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

Cover Page

Cite item

Full text / tables, figures


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 Previously unpublished archival material allows us to assess the course of the discussion about the future of the Permyak region in 1921.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

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

13 a Lenina St., Perm, 614001 Russia


  1. Amanzholova, D. “Center and regions under the conditions of Soviet nation-building in the 1920s.” Bulletin of the Russian Nation, no. 2 (2019): 34–44 (in Russian).
  2. Bachev, G.T. Komi-Permyatskiy natsional’nyy okrug: kratkiy spravochnik. 2 izdaniye. Kudymkar: Permskoye knizhnoye izdatel’stvo. Komi-Permyatskoye otdeleniye Publ., 1975 (in Russian).
  3. Bekhrin, I.B. Istoriya Komi ASSSR. Syktyvkar: Komi knizhnoye izdatel’stvo Publ., 1981 (in Russian).
  4. Brandenberger, D., and Zelenov, M.V. “Stalin’s answer to the National Question: A Case Study on the Editing of the 1938 Short Course.” Slavic Review, no. 4 (2014): 859–880.
  5. Chebotareva, V.G. Natsional’naya politika Rossiyskoy Federatsii. 1925–1938 gg. Moscow: GU “Moskovskiy dom natsional’nostey” Publ., 2008 (in Russian).
  6. Chebotareva, V.G. Narkomnats RSFSR: svet i teni natsional’noy politiki 1917–1924 gg. Moscow: Obshchestvennaya akademiya nauk rossiyskikh nemtsev Publ., 2003 (in Russian).
  7. Chernykh, A.V., and Goleva T.G. Komi-permyaki Permi: istoriya i kul’tura. St. Petersburg: Mamatov Publ., 2016 (in Russian).
  8. Chugayev, M.A. “K voprosu ob obrazovanii Komi-permyatskogo natsional’nogo okruga.” Uchenyye zapiski Permskogo universiteta, no. 133 (1965): 115–125 (in Russian).
  9. Dewhirst, M. “Review of Petrov, Petre and Ryazanova-Clarke, Lara, The Vernaculars of Communism: Language, Ideology and Power in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.” Canadian Slavonic Paper, no. 2 (2017): 531–533.
  10. Dzhanteyeva, D.S. “Nation-building in the North Caucasus: the communicative dimension.” Bulletin of the Russian Nation, no. 1 (59) (2018): 107–119 (in Russian).
  11. Genkel’, A.G. “Perm’ i oblast’ Komi: Po voprosu o pretenzii oblasti naroda Komi na 19 volostey Permskoy gubernii s permyatskim naseleniyem).” Ekonomika, no. 6 (1923): 57–59 (in Russian).
  12. Hirsch, F. Empire of nations: ethnographic knowledge and the making of the Soviet Union. Ithaca, London: Cornell Ubiversity Press, 2005.
  13. Jääts, Indrek. “ ‘The Permiak question’: Bolshevik Central Authorities, Russian and Non-Russian Provincial Elites Negotiating Over Autonomy in the Early 1920s.” Nationalities Papers 40, no. 2 (2012): 241–257.
  14. Kon’shin, A.Ye. Istoriya Komi-permyatskogo Naroda 1917–1940 gg. Uchebnoye posobiye. Kudymkar: Filial Udmurtskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta v g. Kudymkare Publ., 2004 (in Russian).
  15. Lallukka, S. Komi-permyaki i Komi-Permyatskiy okrug. Istoriya, demografi cheskiye i etnicheskiye protsessy. St. Petersburg: Yevropeyskiy dom Publ., 2010 (in Russian).
  16. Lenkart, J. “Russian Revolutions in Print: The Fate of the Ethnic Press.” Slavic Review, no. 3 (2017): 665–664.
  17. Mogilner, M. “The Jewish Revolution in Belorussia: Economy, Race, and Bolshevik Power.” Soviet and Post Soviet Review, no. 2 (2019): 71–75.
  18. Ogonovskaya, I.S., and Popova, N.N. Istoriya Urala s drevneyshikh vremen do nashikh dney. Yekaterinburg: Sokrat Publ., 2006 (in Russian).
  19. Ponomarev, S.I. “Sozdaniye natsional’noy gosudarstvennosti komi-permyatskogo naroda i yeye rol’ v sotsialisticheskikh preobrazovaniya kraya.” Trudy Moskovskogo istoriko-arkhivnogo institute 28 (1970): 420–437 (in Russian).
  20. Ramazanova, D.Sh. “O politicheskom konstruirovanii sovetskikh natsional’nostey i narodnostey Dagestana (po materialam arkhivnykh issledovaniy).” Etnografi cheskoye obozreniye, no. 5 (2016): 150–166 (in Russian).
  21. Sablin, I., and Sukhan, D. “Regionalisms and Imperialisms in the Making of the Russian Far East, 1903–1926.” Slavic Review, no. 2 (2018): 333–358.
  22. Tarakanov, F.G. Bor’ba za okrug. Stikhi i vospominaniya. Kudymkar: Permskoye knizhnoye izdatel’stvo, Komi-Permyatskoye otdeleniye Publ., 1990 (in Russian).
  23. Tarakanov, F.G. “Kak eto bylo.” Nash kray, no. 6 (1986): 17–22 (in Russian).
  24. Zherebtsov, I.L., Popov, A.A., and Smetanin, A.F. Istoriya Komi s drevneyshikh vremen do sovremennosti. Syktyvkar: Anbur Publ., 2011 (in Russian).

Copyright (c) 2020 Kamenskikh M.S.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies