Vol 21, No 2 (2022): Russia and the Baltics in the 20th Century


Between Ethnicity and Professionalism: Problem of Personnel in the Establishment of the Latvian Conservatory in 1919-1921

Malnach A.D.


For the first time in the Russian-language historiography, there is examined the correlation of two approaches - ethnic and professional - in the formation of the teaching staff of the Latvian Conservatory in the first years of its existence (1919-1922). The research is based on materials of periodicals of that and later periods, letters from conservatory director Jazep Vitols, as well as documents of the Latvian Conservatory record stored in the conservatory fund in the Latvian State Archives and in the fund of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Latvia in the Latvian State Historical Archives. The article considers the tasks that the state and its leaders set for the conservatory, as well as the dominant principles of staffing. The author reveals a fundamental contradiction between the desire to make the conservatory in the Latvian style and the need to set and keep a high bar of the higher music school of the European level. The author comes to the conclusion that the political circumstances and national aspirations hindered the formation of the teaching staff of the conservatory on a strictly professional basis. In turn, the requirement to ensure a high quality of teaching forced the conservatory to resort to services of non-Latvian musicians and thereby limited the manifestations of Latvian national egoism. At the same time, in the post-revolutionary years it was Soviet Russia that served as the main source of staff for the Latvian Conservatory, both Latvian and foreign.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):148-160
pages 148-160 views

Role of the Baltic Republics in Soviet-French relations during the Non-recognition Period, 1919-1924

Magadeev I.E.


This article aims to define the role played by the Baltic Republics in the Soviet-French relations during the non-recognition period. The author tries to determine the place, which the Baltic Republics occupied in the French and Soviet conceptions of the “sanitary cordon,” to analyse the correlation between the ambitions and the capabilities of Paris and Moscow in Eastern Europe, to demonstrate the Soviet response to the interaction between the Baltic Republics and France. The article is based on the materials taken from the different French archives, as well as from the published French and Soviet diplomatic documents. The author emphasizes the ambiguity of the role played by the “Baltic factor” in the Soviet-French relations. The Baltic Republics (especially, Latvia and Estonia) were perceived by the French leadership as a part of the “sanitary cordon” aimed to separate Germany and the Soviet Russia from each other and to preclude their eventual “collusion” in the Eastern Europe. On the contrary, Moscow aimed to weaken the “sanitary cordon.” Paris didn’t exclude that the cooperation with future Russia performing the role of the counterbalance to Germany would be more important for France than full independence of the Baltic Republics. The Kremlin and the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs welcomed this point of view and tried to support those French political leaders that developed such an approach. The dynamics of the post-war international relations, as well as the priority given by the French government to the “German threat”, prompted Paris to recognize the USSR, which met the interests of Moscow. The considerations of the “big politics” were more important than the voices of the “small countries” which tried to influence the interaction between the more powerful actors.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):161-176
pages 161-176 views

Augustinas Voldemaras and Soviet-Lithuanian Relations in 1926-1929

Rupasov A.I.


The article analyzes the nuances of the changes in Soviet-Lithuanian relations after the coup d'etat staged in December 1926. The coming to power of the leaders of the Lithuanian Nationalist and Republican Union A. Smetona and A. Voldemaras initially contributed to the situation of uncertainty in bilateral relations. Moscow was extremely concerned about Voldemaras' desire to exacerbate the Polish-Soviet contradictions in order to solve the Vilnius problem in Polish-Lithuanian relations. The Soviet diplomats feared that Voldemaras could provoke an armed conflict with Poland and that the Soviet Union would inevitably be involved in the conflict. On the other hand, Soviet diplomacy was interested in maintaining both the independence of Lithuania and the maintenance of some tension between Poland and Lithuania, as this situation created obstacles to Poland’s spread of influence throughout the Baltic East. By the late 1920s, it became apparent to Moscow that dissatisfaction with Voldemaras’ policy in Lithuania had reached its climax and that Voldemaras was to be forced out of Lithuanian political life in the near future. As a result, a few months before Voldemaras’ resignation, the political leadership of the USSR categorically opposed contacts with him by the leadership of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):177-189
pages 177-189 views

Cadres Issue in the Post-war Baltic Republics: Characteristics and Solution

Boldovskiy K.A., Pivovarov N.Y.


