"[...] There Are Such Moments in Political Life of the Country, When Active Influential Public Figures Must Be Imprisoned": Letters of N. Ya. Bykhovsky and I. I. Ignatovich-Bykhovskaya to the Chairman of the Siberian Revolutionary Committee I. N. Smirnov

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Abstract

This publication introduces into scientific use and analyzes three documents found in a file in the declassified series in the fond of the Siberian Revolutionary Committee stored in the State Archive of the Novosibirsk Region. These documents are personal letters written by N. Ya. Bykhovsky and I. I. Ignatovich-Bykhovskaya in Irkutsk in summer 1921. They were well-known researchers and social and political figures. N. Ya. Bykhovsky was a professional revolutionary. For nearly twenty years, he was a member of the SR party and one of the party outstanding publicists; he was elected a member of the party Central committee. His wife, I. I. Ignatovich-Bykhovskaya, also a member of the SR party, had by 1921 abandoned political activity and was engaged mainly in teaching and studying the history of Russian peasantry of the 19th century. The letters are addressed to the chairman of the Siberian Revolutionary Committee I. N. Smimov, who was then a candidate member of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) and belonged to the Bolshevist elite. N. Ya. Bykhovsky and I. I. Ignatovich-Bykhovskaya had to write to I. N. Smirnov repeatedly, because mid June 1921 N. Ya. Bykhovsky had been arrested in Irkutsk by the order of the plenipotentiary representative of All-Union Extraordinary Commission for Siberia I. P. Pavlunovsky. The arrest was made despite guarantees that I. N. Smirnov had given shortly before in Omsk, when he had met N. Ya. Bykhovsky twice. The letters were attempts to find out, why N. Ya. Bykhovsky had been arrested, even though he had been no longer involved in party and political work. The Bykhovskys offered several explanations of what had happened. However, the explanation of I. P. Pavlunovsky seems the most likely: as he said cynically to I. I. Ignatovich-Bykhovskaya, in certain moments of political life of the country, active and influential public figures "must be imprisoned." A shrewd historian will also find in the published letters other interesting data on political mentality and culture of the Bolsheviks, Soviet reality, and everyday life in the early 1920s.
Translated title of the contribution«...Есть такие моменты [в] политической жизни страны, когда активные влиятельные обществ[енные] деятели должны сидеть в тюрьме»: Письма Н.Я. Быховского и И.И. Игнатович-Быховской председателю Сибирского революционного комитета И.Н. Смирнову
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-795
Number of pages18
JournalHerald of an archivist
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Epistolary sources
  • Soviet power
  • chairman of the Siberian Revolutionary Committee I. N. Smirnov
  • professor N. Ya. Bykhovsky
  • I. I. Ignatovich-Bykhovskaya
  • university
  • institute
  • I. P. V Pavlunovsky
  • All-Union Extraordinary Commission for Siberia
  • arrest
  • prison
  • prosecution

OECD FOS+WOS

  • 6.01 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 6.05 OTHER HUMANITIES
  • 5.08 MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION
  • 6.01.MM HISTORY

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