Vol 20, No 4 (2021): History of Peoples and Regions of Russia


Swedish baron G.M. Sprengtporten in Russian service, 1786-1809

Shaidurov V.N., Veremenko V.A.


General of the Infantry Count G.M. Sprengtporten (1740-1819) is one of the less known historical figures of the last quarter of the 18th and of the early 19th century. As a Swedish citizen, he hatched plans to turn Finland into an independent state. In the mid-1780s he saw in Catherine II a potential ally who could implement his ideas. After accepting the invitation to enter Russian service, Sprengtporten did not blend either in the Highest Court or in the Russian army. Not having shown any significant military feats during the wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, he distinguished himself in the diplomatic and lawmaking field. An important event was his mission to Europe (1800-1801), which resulted in the return of more than six thousand Russian prisoners to Russia. The draft “Regulations on the Establishment of the Main Administration in New Finland”, developed by Sprengtporten with some changes made by Emperor Aleksander I, became the cornerstone of Finnish autonomy within the Russian Empire over the next century. Occupying for a short time the post of Governor General, he became a link between Finland and Russia. The scientific novelty of the article lies in the comprehensive presentation of the Russian service of G.M. Sprengtporten. The article is written on the basis of published sources and unpublished documents from some central archives, which are introduced into scientific circulation for the first time.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):480-492
pages 480-492 views

Alcohol abuse and the fight against it in Ufa Province in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Migranova E.V.


This article is a comprehensive study of issues and problems related to alcohol abuse among the population of Ufa province at the turn of the centuries. The study uses methods of statistical and comparative-historical analysis. An important source is a survey of 1913, next to archival and published sources. The questionnaire, prepared by the Commission for Combating Drunkenness at the Society for the Protection of Public Health, was distributed among the peasant population of the Ufa province. It included 30 questions and touched on various aspects related to alcohol consumption, the causes of drunkenness, and methods of combating this social evil. The analysis of the information contained in more than one and a half thousand questionnaires allowed us to conclude that the population of the agricultural villages of the Ufa province suffered from a fairly high level of alcoholization. This hypothesis is confirmed by other sources. Moreover, the Russian-speaking population was most affected by the harmful effects of alcohol; to a lesser extent, this process affected Muslim villages, including Bashkir villages. The article also describes activities to combat drunkenness on the part of the state and public organizations, which included economic, cultural, educational, sanitary, hygienic, medical and other measures, up to the declaration of the “prohibition law” in Russia at the beginning of World War I. The article draws conclusions about the causes of alcoholism in Ufa province in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and attempts to give a comprehensive assessment of this phenomenon in the region at the time under consideration.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):493-507
pages 493-507 views

Repatriation of Polish refugees of World War I: the case of the Altai Province

Goncharov Y.M., Tishkina K.A.


During World War I a large number of refugees evacuated to the Russian Empire’s periphery, such as the many Poles who were temporarily transported eastward to Siberia. This article studies their repatriation after the conflict’s end, which bears some relevance to forced migration, refugees and repatriation in today’s world. Based on archival and secondary sources, the authors endeavor to reconstruct the repatriation of Polish refugees from Altai province in southern Siberia. Beginning in earnest after the Soviet Union’s war with Poland of 1918-21, their return was hampered by the difficult conditions of the past Civil War and the country’s economic crisis. Although an extensive network of organizations was set up to carry the repatriation out, poor communication with the center, insufficient staff and the absence of registration forms made its work extremely difficult. At the same time, many refugees returned on their own, which further complicated matters. Nevertheless, most Poles eventually made it back home. The Russian-Ukrainian-Polish Mixed Commission on Repatriation announced that its work was done in 1924, although in fact it lasted for another year.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):508-516
pages 508-516 views

Projects of the South of Russia’s Government on the development of urban self-government in the White Crimea, October - November 1920

Tsvetkov V.Z.


The article studies the development of an economic and political-legal basis for the development of urban self-government under General Wrangel’s Government of the South of Russia, in the Crimea, in the autumn of 1920. From among the Wrangel government’s reforms in the Crimea in 1920, transformations in the sphere of urban life and urban self-government are less well-known than transformations in agrarian policy and the zemstvo reform. But changes in the operation of city dumas and city administrations are no less relevant for Russian historiography. The article considers the specifics of the evolution of municipal law in a situation where it was hoped that the offensive of the Red Army at Perekop could be beaten back. The article notes the importance of changing the legislative framework regarding the expansion of the powers of city self-government not only in the social, political, but also in the economic sphere. First of all, this was manifested in the field of granting the right to impose taxes and fees by city structures. The article discusses the prospects that an increased role of city self-government was supposed to have on economic and political decisions by the Wrangel government. The analysis includes the supposed forms of cooperation between the White power and the public in the 1920s. Special attention is paid to the problems that were considered at a specially convened congress of city self-government in Simferopol, on the eve of the Perekop-Chongar operation. The decisions taken during this congress were supposed to strengthen the financial situation of the Crimea. The article also examines the interaction between the authorities of the Wrangel government and the local population during the military-political crisis of the White Movement in the autumn of 1920.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):517-530
pages 517-530 views

Jewish national units among the troops of Ataman G.M. Semyonov in the Transbaikal, 1919-1920

Kasatochkin D.R.


