Vol 20, No 1 (2021): History of relations with the center and national regions of Russia


Russian Empire’s Religious Institutions in the 18th - Early 20th Century: The Evolution of “Friend - Alien - Foe” Relations

Bendin A.Y.


The Russian government’s three principal institutions to regulate the empire’s diverse religions from the 18th to the early 20th century are examined. Its author describes the evolution of these bodies, their features and purpose, as well as defining the concept of religious security by analyzing its specific historical content. The author also discusses the relationship between the institutions of the official Russian Church, religious tolerance for “foreign confessions,” and discrimination against the Old Believers through the prism of “friend - alien - foe” relations. This approach helps us understand the hierarchical nature of the relations and contradictions that existed between the institutions, whose activities regulated the religious life of the Russian Empire’s subjects until 1905. The article goes on to analyze the relationship between the official legal status of the Russian Church, imperial tolerance, and religious discrimination. It concludes that the formation of the three state-religious institutions that began in the 18th century ended during the reign of Emperor Nicholas I. That time saw the beginning of the gradual evolution of “friend - alien - foe” inter-institutional relations, which peaked under Emperor Nicholas in 1904-1906. The author also considers the changes in the government’s policy towards the Russian “schism” of the 17th century, which ultimately removed the “friend-or-foe” opposition in the relations between the Russian state, the Russian Church and the “schismatic” Old Believers. In accordance with the modernized legislation on religious tolerance, lawful Old Believers and sectarians moved from the category of religious and political “foes” to that of “aliens”, to which “foreign confessions” traditionally belonged. Under the new legal and political conditions, intolerance and religious discrimination against the “schism” ceased to be an instrument of state policy.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):8-31
pages 8-31 views

The “Jewish Question” in Zemstvo Activities of the Liberal Fronda of Northern Ukraine in the 1880s

Kotelnitsky N.A.


The article explores the position of the Zemstvo liberal party of northern Ukraine on the “Jewish question” in the Russian Empire in the 1880s. Based on little-known historical sources, the author reconstructs the public landscape in the north of Left-Bank Ukraine, where vivid discussions of the “Jewish problem” unfolded. A comparative analysis of the positions of the liberal and conservative Zemstvo circles demonstrated the main initiatives of the progressive Zemstvo, which fundamentally separated the aristocratic opposition fronda from the loyal authorities of the zemstvo environment. A detailed analysis of the primary sources shows that the liberal Zemstvo members strongly opposed the reactionary proposals of the conservatives - including a decisive rejection of punitive measures, the elimination of the civil inequality of the Jewish people in the Russian Empire, a fundamental change in state economic policy with the aim of comprehensive and wide-ranging reforms of social relations in the province, and a search for the harmonization of moral and spiritual relations in society. The publication examined the personal contribution of liberal Zemstvo party members of the Northern Left Bank to the development of a political philosophy for resolving the “Jewish problem” in the country, at the level of journalism of national importance, and at the level of the activities of the Chernihiv provincial commission on the “Jewish question.” The author demonstrates that the representatives of the Zemstvo opposition publicly opposed the slightest discrimination and restriction of civil rights and freedoms of Jews, considering such discrimination as manifestations of anti-Semitism and an insult of the Jewish people. The liberal party’s reform plan for the conceptual solution of the “Jewish question” in the Russian Empire was an integral organic component of the broad socio-economic and ethno-political doctrine of state modernization.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):32-46
pages 32-46 views

Crimean Tatars in the Governing Bodies of the Taurida Province in the First Half of the 19th Century

Kravchuk A.S.


