Knight Templars of the Middle Ages. When Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky (nicknamed “Iron Felix”) died, Stalin called him “the devout knight of the proletariat." Trotsky was not above mysticism. In his biography, My Life, he talks about the role of destiny in his life. Here are two lines from his book: “One can often predict great historical events, but it is difficult to predict one’s own destiny.” “One has to accept one’s destiny as it is being forged by the hammer of history.”
Like the religious leaders of the Middle Ages, the bolshevik elites took names which would define their personality. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov took the alias Lenin which was based on the name of the Siberian river Lena. Lev Davidovich Bronstein adopted the alias Trotsky which he claimed was the name of a jailer of the Odessa prison where he had been held. Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili assumed the alias Stalin. In Russia’s communist party, the name Stalin was translated as “Man of Steel.” Vyacheslav Scriabin, the chief hatchet man of Stalin’s court, assumed the alias Molotov, which was translated as “the hammer.” Due to Molotov’s ability to work tirelessly, Lenin had given him the sobriquet “Iron-Arse."