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Interview with Professor Alter L'vovich Litvin: (Department of History, Kazan State Federal University).

Alter L'vovich Lirvin is a distinguished historian who began his career teaching in a secondary school in Kazan but later joined the faculty at Kazan State University (KGU, KU), where he continues to lecture and train graduate students. (1) A gifted lecturer with a keen sense of audience, Professor Litvin has also compiled over his long career a lengthy list of publications and achieved a considerable international reputation, primarily for his works on the Civil War in the Volga region and, in recent decades, on Stalin's purges. (2) In his works on the Civil War he documents the extraordinary levels of violence on all sides, including the Samara-based Komuch, and examines closely and with empathy the behavior and lived experience of peasants in Kazan province. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Litvin has devoted his energy to the publication of previously inaccessible documents, largely from the archives of the Federal Security Service (FSB), including files on Boris Savinkov, Fanny Kaplan, Evgeniia Ginzburg, and, most recently, the diary of the historian S. A. Piontkovskii. (3) Litvin's introduction to Piontkovskii's diary, as well as his essay in a voluminous recent collection of FSB documents, are especially revealing of his experience of and reflections on both the purges and archival sources from the Soviet era. While in his earlier work, Krasnyi i belyi terror, he did not hesitate to condemn Lenin and others on all sides for their ruthless disregard of human rights, in the introduction to Piontkovskii's diary he refrains from judging a man whom most readers will find an odious human being. Litvin's insistence on working directly from the documents and on publishing, to the degree possible, complete archival collections has parallels with the work of Petr Zaionchkovskii, whose lifelong commitment to drawing conclusions about political developments exclusively from direct exposure to primary sources was legendary and, of course, separated both of them from the reigning Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy. (4) Although Alter L'vovich celebrates his 80th birthday this year, he shows no sign of slowing down, as either a teacher or a scholar. (5) The following interview was conducted on 25 and 28 December 2009. I gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Evgeniia Sosnovskaia in transcribing the recordings of the interviews and of Hiroaki Kuromiya, Marina Mogil'ner, Alexander Rabinowitch, and Tat'iana Saburova for careful readings of the text.

Professor Litvin, will you say a few words about your childhood and family? How you became a historian?

It's hard to be brief [about one's childhood]; after all, it's an entire segment of one's life. I was born in Kazan in 1931 in a working-class family. My parents were born in Belarus, in Arshansk district, Vitebsk province. My mother's father was a cantor in the synagogue; my father's father was a shoemaker; in short, a petty artisan. My parents married in 1928, but there was no work to be had in Belarus. In Kazan a fur kombinat was being established and a call [orgnabor] went out for workers. This was how they came to Kazan. They settled down on the left side of the Bulak Canal, in a two-room apartment on the second floor, with a kitchen and small bedroom. Beneath us was the cellar, and for that reason the apartment was cold in the winter. We heated by wood, so we had to gather, chop, and chip the wood. We also put up potatoes in the cellar to last the winter. In short, we lived like everybody else.

Papa brought along his own mother. Later, all his brothers and sisters found refuge in Kazan, and this is how they survived the war. But all my mother's relatives stayed behind in Belarus. Twenty-seven of them perished in the Vitebsk ghetto. I never got to see them and sorely regret that. At the time there were no connections between places, and I was, after all, still very young. But after the war Mama sent me there to discover their fate; I found only my uncle (my mother's older brother).


You were 16 or 17 at that time?

Yes, I was 16 years old. My uncle's name was Rakhmil; my mother's maiden name was Kogan. My uncle was an invalid of the first group; he had been wounded in the spine and walked with great difficulty. He had six children, of whom five perished, and one managed to escape from the ghetto to join the partisans. He was wounded, returned to his home, and there, in his apartment, he met the wife of a border guard living with her son [who had fled from the border]. The apartment was empty, since they had murdered all the Jews. He married this woman, and they had two more children together. But [soon after I met him,] my uncle died, and regrettably I never again had the opportunity to meet up with my cousin, Naum, even though I invited him several times to come to Kazan.

I attended an ordinary school [no. 2] in Kazan but only completed the eighth grade. At that point I had to look for work, so I enrolled in a tekhnikum, which brought with it a monthly stipend. But I wasn't happy at the tekhnikum because the course of study didn't match my interests, and soon I left to work at a garage, where I was employed charging batteries. I worked there for two and a half years, and during that time I finished the ninth grade of my studies through extension classes, and the tenth grade through evening classes for working-class youth. Since I had graduated with honors [lit. a medal] I had the right to enroll in any institution of higher learning without taking the entrance exams.

I went to enroll in Kazan University and applied to the Physics Department. This is all about how I became a historian! The first ["responsible"] secretary of the admissions commission looked at me and asked me what my standing was with the mandate commission. At that time physics was a classified subject, since this was at the dawn of the nuclear age. I answered "not so good," since my dad had been sentenced under article 58, part 1. So I was the child of an enemy of the people, on top of being a Jew. Later, when I befriended this first secretary, he told me that he could tell at first glance that I was a Jew. At that time he had received a directive not to admit any Jews.

Your father was repressed?

Yes, my father was repressed.

And he returned?

Yes, he returned. He received seven years in the camps, and five years deprivation of rights [i.e., he couldn't vote]. He had been arrested in 1941 for an anecdote which had circulated among a group of workers, who then all pointed the finger at my father as the originator of the anecdote. For this he got seven years, and the other workers got six years for listening to a joke told at Stalin's expense. It fact, it was a frivolous anecdote; I wrote about this in my book Zapret na zhizn' and described the whole situation at length, based upon a review of the prosecutorial documents. (6)

In a nutshell, when I was informed that I couldn't enroll in the Physics Department I asked the first secretary where else I might inquire, and I was told to try history, since they accepted all comers there. So that's where I went.

Were you excited about enrolling in history?

I can't say I was. I just went and enrolled; I had no idea how it would all turn out. But my studies went smoothly, and nobody put up a fuss there.

Can you describe your training to be a historian?

You need to realize, the training of any specialist always depends upon the teacher and involves self-education, hard work, and some inborn talent. After all, I myself have been a teacher since 1951; first I began at a school, then moved on to higher education. I was always guided in my efforts by one notion; namely, that to succeed you have to have both a [good] teacher and a pupil who wants to learn.

After finishing your university studies was your assignment (raspredelenie) to a school, or did it work otherwise?