The author identifies the amount of Crimean Tatars who served as officials in Taurida Governorate in the first half of the 20th century. The article is based on archival data, address-calendars and mesyatseslovs of the Russian Empire. Russian politics in the region after the Crimean annexation was characterized by an active interaction with the local population. The imperial authorities gave the Crimean Tatars broad rights and involved them in civil and military service. Tatar murzas and beys who entered service closely interacted with Russian officials and thus got acquainted with the Russian language and culture as well as with the new legal system. While the largest number of Crimean Tatars were in service during the reign of Catherine II, their number began to decline under her successors. The author argues that the Russian authorities’ interaction with the Crimean Tatar nobility was based on mutually beneficial conditions. The state received the loyalty of local leaders, which provided stability and allowed for communication with the ordinary population. In turn, the murzas and beys received titles and ranks, which allowed them to increase their property and keep their social status. However, the number of Crimean Tatars in local government functions during the first half of the 19th century was low. They served in the governing bodies only by election from the nobility. This was a result of central policy but also of the low level of training among Tatar officials. Many of them were not familiar with legal procedures laws and could not read and write in Russian. Consequently, they preferred service in military formations, which was more prestigious and did not require special training.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):47-60
pages 47-60 views

The Roles and Activities of Tatar Mullahs in Kazakhstan, 18th to Mid-21st Century

Makhmutov Z.A.


This article is devoted to the study of the functions by the Institute of Tatar mullahs in Kazakhstan at different historical periods. The author examines the activities of clergymen in the region, analyzes the internal policy of the Russian and later Soviet state, which regulated their activities by legislative acts, creating certain political contexts. Research interest is also caused by the internal policy of the state, which regulated Tatar mullah’s activities by legislative acts and it created certain political contexts. The sources for writing the work were materials of personal origin and office work, legislative and regulatory documents stored in the archives of Kazakhstan and Russia. In the initial period of the Kazakhstan's colonization the institute of Tatar mullahs was integrated into the management system of the newly-joined territory. In these conditions, the Tatar clergy had rather large powers in the Kazakh steppe. They conducted civil proceedings, document management, taught the Kazakhs literacy and agriculture, participated in government decisions, and carried out diplomatic missions. Their work gave legitimacy to the actions of the empire for the Kazakhs and promoted loyalty to the new government. In the middle of the 19th century, the attitude of the tsarist officials towards the mullahs changed dramatically. Activity of Tatar clergy was significantly limited by the Temporary Provision of 1868. Despite the prohibitions being undertaken, the political and religious influence of the ulama on the Kazakhs remained quite strong. In Soviet times, a significant part of the Tatar clergy was destroyed and completely removed from the legal field. However, although they were in an illegal situation, they continued to perform religious functions. After some religious relaxation during the Great Patriotic War, they made a significant contribution to the formation of Kazakhstani Kaziyat. The author considers that Tatar mullahs were the elite of the mobilized diaspora оn the basis of the analyzed material. Tatar ulemahs conspicuous influence was until the middle of the 19th century and occurred outside the religious sphere as well.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):61-73
pages 61-73 views

Nomads of the Steppe Ciscaucasia during the Great Reforms in Russia

Lidzhieva I.V., Kidirniyazov D.S.


Based on an analysis of archival documents and periodical press materials, the present paper studies the impact of the liberal reforms of Alexander II on the policies of the imperial authorities for the nomadic peoples of the steppe of Ciscaucasia: the Kalmyks, Nogais and Turkmens. The liberal reforms of the 1860s and 1870s had a direct impact on the formation of the national intelligentsia, which during the revolutionary events of the early 20th century led to the rise of the national movement in the empire’s peripheries and to the struggle for self-determination of the non-Russian populations during the Russian Revolution of 1917. The article reconstructs individual facts and events from the life of the nomadic population under specific socio-economic and political-legal conditions. Using the historical-genetic method, the influence of liberal reforms on the vital activity of the nomadic peoples of the Stavropol province is revealed. The authors focus on the activities of regional authorities during the period under review, which were liberal in nature and carried out in the context of the reforms of Alexander II. The authors conclude that the pre-Caucasus steppe, the territory of the nomadic Kalmyks, Nogais and Turkmens, being the national edge of the Russian Empire and falling under a special system of governance related to the ethnic and religious characteristics of the populations, was not drawn into the orbit of liberal reforms. Meanwhile, a number of measures were approved by the regional executive authorities on the ground, of course, first of all, aimed at satisfying the needs of the imperial policy for incorporating the region into the common imperial space, but at the same time improving the lives of the nomadic peoples of the Stavropol province, in particular in the field of education and legal procedures.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):74-87
pages 74-87 views


The “Flip Side” of Peter the Great’s Reforms

Chernikova T.V.


