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Notes on the Histories of History in the Soviet Union

During most of the lifespan of the Soviet Union, history and historiography remained subject to specific restrictive constraints. It was during the last few years pending its demise that an "unleashing of the energy of history" produced a flood of new work in various genres, that fundamentally challenged received wisdom. The foci of this essay are, firstly, to depict the manner by which the Soviet regime controlled research institutions, publications and themes in the domain of history and, secondly, to chart the shifting positions concerning discussion of key events in Soviet history. The archive and the textbook have been singled out as exemplifying Soviet policies. The essay is interpretative and illustrative; it does not lay any claim to serving as an exhaustive chronicle of the histories of history in the USSR.

Notes on the Histories of History in the Soviet Union

During most of the lifespan of the Soviet Union, history and historiography remained subject to specific restrictive constraints. It was during the last few years pending its demise that an “unleashing of the energy of history” produced a flood of new work in various genres, that fundamentally challenged received wisdom. The foci of this essay are, firstly, to depict the manner by which the Soviet regime controlled research institutions, publications and themes in the domain of history and, secondly, to chart the shifting positions concerning discussion of key events in Soviet history. The archive and the textbook have been singled out as exemplifying Soviet policies. The essay is interpretative and illustrative; it does not lay any claim to serving as an exhaustive chronicle of the histories of history in the USSR.


he last three years of the lifespan of the multinational, multi-ethnic, imperial Union of Soviet Socialist Republics generated a voluminous body of historical and fictional literature that not only examined virtually every facet of the previous seven decades of history, but did so in a manner that was aimed at reaching the entire highly literate population of this nation. Essentially, during less than one-twentieth of the temporal history of the USSR, the shackles that had fettered historical production were destroyed. In the process of “unleashing the energy of history” a series of registers were struck in the spheres of legislation, declamation, dramatisation and publication. They combined tonality and dissonance and displayed a haste and frenetic energy, as if this might be just another ephemeral phase of Eurasian reforms from above. Although these efforts were influenced and informed by the political lurchings of the groups allied or hostile to the general secretary, they were not aligned to those manoeuvres and they exhibited a generally unilinear movement forward in the excavation of evidence and the publication of findings.

In 1992, a Russian spoke for many of his compatriots when

he ruminated thus: Every evening I go to sleep with one question which, probably, has come to mean damnation and not just for me: how could it happen that I sincerely believed in Communism and took part in Communist construction? How could it happen that until I was thirty years old I had been living in comfortable ignorance that the entire post-October history of my people was mixed with blood, crime and lies? That the people whom I believed, whose portraits were encouragingly looking at me from the pages of school textbooks, whom I worshipped and considered to be disinterested fighters for the radiant future, turned out to be either criminals or maniacs? The system managed to turn me into an idiotic true believer.1

Why did 95 per cent of the historical Soviet Union had to await its 11th hour to yield its own history? The sections that follow try to outline the diverse and varying stratagems that were contrived to keep research repositories, research institutions of the discipline, specialised and popular publications, and schools and universities under unyielding and obdurate official control.

The Soviet Union had inherited an extremely rich and ablycatalogued corpus of archival material that might not have, in principle, presented problems of utilisation; after all, they had been extensively tapped before the revolution, and up to the 1930s.

Nor was it a problem of the lack of published work; Anatole G Mazour’s The Writing of History in the Soviet Union (1971) introduces us to a quantitatively vast array of writing from early Russian history to the 1960s. The conjoined effects of a dominant ideology, of “partiinost” writing that placed redness before competence and quarantined archives have meant that much (but far from all) of this has been pedantic, unverifiable for its findings because of the strictures against attribution, methodologically poor from an almost ubiquitous inability to anchor disparate “facts” within an apparent logic, and, mendacious in its conclusions. In the USSR, as this essay tries to outline, the sequestration of evidence and the quarantining of institutions became dominant objectives of the regime for most of its history. Historians themselves were generally prevented (the exceptions were insubstantial and benefited few) from discussion with foreign colleagues, the perusal of foreign publications, awareness of western debates related to their own history and fluency in foreign languages.

When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in March 1985 as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he had neither a particular interest nor a predetermined plan to promote historical revisionism. In the first 18 months, the politburo and the lower party organs took a cautious and conservative approach to USSR history. In February 1986, for instance, Gorbachev told a French journalist from L’Humanite that “Stalinism is a concept made up by opponents of communism…to smear the Soviet Union and socialism as a whole… [the KPSS] had already drawn proper conclusions from the past.” Four months later, he told Soviet writers that, “If we start dealing with the past, we’ll lose all our energy. It would be like hitting people over the head. And we have to go forward. We’ll sort out the past. We’ll put everything in its place. But right now we have to direct our energy forward.” Six months later, while seeking to legitimise perestroika, Gorbachev’s stated postures on reappraising Soviet history had undergone considerable modification: going forward was impossible without retrieving the past.

In a conversation with 15 media chiefs in February 1987, Gorbachev responded to an opinion that critical analysis of Soviet history was like “indulging in a striptease for the whole world to see”, by launching into a long speech that was actually the first published account of his views on the imperative need for a better understanding of history. He told them that “It is agreed that there should not be any more white spots [blank pages] in either our history or our literature. Otherwise it would not be either history or literature but an artificial, conjunctural construct…And in the 70th year of our great revolution we must not place in the shadow those who made the revolution. We must value each of the 70 years of our Soviet history…We must not forget names… history has to be seen as it is.” Gorbachev did, however, abridge the scope of this intention by remarking that “criticism should always be from a party point of view”.2 For someone like Yuri Afanasyev, the problem was not one of filling in “blank spots” but recognising that Stalinist historiography “was one huge blank spot, so our entire history remains to be studied and written”.3

Gorbachev’s speech on the 70th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in November 1987, probably an amalgam of drafts, inevitably provoked diverse responses. While it was hostile to Trotsky, defended the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, was cautious about criticising the purges and praised both planned industrialisation and collectivisation, it also pointed out that the same industrialisation and collectivisation drives had been associated with the rise of the “administrative-command” system of party-state management of the country, which was not bad for industry but unsuitable for agriculture even as it limited democratic possibilities. In its candour and criticism of Stalinist repressions, it went far beyond Nikita Khrushchev in February 1956 and at any time until his removal.

