Deductivist Discourse and Research

  • Stephen Velychenko


Academic discourse in the USSR was deductivist, and research in Marxist-Leninist Dialectical Historical Materialism (DHM) involved looking for evidence to illustrate, not question or disprove propositions. Since DHM postulated that future research would reveal appropriate evidence because there were no non-existent facts, only undiscovered ones, it allowed historians to make do with evidence that otherwise would not be considered conclusive. A lack of evidence to show that events conformed to a predefined scenario was not problematical, since it was assumed that proof that would emerge someday. Therefore, a DHM account was “objective,” not because it conformed to evidence, but because it confirmed the predetermined evolution of the subject as interpreted by authority. For historians, the acceptability of interpretation to authority depended not only on logical consistency with a priori principles. Acceptability was also related to considerations of patronage, political circumstances, personal rivalries, and even of space and time. Sometimes the intellectual climate was more “liberal” in Moscow than in the Republics, while at other times Republican Party factions supported controlled expression of regional nationalism. Ideological and political considerations, as well as supervision, also became less burdensome for scholars the more remote in time and less politically sensitive a subject was.


Survey History Socialist Revolution National Movement National Liberation National Question 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    A number of these debates are reviewed in C. E. Black, ed., Rewriting Russian History (New York, 1962)Google Scholar
  2. and in S. Baron and N. Heer, eds., Windows on the Russian Past (Columbus, OH, 1977).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. Kingston-Mann, Lenin and the Problem of Marxist Peasant Revolution (New York, 1985), pp. 44–45, 103;Google Scholar
  4. T. Cox, Peasants, Class and Capitalism (Oxford, 1986), pp. 46, 61.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    N. Morokhovets, Istoriia Rossii v period promyshlennogo kapitalizma (Moscow, 1929);Google Scholar
  6. T. Shanin, Russia as a ‘Developing Society’, 2 vols. (London, 1985–1986), I: 159–64, II: 152–53, 280–83;Google Scholar
  7. M. Lewin, The Making of the Soviet System (New York, 1985), pp. 292–93.Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    P. K. Urban, Smena tendentsii v sovetskoi istoriografii, pp. 48–53. For reference to censored proceedings, see P. G. Galuzo, Agrarnye otnosheniia na iuge Kazakhstana (Alma Ata, 1965), p. 27.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    G. Zaidel, Z. Lozinsky, A. Prigozhin, and S. Tomsinsky, eds., Spornye voprosy metodologii istorii (Kharkiv, 1930);Google Scholar
  10. A. G. Prigozhin, Karl Marks i problemy sotsio-ekonomicheskikh formatsii (Leningrad, 1933); and his Karl Marks i problemy istorii dokapitalisticheskikh formatsii (Moscow, 1934). A Soviet review of this debate is L. V. Danilova, “Stanovlenie marksytskogo napravleniia v sovetskoi istoriografii epokhi feodalizma,” IZ, no. 76 (1965): 62–119.Google Scholar
  11. See also J. Barber, Soviet Historians in Crisis, 1928–1932 (London, 1981), pp. 46–67; and L. Yaresh, “The Problem of Periodization,” in Rewriting, ed. C. Black, pp. 49–55.Google Scholar
  12. 8.
    L. Yaresh, “The Problem of Periodization”; S. Baron, “The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism in Russia: A Major Soviet Historical Controversy,” American Historical Review 77 (June 1972): 715–29; A. Gerschenkron, “Soviet Marxism and Absolutism,” SR, no. 4 (1971): 853–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 10.
    V.I. Shunkov, et al., Perekhod ot feodalizma k kapitalismu v Rossii (Moscow, 1969), pp. 14–15, 266, 405;Google Scholar
  14. S. D. Skazkin, ed., Teoreticheskie i istoriograficheskie problemy genesisa kapitalizma (Moscow, 1969), pp. 200–1.Google Scholar
  15. For the Western Marxist perspective, see R. Hilton, ed., The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism (London, 1973).Google Scholar
  16. 11.