At the time the system of raspredelenie was in force, and I was indeed assigned to a school in the Novosibirsk region. But I couldn't leave to take up that position, for in 1950 my mother passed away, and I was left to care for my three younger sisters. Of course, I had to help them. My father had been released in 1948 but was prohibited from living in Kazan. He settled in a village and in 1954 was rehabilitated, allowing him to return to Kazan, but soon after he died. So it goes [tak poluchilos']. So I never left for Novosibirsk. By 1951, I was already working in a school, even as I was finishing my studies at the university, and the authorities at my school petitioned that I be allowed to stay in Kazan. So I did, working at schools no. 75 and 99. As a result, I remained a schoolteacher until 1962. At the same time, I began to work at the State Museum and soon took on the position there of director of the Section on Soviet History. This was a very interesting post in those years, since it was the onset of period of "rehabilitation." And everybody who had been repressed in Tatarstan but had survived the ordeal returned home and brought their memoirs to my section. I met a lot of very interesting people at this time, when they came to give lectures in Kazan. One such, but only one, was the commander of Smol 'nyi and the Moscow Kremlin, Pavel Dmitrievich Mal'kov, who had carried out the execution of [Fanny] Kaplan. (7) Many party and Komsomol figures also passed through the city, and told me their stories about the horrors of the Terror, which they had endured ... although they themselves had taken part before the tables had turned on them.

At this point, had you already begun to study the Terror?

No, I wasn't yet studying the Terror. My research was on the Civil War and the October Revolution.

The peasant movement, right?

That was later. I spent a lot of time contemplating how I could defend my kandidatskaia dissertatsiia as quickly as possible. At that time, I had one priority, and that was to extricate myself from dire poverty. Everybody was very needy at the time; we all lived poorly. And this was the only path open to me. I couldn't become a bureaucrat (they wouldn't have taken me); I couldn't even be admitted as a graduate student.

Because you were Jewish, or because of your family history?

Everything together. Because two cardinal sins of that Soviet reality hung over me. The "Doctors' Plot" was underway, and I had the label of "son of an enemy of the people" tacked to me. That's why I worked in the museum, taught in a school, and then moved on to the Pedagogical Institute, where I then taught for 17 years.

When you were a pupil, did children keep their distance from you, since you were a child of an enemy of the people?

You know, children are children. There were 40 pupils in my class. Of them five or six others carried the same label. To a degree we kept our own company and befriended one another. But after all, others also were without a father--those, for example, whose fathers had died at the front. Children understood us; we were all without fathers, even if for different reasons, and this was what brought us all together. And everyone lived in poverty. At that time, by the way, schools were single-sex: girls or boys. To this day I remember, the girls came to our school, a dance was organized, but I couldn't go out on the dance floor, because I couldn't afford a suit.

Shall toe return to the topic of your kandidatskaia dissertatsiia?

I chose a theme for my dissertation on my own, in order to finish it as quickly as possible; keep in mind too that I had no academic adviser, since I wasn't enrolled as a graduate student. So I chose what at first glance looks like a simple theme: the Soviet party press and its role in the propaganda victory on the Eastern front in 1918 and 1919. How the Red Army conducted the war, and how this was reflected in the Soviet press. To be sure, I also looked at the so-called "White" press, turned to the Socialist Revolutionary (SR) press, and even looked at nationalist papers to the extent they were available.

These were available in the spetskhrany?

Yes, everything was there. I was sent to Moscow by the museum--that's how it worked in those days--and looked at the newspapers there. And so in 1962, I defended my dissertation.

And who became your adviser/nauchnyi rukovoditel']?

Please understand, at the time I didn't have an adviser. But it turned out that when I tried to submit my dissertation to be defended, I was told it was no go without one. I went to see the instructor who had taught us Soviet history, Ivan Mitrofanovich Klimov, who later left for Voronezh and today, regrettably, is no longer with us. I went to him and said, "Ivan Mitrofanovich, I attended your lectures, they won't accept my dissertation, maybe you could look at it and sign that you are my adviser?" He was a very good man; he read my work and told me it was good, that I could add his name to it. So I defended it; the process proceeded very quickly, since there was nothing illegal or anti-Soviet in the work itself. Once it was defended, I was assigned to work at the Institute of History in the Kazan branch of the Academy of Sciences. It was 1962, and at the time Khrushchev was going on and on about the victory of communism in 1980. I was included in the list of historians putting together a work titled "Tatariia on the Road to Communism." Imagine this at a time when the stores were empty, there was nothing to eat, and I was to write about the material well-being of the working masses!

So that was the task before you at the time?

Yes, I labored away at it for a year, then told them that I would never agree to publish what I had written. I tore it to shreds and left. I just couldn't do it, so I went to work at the Pedagogical Institute, where I settled in at the Department [kafedra] of History of the USSR, as it was then called. As first I was a senior lecturer [prepodavatel'], then a dotsent, and then began to prepare to defend my doctoral dissertation. That's when I selected the theme of the Volga peasantry during the Civil War. Why the peasantry? Well, at the time there were restrictions, of course: if you wanted to write a history of a party it had to be the Bolsheviks; all the others were off-limits. Writing about the workers was out of the question, because workers could only be praised, while peasants could be both praised and criticized. Criticized, no matter what the subject! So I chose this more open-ended topic and set myself to the task. The end result was an entire series of books on the history of the Volga region peasantry in this period. However, the defense turned out to be complicated. I defended at the Lenin Moscow Pedagogical Institute, where I encountered antisemitic manifestations. This all took place between 1972 and 1975, when I finally defended.

So they put up some barriers for you?

They just wouldn't let it happen. They discussed it, said it was a good work, but then nothing happened. Later one colleague told me that at the institute one of the professors had traveled abroad and not returned. He was in fact Jewish, even though I didn't know who he was. So, they were saying, you'll defend your dissertation and take off; I replied, where would I go anyway? And I've got a family and a host of other concerns. They demanded that I sign a statement, swearing that I wouldn't flee the country after my defense, but I refused to sign any such declaration. So the process dragged out for another entire year before I was admitted to the defense. In 1975, the defense finally went forward, but one of the reviewers wrote a negative review. The author was the so-called "black" [chernyi] or anonymous reviewer. I was accused of sympathizing with the peasant insurgents against Soviet power and the Communist Party. At the time, of course, such uprisings were labeled "kulak-inspired." In general, of course, these were not kulak but peasant uprisings, instigated by outrage at the food requisition policies then being pursued.

I wonder, by this time were you acquainted with historians such as [Viktor Petrovich] Danilov?

Of course. Danilov was a staunch supporter and even wrote an external review in the name of the Agrarian Sector of the Institute of History. At the time, he was pulled into the defense of the dissertation, and Viktor Petrovich wrote a positive evaluation. My scholarly consultant [nauchnyi konsul'tant] was Academician Isaak Izrailevich Mints. The opponents were Valeriia Mikhailovna Selunskaia (chair of the Department of History at Moscow State University [MGU]), Vladimir Vadimovich Garniza (son of Algasov, a deputy to the Constituent Assembly) and Efrem Ignat'evich Medvedev (departmental chair at the Kuibyshev Pedagogical Institute). To this day my gratitude to them is boundless, even though not all of them are among the living.

When I defended the dissertation, it turned out that my anonymous reviewer argued that I sympathized with the peasant insurgencies during the Civil War. I received a phone call at home from VAK [Vysshaia attestatsionnaia komissiia, the Supreme Attestation Committee] and was told that I either had to obtain yet another review or myself come to Moscow, so I went. I appeared before the VAK expert commission and had some good company! Two of my colleagues had received similar invitations. One was Vitalii Ivanovich Startsev from Leningrad, who had written a dissertation about Lenin in which he "inadequately demonstrated Lenin's role in the revolution." The second was Iura Gamretskii from Kiev; he had written about the October Revolution in Ukraine and had been accused of Ukrainian nationalism. Each of us was summoned in turn before the expert commission, which convened at MGU, in the old building near the Manezh, not far from Red Square.