Historical reassessment was central to a renewed de-Stalinisation drive, the previous one having been halted, some would say reversed, after Khrushchev’s removal in October 1964. The thorough examination of the political and moral aspects of the Stalinist period was, as Ernest Mandel put it, “a kind of supreme test of the credibility of glasnost”, because the crimes of Stalin were the greatest secret and the major shame of the regime… Without revealing the truth about the past, without publishing the archives and documents of the epoch, it will be impossible to liberate history from being manipulated in the service of this or that fraction of the leadership, impossible to write history with the necessary minimum of objectivity and impossible to assemble all the facts which make the writing of history possible in the first place”.4 Many would have agreed with Yuri Afanasyev when he introspected in 1988 on the Brezhnev – Kosygin era, that “there is probably no country in the world with such a falsified history as ours…It is important to realise that Stalinism needed history as a handmaiden of propaganda…”.5

Most writing about the Stalinist past after 1988, when the approach to Soviet history sharply changed, was driven by the urge to understand and learn from that period. The explanation of Stalinism offered by the party in 1956 and 1961 had been inadequate and sometimes even justificatory – the criticism of the man, divorced from the role of its party or its leadership, or broader social forces. The slogans of the time, like “cult of the individual”, “violations of socialist legality”, or “contradictions of the period” obscure rather than elucidate because Khrushchev wanted to contain the repercussions from the exposure of Stalin’s crimes.

Perestroika had to be fused with glasnost, that is, frankly facing up to the problems that were, formerly, either ignored or considered only formally. Among these questions, a better and more honest understanding of their own history (for Marx, history was, of course, “the science of the sciences”) was one of the most important. Of course, the construction of historical awareness was but one aspect of the intended reconstruction of economic, social, cultural and political life – intended to strengthen rather than retreat from socialism. It became blindingly obvious that if glasnost and perestroika were to work, Soviet society had to be freed from the social and psychological burdens of the past, of fear, apathy and blind obedience – that is, no perestroika without a reconsideration of the past.

Some professional historians emigrated after 1917, but the majority remained. The first 15 years of the USSR (1917-early 1930s) were years that historians later nostalgically recalled. The new economic policy (NEP) decade was singularly dominated by the figure of the historian Mikhail Nikolaevich Pokrovsky (1868-1932), a distinguished Marxist historian who headed a number of the institutes for historical research that were established in the 1920s. They all enjoyed a fair measure of autonomy in their research and publication activity but there were clear signs that the new regime strongly favoured study of the revolutionary movement. Even during the NEP, however, perhaps foreshadowing the tendency of the next decades, the heads of these institutions – men like M S Ol’minsky (The Commission on the History of the October Revolution and the Russian Communist Party, or ‘Istpart’), L B Kamenev (Lenin Institute) or Iurii K Milonov (The Institute for Trade Union History, or Istprof) – were usually not professional historians.6

Stalinist Decades

The years of relative tolerance ended in 1928-29. From then, until about 1938, with occasional interruptions, a scything sweep of the intelligentsia as a whole ended the professional careers, often the lives, of millions of Soviet citizens. Loren Graham has estimated that as many as 130 historians were liquidated in 1929 alone as part of the process of bringing the Academy of Sciences firmly under party control.7 The great traditions of pre-revolutionary historical writing – wide-ranging, prodigiously researched, multi-volume histories that were as much literary as historical works, exemplified by historians like S M Solovev (1820-79) and V O Klyuchevsky (1841-1911) – were destroyed.

In 1938 ‘Glavarkhiv’, was transferred from the central executive committee of the Soviets, whose members were (nominally) elected, to the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs, the NKVD, that notoriously also controlled the secret police and forced labour in the archipelago of camps throughout the country. The archives remained under this jurisdiction until 1960, when they were transferred to the council of ministers. What all this meant for those fortunate enough to have secured permission to work in the archives has been described by R W Davies, who has worked in these archives for nearly 50 years himself.

Historians had to usually work on an approved topic and they were not allowed to see files that were judged to be “not related to the topic”. Most Soviet historians were only permitted access to files classified as “confidential” or “not for publication”, the lowest orders of secrecy, while those of the highest order, the ‘osobye papki’ (special files) were revealed to a very few of the chosen. There were separate rules for different categories of files: for one category, notes could be made, but the source not divulged; for another notes could be made but the information could not be published even without attribution; for a third, the notes had to be permanently retained within the archive, and, no notes whatsoever were permitted on the contents of particularly secret files. These regulations pertained to Soviet nationals and they go a long way towards explaining the silences and the inertia of professional historians in that country – and the burst of novel effort after the lifting of these restrictions, described below, as part and parcel of perestroika. The directives for foreign researchers seeking access to Soviet archives were even more categorically prohibitive: until the late 1970s they were denied access to any archive related to history after 1920.8

A prescribed viewpoint for the lay public was very firmly imposed with regard to Russian history of the 20th century, particularly party history. Responding to an article by A G Slutsky in Proletarskaia Revoliutsiia in 1930 concerned with Bolshevik interaction with German social democrats before the first world war, in October 1931, Stalin sent a letter, “Some Questions Concerning the History of Bolshevism”, to the editors of the same journal. This letter is significant because Stalin demarcated the future prescriptions and proscriptions for the discipline of history. He proclaimed that he was the sole interpreter of Marxism-Leninism in the country, he fulminated against “Trotskyist falsifiers” and “counter-revolutionary saboteurs”, and argued that historians should not believe the findings of “archive rats” but base their evidence on the “deeds” of party leaders. Henceforth debate about the history of the Soviet period was virtually extinguished. The letter also triggered the expulsion of numerous university teachers of history.9

A decree issued jointly by the Council of People’s Commissars (‘Sovnarkom’) and the party central committee on May 16, 1934 condemned all former history textbooks and current methods of teaching the subject. Teachers of history were instructed to abjure “abstract sociological schemes” for a “chronological historical sequence in the exposition of historical events, and to emphasise “important events, personages and dates”. Five textbooks for schools were called for, dealing with a history of the ancient world; of the middle ages; modern history; the history of the USSR; and, of dependent and colonial economies. Kings, battles and dates were vital, especially battles won by the Russians. Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great were once again national heroes, model rulers, even if the regimes they presided over had been oppressive: the foundation and consolidation of a strong Russian national state was now held to be a virtue outweighing the exploitation of the masses.10