Under discussion the question if Peter the Great’s reforms were truly revolutionary. The author focuses on two aspects: the extent to which his innovations altered the patrimonial system that had dominated Muscovy over the previous three centuries, and the role arbitrariness, bribery, embezzlement and other kinds of corruption played during his reign. She examines the first Russian emperor’s changes that most affected Russia’s various estates, including the introduction of a poll tax, the conversion of peasants on state lands into state serfs, as well as the intensification of the nobility’s service obligations and the reduction of its privileges. The author concludes that Peter not only did not destroy Muscovy’s traditional patrimonial system, but intensified it and even used it to impose his reforms on a reluctant population. Meanwhile, although the emperor’s initiatives in the sciences, arts and secular education were important, they only affected the upper class. In other respects, Peter’s efforts to westernize his realm were only superficial. The author also considers how Russians regarded the notion of “freedom.” She argues that there is a connection between seemingly opposite phenomena - the popular desire for freedom and arbitrariness of the service nobility. The author pays particular attention to corruption, which she considers to have had a major impact on the government’s relationship with the elite, and was tolerated both to maintain the latter’s loyalty but also to manipulate it.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):88-107
pages 88-107 views

The Smell of Factionalism: Left Opposition in the Vyatka Provincial Organization of the Bolshevik Party in 1923-1924

Timkin Y.N.


The activity of the Vyatka left opposition that arose during the internal party discussion in the fall of 1923 and the spring of 1924 is studied. The work is based on archival documents from the Central State Archive of Kirov Region, as well as on materials from the Vyatka Pravda party newspaper. The platform of the local opposition opposed the formation of factions but insisted on clarifying what factionalism is supposed to mean. The Left Opposition united the party community of the provincial city and adjacent working areas. Most party members initially expressed full confidence in the party’s Central Committee. An analysis of archival material shows that the Vyatka opposition tried to establish a broad discussion of problems in internal party life. In the provincial center there was a party discussion club that organized heated discussions. The focus on clarifying the concepts of factions and groups reflected the desire of opposition supporters to avoid being accused of betraying the party and the cause of the revolution. Remarkably, until early January 1924 the left opposition had absolute support among party members in Vyatka. The article analyzes the Central Committee’s suppression of the local opposition in January - February 1924, and in particular the skillful techniques of Aron Solts and his supporters. At the final stage of the struggle, a group of “conciliators” arose among the members of the opposition, and contributed to the victory of the Central Committee line. The article clarifies reasons and circumstances of the defeat of the opposition, none of whose representatives openly stood in opposition to the majority of the Central Committee or called on ordinary members to protest. The authors demonstrate that the local left opposition was a situational unification of diverse forces, dissatisfied with the bureaucratization of the party, the growing dictatorship of the Central Committee, the newcomers, as well as the dominance of appointees from the Party and the Soviets. During the discussion in the organizations of the Party, the need for developing internal party democracy and a free discussion of the problems emerged, showing that there was a potential alternative to Stalinism. The main feature of the left opposition was that it formed and temporarily won the predominantly non-proletarian Vyatka, where before the 1917 revolution the zemstvo and city democratic self-government has gained roots; this is interpreted as a preservation of the demand for freedom and democracy in local society.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):108-124
pages 108-124 views

India of 1920s as Seen by Soviet Playwright, Consulting Indologists, Theater Critics

Kotin I.Y., Krasnodembskaya N.G., Soboleva E.S.