I'll never forget how I approached Mints and asked him what my strategy should be. After all, what they had written about my dissertation was nonsense. Mints was a very diplomatic person; he told me that I should try to demonstrate that I was no fool, but at the same time that they were not idiots. Otherwise they would take offense, and that would do me no good. So, in general I answered all the questions they directed at me, and finally, after another six months had passed, I received my doctorate.

So do you recall how you responded to their questions and accusations?

Yes, of course, I remember. I basically just asked them to imagine that they lived in, say, the village of Novaia Elan', Menzelinskii district, Kazan province. A food requisition brigade arrives; its representatives have been drinking....

You could say that?

Yes, it was right there in the documents. They demanded grain. This was in March 1920. The peasants replied they had already turned over the stipulated amount of grain. But the prodotriad insisted on more. They grabbed the village elders and locked them up in a freezing cellar overnight. In the morning, a crowd of peasants gathered to demand the release of the village elders, but the brigade demanded more grain first. So the peasants gave them grain, dumping it on the ground. Naturally, for this act the prodotriad gave the peasants a beating.

How did your commission respond to this?

They opined that this was an isolated incident. I agreed with their opinion but then added that I was within my rights to sympathize with the peasants. In other words, I treated what had happened as an isolated incident.

In the end your dissertation was accepted?

Yes. This was facilitated by Kirill Vladimirovich Gusev, a noted specialist on the SRs and a member of the presidium of VAK. We were well acquainted, and he had wanted to be one of the opponents on my committee, but after he was appointed to VAK, as a bureaucrat he was ineligible. But I still have his positive evaluation of my dissertation.

Excerpts from the diary of I. I. Mints have recently been published. Could you say a few words about them? Your opinion of them? He was, after all, a complicated person.

Isaak Izrailevich Mints was, of course, complicated and unusual. I can only judge how he related to me. Recently many people have had harsh things to say about him. I don't agree. I have in mind especially Genrikh Ioffe, my colleague on the Academic Council on the History of October Revolution and Civil War [created in 1957, headed by Mints]; elsewhere I have detailed my objections to these criticisms. (8) I wrote that I had been neither his student nor his graduate student. But he had given me sage advice when I was writing my doctorate and had treated me ideally. We had an excellent relationship; I can say nothing bad about him ... except that through him I learned a lot about relations with people.

Our picture of the training of historians in the Soviet era is a rather negative one because of the ideological constraints imposed. Or do you think that there were many positive aspects to this training?

Let's return to what I said earlier: everything depends upon the student and the teacher. At that time, there were many very solid historians, such as Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Zimin and Petr Andreevich Zaionchkovskii, who were able to write, in the main, what they wanted, q-hey wrote truthfully. At that time too, the work of Viktor Petrovich Danilov, Konstantin Nikolaevich Tarnovskii, and others appeared. There were works that did not toe the official line. After all, somebody trained these historians as well. I can't be negative about the entire profession; there were exceptions, even if only a small minority, so we shouldn't paint them all black.

How about Kazan, can you say the same?

Yes, I can. Kazan historians collaborated with their colleagues in Moscow and St. Petersburg. For example, take Leonid Mikhailovich Spirin, with whom I collaborated extensively. He worked in the Institute of Marxism-Leninism and served as an opponent at my defense of my kandidatskaia dissertatsiia.

In general, was it easier or more difficult to work in the provinces?

Both. It's hard to generalize. In 1967, Agdash Khusainovich Burganov defended his doctoral dissertation. His theme was "The October Revolution and the Petty-Bourgeois Parties." Of course, all the non-Bolshevik and Menshevik parties were classified as petty-bourgeois. His defense went swimmingly here in Kazan. But it took 25 years for VAK to approve his dissertation; he was accused of propagandizing SR ideology and spent all that time trying to get it passed. And I had a virtually identical situation with an article I had written about the prominent professor and historian Sergei Andreevich Piontkovskii.

Do tell us.

It's only now, in 2009, that his diary has been published. I wrote the introduction.

And this introduction has a history?

Yes ... a history of the introduction. In 1964, we were still riding the wave created by the Thaw following Khrushchev's Secret Speech about the cult of Stalin at the 20th Party Congress in 1956. Everybody felt that a liberalization was underway. And of course, it was then that the dissident movement emerged. But not everyone was a dissident, of course. I certainly wasn't, and that was clear. At that time, there were these so-called academic councils: the Academic Council on the October Revolution, headed by Mints, and the Council on Historiography and Historical Sources, headed by [Militsa] Nechkina. Galina Mekseeva, who was a member of the latter council, suggested I write about Piontkovskii. They were putting together a volume called Repressirovannye istoriki-bol 'sheviki describing those who had been repressed, then rehabilitated. Piontkovskii was a long-time resident of Kazan and studied here. She asked me to gather material on him and write it up, and so I did. Piontkovskii's father was the chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Kazan Imperial University before the revolution and passed away in 1916. Piontkovskii himself studied at the Kazan Gymnasium and at the Historical-Philological Department of KU, graduating in 1914. He was retained to complete his training to become a professor. However, he didn't complete his studies, which were interrupted by the war, then the revolution. After I finished my essay in 1964, Galia Alekseeva told me that one of Piontkovskii's acquaintances had read the work and written a review of it. I traveled to Moscow and met there with Sergei Mitrofanovich Dubrovskii. At one time he had served as a dean at Leningrad State University, then been imprisoned, then lived in Kazan, where I had encountered him in 1949, when he had worked at the museum. He had, in fact, been arrested twice: in 1936 and in 1949. Visually I had no recollections of him, we weren't personally acquainted; I was only 18 and had just glimpsed him from afar. So, when I later found him, he was working at the Institute of History at the Academy of Sciences. He read my essay and wrote right on it: "I recommend Litvin's work for publication." But Galia Alekseeva then called me and told me that my work wouldn't see the light of day: new winds were blowing, and now nobody needed a volume on repressed historians.

While I worked at the pedagogical institute I was involved in publishing several edited volumes....

We are talking about the 1970s? Say, 1974?

Yes, roughly that time. We included in such collections the work of Zimin and his students, work that couldn't be published in Moscow.

I included my essay on Piontkovskii in one of these volumes and was promptly called before the censor; the organization was then named Obllit [Oblasmoi otdel po delam literatury i izdatel'stv]. At the time it was headed by one Shakirzianova, I believe; somebody who knew little about history, but being a party worker, was a very active "gorlopan" as we say, literally, someone who grabs by the throat, or a "headbuster." She didn't think twice about smearing people; for her the most important thing was to stick a label on a person. She attacked me, saying that Burganov was spreading Socialist Revolutionary propaganda, and I was promoting Menshevism, since Piontkovskii had purportedly been at one time a "Menshevik-imperialist." I asked her to explain herself: on what grounds? Well, in 1905 he had been the leader of the Kazan Mensheviks; moreover, he was a Jew. To tell the truth, at first I was taken aback. I replied, first, that Piontkovskii was no Jew. I could bring her the baptismal records [metriki] that showed that he had been baptized in the Orthodox Church. Moreover, his father was Orthodox. Second, in 1905 he was all of 14 years old (he was born in 1891); how could he have been in charge of a Menshevik organization in a city as big as Kazan? She ignored my arguments and instead filed a denunciation [donos] with the regional party committee.

