Abstract: The introductory article presents a special issue of the journal “Russkii Arkhiv” on the topic “Oral History in Russia: Contemporary Research Trends”. The author analyzes the features of the position of Oral history in contemporary Russian historiography: over the past three decades, it has turned into an independent research area with its own subject field, conceptual approaches to its study and relevant sources. However, having passed the formation stage, Oral history faced new scientific, organizational, methodological, source, legal and ethical problems. Further prospects for the development of Oral history in Russia depend on how these problems are resolved. Articles and materials of leading and emerging Russian scholars published in this issue of the “Russkii Arkhiv” represent various direction of research in the field of Oral history. The article also describes the previous experience of publications on Oral history in the journal “Russkii Arkhiv”.
Abstract: The article considers Russian experience of the development of oral history in the years 1990-2020-ths as a variant of "oral history" – the research trend that appeared in foreign countries in the middle of the XX century. By using historical-comparative analysis of the processes of foundation, activity and liquidation of research groups and centers on the diachronic and synchronic levels the author contemplates the directions of their research, subjects and forms of activities of the centers, reveals tendencies and peculiarities of Russian oral history. The conclusions are made that the pioneers of oral history in its «foreign understanding» (oralhistory) in Russia in the very beginning were universities with laboratories of oral history and human rights organizations. The effect of this was a breakthrough in the formation of source base of modern Russian history and scientific- methodological maintaining of research projects and young oral historians training. Scientific trends in the beginning of development of Russian oral history were determined not only by the peculiarities of current political situation (glasnost and perestroika) and numerous problems in Russian source studies and historiography but also by compensatory significance of oral history oriented on the work with social groups whose rights were violated in the tragic periods of history. Certain breakthrough in trends of research work took place in the years 2000−2020-ths and manifested itself in the extension of topical research projects using oral history as a source and method in all spheres of past historical life. The article pays attention to the fact that the oral history of the World war and the Great Patriotic war became a problematic zone that appeared in the focus of international confrontation. The author also describes a new tendency of the development of oral history – the involvement not only educational institutions but cultural-educational institutions as well, first of all, regional museums for which oral history granted new opportunities of exhibition activities. The increase in number of participants of oral history research projects coincides with the development of global information nets that led to both positive and negative consequences. The positive consequences mentioned in the article are scientific contacts in Russia and in the world, and the new forms of research work with the help of Internet resources for formation and presentation of sources (Internet-portals, websites). But their life does not last long that leads to the loss of unique sources. As a result, the most important thing is the formation of oral archives and publication of interview materials, that has its advantages and disadvantages revealed in this article.
Abstract: In this article, the study of personal memory of the armed conflict in Chechnya is examined through the prism of a neo-institutionalist approach, which allows using not only traditional types of sources (for instance, published periodicals). The neo-institutionalist history involves the use of primary sources more familiar to ethnographers and anthropologists - oral evidence in the form of unstructured interviews. From a political perspective, neo-institutionalism can help explain how the current situation of internally displaced persons is limited by the regulatory institutions on the federal level. The study builds on an understanding of history presented by the greatest British social anthropologist of the 20th century M. Douglas in 1986, as a cumulative aggregate of individual and collective memory that has a direct impact on the formation of actions and the importance of social relations in an institutionally contradictory environment (in which IDPs find themselves). The article is the first attempt to understand the question of interviewing IDPs from Chechnya 27 years after the start of the active phase of hostilities. The article contains fragments of interviews with internally displaced persons as a result of the internal armed conflict in Chechnya. All information is anonymized at the request of the respondents.
Abstract: A fragment of a large autobiographical interview with Anna Sergeevna Filimonova is dedicated to the war period. Anna Sergeevna belongs to the Filimonov family of the Upper Don Cossacks, who made a significant contribution to the events of the Civil War and collectivization. Anna Sergeevna herself in the first days of the Great Patriotic War became a tractor driver of the collective farm named after S.M. Budyonny. At this time, A.A. Plotkin (a recognized prototype of the hero S. Davydov of Virgin Soil Upturned) was a head of this collective farm. Having arbitrarily taken from the store the vegetables that were due to her as payment for her work days, Filimonova commits a serious offense, which is assessed by the laws of wartime as theft of socialist property, and receives 5 years of correctional labor. In her interview, Anna Sergeevna talks about the daily life of the youth of the wartime collective farm, about selfless work, youthful enthusiasm, but also about constant hunger, formalism and neglect of people by the leadership. She continues the theme of everyday fatalism in a story about prison life, which turns out to be inscribed in the usual realities of war. As a bearer of the Cossack tradition, A.S. Filimonova conveys the details of her life in a juicy Upper Don dialect. Folklore images, omens and superstitions are woven into the fabric of everyday story. Interview with A.S. Filimonova is a valuable source on everyday wartime life and the worldview of Soviet people in the first half of the 20th century.
