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Rewriting Russian History: Stalin Era Representations

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Abstract

In the 1920s, competing interpretations of the Decembrists’ legacy could still coexist. The Decembrists’ image remained in flux during the 1925 centennial celebration, though attempts were made at a standard interpretation. Some Soviet scholars still spoke of foreign influences upon the Decembrists and followed in the footsteps of pre revolutionary historians, emphasizing the Decembrists’ liberal leanings rather than taking a strictly Marxist-Leninist approach. During the Stalin era, Russian history was rewritten to conform to the political demands of an increasingly controlling regime. Limitations were imposed upon all sectors of culture, corresponding to the demands placed upon ideologists for a single, unified genealogy of the Bolsheviks’ pre revolutionary precursors. Though this process initially coincided with the cultural revolution in the late 1920s, it came to full fruition by 1937, a pivotal year in the formation of Soviet cultural iconography and historiography. Events taking place on the cultural and political fronts would permanently shape Soviet thinking about the relationship of present to past. For scholars and ideologists, two important moments would be the centennial of Pushkin’s death in February 1937 and the publication of the definitive Short Course on the History of the USSR (Kratkii kurs istorii SSSR) in November 1937.

Keywords

  • Secret Society
  • Russian Culture
  • Love Story
  • Russian History
  • Foreign Influence

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

The Decembrists! That word was pronounced in our home with reverence… Maria Volkonskaia’s and Ekaterina Trubetskaia’s feat… so struck our childish imagination that for some time we forgot our usual games… and extricated from the shed an old carriage with missing wheels and a tattered leather seat, and, surrounding ourselves with bundles of our favorite toys and dolls… would “go” to Siberia, to the Decembrists. We dreamed of saving them and sharing their proud and bitter lot…

—Lidiia Libedinskaia1

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Notes

  1. Lidiia Libedinskaia, “Zelenaia lampa” i mnogoe drugoe (Moscow: Raduga, 2000), 29

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© 2009 Ludmilla A. Trigos

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Trigos, L.A. (2009). Rewriting Russian History: Stalin Era Representations. In: The Decembrist Myth in Russian Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230104716_6

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