Officially prescribed textbooks became crucial to both the writing and the teaching of history in the USSR even before the Bolsheviks had won the civil war. In 1920, M N Pokrovsky wrote a textbook, Russkaia Istorii v Samom Szhatom Ocherke that was intentionally oriented to meet the needs of the time: the absence of a satisfactory textbook, maximising facticity and minimising length, and intended for a population caught up in a daily struggle for survival in the civil war. In his approving remarks, Lenin added that the book must contain running columns devoted to chronology; to bourgeois views; and, to Pokrovsky’s own Marxian views. This approach was a far cry from the harnessing of ideology to pedagogy, and the party’s appropriation of all historical knowledge, that came to the fore from the 1930s.11

From then, and for the rest of the lifespan of the Soviet Union, if anything embodied the subordination of history to politics it was the exalted status of the textbook because the textbook established the framework of conformity for other historical writing. M M Khataevich, a regional party secretary, had expressed a wish for “a book of our own, in place of the Bible” to provide answers to most problems. Since he perished in the terror, he was unable to judge whether his wish had been granted. In November 1938, the central committee declared that the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks): Short Course, whose main authors were G V Knorin, E M Iaroslavskii and P N Pospelov, was the “only”, “official” guide to Marxism-Leninism and party history, thereby prohibiting any “arbitrary interpretations” of these fundamental questions. Over the next 20 years, 50 million copies of the Short Course were published, despite the war and shortages of paper.12

The Short Course reduced Soviet history to party history and it reduced party history to the struggle against “opportunism” of every hue. Logically one might expect the history of a (the) party to be the history of a political instrument of control; but the Short Course failed to probe the evolution and nature of the forces that underlay those methods of control. Its teleological rendering of history, in which Soviet socialism was the only lawful culmination of the long march of humankind, fulfilled the role of what Isaac Deutscher once called “primitive magic”, the “transmigration of political souls” from Lenin to Stalin and the demonology of “Trotskyite-wreckers”, or, as he expanded on this theme, “Under Stalin, the story of Bolshevism came to be rewritten in terms of sorcery and magic, with Lenin and Stalin as the chief totems. In the tribal cult there can be no graver sin than to offend the totem; and so in the Stalin cult whoever had at any timedisagreed or quarrelled with Lenin was guilty of sacrilege”.13

The Soviet in 1940s saw an intensive reworking of history on Russian nationalist lines. There occurred, for instance, claims for according a Russian provenance for scientific inventions.14 But a stronger and more serious strain of Russian nationalism was evident in the Russophilic historical treatment of other Soviet ethnicities and nationalities. They had to acknowledge that they were “younger brothers” of the Slavic Russians, despite their undeniably longer histories. The idea was bruited that all non-Russian cultural traditions had been linked with Russian ones to periods preceding their military absorption into the Muscovite and Tsarist empires.15

Numerous historians were called upon to propagate the socalled theory of the “lesser evil”, that underlay a strain of Russian nationalism by pointing out that rather than being a misfortune, the subjugation of the Caucasus or central Asia was actually beneficial for the populations involved because they were able thereby to avoid the greater evil of conquest by the British. The “lesser evil” not only morally legitimised Tsarist imperialism, but garnished it with the specious overlay that the vanquished peoples were enabled to work alongside their Russian “elder brother”, especially the proletariat, in opposition to the autocracy.16

History after the Stalinist Period

By 1956, the social status and self-esteem of historians had probably reached a nadir. The debilitative effects of Stalin’s admonitory diktat and the Short Course had severely handicapped the profession and its practitioners. The dialogue between the totalitarianists, western revisionists and the Soviet historians’ community is over the effects, not the facts: methodologies calcified in a sclerotic cast, alternative modes of explanation excluded, and the entry of non-Soviet developments in the historians’ craft denied. Generally, only those students who had failed to get into mathematics or the physical sciences, as a last resort, turned to history.17

Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin in February 1956 could hardly leave the sprawling province of Soviet historiography untouched. The 1938 Short Course was formally repudiated at the 20th congress. From July 1953, when a group of writers calling themselves Agitprop issued 7,500 leaden words of “Theses on Fifty Years of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union” (Pravda, July 26, 1953) until June 1959, there was no approved history of the party. The Short Course was replaced in 1959 by another textbook, The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Belying its claim to being a “concise history”, at twice the length of the Short Course, like its predecessor, its pages too seemed empty of non-heroic individuals and nonmomentous events alike; in their place are the party, the government, the masses, Lenin, theses and formulas. Although he never claimed personal authorship, this was the history according to Khrushchev. Perhaps it had to be: Khrushchev had told a French delegation in 1956 that “Historians are dangerous people [who] are capable of upsetting everything. They must be directed”. Commentators pointed out that, from the point of view of standards of scholarship, this new history showed little advance on the old. Both were political instruments rather than narratives, meant to define the boundaries of the knowable rather than entice interest in themes emanating from the reader’s curiosity.18

It was not really until the 1960s that the Stalinist schemas began to exhibit the first signs of fracture. After 1961, to take one example, the “lesser evil” theory was condemned as mistaken, and in 1965 a group of historians wrote that they regarded it as their duty “to comprehend historical truth in all its fullness”; this was more than merely a statement of rhetorical intent in the Soviet Union of the time.

The denunciations of Stalin, and mutedly of Stalinism, expressed in a series of legislative enactments after 1953 and in declamations at the 20th and 22nd party congresses were of immense and justifiable significance, as determined measures to move the country forward from a dark past. They fell short, nevertheless, of both popular and scholarly expectations for a better elucidation of the factors that had produced the monstrous phenomenon. The Brezhnevite regime (1964-1982) overwhelmingly remained faithful to the root Russian word for its leader’s surname, ‘berezhnyi’ (careful). Sensational disclosures about the Stalin decades were firmly abjured after the 23rd party congress (1966), the features of the period were varnished in party and state texts, and Stalin was applauded for having modernised the nation by the processes of planned industrialisation and a voluntary and necessary agricultural collectivisation and having led the country to victory in the war. But there were other directions as well, in that Stalin’s victims continued to be rehabilitated and exonerated, camps continued to be closed down, and in 1969, the politburo resolutely rejected a bid by pro-Stalin forces to confer greater legitimacy to his record.

