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Category: History

The domestic military museums and their role in life of society



Throughout the entire period of the existence the mankind sought for search and storage of the material objects, in the greatest measure expressing uniqueness and originality of any given culture. Already at the beginning of the development the people began to collect and give to descendants the most significant and valuable pieces of material culture which formed a basis for continuity of traditions of any given people. For ensuring safety of the specified objects, possibilities of their display began to be created the special rooms which subsequently received names of the museums.

The military museums as keepers of "material history" of military practice of mankind and streamlining of public life began to occupy with military means the special place among them. In the present article an attempt of the analysis of genesis of a socio-political role of the domestic military museums by consideration of their functional purpose in society will be made.

Originally military museums performed utilitarian function — they served only as the place of storage and display of both domestic, and trophy weapon. (It should be noted that this term appeared only in the 20th century. It defined the military museums as the cultural institutions which are under supervision at the Defense Ministry which carry out completing, the accounting, storage, study and promoting of the historical objects connected with development of armed forces.) In this way bodies of military management and the government wanted to show the military power and progress in business of safety of the state. In this regard appropriate to mention created in the 16th century Armory in the Moscow Kremlin which served as a prototype of the first domestic military museum, and an exhibition at which the Livonian tools brought to Moscow after capture of Livonia by the Russian troops of Ivan the Terrible in 1558 1 were presented

In the 18th century the military museums began to acquire the status of separate sociocultural institutes that was a consequence of the large transformations of the military organization which are carried out by Peter I. During this period the government assigned to the military museums a significant role in the solution of a national task — strengthening of military power of the educated Russian Empire. Large museum complexes in which it was supposed to collect and store artillery pieces, models and drawings of the ships, banners and awards became the centers of education of love for national military history, respect for fighting traditions of army and the fleet. Were created tseykhgauz the Peter and Paul Fortress in 1703 and Model chamber in 1709 which were transformed respectively to the Military and historical museum of artillery, Andrey KUZNETSOV engineering troops and troops of communication and Central naval subsequently

Mikhaylovich - to. and. N, the museum — the oldest museums of our country.

Military doctoral candidate

university, ________

Moscow 1 Full meeting Russian chronicles: In 38 t. — SPb., 1913, t. 13, p. 330.

Thus, educational function which kept the relevance up to now was added to the utilitarian function of the military museums consisting in collecting and storage of objects of military history.

Rapid development of military science in the second half of the 19th century promoted emergence of one more important function of the domestic military museums. It consisted in promotion of voyennotekhnichesky knowledge which, as envisioned by creators, had to be based proceeding from museum specifics. So, the Artillery museum had to promote dissemination of knowledge in the field of artillery, Sea — in the field of seafaring, Surgical — in the field of medicine.

On the eve of the events which took place in October, 1917, the military and museum network of Russia totaled 15 soldiers of the museums and about 280 museums of bodies and military schools.

The October revolution of 1917 was a turning point in the history of development of our state. The Bolsheviks who came to the power focused the country on creation of the first-ever socialist state. The power of the young Soviet republic saw one of priorities in explanation by the worker of essence of the taking place events, education of the person on essentially new ideological installations. Among means of achievement of these purposes the rich collections which are saved up in the museums of imperial Russia seemed.

Creating new military and museum network, the Soviet power wanted to see in it not only means of patriotic education and military and technical promotion, but also the powerful lever of ideological impact on consciousness of people. This influence assumed creation at people of steady idea of advantages of the Marxist-Leninist theory and socialism as its embodiments in practice. For this purpose in the 20-30th positions komissarov1 were provided in states of the military museums. Subsequently the provision that activity of the museums VS USSR is a part of ideological work of the CPSU in army and on the fleet was enshrined in legal documents,

1 Collection of orders RVS of the Republic of 1921, Part I. - M, 1922, t. 9, p. 401.

regulating activity of voyennomuzeyny network. Rigid ideological dictatorship from party and the government seriously affected the maintenance of all areas of work of the military museums during the Soviet period.

So, during the period from 1918 to 1941 there took place process of reorganization of voyennomuzeyny network which main goal was a creation of such structure which would be capable to solve effectively the tasks set for it party and state leadership in the field of ideology, education and cultural service of visitors. At the same time reforming provided both elimination, and creation of the new museums. The number of the museums which stopped the existence during the specified period included such known museums as the Military-training museum, the Quartermaster museum, the Suvorov museum, the Military and historical museum and others. It is possible to carry the Museum to number of the newly established and open museums Red Army and the Fleet in Moscow, become subsequently head in military and museum network, the Museum of military vehicles, the Military and economic museum. In total on the eve of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 in the USSR there were 7 large military museums.

Function of creation of new military traditions became one of again appeared socio-political functions of the military museums during the period from 1941 to 1991. So, the Artillery historical museum suggested to award as perpetuating of feats of separate artillery pieces them with the special prize board attached to a tool trunk. Central Naval Museum was an initiator of tradition of visit by crew of each fighting ship constructed in Leningrad before an exit in the sea of branch of the museum, the cruiser "Auroras" where the staff participated in an excursion on the ship and in the same place swore an oath with honor to store and carry on fighting traditions of veterans of war and revolution.

During the Soviet period there was a considerable proliferation of the military museums. So, as of December 1, 1991 in VS USSR was registered 42 regular (central, types and types of military forces, district, groups of troops and naval) the military and about 700 army museums.

On the state account and storage in them there were about 5 million historical objects and pamyatnikov1.

It should be noted that function of the Soviet military museums on creation of new traditions did not pursue the aim of complete negation of the traditions created by voyennomuzeyny network of imperial Russia. On the contrary, from old traditions all was taken the best that could promote patriotic education of soldiers of army and fleet and the population of the country, and transferred to modern conditions. In this regard it is possible to talk about a certain continuity in practice of creation and use of traditions in work of the military museums.

