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The Discussion about the Book “The People’s Will Party’s Journalism” by E.E. Kolosov in 1930-1932

Journal: RUDN Journal of Russian History (Vol.19, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 448-467

Keywords : People’s Will; populist movement; Vera Figner; historiography of revolutionary movement; L.A. Tikhomirov; soviet historiography; Society of Former Political Prisoners and Exiles; populists’ memoirs; N.K. Mikhailovskii;

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The article considers the discussion of the book “The People’s Will Party’s Journalism” by D. Kuzmin (E.E. Kolosov). Its key question was the role of N.K. Mikhailovskii and L.A. Tikhomirov in the journalism and ideology of the “People’s Will”. The discussion is of interest because it involved Marxist historians, old populists, and former Socialist Revolutionaries (Kolosov himself). The first part of the article focuses on the biography of Kolosov and analyses his book in the context of the historiography of populism of the 1920s. The article then scrutinizes the origins and content of the critical “Afterword” by V.N. Figner and the reasons of her negative reaction to “The People’s Will Party’s Journalism”. The author pays a special attention to the attitude of V.N. Figner and other old revolutionaries to Tikhomirov and his memoirs which were published in an abridged version in the 1920s. On the basis of published and archival sources the author analyses the opinions of old revolutionaries (A.P. Pribyleva-Korba, M.F. Frolenko, A.V. Yakimova, P.S. Ivanovskaia, N.S. Rusanov) and Marxist historians (I.A. Teodorovich, B.P. Koz’min, B.I. Gorev, P.I. Anatol’ev). Finally, the article reviews the final stage of the discussion, when Kolosov strove to prove his point, using the language of political accusations, characteristic to the Bolsheviks’ journalism of the early 1930s. On the basis of the materials of the discussion, the author attempts to discern different approaches to the study of the past of all abovementioned parties. Marxist historians paid a special attention to ideology and genealogy of the revolutionary movement. Figner and other old populists sought to preserve the memory of the revolutionary generation of the 1870s with their distinctive practical experience, psychology and ethics. Kolosov was eager to combine his political views and research interests, putting them in a highly volatile historiographical context of the 1930s. Unlike Figner, Kolosov could not be indifferent to the Marxist literature, so he was trying to find a place for his politics in contemporary context.

Last modified: 2020-08-04 06:27:32