This article is based on a wide range of sources, including documents of the Russian State Military Archive. It tells about a little-known national white counterrevolution formation created by Ataman G.M. Semyonov in early 1919 and recruited from the Jewish population of Transbaikalia. The uniqueness of this separate Jewish company lies in the fact that it was the only regular armed formation consisting of Jews and participating in combat action on the side of the White movement. In this way, at the very beginning of 1919, a detachment that included a Jewish company fought against the Red partisans and internationalists in the Yakut taiga on the Magyar rift. In addition, the Jewish divisions carried out garrison service in different settlements of the “Semyonovskii kingdom.” During the summer of 1919, underground Bolshevik cells began to form, which in the spring of 1920 led to a revolt in the white Jewish units. An insurrection in the village of Aleksandrovka was suppressed by Semyononv’s forces. On 23 April 1920 a separate Jewish company in full strength successfully went over to the side of the Reds in the village of Nerchensky Zavod. In response, the Red command decided to create the 4th Rifle Partisan Regiment from among the Jewish partisans who had gone over to the Bolshevik side. Thereafter, this regiment was transformed into the 15th Infantry Regiment of the People's Revolutionary Army of the Far Eastern Republic. In the fall of 1920, it took part in heavy battles for Borzya and Dauria. All this is disclosed in more detail in this article. The Jewish national divisions were only one of the ethno-confessional units of the troops of ataman G.M. Semenov, next to Chinese, Serbian, Buryat, Mongolian, Caucasian and Tatar formations. Their activities in 1919 were mostly garrison work in nature, but they also had to fight against the partisans in extremely difficult conditions. The transition of these ethnic groups to the Reds was not surprising, at a time when the White movement in Transbaikalia was already in agony. The article also pays attention to the position of Jews in Transbaikalia during the Civil War and the attitude of Ataman G.M. Semenov to the Jewish matter.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):531-542
pages 531-542 views

The sentiments of the population in Vladimir Region during the Great Patriotic War

Tryakhov I.S.


The article examines the mood of home front workers during the Great Patriotic War based on the materials of Vladimir region, a region that had its own specific features. The author draws attention to the change in the rear position of this territorial unit during the war. The sources for the analysis were archival documents, some of which are introduced into scientific circulation for the first time, as well as documents of a memoir and epistolary nature. The study of Soviet propaganda during the indicated period draws attention to the transition from predominantly internationalist to patriotic slogans - a process that started at the very beginning of the war, with some precedents already in the last pre-war year. In the course of the study, the author identifies the ambiguous sentiments of the population in the rear in relation to the war and their living conditions. Attention is drawn to the fact that citizens had a negative perception of a number of actions of the authorities in the initial period of the war. The article tells the difficult situation in the rear during the battle for Moscow, a victory which to a large extent caused a turn in the mood of the majority of the population. An analysis of the letters of front-line soldiers and home front workers clearly reveals the fatalism of most of them, and their submissive adherence to their prescribed fate. At the same time, their letters show the hope for a quick victory over Nazism and the belief that their closest descendants would be able to build a bright future. Despite the predominantly patriotic statements, the example of the Vladimir region shows a critical attitude towards the Soviet government, not only on regional but also on central level. Still, one cannot but confirm that Soviet propaganda was very successful in consolidating the people during the war, which was of course facilitated by the policy of Nazi Germany both at the front and in the temporarily occupied territories.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):543-554
pages 543-554 views

Activities of the NKVD of the Far East in the fight against crime in the second half of 1945

Zhadan A.V.


This article examines the causes and conditions of the aggravation of the criminal situation in the Far East in the second half of 1945 and the historical experience of local NKVD (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) bodies in maintaining law and order under the conditions of the Soviet-Japanese war and the first post-war period. Based on the analysis of the documentation of the NKVD departments of Primorye and Khabarovsk territories, including internal administrative documents (orders, plans, etc.), as well as materials of primary party organizations (minutes of party meetings, certificates, memos, etc.), the author draws conclusions about the development of the criminal situation in the region, and discusses the NKVD’s ways and directions to ensure law and order. Studying the stated problems, it was possible not only to state the presence of negative dynamics in the number and severity of criminal manifestations, but also to establish that the criminal crisis of the second half of 1945 was caused by the imposition of new socio-economic and political factors (including the amnesty for prisoners, the relocation of large masses of troops, the Soviet-Japanese war, the placement of prisoners of war, demobilization) on the already difficult criminal situation that had developed during the Great Patriotic War. The study largely confirmed the fact repeatedly noted in historiography about the impact of “personnel starvation” and problems of material support on the effectiveness of the NKVD in the war and post-war period. The archival documents show that the main ways to normalize the operational situation in the Far East region were measures concerning organizational work and operational-search activities, as well as control-methodical and administrative measures. The author concludes that the measures taken allowed the NKVD of the Far East to reverse the explosive growth of serious street crime by the end of 1945. However, this success was only partial - the overall level of criminal activity in the region continued to remain at a fairly high level for several post-war years.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):555-567
pages 555-567 views

The Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the system of Russian federalism: an ethno-sociological investigation

Zorin V.Y., Kamenskikh M.S.


