The article presents an analysis of the administrative activity of the East Ukrainian dioceses bishops in 1958–1962. A particular attention is paid to the returns, memoranda and reports of the Commissioners for the Russian Orthodox Church in the regions of Eastern Ukraine. The conclusion is made about the determinative role of personal and professional qualities of the ruling bishops in the dialogue between the Church and the state. The complex of archive sources does not give a reason to believe that the Khrushchev persecutions were monotonous and automatic execution of the instructions of the party at the local level. On the territory of East Ukrainian dioceses, there were different models of relations between the authorities and the Church, and they were largely determined by personal qualities of the episcopate. Some bishops were in a diplomatic dialogue with the government, defended the interests of the Church, and were able to adapt to a changing public policy in relation to the Church. External loyalty combined with hardness of administrators. Other bishops, in contrast, were more likely to open cooperation with the authorities at the expense of the Church interests. It is hard to say that the model of behavior elected by the bishops had no effect on the policy in relation to the Church. The validity of the position they occupied and the ability to engage in dialogue positively affected the Church life: in spite of strict instructions from the top, the commissioners on their own initiative allowed departure from “the general line”. That confirms the importance of working with regional sources for understanding the overall picture of the Soviet past.
Key words: the Russian Orthodox Church, church history, bishop, Thaw, Eastern Ukraine, the USSR.