The appointment of S P Trapeznikov, a close ideological associate of both Brezhnev and the ideological chief, Suslov, and the author of several conformist studies of Soviet agriculture, to head the department of science and educational establishments of the party’s central committee, one of the highest posts in the party hierarchy since it entailed responsibility for the activity of both the soviet academy of sciences as well as of the ministry of higher education, was intended to confirm a resolute turn towards conservatism in matters affecting the social sciences in their entirety, but, as some have argued, history in particular. Access to Soviet archives was tightened. Sections of the cabinet archives that had been opened during the Khrushchev era were closed and numerous documents related to economic ministries were removed from historians’ scrutiny.19

Many historians were removed from their positions during Trapezhnikov’s stewardship over Soviet scholarship. Some of the prominent ones included Viktor Danilov (his work is discussed below), Pavel Volobuev – dismissed from his post as the director of the Institute of the History of the USSR in 1972, for advancing “revisionist” interpretations of the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and for his outspoken criticism of Trapeznikov; and he was replaced by the undistinguished Alexei Narochnitsky – and Edvard Burdzhalov – the author of a study on the role of the Bolsheviks in spring 1917; he served as the chair of an informal group of historians that met after 1956 to discuss the damages wrought by the Short Course and was the deputy editor of Voprosy Istorii until his removal in 1957. The bleak prospects held out by the profession were summed up by Sergei Ivanov, the Byzantine scholar: “Only a fool or an ideologue would even think about making the study of Soviet history his profession.

Anyone with a genuine interest in history and a sense of honesty made sure to stay as far away from the Soviet period as possible…if you really made Soviet history your field, you were sure to lose.”20

History and Literature

Since 1985 literature has been vital in exposing new historical questions for discussion. Many have argued plausibly that fiction initiated the whole process: whereas, for the most part, journalists, historians and economists had only started to provide a frank treatment of formerly taboo historical subjects after about 1988, novelists and poets had been concerned with these questions since the Khrushchev “thaw” and even earlier. “Round table” discussions on “history and literature” held in 1987 and 1988 repeatedly emphasised the greater readiness of literary writers than historians to tackle controversial historical issues.21 In July 1987, Literaturnaia Gazeta quoted the senior historian Yurii Polyakov as recognising the fact that “the writers have long since overtaken the historians in posing sharp questions”.22

Historians who had remained, either in the profession and/or in the field of Soviet history were slow to shed an ingrained scepticism about the durability, for some even the credibility, of the new reality. Archives, institutes and journals concerned with historical research and publication retained their heads, scholars and administrators alike, from the era of stagnation until well into the 1980s, even as Gorbachev replaced numerous editors of literary journals. The process of glasnost’ was spurred by the abolition of the censorship functions of ‘Glavlit’, the central board for literature and press affairs, the chief censorship body since 1922, in 1986. Material for publication did not require prior submission for approval by Glavlit; from 1986, its functions were limited to preventing the appearance in print of state and military secrets, pornography and overt racism.

In March 1987, Afanasyev wrote of how people who “were dependent on Trapeznikov...and bound to him by ‘business ties’, continued to lead historical science” 23 and two months later in an article in Izvestiya, the historian S V Tutiukhin pointed to a “serious gap between the interest of our people in history, which is growing and continues to grow, and the ability of professional historians to satisfy this interest”. He called for the convening of a national conference of historians, (none having been convened since the early 1960s), the publication of a historical journal and the founding of a historical society of the USSR, both directed to meet the interests of a lay public.24

It was only after about 1988 that the state censorship organisation allowed the shifting of books from library special reserves to general shelves, after which all Soviet PhD students had the right to work in the special reserves. The prospects for publication by historians improved with changes in late 1987 in the editorial board of Voprosy Istorii, by the then leading history journal with a mass subscriber base of a 10th of a million. A A Iskenderov, a respected and liberal-oriented historian of Imperial Russia, was appointed as the editor, and Volobuev and Danilov, joined the editorial board, thereby creating a 17/21 reform-minded majority on that board.25

Fiction published in the journals of mass circulation in the Gorbachev era, strongly reminiscent of the pre-revolutionary “fat journals” (the Tolstyi Zhurnaly that combined literature, commentary and criticism), became the first medium to introduce new historical topics to a wide Soviet public, even as they served as a powerful means of illustrating the human cost of historical events or the impact of policies such as dekulakisation, the famine of 1932-33, or the torture of individuals in the camps. Some of the most important contributors to the critical examination of Soviet history were the so-called “mass media historians”, dramatists like Mikhail Shatrov, the film director Tengiz Abuladze, or writers like Anatoli Rybakov (whose Children of the Arbat highlighted Stalin’s role in Kirov’s assassination), Boris Mozhaev’s Muzhiki I Baby (Peasants and Peasant Women; Don, Rostov na Donu, Nos 1-3, 1987) dealt with peasant resistance to collectivisation and criticised the role of rural party officials in supporting collectivisation), or Daniil Granin, whose novel Zubr (Aurochs; Novyi Mir, Nos 1 and 2, 1987) dealt with the persecution-ridden climate of the Soviet scientific establishment in the 1930s.

The new literature was accompanied by new revelations from the Soviet archives. These came both from Soviet historians as well as from the Memorial Society. Memorial was founded by a group of young historians like Arseny Roginsky. Initially, the group around Roginsky attempted to compile a database of the repressed. In August 1987, Memorial began collecting signatures calling for a thorough re-examination of the illegal repressions of the past and for the erection of a monument to the memory of Stalin’s millions of victims. Later, Memorial would lead the battle to identify the corpses buried in mass graves outside Moscow and Leningrad, to organise anti-Stalinist rallies, exhibits and meetings of conscience and to build monuments and memorials to the victims of the Stalinist era. After anunsuccessful attempt to turn itself into a political movement after its constituent conference in Moscow in January 1989, Memorial would finally emerge, in the 1990s, as the most important centre for the study of Soviet history, as well as for the defence of human rights in the Russian federation. By drawing attention to the crimes of the Stalinist era, it was making a political statement, relevant to the present; Memorial combined investigation of the crimes of the past with concern for human-rights victims of the present.26

Variants of Glasnost History

In an article in 1991, Pavel Volobuev drew attention to the absence of “a genuinely scientific, truthful history of the [1917] revolution”, and argued that this deficiency principally sprang from the restrictive influences of the “Stalin school of falsification”. He reminded his readers that this was an especially glaring deficiency because the revolution was now a “contemporary, vital event”, not merely one that belonged to history.27

