1921 in the History of Discussions about the Establishment of the Komi-Permyatsky District

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Abstract


Using the example of discussions on the building of the Komi-Permyak district, the author analyzes the features of national state building in the RSFSR in the 1920s. The article focuses on one of the turning points in the process of establishing the Komi-Permyak district, namely the situation in 1921, when the initially unpopular idea of separating the Permyak region from Perm province unexpectedly became popular among the local population in the course of just a few months. Previously unpublished archival material allows us to assess the course of the discussion about the future of the Permyak region in 1921. Of particular value are the transcripts of a January 1925 closed meeting of a special commission on the Permyak issue; this commission was established on the order of the secretariat of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). The commission decided to establish the Permyak region, and analyzed the developments in this territory in 1921. The situation refl ected the confrontation between the “national” and “economic” blocs within the Bolshevik leadership in the process of territorial delimitation. The documents furthermore demonstrate that the methods of local authorities relating to border disputes were cynical and uncompromising. The authorities of the Komi autonomous region were agitating among the population of the Permyak region to secede from Perm province without coordinating their activities with the local authorities. In turn, the authorities of Perm province launched a large-scale repressive campaign against activists of the national and cultural Permyak movement. Politically-motivated deception, bribery, and persecution became integral parts of the discussion regarding the self-determination of the Permyak population. While seeking the support of the “center,” the opposing parties did not pay a lot of attention to recommendations from Moscow and acted only in their own interests. The process of building the Komi-Permyak district in many ways demonstrates the essence of the early Soviet national policy as a system of checks and balances aimed at gaining the loyalty of diff erent nationalities under the umbrella of Soviet statehood.


About the authors

Mikhail S. Kamenskikh

Perm Federal Research Center, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: pomidorrr@mail.ru
13 a Lenina St., Perm, 614001 Russia

Kandidat Historichesikh Nauk [PhD in History], Senior Researcher of the Department of history, archaeology and ethnography

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