Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

The Latest Publications of the Czechoslovak Corps in Russia in Modern Russian Historiography (1914-1920)

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

The Latest Publications of the Czechoslovak Corps in Russia in Modern Russian Historiography (1914-1920)

Article excerpt

Abstract

The urgency of the problem stems from the fact that the history of the Czechoslovak Corps is viewed in modern Russian historiography in the context of the history of the Civil War in Russia and continues to be the key to its history. The article deals with the problem question in modern Russian historiography in studying the Czechoslovak Corps in Russia. Three approaches, which differ in varying degrees of recognition of the responsibility of the Czechoslovak Legionnaires in the outbreak of the civil war in Russia, are examined in this article. The conclusion is that it is wrong to shift the responsibility in this matter to an external force, as it leads away from understanding the nature and root causes of the civil war. It is noted that despite the expansion of the source base, researchers continue to focus their attention on various aspects of military and political history of the Czechoslovak Corps. The article highlights the national discourse in research on the history of the Czechoslovak Corps. As an important achievement of modern Russian historiography it is stated that national liberation motives in the actions of the Czechoslovak armed forces in Russia are considered to have been of primary importance. The article notes the priority of regional historians in the study of the topic. This priority can be explained by the specifics of the subject of their study as well as the opportunities that regional archives open. The practical significance of the study is that the results and conclusions can be used to assess the state of development of modern historiography and find the strategy of historiographical research, and to develop the courses on historical specialties: "History of Russia", "Historiography of the history of Russia" and special courses on history and historiography of the civil war and foreign military intervention in Russia.

Keywords: Czechoslovak Corps in Russia, Czechoslovak legionaries, internationalists, modern Russian historiography, the civil war in Russia, "a small civil war"

1. Introduction

In Soviet historiography the main facts of the history of the Czechoslovak Corps was its "rebellion" (armed uprising against the Soviet rule in May 1918) and subsequently its participation in the fighting on the side of the anti-Bolshevik forces. It was considered as part of the invading troops, and its prehistory was not actually taken into consideration, while the chronological period from August 1914 (creation of the Czech unit - the first volunteer armed group consisting of Czechs) to May 1918 ("rebellion") was twice the period of the "rebellion" (May 1918) to complete evacuation of the Corps (September 1920). History of the Czechoslovak Corps was integrated into the formal concept of the civil war in Russia. The historiography of the Civil War was an important part of the ideology of the Soviet state.

The elimination of the monopoly of the Communist Party in Russia led to scientific pluralism in the country. The first reaction of the scientific community was a change in views: some historians shifted the responsibility for "rebellion" from the Czechoslovak Corps and the Entente (it was typical for the Soviet historiography) to the Bolsheviks (Joffe, 1992; Ivanov, 1997; Tsvetkov, 2001). There was a time frame extension: historians began to study history of the Czechoslovak Corps before "the rebellion." The expansion of the time frame led to the expansion of the context: history of the Corps was viewed as a part of the world war history. These processes were accompanied by an extension of the source base, which resulted in the publication of collections of documents, greater access to the archives. Now there is a possibility of convergence of domestic and foreign historiography (Valiakhmetov, 2012).

Despite all these changes, in scientific publications and fiction, "Bel°Czechs" still can be found (Gergileva & Gergilev, 2015) (members of the Czechoslovak Legion were called "Bel°Czechs" in Soviet historiography since the 1930s). …

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