The article analyzes the main qualitative characteristics and features of the leadership and specialists’ formation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in the period of “late Stalinism.” The main sources for the article were the archival documents of the thematic cases of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of the Bolsheviks and the materials of the “Survey of executives and specialists as of November 1, 1947” - a unique closed census, the results of which were reported only to the top Soviet leadership. The article analyzes the total number of employees in specific industries, the proportion of the workers of the “indigenous” nationality and the number of managers who came to work to the republics after the end of the war. The latter data are of particular importance, since they made it possible to calculate the proportion of workers in certain industries who lived in the republics during the occupation. Special attention is paid to the management system and political campaigns that exerted direct influence on cadres policy. The analysis carried out by the authors showed that the proportion of leaders and specialists of “indigenous nationalities” did not exceed 85 %, and most often was 50-60 %. At the same time, at the level of uyezds and volosts, the proportion of “indigenous” nationalities increased to 95 %, i.e. at the grassroots level, most of the leaders and professionals were local residents, usually non-members, who had spent the war years under the occupation. Probably, this circumstance caused concern of the central authorities and led to a number of political campaigns in the late 1940s - early 1950s. Only after J.V. Stalin’s death did the reform of cadres policy begin; L.P. Beria and N.S. Khrushchev can be considered its authors.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):190-203
pages 190-203 views

Protest Sentiments of Estonian Students in 1967-1968: on the Documents of the Komsomol Central Committee

Kamaeva (Bureeva) E.V.


The article examines the little-studied topic of the evolution of the protest sentiments of the Estonian students in the 1960s, which found expression in student processions in Tallinn and Tartu in October 1968. A wide range of archival documents allows tracing the origins and dynamics of this phenomenon, as well as the perception of these events by the Soviet party leadership and the Central Committee of the Komsomol. It is noted that the data from archival sources and contemporary works by Estonian authors contradict each other with regard to the measures (reaction) taken by the Soviet leadership. The Student days in Tallinn and Tartu, planned as days of student solidarity, turned into mass marches and riots of a national and anti-Soviet character. The article concludes that the active protest of the Estonian students was caused by a whole range of reasons, among which are clear nationalist trends that intensified in the 1960s, the active penetration of Western European culture and ideology through travel contacts, communication with relatives living abroad, and international youth festivals. It was Estonia that in the 1960s was visited by the largest number of foreign tourists. Estonian Student construction brigades traveled to Eastern European countries, mainly to Czechoslovakia. The stirring up of Estonian students was influenced by the mass unrest of European students, which foreign authors call the “phenomenon of 1968.” The students of European countries advocated lowering the voting age, actively sought participation in political processes, protested against the large financial expenditures of their governments aimed at an arms race to the detriment of other sectors of the economy. Similar ideas were voiced by Estonian students at Komsomol meetings and scientific conferences. They also wished to create their own student organizations, independent of the Komsomol and Soviet ideology.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):204-217
pages 204-217 views


Model Calculations of Home Education Scale: The Case of Yaroslavl Province in the Late 18th - Early 20th Century

Didenko D.V.


In this article the author reconstructs the dynamics of home education sector in monetary value terms as the case study of a province in Central Russia, with application of mathematical modelling methods. As the source base, the author employs evidence primarily from published memoirs, epistolary heritage, fiction, as well as from previous research literature. The findings are obtained by means of calculations including inter-, retro-, and extrapolations of the quantitative evidence from the sources. The principal findings are the set of methods for reconstruction of annual output in the home education services segment of a regional economy and the respective long time series for Yaroslavl Province. They support the hypothesis that the home segment was comparable in scale to the educational establishments or even could exceed them at the start of the period under study. The methods developed by the author may be employed directly for similar reconstructions based on materials from other regions of Central Russia; and they are applied to the materials from the regions of Siberia, Far East and national peripheries of Russia.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):218-232
pages 218-232 views

Autobiographical and Epistolary Heritage of the Merchants of the Regions of Russia: The Latest Research Areas and Perspectives of Study

Smirnova M.A.


The article is devoted to an overview of the latest trends in the study of the written heritage of the merchants of Russia. The author examines the principles and approaches to the study and publication of merchant autobiographical and epistolary texts set forth in the works of the last two decades. Special emphasis in the article is made on the study and publication of the written heritage of merchants from different regions in the context of the complex ethno-cultural structure of Russian society in the modern era. The main trends in the study of memoirs and epistolary complexes of the Russian merchants of the 17th - early 20th century are highlighted, and their main publications are characterized. The observations and remarks make it possible not only to characterize the current state of the study of the written heritage, cultural level, mentality and self-consciousness of the merchant class, but also to outline the prospects for such research area. The author comes to the conclusion that it is necessary to conduct complex interdisciplinary research, including historians, literary scholars, linguists, and carried out through the use of modern technical methods of working with handwritten texts.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):233-243
pages 233-243 views

Interdisciplinarity in the structure of modern methodology of history

Ryabova L.K., Petrov E.V., Ryabov A.A.


