2018. Issue 3 (42)

Khudzik S. Yu. "Scientific" History and "Educational" Examples. The Discussions on Historical Truth at the Leningrad Istpart "Reminiscence Evenings" in the Second Half of the 1920s (.pdf)

 

After the October Revolution and the Civil War, the Soviet party historians put a lot of efforts into engaging people in creating an ideologically sound and coherent image of the history of the revolution. The article focuses on one form of this engagement which was the “evenings of reminiscences”, and more particularly, the discussion on historical truth that took place between the participants and the party historians. The discursive context determining the place of “reminiscence evenings” within the activities of the Commission on the History of the October Revolution and the Russian Communist Party (Istpart) is examined. The discussions on historical truth in the testimonies of participants and historians are analyzed. The way of presenting the truth at the meetings was split between “scientific” and “educational” aspects of the Istpart’s historical discourse. The “scientific” way of representation presupposed the deterministic causal logic of the sequence of historical events. The “educational” aspect was conceived in terms of providing the “type” of the ideal Bolshevik revolutionary as the maker of history. Due to the absence of historical distance between historians and rank-and-file participants, the utterances on historical truth of both constantly oscillated between two poles, using one or another as a ground for the arguments. This tension in the discussions highlights the genuine collective attempt to produce the uniform vision of history and difficulties in its establishment.

 

Key words: the Soviet history of the 1920s, Istpart, “reminiscence evenings”, historical epistemology, discourse, history.

 

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