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Historical and ethnographic heritage of I.N. Smirnov: trends and contradictions of the Russian finno-ugristika at a boundary of the 19-20th centuries.



Article is devoted to the analysis of historical and ethnographic heritage of professor of the IN Kazan university. Smirnova (1856-1904). On its example the author investigates the trends and contradictions connected with influence on the Russian science of the Western European theories characteristic of the Russian finno-ugristika at a boundary of the 19-20th centuries

The article is devoted to the analysis of the historical and ethnographic heritage of I.N.Smirnov (1856-1904), professor of Kazan University. On this example the author studies the trends and contradictions, which are typical for Russian Finn-Ugristics at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries and connected with the impact of Western European theories on Russian science.

finno-ugristika, historical and ethnographic researches, I.N. OSmirnov, evolutionism; Finn-Ugstics, historical and ethnographic research, I.N.OSmirnov, evolutionism.



Nazipoyena —


department of sociology



uplnineky branch

IEUIP, Kazan

In studying theoretical heritage of historians and ethnographers of pre-revolutionary Russia what role they played in natsiostroitelny processes of the end of XIX — beginnings Hkhvv is of special interest. and related in political-scientific discourses of this era, critical in the history of Russia. The ethnography and historical science are very vulnerable in the face of dominating in the society of ideology and policy and at the same time make a certain impact on formation of the leading ideas of an era. In this regard are of the interest of a research of the pre-revolutionary historian and ethnographer, professor of the Kazan university I.N. Smirnov (1856 — 1904), the author of the first summary works on history and ethnography of Maris, mordva, Udmurts, Komi-Permyaks. Being the leading expert famous at the time on ethnography of east finno-ugr, during the Soviet period owing to the ideological reasons the Kazan scientist remained out of sight of science. The historical and ethnographic heritage of I.N. Smirnov is interesting to us what allows to understand trends and the contradictions characteristic of development of a pre-revolutionary Russian finno-ugristika which, as well as today, are often connected with the fact that "the conceiving people quite often structure the facts available to them, being under the influence of the hypotheses lasting from roots of the western civilization" 1.

I.N. Smirnov began the scientific activity at the Kazan university as the expert in the field of medieval history of the southern Slavs. However, as the colleague wrote it, "the geographical location of Kazan, the place of activity of I.N. Smirnov, promotes classes Slavic philology a little, but it is very convenient for studying the uralo-Altai nationalities in their past and the present" 2. I.N. Smirnov's interest in history and ethnography of the local people was to some extent caused by his own origin — his father was Mari, and mother — the Russian. His parental family was a product of those difficult interethnic processes happening in the Volga region which interested him as the historian and the ethnographer.

1 Jean Servie. Ethnology. - M.: Nuclear heating plant; Astrel, 2004, page 114.
2 Petrovsky N.O I.N. Smirnov's works on Slavic philology//Scientific notes of the Kazan imperial university, 1904, prince 9, page 42.

In 1885, having joined Society of archeology, history and ethnography at the Kazan university (further — OAIE), it opened for itself(himself) the low-explored world of the Finno-Ugric people of the Volga region and Cisural area. So his original hobby in which he learned glory of the first ethnographer of the Volga region and a shame of participation in Multan processe1 began. Actually, ethnographic activity of the scientist began with studying the Museum of motherland studies at OAIE. I.N. Smirnov noted that the museum, being in the center volzh-sko-finnskogo the world, gives too small idea of the culture of this world because of incompleteness of collections, the accidental nature of their collecting; that "without fair ideas of the modern culture of the Finnish nationalities of edge thorough archaeological researches are impossible, without collections drawing modern life of local Finns the collections delivered by excavation" 2 are not clear. Together with the director of the museum professor N.A. Firsov he convinced the management of the university of need of replenishment of collections of the museum of scientifically organized way. The publication of the fundamental two-volume work "East Finns" which four historical and ethnographic essays entered became a result of the seven years' work of I.N. Smirnov on studying the people of edge connected with long expeditions to vacation time in places of their accommodation, laborious collecting material in archives, statistical committees, periodicals and also folklore and pieces of material culture: Cheremisa, "Udmurts", "Residents of Perm" and Mordva.

Inexhaustible energy of I.N. Smirnov and his contribution to development of a finno-ugristika of the Volga region was made this direction to OAIE conducting in activity, allowed to add and systematize significantly the material which is saved up by predecessors on this perspective. Unlike works of predecessors, and it were generally priests, officials or military, studying nase-

1 In 1895 in the Multan process on fabricated charge against the Udmurt peasants of a sacrifice I.N. Smirnov, being the official expert, was on the side of charge that caused condemnation from the advanced public.
2 National archive of the Republic of Tatarstan

(SLEDGE), t. 977, op. IFF, 1395, l. 2.

leny edges from prozelitsky positions and in the administrative and managerial purposes, I.N. Smirnov's works on ethnography were the first attempt of generalization of the actual material on the basis of the theories created by the western science. I.N. Smirnov used the evolyutsionistsky methodology based on "the theory of development", the retrospective analysis of remnants and comparative characteristic of material and spiritual culture of the different people in a research of Russian "foreigners". He tried to track evolution of the family and public relations, religious beliefs, material and spiritual culture of Maris, Udmurts, mordva and Komi-Permyaks, using a progressive arsenal of foreign science, in particular E. