Builders and Deserters: Students, State, and Community in Leningrad, 1917-1941

By Peter Konecny | Go to book overview

APPENDIX ONE
Student Life: Selected
Archival Documentation

DOCUMENT I

Appeals to A.V. Lunacharsky for Help ( 1929)

The following is a letter sent to Lunacharsky by a student desperate to enrol in a higher-education program (no response was attached).

Dearest A.V.:

I'm sure that you are aware of the situation that exists in vuzy and vtuzy regarding the status of children of merchants, and that they admit children of merchants to vuzy and vtuzy as a last priority, according to the Rules of Admission bulletin.

This is the point that I would like to bring up with you.

I am the son of a merchant, and I know that according to the [entrance] competition they will admit workers as first priority, followed by peasants and finally white-collar [candidates], making it clear that amidst a limited number of academic institutions in the USSR and such a large contingent of youth, it is impossible to get what I want. I am very tormented by this ... I want to study. I want and I am striving to understand all that science has given us ... But right now I know that it is impossible for me to get into a higher academic institution located in the USSR, and I do not object to this because it is impossible to refuse my comrades their opportunities.

But what I would like to ask you is this: if I cannot enrol in a higher academic institution in the USSR, then why is it forbidden to go abroad, so that I can receive an education and then return to the motherland ...

But I don't know if it is possible; therefore I am asking you to clarify this for me. Please do not refuse.

With comradely greetings,
N.V. Belechin

Source: RTSKhIDNI, f.142, op.I, ed. khr.514, l.50.

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