Reviews

The Civil War of 1918-20 was one of the most tragic pages of Russia’s history. Despite the fact that, in present-day Chuvashia, engagements were territorially limited to the southern part of the territory, the local populations were involved in the tragedy through compulsory mobilisation of men and horses, requisitions of food resources, etc. The peasants’ insurrections which broke out in the Chuvash Autonomous Region at the beginning of 1921 were reactions to the sharp deterioration of life conditions. The Soviet historiography has unequivocally interpreted the revolts as anti-Soviet and “kulak” action inspired by Socialist Revolutionaries and others anti-Bolshevik parties. For long the materials that could draw a more balanced picture of these events have remained inaccessible to researchers. The present edition of documents represents the first step of a general revaluation of regional history. The volume contains 153 original documents annotated by historian E. V. Kasimov, a leading specialist of Chuvash archive materials and the compiler of volumes on “The State Archive of Modern History of the Chuvash Republic,” “The State Historical Archive of the Chuvash Republic,” and on “The Scientific Archive of the Chuvash State Institute for Humanities.” An overwhelming majority of these documents are published here for the first time. Their reader will receive answers to such important questions as the causes of such massive actions on the part of the Chuvash peasantry; the territorial borders, size and character of the revolts; the social composition of the insurgents and their fighting efficiency; the measures taken by the authorities to liquidate the movement and the scope of the repressions. Written with a high level of professionalism, the appendixes will be of great help for future generations of scholars. The first one contains seventy bibliographic references to eyewitness’ memories, either published or stored in the archive of the Chuvash State Institute for Humanities. The second appendix lists the names of Soviet workers condemned as insurgents. The third introduces for each volost’ the lists of peasants executed during the violent suppression of the revolt. The collection is supplied with a detailed foreword on the Soviet and more recent historiography on the insurrection. The critical apparatus also provides a rational estimation of figures given in the edited documents. In a number of notes, historical concepts and terms are explained, different interpretations specified, and references provided to other archival materials. Short biographical data are given on more than two hundred contemporaries and participants in the revolt. The collection is supplied by nominal and geographical indexes which considerably facilitate the volume’s perusal. Due to all these qualities, the present edition has already received a very positive echo among the specialists of the history of the rural world in the Middle Volga Region, and is promised to a wide scientific audience.

Gennadii А. Nikolaev, Chuvash State Institute for Humanities, Cheboksary
CER: II-3.2.D-198