The article is devoted to the analysis of trends in the development of modern Russian federalism, against the background the discussions about a possible merger of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO) and the Arkhangelsk Region. These discussions caused mass protests among the residents of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug. In 1993, the NAO was proclaimed as an equal subject of the Russian Federation. However, the Okrug’s historical dependence on the Arkhangelsk Region in terms of transport and energy caused difficult relations between the two regions over the past 30 years. In this regard, the situation in the Okrug is of interest from the standpoint of analyzing trends in the development of Russian federalism. In 2020, the situation around the NAO and the Arkhangelsk Region came back on the agenda after the announcement of the upcoming merger of the subjects. Mass protests, and the refusal of the majority of the district's population to support the amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, suspended the process of regional integration. The main source of the study are data won from an ethno-sociological study conducted in the district in 2020. The study included questionnaires, focus groups and in-depth interview recordings. The material shows that despite the decision, the population of the district and public opinion leaders find an integration of the district and the Arkhangelsk region into one subject inacceptable. Moreover, the idea is perceived by many people as a threat, “an attempt to conquer, invade.” The participants of the survey give a negative assessment of the actions of the Arkhangelsk region authorities and support representatives of the district authorities that are against the integration. At the same time, the residents of the Okrug share the values of civil Russian identity and are ready to dialogue and compromises. The authors suppose that now it is essential to develop a flexible strategy and take into consideration the situation that has emerged recently. In the short term, it is necessary to involve broad strata of public opinion leaders in discussion and cooperation, study their sentiments, and take their position into account when studying the feasibility of new regions. It is necessary to involve the expert community in the development of the strategy.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):568-578
pages 568-578 views


The experience of intercultural communication between Russian refugees and Filipinos on Tubabao Island, 1948-1951

Cabides-Padullo C.A.


The article examines the history of Russian immigrants on the Philippine Island of Tubabao, where they fled from China in 1948 to avoid repatriation to the USSR. The refugees lived on the island for four years, a period the local population remembers as “Tiempo Russo.” The author’s goal was to examine how Filipinos saw the Russians by interviewing older islanders who had had direct contacts with the emigrants. The survey focused on three topics: 1) Fears of the Russians when they arrived on the island; 2) Formal and informal social means of communication between natives and Russians; 3) The level of respondents' trust in Russian refugees. The interviews revealed that the large number of refugees (6,000) who arrived on the island initially aroused apprehension among the local population. However, the Russians’ good behavior, friendliness and openness eventually dispelled all fears. The Russians and the islanders developed stable links as they bartered products and carried out leisure activities together, among others. At the same time, the islanders were introduced to Russian everyday culture: playing the piano, watching movies, drinking alcohol (coconut wine). In general, the local population saw their temporary positive effects. They made an impression as open, friendly, hospitable people, who loved to drink and treat others very well.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):579-587
pages 579-587 views

The transfer of state functions in the field of physical culture and sports to public organizations in the 1960s

Bogolyubov E.A.


The article examines public organizations that functioned and performed state functions in the field of physical culture and sports. Special attention is paid to previously little-studied issues of interaction of the Union of Sports Societies and Organizations of the USSR with state bodies. The source base of the article is the normative legal acts regulating the activities of this organization, as well as documents of the Kaliningrad regional Union of Sports Societies and Organizations that were not previously introduced into scientific circulation. The liberalization of public life during the Thaw period had a significant impact on the position of public organizations in the Soviet political system. The scientific literature of that time actively discussed the issues of involving citizens and public organizations in solving the problems facing the country. One form of such involvement was the transfer of state functions to public organizations. As a result, public organizations were able to make important decisions in a certain segment of the public sphere. The Union of Sports Societies and Organizations of the USSR became a unique organization that completely replaced the state body in the field of physical culture and sports. Based on the material studied, the author comes to the conclusion that the liquidation of the Union of Sports Societies and Organizations of the USSR in 1968 coincided with other processes aimed at curtailing liberal principles in the USSR. Almost 10 years of activity of this organization have shown that the transfer of state functions into the hands of the public is indeed possible.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):588-599
pages 588-599 views


Review of Russian Orientalism: Asia in the Russian Mind from Peter the Great to the Emigration, by David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye. Translated by P.S. Bavina. Moscow: Politicheskaia entsiklopediia Publ., 2019. 287 p.

Arslanov R.A.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):600-608
pages 600-608 views

Review of Moscow’s Evolution as a Political Space: From Yuri Dolgorukiy to Sergei Sobyanin, by Marina Glaser, and Ivan Krivushin. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. 158 p.

Ivleva M.L.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2021;20(4):609-612
pages 609-612 views

This website uses cookies

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

About Cookies