The Fate of Educators in the Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic During the Struggle Against “Bourgeois Nationalism” (1937-1938)

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Abstract

This article discusses the political repressions of 1937-1938 in the fi eld of public education, with the Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic as its case study. The author assembles new archival documents, mass media materials and memoirs of contemporaries to illuminate the regional specifi cs of repression in the broader context of the Stalinist era. Particular attention is paid to how “enemies of the people” were identifi ed. The author argues that the Bashkir Regional Party Committee, the media, and the party committees of educational institutions, as well as the organs of the NKVD worked in unison to expose “hostile elements” and Trotskyists among directors of educational institutions, specialists in higher education, and public school teachers. The media, as well as the decisions of closed party meetings, were imbued with the spirit of ideological intolerance; they provided the moral and ideological justifi cation for the arrests. This article traces a trend that was characteristic of national autonomous republics in general: the persecution of regional leaders and members of the national intelligentsia on charges of “local bourgeois nationalism.” The author also examines how purges in the party, state and educational bodies of the republic targeted “nationalists” directly or indirectly associated with “national and local deviationists” of the revolutionary years. The article also discusses the fate of Bashkortostan’s People’s Commissars of Education who were subjected to repression. Reconstructing the complex social and political situation in the educational sphere of the BASSR allows us to draw important conclusions, and better understand contemporary social and political processes.

About the authors

Rustam Z. Almaev

Bashkir State Pedagogical University named after M. Akmullah

Author for correspondence.
Email: almaev_history@mail.ru

Kandidat Istoricheskikh Nauk [Ph.D. in History], Associate Professor at the Department of Russian History

3 а, Oktyabrskoy Revolutsii St., Ufa, 450000, Russia

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Copyright (c) 2020 Almaev R.Z.

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