Her denunciation was titled "The Case of So and So, Associate Professor [dotsent] of the Pedagogical Institute, for Propagandizing Militant Menshevism"--those were the very words! This was a unique situation, since one of the editors of our volumes was Professor Ivanov, who at that very time had been appointed to the position of director of the academic sector in the regional party committee. Ivanov was alarmed that he might have let slip through an article of this sort. He hurried to me and said I had to do something about it. So I traveled to Moscow and took my article to the Institute of Marxism-Leninism in the Comintern building. I approached Leonid Mikhailovich Spirin and asked him to vouch for me, to read my article and give his opinion. A veteran of World War II, he was also a very intelligent human being. He took my article to the director of the Sector on Lenin, A. M. Savokin. These people knew me well, for I had often given talks there, and they were generally familiar with my work. So, they gave my article a thorough read and wrote up an evaluation declaring there was nothing anti-Soviet in it. And [Aleksandr Danilovich] Pedosov, the deputy director of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, added his signature to the evaluation. Members of the Central Committee and directors of such institutes under the Central Committee, as well as their deputy directors, were not subject to censorship. So when I brought back a certificate of approval [okhrannaia gramota] and gave it to Ivanov, he turned it over to the secretary of propaganda; in short, this was an evaluation by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism that the article was not anti-Soviet and contained no Menshevik propaganda. This got them thinking what to do, until another secretary (in the regional party offices) made it clear that if they wanted to battle the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, they would soon find themselves out of a job. And with that the case against me ended ... but the article never came out.

Literally never came out?

While I was dealing with this mess, the edited volume had already gone into publication without it. But then Mints's [born 1896] birthday was approaching, and a volume honoring him was on the horizon.

What year was this now?

Roughly 1982, I believe. I told Mints that I wanted to write about Piontkovskii. At the time, I didn't realize they had known each other and worked together at the Institute of Red Professors. He frowned, then assented; in general, he never interfered with anyone else's work, believing that you had to travel your own road in life. In this sense, he was a very democratic person. So, I wrote another version of the Piontkovskii article and gave it to Vasilii Polikarpov to read. Polikarpov was an excellent historian and pleasant human being. Yet he called to inform me that my article had been jettisoned from the collection. He replied that the anonymous reviewer [chernyi retsenzent] had written that Piontkovskii was off-limits because in the early 1920s he had written favorably about both Trotskii and Bukharin. While I was composing a reply, the volume went into publication without my article, and that was that. But finally, in the 1990s, an abbreviated version of the article was published. (9)

How did that version differ from the one that introduces Piontkovskii's recently published diary?

In the introduction I wrote exactly as I saw and understood everything; this made it a lot different from the article in Voprosy istorii KPSS.

Did you have access to the diary earlier (when you wrote the earlier article)?

Yes, I did. You know, when I was first writing the article about Piontkovskii, I became acquainted with his brother Andrei Andreevich Piontkovskii, a well-known jurist. He had managed to extract a copy of the diary from his brother's case file and showed it to me. If I recall correctly, he gave this diary to Piontkovskii's widow, who had herself returned from the Gulag. She died in 1978. Before that, she had been in touch with me through her neighbor; I in turn sent her a photo of the young Piontkovskii I had found in his student file. She let me know that she would pass on the diary to me; I never got to meet her, since I couldn't make it to Moscow at that time, and had a friend pick it up for me. This friend brought the diary to Kazan. The simple fact is that until now it wasn't possible to publish this diary.

Can you say a few words about the introduction itself. We've had some earlier conversations about it, and I was struck by the empathy you displayed for Piontkovskii, despite the fact that much of his work, in your own words, didn't do him honor. If I am correct, in order to save his own skin, he wrote denunciations of others?

I'm not familiar with any denunciations--I haven't seen any such. I have looked at his books, where he obliterates bourgeois historians such as Platonov. Here he was following in the footsteps of his mentor [Mikhail] Pokrovskii. But a denunciation is a secret document; he didn't conceal the positions he took, and for that reason I wouldn't use that term. Of course, not all of his work stands him in good stead. Still, I have one notion of the historian's mission and quite another of the work of a judge. Judges judge, but I can't do that.

Over the roughly 30 years during which you tried to publish an article about Piontkovskii, did your opinion of him evolve?

Certainly, because for a long stretch I was disposed against him, influenced by much of the extreme work heaping obloquy on the Soviet past. I became very bitter about everything that I had had to live through, all the unfairness and illegality. But over time I regained my composure and began to see things in a different light. As I sifted through documents, I wanted to understand but not to judge his actions.

When I read through the diary it is indeed obvious that he himself suffered.

Of course ... it's all in the diary. He was afraid, and this thread of fear runs through the entire diary. After all, they began to work him over right away, since Stalin had reacted negatively to the textbook he was preparing.

As you know, Jochen Hellbeck has investigated diaries written in the 1930s. What is your opinion of his work?

I am most familiar with his study of peasant diaries, but Piontkovskii was from another sphere, the academic. There was one commonality among such diaries--people were driven by fear. In diaries, during collectivization, people were afraid of being labeled kulaks, of losing everything and being driven into exile. Piontkovskii, on the other hand, was familiar with Platonov's fate, with the "Academy Affair" of the 1930s, when more than 100 historians were arrested and sent off. He knew about the Shakhty Affair of 1928, he was at the "Industrial Party Affair." He wrote about all this [in his diary], he knew where it was all leading. He was on good terms with [David Borisovich] Riazanov, director of the Institute of Marx and Engels, who was then stripped of all his positions and sent away. He saw all this, and wanted to save his own life. That's how I see it. Of course, maybe I am mistaken, but I really just wanted to understand: what will a person do to save himself?. As for betraying others, I don't have any documents suggesting that.

There was a historian named N. I. Ul'ianov, who later left for the United States. He wrote that Piontkovskii had submitted anonymous denunciations; you can find this in his (Ul'ianov's) memoirs. (10) But he doesn't provide any substantiation, any documents to back up his case. You have to remember, this was a dog-eat-dog era; people destroyed one another. Nobody who was involved comes out smelling like roses; the times themselves were so bad. I don't see any other way of understanding it all.

Lately, other historians' diaries and memoirs of the time have appeared in print, for example those of Nechkina and Mints. Do they tell us anything new?

