The Split Intelligentsia in Northern European Russia in 1918–20

The Split Intelligentsia in Northern European Russia in 1918–20

Flera K. Sokolova
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The article reveals the place of the intellectual élite – the intelligentsia – in Northern European Russia and the role it played in the Civil War that took place in the region in 1918-20. The article is based on the analysis of the latest research of Russian and foreign authors and takes into consideration various historical sources. It describes the ideological and political views, social attitudes and behaviour patterns of the intelligentsia which found itself ‘on opposite sides of the barricades’: in the area accountable to Soviet power and on the territories controlled by the anti-Bolshevik forces. It is noted that the Civil War became so bloody and large-scale partly because of participation of the politicized part of the intellectual élite in the war, as it was the intelligentsia that often became leaders and ideologists of various political parties and social movements and formed their social basis. In Northern European Russia, the sharp confrontation as well as ideological and political struggle took place due to the high concentration of anti-Bolshevik forces, mostly people migrating from the other regions, and due to an external factor, particularly presence of the allied forces. Most of the regional intelligentsia, despite their sympathy for anti-Bolshevism, showed their aspiration for cultural and creative activity in the professional field. It is shown that 1918–20 were the years that marked the significant transformation of points of view, attitudes and moods of the intelligentsia towards different political institutions that developed in the region and towards the implemented practices. Under the conditions of such a divided sociocultural space, the intelligentsia of ‘Red’ and ‘White’ North hit on the same idea that at that time there was no alternative to Bolshe-vism and Soviet power. This was due to several factors. Among other things, it was the fact that the followers of anti-Bolshevism, quite heterogeneous in their political composition, were drowning in their ideological and political struggle and conflicts that took place at all levels of power, so that they failed to ensure the constructive functioning of the regime and establish an effective dialogue with the regional intelligentsia. In turn, the concentration of forces, means and intellectual resources was ensured around the operation of Soviet power, which in turn also provided the victory of the Soviets in the Civil War.
Flera K. Sokolova
Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor
Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov (NArFU)
Arkhangelsk, Russia
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Civil War, Northern European Russia, the intelligentsia, intellectual élite, ideological and political views, public position.
For citation:
Sokolova, F. “The Split Intelligentsia in Northern European Russia in 1918–20”. Historia Provinciae – The Journal of Regional History, vol. 2, no. 4 (2018): 51–81, 10.23859/2587-8344-2018-2-4-1

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