Abstract: An interview with Tankha Oterstein was recorded in 2013 during author’s fieldwork of collecting personal narratives on Holocaust history in the North Caucasus. The interview consists of two parts. The first one is the story of the family Oterstein survival during the occupation of Rostov and Krasnodar regions. The family lived in the city of Rostov-on-Don. During the second occupation of the city they were not lucky to evacuate, so the head of the family, the narrator’s father, decided to leave Rostov on his own. After several months of wandering, they stayed in the village of Novoleushkovskaya, where the family survived the occupation. The narrator describes the period from October, 1942 till February, 1943 when they have been held in a local prison together with other Jews and prisoners of war. The second part of the interview is a story of the narrator’s activity for reviving the Jewish community in Taganrog and researching Holocaust history in the region. The interview becomes a valuable testimony to preserve the memory of occupation and the Holocaust in Southern Russia.
Abstract: The interview with Irina Abramovna Belikova was recorded by the authors in May 2010 in the Novokumskiy village. It is a part of the long-term comprehensive work of Rostov ethnolinguists in the Nekrasov Cossack communities. The topic of the published conversation was the daily life of the Nekrasovites in Turkey and Russia after their return (1930–1960s). Irina Abramovna tells in detail about the life of adults and children, the structure of courtyards, the Nekrasovite’s costume, and typical occupations. She describes in detail agricultural work in Turkey (participation in it of Nekrasovites of different generations, cultivated crops, the process of harvesting grain and legumes), emphasizes the hard work of the Cossacks. I.A. Belikova talks about the entertainment of young people, the contexts of communication with the Turks (trade relations, she tells in detail about studying at a Turkish school and relationships with teachers), about leaving Turkey, returning to their homeland and relationships with local residents after repatriation. The published material is a valuable source for studying the dialect and everyday life of this ethno-confessional group of the Russian people.
Abstract: The article is devoted to one of the episodes of the creating the Volga-Don Canal – the relocation of the people due to the flood in 1948-1950. It took an enormous amount of water to construct that canal between the Volga and the Don. The solution of the problem was to build the Tsimlyansk Reservoir. As a consequence, the territories of the Lower and Middle Don were flooded. In this publication the interviews with those who had to move on new places are presented. The author made surveys in Kalininskaya village of the Tsimlyansky district, Rostov region. The village was founded in 1949 due to relocation of the inhabitants of Chelbin, Kolatovsky and Zatsimlovsky, appeared in the flood area of the Tsimlyansk Reservoir. Despite the fact the responders were children during those events, they have told us in details about the process of the relocation. The stories of witnesses allow studying the strategies of the habitants’ adaptation to new locations.
Abstract: In the second half of the XX century, life of the Angara region changed dramatically thanks to the ambitious industrial projects of the Soviet era. In a relatively short time of 40 years, on the Angara River there were built Irkutsk, Bratsk, Ust-Ilimsk hydroelectric power plants, which gave rise to metallurgical, timber, mining giants, and also the construction Boguchanskaya HPP began. The region's three-century way of life has undergone some major changes in the context of urbanization transition. This publication presents the oral memories of the former residents of submerged settlements. The interviewees vividly describe their lost homeland, relying on their stories from everyday life and family history. They describe how and where they were resettled, and also the relationships and fates of forced migrants in the new socio-cultural conditions.
Abstract: The interview with Sergei Viktorovich Morozov was devoted to his army biography and military everyday life during the years of service in Afghanistan. After being drafted into the army, Sergei Viktorovich Morozov served in the Red Banner Central Asian Border District of the State Security Committee of the Soviet Union, from where, after undergoing training, he was sent to further service in the city of Kabul of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The respondent tells in detail how he was drafted into the army, how he had to adapt to the peculiarities of military service and endure all its difficulties on the territory of another state as part of a Limited Contingent of Soviet Forces in Afghanistan. The author of the memoirs also shares moments from his biography during the periods of solving combat missions. The memoirs of Sergei Viktorovich Morozov are a valuable source of representation of this military conflict from the side of a simple soldier who adequately fulfilled his military duty to the Soviet Union, for which he was marked by the Soviet command with the corresponding decorations.