The article is devoted to the first elections in the Department of History of the Academy of Sciences after the death of Stalin in 1953. The author describes the official procedure for the election of academicians and corresponding members. Through showing the circumstances behind the election procedure, the article details the role of the Department of Science and Culture of the Central Committee in the selection of candidates and reveals its active part in the election. The author pays particular attention to the informal side of the election campaign: lobbying interests of certain groups of historians, the struggle for the additional vacancies for Historical Sciences, etc. On the basis of archival documents and memoirs, the author demonstrates how a group of academics blocked the election of the Director of the Institute of History of the USSR Sidorov because of his active participation in the ideological campaigns of Stalin's time. It examines in detail the story of the letter of the Moscow historian V.T. Krut against Anna M. Pankratova who was a candidate in academicians. The case is considered as a manifestation of the Stalin era phenomenon of the “little man”. The Department of Science and Culture of the Central Committee was forced to respond to the letter, but defended Pankratova. The author concludes that the election results were the evidence of de-Stalinization in Historical Science. Moreover, one can observe a certain degree of independence of the academic community from the power, as evidenced by the election in the entire Academy.
Key words: academic elections, the Soviet historical science, the Department of Science and Culture of the Central Committee, de-Stalinization, Arkady L. Sidorov.