The integration of humanitarian research has greatly expanded the range of related disciplines involved in the process of historical cognition. The article examines the epistemological aspects of interdisciplinaryism as the main principle of the development of modern history methodology. The consequence of strengthening inter-subject relationships in historical studies was the complexity of vocabulary, the emergence of new concepts borrowed from related disciplines. The modern conceptual system is caused by the appearance of new objects of study, which were not in the “classical” historical science, so called “event history.” Some of them (gender, historical memory, totalitarianism, childhood, the environment, etc.) are established in their status of “historical” and interdisciplinary. At the same time, there appeared new objects of “non-event” history studies (history of emotions, violence, etc.) which require an appeal to evolutionary psychology, historical sociology, anthropology and other areas of humanitarian knowledge.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):244-250
pages 244-250 views

Personal Archives and Their Transformation in Digital Era

Sabennikova I.V.


The social changes that are taking place, such as the digital revolution, affect the work of the archives, largely transforming the nature of their main activities. Personal archives that people create in the process of life are also undergoing significant transformation by replacing analog documents with digital ones and uncontrolled material accumulation, lack of classification and methods of managing electronic documents related to this process. The current situation with personal archives requires arrangement of the processes of accumulation, selection, copying and storage of personal information. In this regard, fund creators need to acquire certain knowledge and skills in this area. The task of archivists is to offer potential fund creators effective and simple methods of managing electronic documents within personal and family archives. Archives in a number of countries publish understandable recommendations on their websites in order to give people an idea of the methods of managing personal archives that exist in a digital format, both at the stage of their creation and when they are archived. The article also examines the types of electronic digital documents that can be used to complete personal funds and the problems that arise in this regard.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):251-257
pages 251-257 views


Political Theology of Baroque Ruler: The Case of the Coronation Book of Empress Elizabeth of Russia

Hanovs D., Teraudkalns V.


The study analyses the political theology and imagery of a female Russian ruler in the first half of the 18th century in the context of the European political discourses on feminine rulers during the baroque period. The coronation ritual of Empress Elizabeth (ruled 1741-1761, crowned 25 April 1742) reflected in the coronation book (1744) illustrates the transition of European images of a baroque feminine ruler into the semiotics of westernized Russian absolutism. Elizabeth appears in the court media (sermons, engravings in the coronation book, poems, etc.) as the natural, God-given mother of all Russians, saving Orthodoxy from the political chaos of the previous rule, combining both masculine and feminine images of a ruler. The image of Elizabeth in the sermon by Archbishop of Novgorod Ambrosii illustrates a Russian variation of the political liturgy of absolutist culture in the 18th century.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):258-274
pages 258-274 views

Phenomenon of Corruption in Legislation and Perception of the Russian Nobility of the Second Half of the 18th - First Quarter of the 19th Century

Muravlev P.S.


The article examines the attitude to the phenomenon of corruption by the state and its perception by the Russian nobility of the second half of the 18th - first quarter of the 19th centuries. Based on the phenomenological analysis of the corruption concept in legislative acts and regulatory documents, as well as sources of personal origin, the article reveals the contradictory attitude of the nobility to corruption, which has become widespread in the environment of the officials. It is emphasized that a certain ambivalence in its perception stemmed from the unclear definition of corruption in official documents as well as contradictory attitude of the state to offenses on the part of officials. As a result, the discrepancy between the criminal act and the measure of punishment often blurred the boundaries of what was permissible in the noble environment. In addition, the duality of the corruption perception in its deep basis was the collision result of the traditional tribal consciousness remnants with modernization processes, leading to the affirmation of the Enlightenment ideas and values, primarily the honor and dignity of the individual, in the noble community. The growing pragmatism of Russian society, which increasingly conflicted with the principle of honest service to the state, also played a role.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):275-287
pages 275-287 views

Delivery of Museum Collections to the USSR in the Period of Sanctions: Experience of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in the 1920s

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


The article examines the circumstances and history of delivery to Russia of ethnographic collections by the First Russian Expedition to Ceylon and India (1914-18). These items were stored at Russian Tea Firm Gubkin & Co warehouses in Colombo, Government Museum (Madras) and Indian Museum (Calcutta), at the State Far Eastern University (Vladivostok) until 1925. The authors consider political conditions and ways of protection of the Academy of Sciences property in the 1920s. The Indian collections in 1921-24 became the pretext for the working out a model of interaction between the young Soviet state and Great Britain. The arguments proposed by Academician F.I. Stcherbatsky made it possible to resolve diplomatic conflicts related to the confiscation of the property of British subjects in the Soviet Russia. In 1923-24 international cooperation of scientists facilitated the transportation of Indian exhibits to the academic Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (MAE). By 1925, most of the collections had been delivered to Petrograd, the Meerwarths returned to the MAE.

RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):288-299
pages 288-299 views


Review of Lamazhaa, Ch.K., and Suvandii, N.D., eds. Dagylga: tuvinskie obriady osviashcheniia v XXI veke [Dagylga: Tuvan rites of consecration in the 21st century]. Kyzyl, 2021. 188 p.

Popkov Y.V.



RUDN Journal of Russian History. 2022;21(2):300-304
pages 300-304 views

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