In December 1986 and in April 1988 the Scientific Council of the Academy of Sciences organised two “round tables” to work out goals and tasks related to studying the revolution. The ensuing deliberations considerably extended the extant boundaries. Chronologically, the revolution was set in a 20-year matrix that took in the revolution of 1905 as well as the troubles in establishing Soviet power during the early NEP. Thematically, the discussions highlighted the plurality of revolutions and terminologically, the participants interrogated its regnant “socialist” appellation, by suggesting the usefulness of alternative terms like “proletarian-Jacobin” revolution. The non-Bolshevik alternatives during 1917 were explored and their frailties diagnosed.28

In his novella Kapitan Dikshtein, Mikhail Kuraev, made it clear that the insurrection at the Kronstadt naval base outside Leningrad in 1921was a genuine mass revolt against Bolshevik tyranny, rather than a counter-revolutionary rebellion instigated by foreign powers and that it was followed by indiscriminate executions. While examining the twin errors of war communism (1918-21), “barracks socialism” and “state ownership without democracy”, Vasilii Seliunin argued that it was not hunger which prompted requisitions but the reverse – requisitions had hunger as their consequence (Novyi mir, 1988, no 5), All the articles in a 1990 issue of Yunost’, (the eponymous journal for Soviet youth) were devoted to assessing diverse aspects of the civil war – as a national tragedy, as a meditation upon Wilfred Owen’s “pity of war”, as remembrance for its victims and of the need to avoid fratricidal conflict – of the sort that had once again started to convulse the rim-lands of the empire as a harbinger of its imminent demise.

The experience of the NEP of the 1920s, with its incentives for individual effort and its political and cultural freedoms, was of great inspirational value for the “perestroikili” around Gorbachev and a major focus of the historical debates. Analogies were drawn comparing the 1920s with the necessities of the 1980s. At the 27th party congress (February 1986) Gorbachev invoked the taxin-kind (“prodnalog”) that replaced war-time forcible requisitions (“prodrazverstaka”) to describe elements of an agricultural policy worth emulating and Mikhail Shatrov praised the structures and debates of the NEP in his play This is How We Conquer. In an extraordinary episode (rather, an epistle) that hinted at the strength of animosity against the NEP half a century after its premature death, Shatrov wrote in 1988 that when the play was completed in 1982, academician A Egorov, then the director of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, recommended in a letter to the head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov, that the play should be removed from the repertoire of the Moscow Arts Theatre.29

Then, in one of the first post-NEP criticisms of the 20th party congress ban on factions in the party, Agdas Burganov argued that this ban was an important contributing factor in the failure to prevent the rise of Stalin (Druzhba narodov 1988). In Vse Techet (Everything Flows, composed 1955-63, rewritten in 1964, published in Frankfurt, 1970; and in Oktyabr’, 1989), Vasilii Grossman accomplishes what Marsh terms “the most complex and extensive reappraisal of the Soviet myth about Lenin to appear in the USSR”.30

Collectivisation of Agriculture

This was one of the most contentious issues in Soviet history and historiography since at least the 1960s. The short course had declared that with “full-scale collectivisation” and the “elimination of the kulaks as a class”, the basic problems of Soviet agriculture had been solved and the basis laid for socialist relations in the countryside and the Soviet Union as a whole.

The doyen of revisionist histories of collectivisation was V P Danilov (b 1925).31 In 1954, he was forced to abandon a “kandidat” thesis on “socio-economic relations in the Soviet period” in favour of an enquiry into the material-technical basis of Soviet agriculture. In an article in 1956 and then in a book in 1957, he demonstrated that on the eve of collectivisation in 1929, the country lacked the necessary material and technical prerequisites for the complete collectivisation of agriculture. Danilov was not opposed to collectivisation per se. Indeed, he viewed it as “an objective necessity”. But even this argument flew in the face of the prevailing orthodoxy that held that an adequate materialtechnical basis had been established prior to collectivisation. In 1958, A L Sidorov, the head of the Academy’s Institute of History, appointed Danilov to head a group on the history of the Soviet peasantry and the organisation of collective farms and jointly write a history of collectivisation. At that time mostly in their early thirties, these young historians – Maria Bogdenko, Nikolai Ivnitsky, Mikhail Vyltsan and l’ia Zelenin – were the children of peasants, had lived in rural Russia through the 1930s, experienced the traumas of forced collectivisation and embarked on scholarly careers, the study of the Soviet peasantry in particular, after the war.32

In 1964 their exertions yielded a 798-page book,The Collectivisation of Agriculture in the USSR, 1927-1932, the first of a planned two-volume study. The proofs of this volume were literally withdrawn from the publishers within 24 hours of Khrushchev’s dismissal as CPSU first secretary on October 14, 1964. Meanwhile Danilov continued to research Soviet rural society during the NEP, despite his castigation by the party and his academic marginalisation. Some of this research was published in 1977 and 1979 in the shape of two path-breaking studies of the Russian countryside on the eve of collectivisation.33 The arrival of perestroika provided an opportunity for Danilov and his colleagues to at last consider publishing their long-lost work. But with the opening up of the archives and the subsequent revelations about the tragedy that had befallen the Soviet countryside, they decided against publishing their suppressed manuscript. Instead, they turned their attention to rewriting the history of the years after 1932. The banned volume of 1964 was published in the early 1990s.34

Apart from academic studies, collectivisation was a major object of fictional historical interest in 1987 and 1988. A large number of novels, stories and articles dealing with the fate of the peasants after 1929 were published, most prominently Andrei Platonov’s novel Kotlovan (The Foundation Pit, written in 1929-30, but published in 1987 in Novyi Mir), Boris Mozhaev’s Muzhiki I bab’i and Sergei Antonov’s Ovragi (The Ravines, Druzhba narodov, 1988). Perhaps the most moving publication about the peasantry was Aleksandr Tvardovsky’s poem Po pravu pamyati “By the Right of Memory” (1969, 1987) about his father who was exiled as a kulak. In 1987, Danilov published three articles on the mistakes of collectivisation and in 1988 the economist Seliunin denounced Stalin’s God Perelom (Year of the Great Breakthrough) as “The year of the breaking of the backbone of the people” in Novyi Mir G I Shmelev published a penetratingly trenchant analysis of collectivisation and dekulakisation, one that defended the Bukharinist alternative, in 1988 (Oktyabr’).