Of these works, I would call your attention to [Iurii Vladimirovich] Got'e's diary, which ends in 1920. (11) I would also note the memoirs of Sergei Sergeevich Dmitriev, the renowned specialist on historical sources [istochnovedenie] from the Russian 19th century. (12) John Keep has written an interesting review of these memoirs.... (13) In Russia, to date nobody has yet surveyed all these recent works. But Dmitriev's memoirs reach beyond the 1930s toward the present. He was around in the 1950s; he witnessed Khrushchev and Brezhnev. He writes bitterly about the 20th century, which he saw as fatal for Russia.

[Nikolai Mikhailovich] Druzhinin also kept a diary and wrote his memoirs, but to date they haven't been published in full. Nor have the memoirs of [Stepan Borisovich] Veselovskii, who wrote on the question of the enserfment of the Russian peasantry.

Piontkovskii's diary differs from all the others in that he deals with a brief interval of time. I'm not aware of whether or not prior to this he wrote memoirs, or whether he continued his diary beyond 1934. As far as I know nothing has been preserved, but maybe in fact such texts exist, I just don't know. But I can say that he described this period just as he was experiencing it, and he lived in fear. He had one overriding desire, and that was somehow to survive.

Okay ... can we turn now to the recent collection of documents from the KGB (Arkhiv KGB) to which you contributed? (14)

At one time this was my own idea, supported by a few archivists employed by the KGB in Moscow. I have in mind especially Vladimir Konstantinovich Vinogradov and Natal'ia Mikhailovna Peremyshlennikova. Vinogradov graduated from the Historical-Archival Institute and was sent to work in the KGB archives. In my view, nobody knows these archives better than he does, and he participates in many of its publications. Together we applied for a grant from the Russian Foundation for Humanities Research, and we were awarded money to publish this collection. I was designated the academic director of this project on behalf of Kazan State University. In my view the volume is an interesting one. I personally have always been interested in the internal workings of the VChK [Vserossiiskaia chrezvychainaia komissiia, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counterrevolution and Sabotage, also known as the Cheka].

In 1996, the first collection [funded by this grant] was published: the Left SRs and the VChK. (15) I wanted to find out what role Left SRs had played in the collegium of the Cheka and I once believed that they--for example, [Itskhok Zakharovich] Shteinberg, at the time commissar of justice--had somewhat limited the violence. But when I began to peruse the documents, I was disenchanted. For me, the main object was to learn about the internal mechanisms of this organization, how the first troikas were established. In fact, the first was set up in June 1918. This was an extrajudicial institution chaired by [Feliks] Dzerzhinskii and with no restrictions on the right to execute. The second was chaired by Deputy Director [Iakov] Peters; then troikas began to be set up locally and continued to exist up until the outbreak of World War II. Later, special commissions [osobye soveshchaniia] were added. I wanted to find out why, for what purpose, all these were created. Vinogradov contributed an interesting article on the establishment of this archive for the latest collection of Arkhiv VChK; it turns out it was set up in 1934. (16) My contribution was a historiographical essay on the Cheka. There are some really curious documents included in this volume. For example, in June 1918 the first conference of the Russian Federations Extraordinary Commission was held and was addressed by Lenin, who spoke of the organization's high importance. The original text of this speech has not been preserved, but his words were taken down by journalists. We have one version recorded by a Chekist, another by one journalist, but here is a third variant. How do they differ from one another? Each one took down that which he considered was needed in the circumstances. One thought it imperative to demonstrate the need for force, the other to show respect for people in order to avoid provoking antagonism, and the third something else entirely. All three of these versions are published in the collection, along with a lot of other similar materials.

How about your publication of the materials from Evgeniia Ginzburg's archive? What does this volume show us? Especially about her as a person ...

Keep in mind that there are two different types of document collection commonly published. First we have the fondovye izdaniia, which publish everything in a given holding, right up to the last comma. No more need to go to the archive! Then there are the selective collections consisting of documents deemed most important by the compilers. In my view, the latter type is not as important or interesting, since after all you never know what was left out. Could be, it was precisely that document left behind which was most important for my purposes. Meaning, you really have to go to the archive yourself to find out.

As for the two Ginzburg files I published, they are fondovye izdaniia containing everything that was there. (17) I included literally everything up to the last comma, all with her son's permission (according to Russian law, nothing can be published from personal files in the archives without permission of a relative). So her son, the late Vasilii Aksenov, came to visit and stayed at my home. We sat down and had a good talk; he agreed to write an introduction and after that the way was clear to publish the documents. It was a lot more complicated to publish documents relating to Boris Yeltsin's father and uncle, because I needed his agreement as well. But Yeltsin also provided his signature.

So what do you have to say about Ginzburg's profile? After all, her memoir is very well known in the West. Do you take the same view of her?

There's been a lot written in the West about Ginzburg, especially about her Journey Into the Whirlwind. (18) To me, she's interesting primarily for one reason only: you recall that she was, of course, a militant Communist, employed on the editorial board of Krasnaia Tatariia. Then both her professor [Nikolai Naumovich] El'roy and she herself were accused of Trotskyism. At the time she was arrested, she was an associate professor of Leninism at Kazan University.

... She never denied that she had been a dedicated Communist. And she was sent to the camps, where she stayed until 1954; and when she returned she hated the Communists. During that time, she had married a Catholic and converted to Catholicism. So I took away from her story that circumstances can alter a person's convictions, reversing them entirely. And here, too, you can follow that she [like Piontkovskii] wanted above all to survive; that's how her form [of adaptation] becomes comprehensible.

Changing the topic, you have many friends among Western historians, among them Alex Rabinowitch, John Keep, and a host of others. What is your opinion, do you think that a "republic of letters" is gradually emerging, an international scholarly community?

To me, you know, this question is a bit odd, for one simple reason: scholarship is a unitary entity and can't be chopped up into English, French, Russian. Scholarship can only be unitary. If this is opportunistic scholarship, then it is not scholarship at all; but objective scholarship cannot be divided into national schools. These international links existed earlier as well. American historians often cited the work of Soviet historians; Robert Tucker, after all, studied with P. A. Zaionchkovskii. He himself wrote about this; it was, of course, considered an honor to have worked with Zaionchkovskii. Fewer scholars from Russia traveled abroad--only those who were trusted. They worked at Harvard and elsewhere. But Western historians who studied Russia were compelled to spend time here and work in the archives. And those Russian historians who studied U.S. history--for example, the father of Andrei Fursenko [contemporary minister of education], Academician Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Fursenko, couldn't be dragged out of the U.S. archives. It was always that way. Of course, today it is less difficult and perilous at the ideological level. I can send John Keep a letter or talk over the phone with Alex Rabinowich without fearing the consequences. These are normal ties....

Do you think the younger Kazan historians feel the same way?

Of course; take for example, Alia Arkadievna Sal'nikova. She has spent time in the United States and in Italy. Or Svetlana Iur'evna Malysheva, who visits Germany regularly and is friends with Dietrich Beyrau.

Are they typical?

You know, those who are really motivated make it work. For example, the dean of the Department of Tatar Studies at KGU, Iskander Aiazovich Giliazov. He spent five years working in the archives in Germany and wrote a book about Tatar Muslim collaborationist battalions. I was the opponent at his defense.

