Nepomnyashchiy, Andrey A. Akademik S. F. Platonov i krymovedenie [Academician S.F. Platonov and Crimean Studies]. Belgorod: Konstanta Publ., 2018, 216 p. (Series:“Biobibliography of Crimean Studies.” Vol. 27)

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The beginning of the scientific research on the Crimea concerns the last third of the 18th century, and it was related to a gradual advance of Russia to the South, to the strategic and socio-economic objectives of the state in developing new territories. By the end of the 19th century, Crimean studies had become an independent scientific direction. At that time, the Taurida Scientific Archive Commission was founded in 1887 (since 1923 - the Tauride Society of History, Archeology and Ethnography), which was engaged in the protection of historical monuments on the peninsula, and in research of documentary treasures of the Crimean archives; it also contributed to the formation of the fundamentals of the local archeography. That way had developed the historical school of Crimean studies, which nowadays has been successfully working under the direction of the acknowledged leader in this field, professor A.A. Nepomnyashchiy,1 whose area of interest is the history of Crimean studies, and areas of specialization - the historiography of Crimean history, the biobibliography of historians/Crimean specialists. Historians and specialists engaged in Crimean history studies are familiar with the scientific series “Biobibliography of Crimean Studies,” which has been published under the direction of A.A. Nepomnyashchiy. This series was intended to publish works on Crimean historical bibliography and restore the history of Crimean studies. Due to this series, the contribution of scientists and region researchers to the studied issue is manifest, and their scientific heritage is analyzed, with the obligatory inclusion of hand-written works that have been discovered in the archival depositories of many countries. The emergence of such a direction in Crimean historiography is quite explicable. The store of scientific research on the history of regional studies was extremely poor by the beginning of the 21st century. In Russian historiography, an institutional approach had been clearly seen by that time, when historians often faced diverse scientific institutions. At the same time, a new problem area has recently been revealed, because of researchers’ increasing attention to personality in the scientific society, including in the far regions of Russia. Therefore, the formation of a new scientific direction in Crimean studies, where archeology has always prevailed, is very distinctive. Due to the emergence of a new book by A.A. Nepomnyashchiy, the series was expanded by the publication of a famous Russian and Soviet historian and academician, Sergey Fyodorovich Platonov, devoted to the scientific heritage in the field of Crimean studies. There is a wide historiography, devoted to the hard destiny of a historian, to his multi-faceted scientific and pedagogical activity. Above all, this historiography is made up of works by V.S. Brachyov and S.O. Schmidt.2 The plots that are connected with the study of S.F. Platonov’s contribution to the development of regional historical schools, are demonstrated in the works of A.N. Shakhanov,3 S.P. Shchavelev,4 and V.V. Mitrofanov.5 There are also separate publications which cover unknown and little known plots, bearing witness to the academician’s interest in the regional problems of the South of the country.6 A.A. Nepomnyashchiy’s monograph spotlights the plot of the academician S.F. Platonov’s biography, which unfolds in the 1920s. It was quite an important but at the same time controversial period for the Crimea. On the one hand, the creation of the Crimean Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic in 1921 contributed to the cultural prosperity of the nations living on the peninsula. But at the same time, there was a certain stagnation in the scientific life of the republic. It was related to a lack of funds to develop science in the country and to a disparity in the study of exclusively Crimean-Tatar monuments of archeological, ethnographical and other types. The author of the book, using the example of an outstanding historian’s fate, attempted to trace the path of the development of historical Crimean studies, the way of the formation of new contacts in the area of “province-center”. A.A. Nepomnyashchiy is the author of a number of monographs devoted to the prominent workers of historical Crimean studies - the chairman of the Taurida Society of History, Archeology and Ethnography, A.I. Markevich7 and the outstanding archeologist N.L. Ernst,8 who simultaneously served as the first director of the Central Museum of Taurida, the first head of the library at the Taurida University, a professor at the Crimean University, and the successor of A.I. Markevich to the position of chairman of the Taurida Society of History, Archeology and Ethnography. Nepomnyashchiy’s works display the scrupulous labor of numerous area specialists, who conduct research in the field of archival science, the Taurida Scientific Archive Commission activities, protection of cultural values in post-revolution years, and changes and new scientific trends in Crimean studies in the 1920s and the tough 1930s of the 20th century. As the source basis of A.A. Nepomnyashchiy’s new book, devoted to S.F. Platonov, is made up of a large epistolary, discovered and studied by the author in more than ten archives of the Russian Federation and the Ukraine, as well as numerous documents of various types on the organization of research in the field of Crimean studies, and obtained by the author from the funds of the Scientific Archive of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Of particular interest for the readers is the personal correspondence of the academician Platonov with Crimean workers of science and culture, introduced into scientific circulation by the author, as well as the materials of the official correspondence of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the State Academy of History of Material Culture, the Crimean People’s Commissariat for Education, and particular museums in the studied