All specialists of Islam and literatures of the Muslim peoples of the USSR have come across the publications by Liutsian Klimovich (1907-89), an ‘ideological watchdog’ of Marxism-Leninism in these fields of research during six decades from 1927 to 1988. This substantial critical article shows that Klimovich’ success and influence, notably through the didactical literature produced during this long period of time, was based on his capacity of adapting to new developments in the party line, from collectivisation to Perestroika, carrying the slogans of the day into the debate on Islam and literature. The author also casts a crude light on the villainy of Klimovich’s ad hominem attacks against representatives of Islam itself as well as many Soviet specialists of Oriental studies ― most of whom were already being harassed by the system when Klimovich endeavoured to lay into them. Three main moments of Klimovich’ career are examined, through his own writings and testimonies by contemporaries: (1) his participation in the debate about the ‘class character’ of Islam in 1927-30; (2) his contribution to the application of the feudalism theory to the pre-modern history of the world of Islam in 1932-3; (3) his denunciation activity during the Great Terror (1937); (4) his participation in the ‘anti-cosmopolitan’ campaign in 1949; (5) his attitude during de-Stalinisation (1954); (6) and his contrasted participation in varied rehabilitation campaigns from Khrushchev to Gorbachev.

The Redaction
CER: II-1.2.B-37