Still, different historiographical traditions persist.

Without a doubt, you are not going to remake them. We have our Prokhanov, you know the writer, who frequently appears in the newspapers. He was asked what he dreamed of; he says, he dreams that there will be statues of Stalin everywhere. Let him dream. As for me, I hope for nothing of the sort.

I wanted to bring up one more autobiographical question, concerning perestroika. Of course, historians of your generation went through some enormous changes.... How did you personally experience those times ... what kind of complicated internal questioning might have taken place?

Everybody experiences this in his own way, and the process continues today. The process is connected with ridding ourselves of the fear embedded in us, in that cohort I call the "flogged [porotoe] generation." They flogged us and taught us how to fear. This is forbidden, and this too! To this date, many of us still haven't completely taken off that Stalinist overcoat. For that reason, to this day there is this huge chasm between followers and opponents of Stalin.

You're speaking of historians?

Of course. Not so long ago I saw an article in Voprosy istorii written by Professor Georgii Iosifovich Cherniavskii about the works of [Iurii] Zhukov. (19) Cherniavskii criticizes Zhukov's works for his adherence to communism, and I completely agree with him. I wrote about this in my book with John Keep on the historiography of Stalinism. (20)

As for me, it was the perestroika of the 1960s that had a deep impact; notably Khrushchev's Secret Speech at the 20th Party Congress attacking the cult of Stalin. That was when the archives opened a bit, before closing again in 1965. And the very material I was examining in the early 1960s, namely the Kolchak government and its proposed agrarian reforms, once again was put under lock and seal in the spetskhran of the Archive of the October Revolution, or TsGAOR, as it was then called. Moreover, you won't believe me if I tell you what it was like at that time to work with documents. It's really difficult to imagine. I was examining the Kolchakovshchina of 1919; I was escorted to a special room set apart from the general reading hall, where entry required special permission. At the time I was working at the Pedagogical Institute, from which I needed to obtain a permission slip certifying that I was a loyal citizen (called Form no. 2). In other words, material to which I had had only recently open access now needed special clearance. I was escorted into that room, where I saw a number of historians, including Chermenskii, Garniza, and others, and I observed how they were working. These were the stipulations: here is your file [delo]; you are not allowed to write down the fond, number of the opis', or the number of the delo. Only the page number. Well, I asked, how can I cite the material in that case? Write down TsGAOR, rossyp' [the term describing a scattered, uncatalogued collection lacking a fond or page number]. This was, of course, nonsense and out of the question. So at the time, I sat back and observed how my senior colleagues Chermenskii and Garniza were dealing with this quandary, and I learned from them. They wrote down for themselves all the pertinent data and stuck it in their pockets, while dutifully entering into their notebooks just what was required. I did the same, filling up an entire notebook, putting the actual full citations in my pocket and leaving. But then they wouldn't give me my notebook with the entries. It was sent to the special section of the pedagogical institute where I worked. I was summoned there and told that my notebook had arrived. When I asked for it, they told me I couldn't have it. Here, you can take notes from it! So I had to copy word for word my own notebook and correlate it with the citations I had secretly taken with me. Then I told them, do with the notebook whatever you want, burn the thing! That's how matters stood at that time.

What years are we talking about again?

This was the Brezhnev era; the second half of the 1960s. And you know, the archives in the spetskhran at the Lenin Library in Moscow opened their doors and released books, as if they were zeks from the Gulag, right after 1985. Even then, take English-language books from the Gorbachev era, criticizing his policies; even then they were still sent to the spetskhran, where not everyone could gain access. In other words, that era of half-baked reforms [polovinchataia reforma], just like today, was murderous for historians, not allowing us to work normally. In the early 1990s, the archives were opened, only to shut down again, and today you just can't get normal access to what you need. During perestroika hopes were really high. There were two publications everybody read: the journal Ogonek and the newspaper Moskovskie novosti. I published a short article in the latter about an episode in Simbirsk province when they tried to nationalize women in one village. And I wrote a longer article on the topic in which I described how Lenin ordered shot those officials in Simbirsk who delayed accepting grain from peasants by refusing to work at night. Peasants wrote a letter of complaint to Lenin. The officials refuted these accusations, claimed that they were accepting grain on a 24-hour basis and that peasants had sent Lenin an unsubstantiated denunciation. (21)

I know Gorbachev is held in high esteem in the West, but for one reason alone. He talked a lot about what he hoped to achieve, but little was actually done. He managed to do two good things: he freed Sakharov and he ended the war in Afghanistan. But he didn't open the archives.

But he began the process?

Only minimally.

But after all, for the 1987-88 school year he canceled the exams in history. Don't forget that with every general secretary we had reinvented our history, and everybody believed that [the real study of] history began with him! They canceled exams, got rid of the old history textbooks. And what came of it all? In the end Stalin reappears as the "Efficient Manager."

A few questions about your work in the FSB archives and on the question of the "internal censor": over this period have you personally experienced any changes?

Not really; after all my entire life has been spent working with archival materials; most important for me is getting my hands on authentic documents that I myself can verify ... in our country, the one I was born in and where I live, the profession of historian in general is very dangerous; I'm very candid with my own students about this. This is for one reason: being a historian is very politicized, and historians are vulnerable to politicians, every one of whom wants to rewrite history. And if you won't open the archives, how can you talk about being a serious historian?

Let's go back to your own work now, on the Civil War. We hold your work on the Red and White Terror in great esteem. Since then, much new work on the topic has appeared in print. If I am not mistaken, your argument is that both Reds and Whites engaged in massive terror, and your moral condemnation of both is clear. Am I right that [Oleg] Budnitskii has taken up the same topic?

Budnitskii has written a book Jews between Reds and Whites, and his main focus is Jewish history, although he has also written about Populists and Social Democrats. (22) But he is not concerned as much with the Terror as with the subject of Jews in general during the Civil War.

And didn't he also write about Kolchak?

He wrote a book about Kolchak's gold, and he has written about V. A. Maklakov. (23) In general he is a very capable historian. If I'm not mistaken, he is from Rostov-on-Don and studied with [Boris Samuilovich] Itenberg in Moscow, who devoted his own research to the Populists. At present Budnitskii is in charge of some fund dedicated to Jewish history. But that's his problem! His books are not bad, and I certainly can't say anything negative about them.

Now, concerning my own work on the Terror. It actually encountered quite a bit of criticism from various quarters. For example, Felshtinskii; he criticized me for equating the Red and White terrors--the same outrageous practices leading to the same type of tragedies. In his mind the Red Terror was worse than the White. The White Terror was ... better. But also works came out in Siberia, in Petersburg; in the latter Rat'kovskii wrote on the Cheka and implies I exaggerate their cruelty--I should have focused more on the cruelty of the Whites. (24) I keep on running into this type of thing, but of course, such criticisms haven't budged me. Terror is an absolute evil. Whatever its dimensions, this is an evil that must be combated. State terror is the worst kind. I had a debate with Robert Conquest. He sent me his books. But when I gave a talk at a conference in Warsaw in 1995, I expressed my disagreement with his work, The Great Terror. In short, "great" terror presupposes the existence of "small." But for me, this state terror, which began right from the start in October 1917, was a continuum. The number of victims of terror in the Civil War was 1.5 million people--is this a few or a lot? From my point of view, a dreadful number. During the Civil War the Soviet government had no legitimacy. It was an internecine struggle; Kolchak ruled all of Russia from Omsk. Lenin also ruled over all of Russia. They all wanted to utilize fear to bring the entire country under their rule.

