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The Soviet Retreat From Emancipative Ideas of 1917: muffled tones of a nation of whisperers and diarists | Arup Banerji

7 November

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sacw.net - 7 November 2017

(presentation by Prof Arup Banerji at Panel on the Centenary of the Russian Revolution, Department of History; Delhi University, 7 November 2017)

[ . . . ] In the mid - 1930s, the Soviet state adopted pro-family and pro-natal stances, outlawing abortion in 1936 (except in cases involving a very serious health or life risk), rewarding mothers of many children, stigmatising irresponsible fathers and husbands and reinforcing the authority of parents vis-a-vis the school and the Komsomol. This change seems to have primarily been a response to falling birth-rates. As part of a return to traditional family relations, marriage became ceremonially glamorous and registration offices were smartened up. Large families were promised allowances. Divorce was made both more expensive and more difficult, becoming from 1944 contingent on court proceedings leading to a sudden fall in the divorce rate. The family was strengthened under male control, and illegitimacy was stigmatised by excluding children from unregistered marriages from inheriting property. Homosexuality was branded as sodomy and criminalised.
The revolution of 1917 sealed the working careers of numerous historians. A fifth of all historians in Russia perished. By the Civil War, the Bolsheviks could boast of only one historian of real professional standing, Mikhail Nikolaevich Pokrovskii (1868 - 1932). Besides him, the only other Marxist historian was N. A. Rozhkov, and he had been a Menshevik Minister in the Provisional Government. An extraordinarily coarse public campaign was launched against non-Marxist historiography from 1928. Purges of historians began in late 1929 and over the course of 1931 more than 100 historians were arrested, some executed and others compelled to emigrate while their work went out of circulation. By autumn 1933 the turmoil in the Soviet world of history exceeded that in any other academic field. Kirov helped to organise a purge in the Academy of Sciences in 1929. 130 Historian - Academicians were ” liquidated” during just that one year.

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The Soviet retreat : revolution as improvisation | Arup Banerji
presentation by Prof Arup Banerji at Panel on the Centenary of the Russian Revolution, Department of History; Delhi University, 7 November 2017 [The paper is hosted at the sacw.net document archive]