13.04.2017, 18 Uhr

Centre Marc Bloch, Raum Germaine Tillion, Friedrichstraße 191, 10117 Berlin


Lecture Series: Revolutions and their Impact on Modern Eastern and Central Europe

Mihail Pokrovski (1868-1932): About Ukraine and the "Great Russian Chauvinism"

Vortrag von Korine Amacher (University of Geneva)

In 1935 a book entitled About Ukraine was published in Ukraine. It contains various texts by the Soviet Marxist historian Mikhail Pokrovski (1868-1932), who was the author of numerous works on the history of Russia and a key actor in the development of Soviet historical science during the 1920s, before being subject to increasing criticism from the early 1930s onwards. In the preface, we can read that Pokrovski's texts are "useful material for understanding the main issues in the history of Ukraine". However, Ukraine appears in Pokrovski’s works only within the framework of his works dedicated to a Russian history which he criticizes virulently. To understand the publication of what was one of the latest post-mortem editions of Pokrovski's texts before the public denunciation of his "school", we will recount some polemics that occurred between Russian and Ukrainian historians in the late 1920s, as well as Pokrovskii’s role and viewpoint in this context. The publication of the book About Ukraine in 1935 represents the last echo of these polemics, in a decade which now sought to affirm a dogmatic truth. A year later, the Russian national narrative that Pokrovsky disparaged but paradoxically promoted in his works would impose itself.

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