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Мероприятия

Барбара Мартен выступит на семинаре Центра истории идей и социологии знания ИГИТИ

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На научном семинаре Центра истории идей и социологии знания ИГИТИ имени А. В. Полетаева выступит Барбара Мартен (Department of International History, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) с докладом «“Restoring historical truth”: from an ethical-political struggle to a scientific endeavor. A few reflections on ambiguities and contradictions of the Soviet dissidence’s bid to rewrite Soviet history (1956–1985)». Смотрите тезисы доклада. Семинар состоится по адресу: ул. Петровка 12, ауд. 308.

На научном семинаре Центра истории идей и социологии знания ИГИТИ имени А. В. Полетаева выступит Барбара Мартен (Department of International History, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) с докладом «“Restoring historical truth”: from an ethical-political struggle to a scientific endeavor. A few reflections on ambiguities and contradictions of the Soviet dissidence’s bid to rewrite Soviet history (1956–1985)». Семинар состоится по адресу: ул. Петровка 12, ауд. 308.


“Restoring historical truth”: from an ethical-political struggle to a scientific endeavor.

A few reflections on ambiguities and contradictions of the Soviet dissidence’s bid to rewrite Soviet history (1956-1985)

Abstract:

Following Khrushchev’s critique of Stalin’s “Personality cult” at the 20th Party Congress in 1956 and the destalinization campaign that ensued, new spaces for the discussion of the Soviet past began to open up, in literature, as well as, to a certain extent, in the historical field. This new “Thaw” provided the impulse for several unofficial works dealing with the so-called “blank spots” left unexplored by official historiography. However, when Khrushchev was removed from the position of General Secretary, in 1964, the destalinization campaign came to an end, swiftly replaced by a new course of partial rehabilitation of Stalin and his legacy. This reorientation of the official line and stricter censorship led to protests within the Soviet intelligentsia, but also, over time, to the birth of an independent discourse on the Soviet past within the Soviet dissidence, conveyed both through samizdatand tamizdat.

While my research focuses on a number of figures that I call “dissident historians”, authors of unofficial works dealing with the “blank spots” of the dark pages of Soviet history, I would like to explore here a transversal question pertaining to the activity of these researchers. A central uniting theme, or rather impulse, guiding their research, was the perception of a societal need for the “restoration of historical truth”, after decades of what they qualified as “falsification of history” by the Soviet regime. This concerned, primarily, such questions as the history of political repressions, Stalinism, but also the history of the Great Patriotic War and the Revolution. I argue that this impulse was both of an ethical and of a political character.

From an ethical standpoint, the concealing of “historical truth” about past crimes was regarded as a crime in itself, and giving a voice to society’s repressed memory was thus one of the goals of the nascent dissident movement, formed as an ethical opposition to the regime. Nevertheless, deconstructing the ideological component of the state’s historical discourse was never an apolitical endeavor, but rather amounted to the construction of a range of new alternative political discourses.

However, these two interrelated dimensions, political and ethical, were often at odds with another objective, that of scientific objectivity, reliability and accuracy. While scientific accuracy was regarded by dissident researchers as a matter of varying importance, and not necessarily as the sole basis for trustworthiness and effective impact on readers, it was nevertheless a central element, both in the public perception of these works and in the authors’ methodology. I will offer some reflections on the uneasy conciliation of these various dimensions in the works of dissident historians.