    S. Piontkovsky, “Istoriografiia krestianskikh voin v Rossii,” IM, no. 6 (1933): 80–119; L. Yaresh, “The ‘Peasant Wars’ in Soviet Historiography,” SR, no. 3 (1957): 241–59; V. V. Mavrodin, “Sovetskaia istoricheskaia literatura o krestianskikh voinakh v Rossii XVII–XVIII vekov,” VI, no. 5 (1961): 25–37. For a discussion of Engels see J. Bak, ed., The German Peasant War of 1525 (London, 1976), pp. 89–131.Google Scholar
  17. 15.
    E. M. Zhukov et al., Vsesoiuznoe soveshchanie o merakh uluchsheniia podgotovki nauchno-pedagogicheskikh kadrovpo istoricheskim naukam (Moscow, 1964), pp. 162–65, 311, 348. On the significance of this conference, see K. Marko, “History and Historians,” Survey, no. 56 (July 1965): 72–82.Google Scholar
  18. 16.
    Istoriia i sotsiologiia (Moscow, 1964), pp. 127, 129, 137, 177, 311; A. L. Sidorov, ed., Ob osobennostiakh imperializma v Rossii (Moscow, 1963), p. 10.Google Scholar
  19. 17.
    P. G. Galuzo, “K leninskim otsenkam predposilok obedineniia natsionalnykh dvizhenii v Rossii i revoliutsionnoi borby rabochago klassa za sotsializm,” and M. Rubach, “Ukrainskoe natsionalnoe dvizhenie, ego kharakter i dvizhushchie sily (1910-febral 1917),” in Natsionalnyi vopros nakanune i v period provedeniia Velikoi Oktiabrskoi Revoliutsii (Moscow, 1964), pp. 8–9, 22–35. See also the conference report in ISSSR, no. 5 (1964): 215–19;Google Scholar
  20. and P. Vorobei, “Sovetskaia istoriografiia natsionalnogo voprosa na Ukraine,” in Nekotorye problemy otechestvennoi istoriografii i istochnikovedeniia (Dnipropetrovsk, 1972), pp. 35–37.Google Scholar
  21. 19.
    Most glaring for our purposes is Lenin’s failure to explain why blocs of capital should form on the basis of nation-states. A. Brewer, Marxist Theories of Imperialism: A Critical Survey (London, 1980), p. 116; A. Mack, “Theories of Imperialism,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, no. 3 (1974): 518–19;Google Scholar
  22. and B. Warren, Imperialism: Pioneer of Capitalism (London, 1985), pp. 50–80.Google Scholar
  23. 20.
    In the pre-Stalin years there seems to have been only one discussion of the relationship between the Marxist theory of imperialism and tsarist colonialism: E. Drabkina, Natsionalnyi i kolonialnyi vopros v tsarskoi Rossii (Moscow, 1930). Drabkina argued that because “feudal military” imperialism was based on supranational ties of landowning elites, “all national” (that is, supra-class) liberation fronts were impossible, “bourgeois revolutions” could not bring “real” national liberation, and national autonomy would splinter the working class. See also J. Barber, Soviet Historians, pp. 68–69.Google Scholar
  24. One of Pokrovsky’s articles on pre-1861 tsarist imperialism has been translated and published in R. Szporluk, ed., Russia in World History (Ann Arbor, MI, 1970), pp. 117–30.Google Scholar
  25. 21.
    D. Boersner, The Bolsheviks and the National and Colonial Question (New York, 1981); R. Lowenthal, “On National Democracy: Its Function in Communist Policy,” Survey, no. 47 (April 1963): 119–26.Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    I. Rozenfeld, Prisoedinenie Malorossii k Rossii, 1654–1793 gg. (Petrograd, 1915).Google Scholar
  27. 28.