Second World War

The second world war is demiurgic in the construction of the Soviet past: triumph vindicated the Stalinist strategy of modernisation even as nothing else left larger gaps for historians to repair. Later, the myth of Stalin, the great war leader, was bitterly attacked as questions were asked concerning why the USSR was so unprepared in 1941 or why so many people and so much territory had been lost in the first phases of the war. Research into the history of the war was largely closed from about 1946. Voprosy Istorii carried only one article on the history of the war during the first five post-war years. The military journals fared a little better, and a few books and pamphlets appeared, particularly towards the end of Stalin’s life. For the next decade, Stalin’s war-time writings and speeches collected inthevolume The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, and his electoral speech on February 9, 1946, were the most important sources from which general interpretations were drawn.35

In his secret speech, Khrushchev had portrayed Stalin as a military ignoramus responsible for the initial unpreparedness of the USSR as well as for subsequent defeats through 1942. Khrushchev said that because of Stalin’s negligence Soviet industry had not been properly geared to defence in the immediate prewar years, so that when the attack came the army found itself critically short of all kinds of weapons and equipment. Many aspects of the war were frankly discussed in the Khrushchev period but by the Brezhnev years the drawbridges were pulled up and authors were told that they could not publish anything original about the war; all that was permissible was what had undergone prior publication or statement!

The 20th anniversary of the triumph of the Red Army over Germany was the occasion for a flood of celebratory articles.

It was, however, interrupted in October 1965 when Alexander Nekrich published June 22, 1941. His basic argument was that Stalin’s “mistakes” were directly responsible for the disastrous military defeats of 1941 and 1942. Although his book was consonant with the line of the 20th and 22nd congress and the central committee resolution of June 1956 which acknowledged Stalin’s culpability for mistakes like ignoring intelligence warnings of the attack, there was a concerted campaign in late 1965 to change the party line on the issue. After passing five censors and the KGB, which alone opposed publication entirely, June 22, 1941 was finally published by Nauka, the Academy of Sciences press later in 1965. The book was attacked in the central committee journal Voprosy Istorii KPSS (No 9, 1967) for being “in the ideological captivity of the bourgeois falsifiers of history”, and he was expelled from the party the same year, having been a member since 1943. He later wrote that when an “instructor” from the party central committee asked him whether he regarded “political expediency or historical truth” as being more important, he opted for the latter.36

For decades, the official Soviet posture on the pacts with Germany in August and September 1939 was that the Baltic republics had been liberated, not occupied, and communism had been a free choice, not a military imposition. Alexander Yakovlev was asked to head a commission to investigate the Pacts in 1988. He argued a case for condemnation of the pacts at a politburo meeting. Ligachev, Chebrikov and Marshall Yazov, the minister of defence, opposed this position: if the Baltic republics had been secretly and involuntarily incorporated into the USSR, then their claims for independence were legitimate.37

Soviet historians had considered the secret articles as western falsifications for 40 years – the originals could not be found and the microfilm copy was probably fabricated. Incidentally, even Roy Medvedev, in his scathing Marxist history of Stalinism (1976) did not refer to the secret pacts, perhaps because of the impossibility then of examining the relevant documents. Apart from the impulses of glasnost’ itself, however, public pressure from Poland and the Baltic states dictated that the pacts be accepted as historical. The August 23, 1939 protocol was published in Voprosy Istorii in June 1989 and the terms of the secret protocol in it, which led to the partition of Poland, were revealed in the memoirs of the highly versatile and politically adroit Konstantin Simonov (d 1974).38 He stressed the adverse psychological impact of the purges on members of the Soviet armed forces and the military impact of the purges on early Soviet defeats: “If there had been no 1937, there would have been no summer of 1941”.39 In his Triumph and Tragedy, colonelgeneral Dmitri Volkogonov fully examined the years 1939-41 and the first extracts of the book were published in Pravda (June 20, 1988). In his anniversary speech in November 1987 Gorbachev’s view remained a conservative one that argued that the pacts were the only possible policy in the circumstances.

As with much else, before 1985 fiction rather than historical scholarship served as the medium to explore sensitive war-related issues: this occurred in novels by Vasil’ Bykau (Mertvym ne bol’no 1966), by Grigorii Baklanov (Iyul’ 41 goda, 1965) or by Bulat Okudzhava (Bud’ zdorov, shkolyar!, 1961).40 But these works were clearly overshadowed by Vasilii Grossman’s Zhizn’ I sud’ba. It was deemed to be too frank and critical when it was first completed in 1960 at the height of The Thaw and Suslov wrote to him saying that there could be no question of its being published for another 200 years (!); the novel was “arrested” by the KGB in 1961. In fact it took 27 years to appear in the USSR. The novel includes scenes in both Nazi and Soviet concentration camps. Although the Nazi camps drew the main fire, there are scenes in which old Communists in a Soviet camp hospital sadly discuss the past, including the crimes they themselves committed against so-called kulaks. There is, also, more than a hint that Soviet Stalinism resembled the Nazi regime even if the actual words are by an SS officer. The hardships and conditions of wartime life are frankly presented and the heroic deeds of Soviet soldiers at Stalingrad and of devoted professional military commanders are contrasted with the less-than-honest behaviour of the political commissars.41

By 1989 there were almost no issues about the war that remained beyond the pale.

Textbooks and Examinations

In a speech in October 1986 to heads of social science departments, Gorbachev had called for the revision of academic lectures, textbooks and curricula in order to foster independent judgement and “creative thinking”. The new history textbooks must be free, he said, “of blank spaces, subjectivist pros and cons and opportunism”.42 In response, the USSR ministry of higher and specialised secondary education launched an open competition for a new textbook on the history of the CPSU in July 1988. It also insisted that school examinees should have the unconditional right “to express their own well-grounded opinion, which may not coincide with the opinion of the teacher or of the authors of the present textbooks”.43

At a seminar held by the Moscow city party committee for teachers of party history, Nikolai Maslov, head of the department of CPSU history at the Academy of Social Sciences in Moscow and someone who was closely involved in the preparation of the new texts, identified several negative aspects of Soviet social sciences – dogmatism, scholasticism, the near complete absence of “images of living people”, tendentiousness, and a certain onesidedness in the assessment of many periods in history. He suggested that the new party history should guard against four dogmas –