period of time. The author starts the narration with the story of the random acquaintance of S.F. Platonov with A.I. Markevich at the All-Russian Archeological Congress in Wilno in 1893. The leading Crimean area specialist’s analysis of the preserved letters forwarded to the capital of the Russian Federation demonstrated the way the scientific friendship of two outstanding workers of that period was forged. Even at that time, Platonov had already begun to support his colleague from a remote Crimean province; however, this did not hamper him from critically reviewing Markevich’s publications (рр. 11-27). It’s precisely in the pre-revolutionary period that Sergey Fyodorovich started to participate in work of the Taurida Scientific Archive Commission, transformed into the Taurida Society of History, Archeology and Ethnography in 1923. The study of the correspondence between the two workers of historical science of the pre-revolutionary period, which was preserved in the personal archive fund of S.F. Platonov, in the division of manuscripts of the Russian National Library, proffered the opportunity to expand his view of A.I. Markevich’s bibliography, to reveal a number of manuscripts of his articles and published works that had not been previously unknown. A.A. Nepomnyashchiy traced the way the general atmosphere in Crimean studies was changing, and against this background revealed the complex type of relationship between the two scientists, due to political changes that took place in the country after the revolution, which both of them accepted, albeit involuntarily. The book highlights Platonov’s “entry” in Crimean studies, which started by his participation in two AllUnion archeological conferences - in Kerch (1926) and Chersonesus-Sevastopol (1927), timed to coincide with the anniversary dates of the study and protection of the cultural heritage in the Eastern and South-Western Crimea. The monograph presents a detailed story, based on archival documents and new publications, about the unique features of organization of similar forums in the USSR, and the participation in these forums of dozens of science workers from the entire Soviet Union (pp. 60-108). On the pages of local press, А.А. Nepomnyashchiy managed to discover those of S.F. Platovov’s articles that were not included in early published indexes of the academician’s works. S.F. Platonov’s publications on the pages of “Izvestiya of the Taurida Society of History, Archeology and Ethnography” are still little known.9 The peculiarities of the development of the Crimean studies movement on the peninsula during the post-revolutionary period are highlighted in the book. At the same time, the author demonstrates a conflict between the representatives of the old pre-revolutionary school of researchers and the new generation of Soviet historians, who had other priorities in work to protect monuments and, therefore, aimed to develop knowledge in the region, and to popularize its past, in their own way. The analysis of the correspondence between the former Saint-Petersburg University professor Friedrich (Fyodor) Braun, who emigrated to Germany, and the academician S.F. Platonov made it possible to restore unknown pages from the investigation of Crimean medieval monuments, in particular, monuments by Eski Kermen. It also facilitated the organization of the joint Soviet-German archeological expedition in 1929 by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR together with the Society of Mutual Aid for German Science. The complexities of the interpersonal relationship between the Crimean specialists are disclosed, as well as the peculiarities of research on medieval Crimean items of cultural heritage due to the right to study Eski Kermen. Preparation for the expedition, including the involvement of prominent local scientists, became the summit of Platonov’s participation in Crimean studies. The book often quotes letters by A.I. Markevich and N.I. Repnikov which were thereby introduced into scientific circulation for the first time. Platonov actively discussed the planned joint Soviet-German expedition to Eski Kermen with these notable scientists of that period. In the monograph, the image of Friedrich Braun is shown in an absolutely new way. He kept close scientific contacts with many Crimean workers and carried out long-distance supervision of the investigation of “cave cities”, which he personally conducted at the request of the academician S.F. Platonov, to whom he reported back in his preparatory works for the expedition. At the same time, on the pages of A.A. Nepomnyashchiy’s book, the author discovered the correspondence between F. Braun, N.I. Repnikov and N.L. Ernst and was the first to introduce it into scientific circulation (рр. 135-161). On the pages of the book, workers of historical Crimean studies are presented for the readers not only as scientists, but also as ordinary people, with their own personalities, feelings and trials. They quarrel, rest and communicate. In this regard, the book contains a very telling communication between S.F. Platonov and M.A. Voloshin. The author managed to introduce the versatility of the Crimean scientific community into the national context of academic scientific exchange. Based on engaging a vast array of correspondence, we can see how the priorities in study of the Crimea changed in the early Soviet period, and why and how all that was restrained. Against this background, the author’s statements in the afterword on S.F. Platonov’s isolation after his deportation to Samara appear logical. The book contains a wide number of references, but remains easy to read. It’s important to note the book’s well-thought-out design, impeccably made by the Belgorod Publishing House “Konstanta”, and its numerous rare photographs, in particular, those of Crimean workers, whose iconography had not been previously exposed.

Marina N Moseykina

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Author for correspondence.
6 Miklukho-Maklaya St., Moscow, 117198, Russia

Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor of the Department of Russian History, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University).

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