The authors of this contribution analyze the circumstances and the history of a popular play that was staged in the Soviet Union in 1927-1928. Titled ‘Jumah Masjid’, this play was devoted to the anti-colonial movement in India. A manuscript of the play, not indicating its title and the name of its author, was found in the St. Petersburg Branch of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences among the papers related to A.M. and L.A. Meerwarth, members of the First Russian Expedition to Ceylon and India (1914-1918). Later on, two copies of this play under the title ‘The Jumah Masjid’ were found in the Russian Archive of Literature and Art and in the Museum of the Tovstonogov Grand Drama Theatre. The authors of this article use archival and published sources to analyze the reasons for writing and staging the play. They consider the image of India as portrayed by a Soviet playwright in conjunction with Indologists that served as consultants, and as seen by theater critics and by the audience (according to what the press reflected). Arguably, the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution in Russia in 1927 and the VI Congress of the Communist International (Comintern) in 1928 encouraged writing and staging the play. The detailed picture of the anti-colonial struggle in India that the play offered suggests that professional Indologists were consulted. At the same time the play is critical of the non-violent opposition encouraged by Mahatma Gandhi as well as the Indian National Congress and its political wing known as the Swaraj Party. The research demonstrates that the author of the play was G.S. Venetsianov, and his Indologist consultants were Alexander and Liudmila Meerwarth.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):125-144
pages 125-144 views

Combat Actions of the 1st and 3rd Air Armies in the First Rzhev-Sychev Operation: Losses and Their Replacement

Mizerov I.I.


The article discusses the combat work of the Red Army air force (the 1st and the 3rd air armies of the Western and Kalinin fronts, respectively) during the Rzhev-Sychev operation, focusing on the role of field aircraft repair for the replacement of losses suffered in the battle, and for maintaining the overall combat capability of the air forces in the offensive zone. The author suggests considering the battle of Rzhev as one of the largest and longest aviation battles of the Great Patriotic War. The paper offers a comparative analysis of the number of forces involved in the Rzhev-Sychevsky operation with other large-scale air operations. Drawing on hitherto unstudied sources from the collections of the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation and on statistical data, the author explains the tactical application of aviation in the Central part of the Soviet-German front in the summer and autumn of 1942, as well as the patterns and main causes of losses during the military operation. The author emphasizes the critical importance of field repair for an accelerated recovery of air force strike capabilities; this gave the Soviet units significant advantages over the German Luftwaffe in the region. As the paper shows, the command of the 1st and 3rd air armies were fully aware of the importance of field repair and gave it thoughtful consideration; already during the intense fighting, measures were taken to share the gained experience with other units.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):145-159
pages 145-159 views

The Challenges to Social Control in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, 1964-1982

Sinitsyn F.L.


This article examines the development of social control in the Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev, who was General Secretary of the Communist Party from 1964 to 1982. Historians have largely neglected this question, especially with regard to its evolution and efficiency. Research is based on sources in the Russian State Archive of Modern History (RGANI), the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI) and the Moscow Central State Archive (TSGAM). During Brezhnev’s rule, Soviet propaganda reached the peak of its development. However, despite the fact that authorities tried to improve it, the system was ritualistic, unconvincing, unwieldy, and favored quantity over quality. The same was true for political education, which did little more than inspire sullen passivity in its students. Although officials recognized these failings, their response was ineffective, and over time Soviet propaganda increasingly lost its potency. At the same time, there were new trends in the system of social control. Authorities tried to have a foot in both camps - to strengthen censorship, and at the same time to get feedback from the public. However, many were afraid to express any criticism openly. In turn, the government used data on peoples’ sentiments only to try to control their thoughts. As a result, it did not respond to matters that concerned the public. These problems only increased during the “era of stagnation” and contributed to the decline and subsequent collapse of the Soviet system.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):160-173
pages 160-173 views


Book review: Trepavlov, V.V. Simvoly i ritualy v etnicheskoy politike Rossii XVI-XIX vv. [Symbols and rituals in the ethnic policy of Russia in the 16th-19th centuries]. St. Petersburg: Oleg Abyshko Publ., 2018. 320 p.

Toktamysov S.Z.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):174-178
pages 174-178 views

Book review: The imperial policy of acculturation and the problem of colonialism (for example, the nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples of the Russian Empire): monograph / scientific. ed. prof. S.V. Lubichankovsky. Orenburg: Publishing center of the OGAU, 2019. 480 p.

Badmaeva E.N.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(1):179-183
pages 179-183 views

This website uses cookies

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

About Cookies