If you were to write a history of the Civil War in general, what other kinds of questions would you want to address? Or is the topic not that interesting to you? There were, after all millions of people who didn't want to participate at all, but were forced to take sides.

We have the figure of Dr. Zhivago, who had no desire to take part, but was forced to, and there were indeed many others like him. I remember discussing this theme with Viktor Petrovich Danilov, unfortunately no longer with us. He showed me a map of Russia and pointed to the areas where serfdom had prevailed, and those areas had gone over to the Reds. But in Siberia, where there were state peasants, and in those areas where there were monastery or crown (udel'nye) peasants, they had supported the Whites. Except for Wrangel, whose policies differed somewhat, all the White leaders--Kolchak, Denikin, and so on--insisted that peasants would have to buy the land from the noble landowners.

Was this the case in Viatka, not far from Kazan? There, except for the south, there was no landed nobility.

The third army of the Red Eastern Front was deployed there, but Kolchak met no resistance and easily drove it out. When the Bolsheviks proclaimed "Take the land from the pomeshchiki," at the same time they slaughtered any and every peasant who opposed Soviet power. In the film Chapaev, which came out in the 1930s, a peasant asks Chapaev if he is for the Bolsheviks or the Communists, and he answers, "Whoever is for Lenin, I'm for them." But in truth this was a big question, because the peasants believed that the Bolsheviks gave them land, while the Communists instigated the food procurement requisition policies.

What do you think of the argument that World War I laid the foundations of the Soviet system?

I can't agree with that. It's very difficult to deal with counterfactuals; if this hadn't happened, then how would things have turned out. This is a culturology of the past. I myself don't think that World War I led to the formation of the Soviet state. I'm of a different opinion because prerevolutionary Russia was in need of fundamental reforms--above all, of the peasant and nationality questions. After all, 80 percent of the population were peasants, many of them non-Russian. How they were going to live in the future was a question that simply had to be resolved. If the Provisional Government had moved expeditiously to carry out land reform, [matters would have turned out differently,] especially given that peasants had already begun to seize the land themselves. In Kazan in May 1917, the Left SR A. L. Kolegaev called for the seizure of land, but the Provisional Government sent out troops to pacify the countryside. What did the war have to do with this? It only exacerbated what were already major problems. The war brought on hunger and ruin; but even without it, reforms were urgent. A free citizen without land is not really free.

Okay, once again back to the archives and the "internal censor." You showed me your impressive last collection on the FSB (VChK) archives.... Well, Western historians who sought access to these archives haven't had much success. I have in mind Alex Rabinowitch, Ziva Galili. But you have considerable experience with these archives after all

Yes, I've been working in them since 1993.

Let's discuss your collection of documents about Boris Savinkov. (25) Recently I met your coauthor, Marina Mogil'ner.

Yes, we put that collection together jointly. She was my student at one time.

She told me that there are some serious lacunae in this collection. I get the impression that perhaps the FSB is interested in rewriting its own history in order to emphasize its professionalism and integrity. Is that the case, in your opinion?

First of all, I want to point out that both Alex Rabinowitch and Ziva Galili were in fact given access to a series of FSB documents, although, of course, others they couldn't see. But I have had the same experience; my requests are often turned down. But I add that the most valuable documents Ziva got hold of were those pertaining to her parents who were allowed to emigrate to Palestine in 1924, where they met each other ... and hence we now have Ziva Galili! Much the same could be said for Alex Rabinowitch.

As far as I'm concerned, I went to the archives as a member of the Commission on Rehabilitation, and in this capacity I was given prosecutorial documents to review. After this, I published two books: Zapret na zhizn' about my locale, and essays about the fate of historians in the 1930s, in which I examined the fates of Moscow and Leningrad historians such as Piontkovskii. (26)

Then I began to publish collections of documents. Why was this? I wasn't given everything; I wasn't allowed to look at the archival guides (opisi) so I could decide on my own what I needed. The FSB archivists were not allowed to show them to me, or maybe they just didn't want to--I don't know which it was. But these were highly educated people, trained at the Historico-Archival Institute; they knew the archival collection holdings very well. And in my mind I decided that this was already a major step forward, whatever they could give me. It should be published because, who knows, in another few years even these documents might be sealed away again; that's how I reasoned. That was my approach to the Savinkov documents as well. Marina and I requested all documents that might shed light on why he made the sudden transition from being an active enemy to working with the Cheka, or more accurately, the OGPU [Ob"edinennoe gosudarstvennoe politicheskoe upravlenie, successor to the Cheka]. After all, his prior career gave no hint of what was to come; he had been a deputy war commissar in the Provisional Government, an SR, and a founder of the Union for the Salvation of the Motherland and Freedom [Soiuz zashchity rodiny i svobody].

Of course, personal considerations weighed in here. He was stuck in a jail cell, but when he began to provide information, he was allowed to see his lover. They took him to the theater, promised him this and that. He was given a two-room cell, and so on. All this we can understand. But how are we to grasp the sequence of events, the interval that [passed before he caved in]? They didn't provide us with transcripts of the initial interrogation session, so I don't know what's there.

Perhaps he was tortured?

I doubt it. It wouldn't have worked with him; after all, he had spent time in hard labor. I think he was promised something big; I think he agreed, understanding all the while that if he didn't go along, if he stood up for his ideals, that would be the end. And after he discovered that Dzerzhinskii had deceived him, that he had no intention of releasing him, he threw himself out the window of the office of the deputy director of that sector [of the NKVD] on the fifth floor of the building. But again, we couldn't gain access to all the initial protocols. We don't even know if they exist. We were told they couldn't be found; I have my doubts that this was true, but in any case I don't know if they exist or not.

I understand the notion that if there is a window of opportunity, one has to take advantage of it. But aren't you concerned that in effect what we are receiving is a distorted picture, which the FSB is consciously constructing?

The picture couldn't be distorted. Maybe in the future someone will gain access to these missing documents. Well, what of it? That would be great if they were then published. I published all that was made available; how could it be distorted? After all, we noted in the introduction that such and such documents couldn't be obtained, and we didn't know why. Likewise, there was this monograph on Savinkov written by the American historian Richard Spence, whom we cite in our work, but he too has no explanation for Savinkov's behavior. (27) Like us, he hasn't seen these documents. So there are lacunae in the book; on the other hand, we found literary work that he wrote while incarcerated, and we published it, along with a series of other documents. Whatever they gave us we published. Needless to say, there were omissions.

Would it then be correct to say that the archivists had their own mission, which was to display the history of the FSB in the best possible light?