    V. I. Semevsky, Kirillo-mefodievskoe obshchestvo (Petrograd, 1918).Google Scholar
  28. 29.
    A. Iarynovich, Galichina v eia proshlom i nastoiashchem (Moscow, 1915), pp. 7–10, 39;Google Scholar
  29. P. R. Magosci, Galicia, p. 30; N. M. Pashaeva, “Galitsiia pod vlastiu Avstrii v russkoi i sovetskoi istoricheskoi literature: Bibliograflia,” in V. D. Koroliuk, ed., Mezhdunarodnye sviazi stran Tsentralnoi, Vostochnoi i Iugovostochnoi Evropy i slaviano-germanskie otnosheniia (Moscow, 1968), pp. 295–394. See also Knizhnaia letopis, 1914–17 (reprint ed., 1964 vols. 20–29).Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Magosci, Galicia; Pashaeva, “Galitsiia”; M. Korduba, La Litterature historique sovietique-ukrainienne, 2nd ed. (Munich, 1972). A valuable bibliography of Soviet works published between 1921 and 1972 may be found in issues of Arkhivy Ukrainy for 1958–1972.Google Scholar
  31. 33.
    Metodicheskie ukazaniia i bibliografiia po izucheniiu spetskursa ‘Osvoboditelnaia voina ukrainskogo naroda 1648–1654’ (Dnipropetrovsk, 1980); A. V. Santsevych, Ukrainska radianska istoriohrafiia (Kiev, 1984);Google Scholar
  32. I. S. Khmel et al., Istoriografiia istorii Ukrainskoi SSR (Kiev, 1986); The Lvov Church Council. Documents and Materials 1946–1981 (Moscow, 1983), pp. 207–22.Google Scholar
  33. 34.
    There is no single comprehensive bibliography of this subject. See I. Handros, N. Horbachova, and E. Landa, “Zhovten ta hromadianska viina na Ukraiini,” LR, nos. 3–4 (1932): 319–54; nos. 5–6, pp. 216–41; Iu. M. Hamretsky et al., Istoriografiia Velikoi Oktiabrskoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii na Ukraine (Kiev, 1987), pp. 5–57, 214–21;Google Scholar
  34. O. S. Pidhainy and O. I. Pidhainy, The Ukrainian Republic in the Great East-European Revolution: A Bibliography, vols, 5–6 (Toronto, 1971, 1975);Google Scholar
  35. J. Lawrynenko, Ukrainian Communism and Soviet Russian Policy Toward the Ukraine: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1953).Google Scholar
  36. 37.
    K. Osipov, Bogdan Khmelnitskyi (Moscow, 1939).Google Scholar
  37. 39.
    Osipov, Bogdan Khmelnitskyi (Moscow, 1939), p. 8; 2nd ed., 1948, p. 12.Google Scholar
  38. 42.
    S. F. Kalashnikova, “Sotsialno-ekonomicheskoe i politicheskoe polozhenua Ukrainy nakanune osvoboditelnoi voiny,” Uchenye zapiski Moskovskago gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskago instituta, Kafedra istorii SSSR 60, no. 2 (1949): 43–99.Google Scholar
  39. 47.
    A. Dmitriev, Gaidamachshchina and Koliivshchina (Moscow, 1934).Google Scholar
  40. 50.
    P. A. Zaionchkovsky, Kirillo-mefodievskoe obshchestvo (Moscow, 1959), pp. 55, 65,78,90,101.Google Scholar
  41. 51.
    R. Eideman and N. Kahurin, Hromadianska viina na Ukraini (Kharkiv, 1930), pp. 7–9 68–70.Google Scholar
  42. 32.
    Gorodetsky’s view soon replaced those in the 1936 Istoriia grazhdanskoi voiny v SSSR, which depicted relations between the Rada and Provisional Government as basically hostile. M. Gorky et al., The History of the Civil War in the USSR (Moscow, 1937), I: 119.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stephen Velychenko 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Velychenko

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations