Rebel movement in the North Caucasus in the first half of the 20th century

M. M. Mints, “Povstancheskoe dvizhenie na Severnom Kavkaze v pervoi polovine XX veka”, Sotsial’nye i gumanitarnye nauki: Otechestvennaia i zarubezhnaia literatura: Referativnyi zhurnal. Seriia 5, Istoriia, no. 2 (2018): 109–117.

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A review of two monographs and an article published in 2016 that deal with the history of the conflicts between the population of the North Caucasus and the Russian government (imperial, later Soviet) during the first half of the twentieth century.

Gennadii Kurenkov, From conspiracy to secrecy: protecting party-state secrets at RKP(b)—VKP(b), 1918–1941

An unpublished translation of my review for Gennadii Aleksandrovich Kurenkov, Ot konspiratsii k sekretnosti: zashchita partiino-gosudarstvennoi tainy v RKP(b)—VKP(b), 1918–1941 gg. [From conspiracy to secrecy: protecting party-state secrets at RKP(b)—VKP(b), 1918–1941] (Moscow: AIRO-XXI, 2015).

The original review in Russian was published in Istoricheskaia ekspertiza no. 2 (2017), 258–262.

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The Great Fatherland War in Contemporary Historiography (in Russian)

My collection of abstracts published in 2015.  One of the first books printed at my Institute after the fire.  Initially we were going to show the current situation in historiography, but so many publications have appeared in recent years that we had to limit our work to a relatively small set of the most interesting books standing out for their subjects or research methods. As a result, most of materials in the collection are based on works of Western historians who still much more often use various methodological innovations than their Russian colleagues. Yet there are also abstracts of several Russian books that deal with some insufficiently explored aspects of the history of the Soviet Union in the Second World War. We used almost no works on history of military operations or of the Red Army as, in spite of their importance, they are not so interesting from the viewpoint of methodology. Instead, we devoted special attention to publications that deal with ‘non-military’ subjects and investigate a human dimension of the Second World War, its long-term consequences and historical context.

The contents of the abstract collection:

  • Foreword
  • Preddverie i nachalo Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny: Problemy sovremennoi istoriografii i istochnikovedeniia [The eve and the beginning of the Great Fatherland War: Problems of recent historiography and source criticism] (Abstract)
  • David M. Glantz about the Red Army in World War II (Joint abstract)
  • A. B. Orishev, V avguste 1941 [In August 1941] (Abstract)
  • The Blockade of Leningrad (Joint abstract)
  • Karel C. Berkhoff, Motherland in Danger: Soviet Propaganda during World War II (Abstract)
  • D. D. Frolov, Sovetsko-finskii plen, 1939–1944: Po obe storony koliuchei provoloki [Soviet-Finnish Captivity, 1939–1944: On Either Side of the Barbed Wire] (Abstract)
  • Jörn Hasenclever, Wehrmacht und Besatzungspolitik in der Sowjetunion: Die Befehlshaber der rückwärtigen Heeresgebiete, 1941–1943 [Wehrmacht and the Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union: The Commanders of the Army Groups’ Back Areas] (Abstract)
  • Igor’ G. Ermolov, Tri goda bez Stalina: Okkupatsiia: Sovetskie grazhdane mezhdu natsistami i bol’shevikami, 1941–1944 [Three years without Stalin: Occupation: The Soviet citizens between the Nazis and the Bolsheviks, 1941–1944] (Abstract)
  • Bogdan Musial, Sowjetische Partisanen, 1941–1944: Mythos und Wirklichkeit [The Soviet partisans, 1941–1944: Myths and Reality] (Abstract)
  • Evacuation and the Rear (Joint abstract)
  • V. N. Krasnov, I. V. Krasnov, Lend-liz dl’a SSSR, 1941–1945 [Lend-lease for the USSR, 1941–1945] (Abstract)
  • Irina V. Bystrova, Potselui cherez okean: ‘Bol’shaia troika’ v svete lichnykh kontaktov (1941–1945 gg.) [A kiss across the ocean: the Big Three in the light of personal contacts, 1941–45] (Abstract)
  • Anna Krylova, Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front (Abstract)
  • Soviet Jews in the Years of War and Holocaust (Joint abstract)
  • A. Iu. Bezugol’nyi, N. F. Bugai, E. F. Krinko, Gortsy Severnogo Kavkaza v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941–1945: problemy istorii, istoriografii i istochnikovedeniia [Mountain-dwellers of the Northern Caucasus in the Great Fatherland War 1941–1945: problems of history, historiography and source criticism] (Abstract)
  • Warlands: Population Resettlement and State Reconstruction in the Soviet–East European Borderlands, 1945–50, ed. Peter Gatrell and Nick Baron (Abstract)
  • The Veterans of World War II in the Soviet Union (Joint abstract)
  • The Significance of World War II for the History of the Soviet Union and the Post-Soviet States (Joint abstract)
  • Notes on Contributors