The end of the 80th — the beginning of the 90th of the 20th century was also noted by the rough processes which happened in national history. They included the next refusal now of communistic ideology as dominating in society, the crash of the Soviet statehood, transition to the market relations, democratization, creation in the former Soviet Union of new public entities, the largest of which was the Russian Federation. The specified processes were reflected also in a condition of military and museum business. During this period the trend of weakening of ideological and educational functions of the military museums was outlined that it was connected with refusal of the state of the status of ideological "guide" and reconsideration of events of the Soviet period. The military museums were forced to fall to position of ordinary keepers of historical relics and collections that caused sharp decrease in overall performance with posetitelyami2.

In the 90th of the last century in the conditions of an ideological vacuum, lack of accurate approaches to the historical past and due state support the socio-political role of military of the museums was reduced practically to zero. Business in some cases reached that the museum management for elementary survival was forced to rent a part of the display areas to private firms

1 CMVS scientific archive, op. 8, 2, l. 51.
2 V. Karlov. The Thunderer would not understand us (About

the fate of military of the museums)//Army and culture, 1992, No. 8 — 9, p. 14.

and to the organizations. Such situation allows to raise a sensitive issue: whether the military museums are necessary to today's power and the Russian society?

We believe that not only are necessary, but also are necessary. Life shows that people cannot exist without spiritual support which consists in assimilation of knowledge, moral and religious values, cultural traditions. Great Russian writers and thinkers F. Dostoyevsky, L. Tolstoy, V. Vernadsky, etc. wrote at the time about it. In the conditions of a spiritual vacuum, the academician N. Moiseyev noted, the person risks to turn into biological sushchestvo3. One of sources of spiritual feed were earlier and now the museums which do work on historical education of members of society as more subject are.

Results of holding any solemn events in military life (whether it be adoption of the military oath young replenishment, a celebration of the advanced soldiers of a part, delivery of the state awards, etc.) can be the most various. One business when everything passes in the ordinary situation which is not bearing emotional loading. And quite another matter, when this event takes place among real objects of national military history. Any head and the tutor will tell that similar "touch" to the past forces the person to belong to execution of the business assigned to it better.

The modern Russian power and bodies of military management needs to revive the status of the military museum as institute of ideological influence (which is understood, first of all, as familiarizing of people with the ideas of the state patriotism) and education of the population in the spirit of respect for national military history, the best traditions of army and the fleet. What it is for this purpose expedient to make?


First, to the state it is worth deciding that our military history is uniform and successive accurately. In it was both good and bad. It is necessary, without being afraid, to show history

3 N.N. Moiseyev. Universum. Information. Society. — M.: A lasting peace, 2001, p. 17 — 18.

such, objective and within uniform historical process, without "notes". We believe that in the present state the military museums can cope with it.

Secondly, it is expedient to Russian legislators to return to the legal documents regulating work of modern military and museum network, the provision that activity of the military museums is a part of nation-wide activities for patriotic education of the Russian citizens.

Thirdly, to bodies of military management there is a sense to carry out a package of measures for a raising of prestige of work of staff of the military museums that assumes a raising of their legal status and financial payment of their work.

Fourthly, it is expedient to refuse practice of "resettlement" of the military museums from the occupied buildings to other rooms to please to momentary reasons (now under the threat of resettlement there is Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg) that forms awareness of the uselessness and certain "inferiority" at museum workers.

Fifthly, there is a sense to revive practice of obligatory visit of the military museums by school students, students, cadets and listeners during training that it is obligatory to enshrine in curricula and programs.

What now the military and museum network of Russia is? It contains 12 museums. It is Central Armed Forces Museum, Central Naval Museum, the Central museum of the Air Force, the Military and historical museum of artillery, engineering troops and troops of communication, the Museum of history of the Strategic Missile Troops, the Museum of troops of air defense, the Military-medical museum Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, the Military and historical museum of armored arms and the equipment, the Military and historical museum of the Black Sea Fleet, the Naval museum of the Northern Fleet, the Museum of the Baltic Fleet, the Military and historical museum Pacific flota1.

Staff of the specified museums conduct laborious work on realization of the functions in society.

What, in our opinion, top trends of development of the domestic military museums? Let's note only three of them.

First, in the near future, most likely, strengthening of a role of the state in activity of voyennomuzeyny network will be observed. It will be expressed in increase in the status of the military museums as the sociocultural institutes which are carrying out functions, important for the state. At the same time also we believe that not less important there will be a participation in museum business of public organizations and other institutes of civil society.

The following trend of development of the military museums is gradual strengthening of an information and technical component in all directions them activity. New information technologies, inventions in the field of the equipment, special effects will actively take root into share, exposition, research, methodical and scientific and educational work of the military museums. It is obvious that there has to be an opportunity to conduct the correspondence, virtual tours which on quality will not differ from the tours conducted directly in the museums, to increase quality of mobile exhibitions and their maintenance. It is especially relevant for the remote military garrisons of our country.

And at last, one more trend is connected with emergence of such function of the military museums as information support of visitors. It means that the military museums cannot remain away from acquaintance of citizens and military personnel with events of the recent military past and also the newest samples of arms and the equipment coming as to domestic, and foreign armies, achievements of science in military area, etc. It will demand from groups of military of the museums of the known readiness and efficiency in work and also the translation of all museum work in general on modern rails.

1 Armed Forces of the Russian Federation of 2006. — M.: The Voyeninform agency of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, 2007, p. 406 — 419.
Jerry Garza
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