  • (1) That of the “non-conflicting” development of the party as a procession of victories and thus as a distortion of the truth.
  • (2) That any historical personality who had made any sort of political error was a primordial opponent of Lenin and Stalin.
  • (3) That the leading role of the party had been growing steadily, nearly automatically, all the time.
  • (4) That all party documents are 100 per cent true; this dogma was impeding an objective study of party history.44
  • The recognition by the Soviet authorities that the former official treatment of Soviet history, especially of Stalinism, had become so corrupted and debased as to become meaningless was implicit in the decision of the state committee for education in May 1988 to pulp school textbooks on the history of the USSR and to cancel the school history and social science exams for 1988. The examination was replaced by an ungraded individual interview or “free conversation” conducted by the teacher, and pupils were given a grade based not on this interview, but on their work during the year. The same committee later reported that the interviews had revealed both the greater interest in history on the part of the pupils and that the pupils’ opinion frequently differed from that of the teacher. A writer in Izvestiya had suggested that in the period pending the appearance of a new textbook(s), an agreed set of articles by historians and economists could be circulated, but went on to add that “Only one thing is important. To have school books from which you can learn and teach without lying”.45

    The Archives

    Any attempt to untangle the threads of the histories of history in the Soviet Union, might best conclude with the fount of historical evidence, the archive. In December 1986 the department of history of the Academy of Sciences and the state archives administration promised to ease problems of access to archives. In July 1987 Izvestiya announced that 767,000 of 1,109,000 documents in the central archives that had been regarded as for restricted use only would be made available to scholars. This measure was complemented by a transfer of books in the “special reserves” section in libraries into their open stacks.46

    In August 1987, Le Monde reported, on the basis of information published by ex-political prisoners, (the veracity of whose testimony therefore invited suspicion), in the Soviet periodical Glasnost, that “the legal archives of the 30s, 40s and 50s are actually being destroyed at the rate of five thousand dossiers a month under the pretext that there is a ‘lack of space’ to preserve them”. When smoke from the burnt documents caused a problem within Moscow (ironically from the furnace of the Supreme Court building!), the process of destruction was shifted outside the city.47

    For professional historians on the eve of the demise of USSR, access to archives remained difficult. Rather a small number of the “secret files” referred to above, had been released for scrutiny by 1990 and few historians had been granted access to the NKVD files, essential for any honest representation of the “dark continent” of the Stalinist past. In addition, officials from the ministry of internal affairs had tried, without success, to remove this ministry’s documents pertaining to the 1934-60 period. But there were contrary indicators as well. An unofficial “initiative group” of archivists and lawyers prepared a Draft Law “On Archival Affairs and the Archive” before the August 1991 putsch which proposed that all documents in party and state archives, barring personal files, should be subject to a 30-year rule (with 75 years for the latter). These provisions were included in archival legislation in June 1992 and July 1993.48

    But a lot was left undone, and contested as ignored. The KGB archive managed to escape legislation concerning the other archives, as did the contents of the Archive of the President of the Russian Federation. The latter had originated as the sixth sector of the general department of the central committee, and it held the incalculably important original protocols of the politburo from 1919 to 1990, the personal archives of party general secretaries (including the longest-serving one, Stalin) and other leading officials, down the decades of Soviet history. This archive had been established by Valerii Boldin, the head of the presidential chancellory in the Gorbachev presidency (1990-91) who turned against Gorbachev in Foros in August 1991, He carried out a politburo decision in June 1990 for the transfer of the sixth section to the Kremlin. This vitally important archive remained beyond normal access effort, because on December 23, 1991, hours before the Christmas day end of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev issued a directive stating that “the archive of the president of the USSR, including the documents of the archives of the politburo…shall be transferred to the president of the RSFSR”.49 In that manner, the Soviet demise, that had owed so much to the energy of history, eventually coincided with an act of historical closure aimed at the closure of history.


    Email: arup@ndf.vsnl.net.in


    1 Lukin Alexander, The Political Culture of the Russian ‘Democrats’, Oxford, 2000, p 116.

    2 Gorbachev’s entire speech was printed in Pravda, February 14, 1987 andYegor Yakovlev, the editor of Moscow News, published a report in thatjournal, Moscow News, February 22, 1987.

    3 An interview with Yuri Afanasyev, ‘The Agony of the Stalinist System’,in Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev’s Reformers, edited by Stephen F Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel (New York and London,1989), 103. A specialist in French history, Afanasyev had occupiedhigh positions in the Komsomol organisation before being appointed asthe rector of the Moscow State Historical Archive Institute in 1986. This later became a core forum for the production of new histories.

    4 Ernest Mandel, Beyond Perestroika: The Future of Gorbachev’s USSR, London, 1989, pp 86, 87.

    5 Roger D Markwick, ‘Catalyst of Historiography, Marxism and Dissidence:The Sector of Methodology of the Institute of History: Soviet Academyof Sciences, 1964-68’, Europe-Asia Studies, 46:4, 1994, n 5, p 591.

    6 Alter L Litvin, Writing History in Twentieth-Century Russia: A View fromWithin, Translated and edited by John L H Keep, London and Basingstoke,2001, p 7.

    7 L Graham, The Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Communist Party,1927-1932, (London, 1967).8 R W Davies, Soviet History in the Yeltsin Era, Basingstoke and London,1997, pp 85-86, 84, 88.9 Litvin, Writing History, 12-13; see also Dev Murarka, Gorbachov: The Limits of Power, London, 1988, p 341.10 Mazour, The Writing of History, p 18; Geoffrey Hosking, A History of

    the Soviet Union, London, 1984, p 215.

    11 Mazour, op cit, pp 9-10.

    12 Robert Service, A History of Modern Russia from Nicholas II to Putin, London, 2003, p 237.

    13 Roger D Markwick, Rewriting History in Soviet Russia: The Politics ofRevisionist Historiography, 1956-1974, Basingstoke and London, 2001,pp 42-44; Leonard Schapiro, ‘Continuity and Change in the History ofthe CPSU’ in John L H Keep (ed), Contemporary History in the SovietMirror, London, 1964, p 83; Isaac Deutscher, ‘Marxism and PrimitiveMagic’ in Tariq Ali (ed), The Stalinist Legacy: Its Impact on 20th CenturyWorld Politics, Harmondsworth, 1984, p 115.

    14 Boris Kagarlitsky, The Thinking Reed: Intellectuals and the Soviet Statefrom 1917 to the Present, London and New York, 1988, pp 288, 131.