Download the full text (PDF, 3,4 Mb, in Russian).

A Centenary of 1917 Revolutions and the Russian Historiography (Review article)

M. M. Mints, ‘Stoletie revoliutsii 1917 goda i rossiiskaia istoricheskaia nauka (Obzor)’, in Rossievedenie: v poiskakh utrachennogo vremeni [Russian studies: In search for the lost time], ed. by I. I. Glebova (Moscow, 2019), 180–209.

Download the full text (PDF, in Russian).

The review article deals with the Russian monographs and collections of articles published in 2017 and timed to the centenary of the Russian revolutions of 1917.  These works cover quite a wide range of subjects including the institutional dimension of the revolution (constitutional law, history of politics, local governance), history of political leadership, revolutionary process in the province, role of the army and the navy in the events under review, etc.

As a whole, Russian research papers devoted to the anniversary of the 1917 revolutions make mixed impressions.  On the one hand, it is obvious that the investigation of the issues mentioned above is going on, the historians use new methodological approaches and new sources that have only recently become available.  New subjects are coming under review which were understudied or not studied at all in Soviet years.  On the other hand, many works are purely descriptive, without any real analysis.  Some authors replace such an analysis with blaming the Russian liberals for the collapse of the empire or even with conspiracy theories (the revolution as an anti-government plot).  Most of the works analysed in the article only deal with certain aspects of the history of the revolution, an overall study of those events remains a matter for the future.

200.000 Roubles as a Fine for a Bad Knowledge of History

A month ago, the regional court of Perm Krai convicted Vladimir Luzgin, for the first time in provincial practice, according to Article 354.1 ‘Rehabilitation of Nazism’ of the Criminal Code, Part One—‘public denial of facts identified by the sentence of the International Military Tribunal for judgement and punishment of the main military criminals of the European states of the Axis, public condoning of the crimes identified by above-noted sentence, as well as dissemination of knowingly false fabrications about the activity of the Soviet Union in the years of World War II’,  that was enacted in a hurry two years ago.  The ‘criminal’ was sentenced to a fine of 200 thousand roubles, that is not too bad, as the maximum punishment in that part is three years of imprisonment.  A criminal case was opened after Luzgin shared in VKontakte social network a link to a propagandistic article of an unknown author, ‘Fifteen Facts about Banderites, or What Kremlin Keeps Silent about’.  As the investigation showed, a huge number of people could read that article by Luzgin’s link—as much as… twenty persons.

What can I say about it?  The text of the article can easily be found in the Internet, and it’s certainly nothing but rubbish.  The author tries to varnish reputation of Stepan Bandera, the infamous leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists during the Second World War, but without any success, as Bandera’s hands are coated with too much innocent blood.  The author also doesn’t know history well, otherwise he wouldn’t have written that ‘communists and Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 and thus set off the Second World War’.  As I can understand, it was this phrase that our prosecutors were so angry about.  I can also imagine that a person who shares a link to such a material in a social network is not well-educated either.

What I can’t understand at all, however, is what does this have to do with the Criminal Code.  Especially as the Soviet Union did invade Poland, although not on 1 September, but ‘only’ on 17 September 1939, and did it in accordance to the secret protocol to the German–Soviet non-aggression pact of 23 August.  This fact, of course, was not under consideration at the Nuremberg trials, and we know why.

