Though the violent effects of Stalin’s intervention passed relatively soon, its impact on the work of historians was profound and long lasting. The Society of Marxist Historians never recovered from the attacks which followed publication of Stalin’s letter. Already declining in importance by 1931, with the Communist Academy’s Institute of History providing a more effective focus for the activities of Marxist historians, leaving the Society increasingly occupied with ‘popular’ history, it soon ceased to have any relevance at all. One measure of its decline was the reduction in the number of its meetings, from 36 in 1931 to 6 in 1932.1 Its leadership came under renewed criticism the following spring. In April, soon after Pokrovsky’s death, Bor’ba klassov launched a vitrioloic attack entitled ‘For a Militant Reconstruction of the Historical Front’.2 The November discussions of the previous year, it declared, had been unsatisfactory because they had failed to produce an adequate critique of the mistakes of the Society’s leading figures. Fridlyand, Gorin, Lukin, Piontkovsky and Vanag were specifically mentioned. They were accused of not responding to demands for a change of direction in the Society’s work, and of holding up publication of Istorik-marksist for several months.


Central Committee Violent Effect Adequate Critique Soviet Historian Party Central Committee 
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  1. 8.
    M. A. Savelyev, ‘Komakademiya na perelome’, VKA, no. 1–2, 1935, p. 21.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Doroshenko, Kommunisticheskaya akademiya i ee rol’v razrabotke voprosov otechestvennoi istorii, avtoreferat dissertatsii (Moscow, 1968) p. 13.Google Scholar
  3. 20.
    A. M. Pankratova, ‘Novye problemy istoricheskoi nauki v SSSR’, VKA, no. 4, 1934, p. 67.Google Scholar
  4. 25.
    At the World Congress of Historians in August 1933, for example, the Soviet delegation was headed by Lukin and included Gorin. V. Volgin, ‘Mezhdunarodnyi s’ezd istorikov v Varshave’, FNT, no. 10–11, 1933, pp. 133–5.Google Scholar

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© John Barber 1981

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  • John Barber

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