    15 Ibid, pp 131-32.

    16 Ibid, p 132.

    17 Roger D Markwick, Rewriting History, p 41.

    18 Fainsod, ‘Historiography’ in Keep (ed), Contemporary History, pp 3435; Bertram D Wolfe, ‘Party Histories from Lenin to Khrushchev’ in Keep(ed), Contemporary History, pp 43, 51, 52-53; Leonard Schapiro, in Keep(ed), Contemporary History, pp 69, 76, 82; Markwick, op cit, pp 45-46.

    19 Davies, Soviet History in the Yeltsin Era, p 84.

    20 Jutta Scherrer, ‘Blank Spots’ in Soviet Russia’s Past: Perestroika andHistorical Consciousness’, draft paper, 2-3; R W Davies, Soviet Historyin the Gorbachev Revolution, 2. Sergei Ivanov’s statement is quoted byDavid Remnick, Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, London, 1993, 39. In his study of the February Revolution, Burdzhalovhad dwelt on Bolshevik tardiness in preparing for October, built upMenshevik history during 1917, and thereby cast a shadow over party(Bolshevik) infallibility.

    21 Rosalind Marsh, ‘History and Literature in Contemporary Russia’, SIPS/CREES Paper, Birmingham, January 1995, p 15.

    22 Marsh, History and Literature in Contemporary Russia, Basingstoke andLondon, 1995, p 72.

    23 Afanasyev in Sovetskaya Kultura, March 21, 1987, translated in Current Digest of the Soviet Press, April 22, 1987 and cited by Thomas Sherlock,‘Politics and History under Gorbachev’, Problems of Communism, XXXVII: 3-4, May-August 1988, 29, and Davies, Soviet History in the GorbachevRevolution, pp 170-71.

    24 Izvestiya, May 3, 1987, cited by Davies, Soviet History in the GorbachevRevolution, 171.

    25 Davies, Soviet History in the Gorbachev Revolution, 175-177; idem, Soviet History in the Yeltsin Era, 117; Sherlock, 31-32.

    26 Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History, New York, 2003, 558; Scherrer, loc cit, 21.

    27 P V Volobuev, ‘Perestroika and the October Revolution in Soviet Historiography’, translated from the Russian by Kurt S Schultz, The Russian Review, vol 51, October 1992, p 566.

    28 Volobuev, Russian Review, pp 568-76. The proceedings of the first roundtable were published in Voprosy istorii, No 6, 1987 and those of the second in Rossiia 1917 god: Vybor istoricheskogo puti, (Moscow, 1989).

    29 Marsh, History and Literature, 8, n 7, p 221.

    30 Ibid, p 117.

    31 Danilov was born into a peasant family in Orenburg. His service as anartillery officer in the war was a transforming experience because, as hesaid in an interview decades later, he wanted to know “how it was that people could conduct themselves as they did in war, particularly thosefrom such a highly cultured country as Germany”. Since it was clear tohim that no historian could “grasp all history”, s/he must understand theirown country first: “and the history of my country is above all the historyof the peasantry and the countryside”. From the mid-1950s, Danilov established contact with major British historians like E H Carr, R W Davies,Teodor Shanin and Orlando Figes. Markwick, op cit, n 3, p 272.

    32 Danilov’s 1956 article was entitled ‘Material’no-tekhnicheskaia baza sel’skogo khoziaistva SSSR nakanune sploshnoi kollektivatsii’, and thebook in 1957 Sozdanie materialno-tekhnicheskikh predposylok kollektivatsiisel’skogo khoziaistva v SSSR. ibid, p 113.

    33 Sovetskaia dokolkhoznaia derevniia: naselenine, zemlepol’zovanie,khoziaistvo (Moscow, 1977), published in English as Rural Russia Under the New Regime, by O Figes (ed) (1988) and Sovetskaia dokolkhoznaia derevniia: sotsial’naia struktura, sot’sial’nye otnosheniia, Moscow, 1979.

    34 Markwick, op cit, pp 152-54.

    35 Matthew Gallagher, ‘Trends in Soviet Historiography of the SecondWorld War’ in Keep (ed), Contemporary History, p 222.

    36 After his expulsion from the party in 1967, Nekrich became a researcherin the Institute of General History until he emigrated in 1976. He helda teaching position in Harvard University until his death in 1993. Markwick,op cit, 209; Litvin, 24, citing A M Nekrich, Otrekshis’ ot strakha: vospomonania istorika, (Moscow, 1979).

    37 D W Spring, ‘A Note on the debate about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact:Developments of 1988-9’, SIPS/CREES Paper, Birmingham, December1989, 1-2; David Pryce-Jones, The Fall of the Soviet Empire 1985-1991, London, 1995, pp 93-95.

    38 Simonov was a distinguished poet, a former war correspondent and latera writer on its themes – but very much a keeper of the faith, for he hadwon the Stalin prize an almost incredible five times, served twice as aneditor-in-chief of Literaturnaia Gazeta (1938, 1950-54) and twice of NovyMir (1946-50; 1954-58), both then being recondite bastions of the literaryestablishment. Murarka, Gorbachev, pp 346-47.

    39 Konstantin Simonov, ‘Through the Eyes of a Man of My Generation’,Znamya, no 3, 1988. See also Murarka, Gorbachov, pp 346-47.

    40 Marsh, History and Literature, 98.

    41 Alec Nove, Glasnost in Action: Cultural Renaissance in Russia, Boston, 1989, 140-41. An extract was first published in 1987 (Ogonek), and thenpublished (with some omissions) in 1988 ((Oktyabr’). The Russian editionof the full work appeared in 1985. In the west, extracts had been publishedin Kontinent in 1975 and 1976, in Russian language in full in 1980 andin English in 1985.

    42 Sherlock, loc cit, p 22.

    43 Moscow News, July 19, 1988, p 10; Davies, Soviet History in the YeltsinEra, 120.

    44 Moscow News, July 19, 1987.

    45 Davies, Soviet History in the Gorbachev Revolution, 183; Robert Cornwell

    in The Independent, June 11, 1988, p 1.46 Sherlock, loc cit, 32; Davies, Soviet History in the Gorbachev Revolution,

    178. 47 Mandel, 93. 48 Davies, Soviet History in the Yeltsin Era, 92, 107; Litvin, 34. 49 Ibid, 111; David Pryce-Jones, The Fall of the Soviet Empire 1985

    1991, 94.

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