They have published several volumes under the label Lubianka. (28) This is in all ways a quality publication. There you can read about successful operations launched by the FSB such as "Trest," in which the name of Savinkov appears. But they avoid mention of the abuses and ill deeds they committed. As for me, when I wrote my book on the Red and White terrors, when I had such documents in hand, I described such deeds in detail, for that's how it was in reality.

If I am right, for the past 15 years or so you have devoted your efforts primarily to publishing documents. Is this so? Is this explained mainly by the importance you ascribe to such an effort?

Certainly. Such is the case for me and for many other historians, including Valentin Shelokhaev, a leading light in the field today. He has been in charge of publishing collections of documents in a number of areas. But others, too. Keep in mind that the apprehension is widespread that these collections may well close again, and nothing more will be published. Second, to publish books, monographs, you really need to see a lot of documents on a given theme. And you know, all the vistas that have been opened up for my generation of historians, everything that fascinates us, and about which we have written reams, turns out to be no longer needed, morally outdated, as we say ... for that reason now we have turned to publishing documents. That's the best way to explain it; we are trying to do everything possible to make way for the future, that's how it is.

Alter L'vovich, people tell me you are now engaged in writing your memoirs. Is this true?

Yes, that's right.

What can you say to your readers; when can we expect the book to see the light of day?

In 2011.

So soon?

Yes, I'm aiming to finish for the occasion of my 80th birthday.

Then maybe this interview was superfluous? We could have waited for their publication?

No way. I've got to live that long first! And I want to read [the text of the interview]!

Thank you very much for allowing me to interview you, Alter L'vovich.

History Dept.

Indiana University

1020 East Kirkwood St. BH742

Bloomington, IN 47408 USA

(1) Lively, sympathetic biographical essays on Litvin can be found in the volume Istorik sredi istorikov (Kazan: Izdatel'stvo Kazanskogo matematicheskogo obshchestva, 2001), especially the essays by Svetlana Malysheva and Marina Mogil'ner, "A. L. Litvin: Biografiia istorika," and Grigory Vul'fson, "Vospominaniia starogo professora ob Aleksee (Altere) Litvine i ne tol'ko o nem," 7-16 and 17-24, respectively.

(2) See esp. A. L. Litvin, Krasnyi i belyi terror v Rossii, 1918-1922 (Kazan: Tatarskoe gazemo zhurnal'noe izdatel'stvo, 1995), new ed. (Moscow: Iauza, EKSMO, 2004).

(3) Dnevnik istorika S. A. Piontkovskogo (1927-1934) (Kazan: Izdatel'stvo Kazanskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, 2009).

(4) These comments are not meant to imply any personal or intellectual connection between Zaionchkovskii and Litvin, who cites as his mentors I. I. Mints, A. A. Zimin, and L. M. Spirin.

(5) A selected list of Litvin's publications (as contributor and/or editor) between 1959 and 2001 can be found in Istorik sredi istorikov, 342-44.

(6) A. L. Litvin, Zapret na zhizn' (Kazan: Tatknigoizdat, 1993), 217-23.

(7) Pavel Dmitrievich Mal'kov (1887-1965), author of V surovyi god: Iz zapisok byvshego komendanta Smol 'nogo i Kremlia (Moscow: Voenizdat, 1958).

(8) A. L. Litvin, "Moi uchitel'--I. I. Mints," in Kistorii russkikh revoliutsii: Sobytiia, mneniia, otsenki, ed. I. Kh. Urilov (Moscow: Sobranie, 2007), 67-69.

(9) A. L. Litvin, "V riadakh pervykh sovetskikh istorikov," Voprosy istorii KPSS, no. 1 (1990): 119-30.

(10) Quoted in A. M. Dubrovskii, Istorik i vlast' (Briansk: Izdatel'stvo Brianskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, 2005), 129.

(11) Iu. V. Got'e, Moi zametki (Moscow: Terra, 1997).

(12) "Iz dnevnikov S. S. Dmitrieva," Otechestvennaia istoriia, 1999-2001.

(13) John L. H. Keep, "Sergei Sergeevich Dmitriev and His Diary," Kritika 4, 3 (2003): 709-34.

(14) v. I. Vinogradov, A. L. Litvin, and V. S. Khristoforov, eds., Arkhiv VChK: Sbornik dokumen toy (Moscow: Kuchkovo pole, 2007).

(15) A. L. Litvin, ed., Levye esery i VChK: Sbornik dokumentov (Kazan: n. p., 1996).

(16) Vinogradov, Litvin, and Khristoforov, eds., Arkhiv VChK

(17) A. L. Litvin, ed., Dva sledstvennykh dela Evgenii Ginzburg (Kazan: Taves, 1994).

(18) Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg, Journey into the Whirlwind, trans. Paul Stevenson and Max Hayward (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1967); Evgeniia Ginzburg, Krushoi marshrut, 2nd ed., with an introduction by Vasilii Aksenov (New York: Possev-USA, 1985).

(19) Georgii Iosifovich Cherniavskii, "Novye fal'sifikatsii 'bol'shogo terrora,'" Voprosyistorii, no. 12 (2009): 155-64. The book in question is Iurii Nikolaevich Zhukov, Inoi Stalin: Politicheskie reformy v SSSR v 1933-1937gg. (Moscow: Vagrius, 2003).

(20) Dzh. Kip and A. L. Litvin, Epokha Iosifa Stalina v Rossii: Sovremennaia istoriografiia (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2009), 269-70. The English version is Alter Litvin and John Keep, Stalinism: Russian and Western Views at the Turn of the Millennium (London: Routledge, 2005).

(21) A. L. Litvin, "Zhaloba na tovarishcha Lenina," Moskovskie novosti, no. 52 (27 December 1987), 3.

(22) O.V. Budnitskii, Rossiiskie evrei mezhdu krasnymi i belymi (1917-1920) (Moscow: Rosspen, 2005).

(23) O. V. Budnitskii, Den 'gi russkoi emigratsii: Kolchakovskoe zoloto, 1918-1957 (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2008); Budnitskii, "V. A. Maklakov i zhurnal 'Sovremennye zapiski,'" in Vokrug redaktsionnogo arkhiva Sovremennykh zapisok (Parizh, 1920-1940) (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2010).

(24) I.S. Rat'kovskii, Krasnyi terror i deiatel 'nost' VChK v 1918 godu (St. Petersburg.: Izdatel'stvo Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta, 2006), 103, 112.

(25) A. L. Litvin et al., eds., Boris Savinkov na Lubianke: Dokumenty (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2001).

(26) A. L. Litvin, Bez prava na mysl': Istoriki v epokhu bol'shogo terrora. Ocherki sudeb (Kazan: Tatknigoizdat, 1994).

(27) Richard M. Spence, Boris Savinkov, Renegade on the Left (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).

(28) See, for example Lubianka 2: Iz istorii otechestvennoi kontrrazvedki (Moscow: Mosgorarkhiv, 1999).
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Title Annotation:History and Historians
Author:Eklof, Ben
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Sep 22, 2011
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