Of course the case of Luzgin is a purely political process, one could expect something worse in the ‘post-Crimean’ period.  Of course it wasn’t an attempt to establish any kind of censorship.  Nevertheless, this story means that full-aged citizens of this country, if they don’t know history well enough, have now a good chance to get not just a bad mark, but a criminal sentence.  Especially if the issue is the Second World War.  Learn your lessons properly, guys…

The First World War: Contemporary Historiography: A collection of abstracts and reviews (in Russian)

Первая мировая война: современная историография

Pervaia mirovaia voina: Sovremennaia istoriografiia: Sbornik obzorov i referatov, ed. by V. P. Liubin and M. M. Mints (Moscow: INION RAN, 2014).  In Russian.

In this collection, we tried to show the current condition of research on history of World War I.  The main part of literature we have used, form the monographs and collections of articles printed by several well-known publishing houses in 2013–14, by the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the conflict, including works on its military, political, social and cultural history, on such problems as memory about the war, propaganda, and national identity.  The main attention in the collection is paid to today’s historiographical debates.  Several national historic schools are represented, including such countries as Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, France, and the United States.

The text of the collection (PDF, 3.2 Mb).



V. P. Liubin, ‘Western historians about World War I’ (Review article)

M. M. Mints, ‘Germany in the First World War: modern German historiography’ (Review article)

‘“Initial catastrophe”: the anniversary of the First World War as a reason for reinterpretation of the history of the 20th century’ (Joint abstract)

‘An investigation of Fritz Fischer on World War I and the European historiography’ (Joint abstract)

Abstract: V. V. Mironov, Avstro-vengerskaia armiia v Pervoi mirovoi voine: razrushenie oplota Gabsburgskoi monarkhii [Austro-Hungarian army in the First World War: the collapse of the stronghold of the Habsburg Monarchy]

‘1914–2014: An anniversary of the Great War in history. A view from France’ (Joint abstract)

Abstract: Christopher M. Clark, The sleepwalkers: how Europe went to war in 1914

Abstract: Heather Jones, ‘As the century approaches: the regeneration of First World War historiography’

Marco Pluviano, ‘Contemporary Italian historiography and the First World War’ (Review article)

Abstract: Emilio Gentile, Di colpi di pistola, dieci milioni di morti, la fine di un mondo: storia illustrata della Grande Guerra [Two pistol shoots, ten million killed, the end of the world: an illustrated history of the Great War]

Abstract: Celia Malone Kingsbury, For home and country: World War I propaganda on the home front

‘The history of the First World War in interpretation of Russian and foreign historians’ (Joint abstract)

‘The First World War in the eyes of its participants and our contemporaries’ (Joint abstract)

S. V. Bespalov, ‘Social-economic development of imperial Russia in the years of the First World War’ (Review article)

Abstract: Anthony Heywood, ‘Spark of revolution? Railway disorganisation, freight traffic and Tsarist Russia’s war effort, July 1914—March 1917’

Abstract: Andrzej Chwalba, Samobójstwo Europy: Wielka wojna 1914–1918 [European self-murder: the Great War 1914–18]

Abstract: V. A. Pyl’kin, Voennoplennye Avstro-Vengrii, Germanii i Osmanskoi imperii na Riazanskoi zemle v gody mirovoi voiny i revoliutsii [Prisoners of war from Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire in the land of Riazan’ in the years of the world war and revolution]

L. N. Zhvanko, ‘The First World War and the refugees on the Eastern Front: new research (late 20th—early 21st century)’ (Review article)

Abstract: L. N. Zhvanko,  Бiженцi першої свiтової вiйни: український вимiр (1914–1918 рр.) [The refugees of World War I: Ukrainian reality (1914–18)]

Abstract: Peter Englund, Stridens skönhet och sorg: första världskriget i 212 korta kapitel [The beauty and the sorrow: an intimate history of the First World War]


Web-conference “Russia in the First World War: New trends and research directions”

Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, German Historical Institute in Moscow and Centre for French and Russian studies in Moscow are going to organize an international web-conference “Russia in the First World War: New trends and research directions” in August–October.  The main goal of the conference is to discuss the modern approaches to the history of Russia’s participation in World War I, new viewpoints and interpretations, new research directions and their perspectives.  The official announcement can be seen here (in Russian) 🙂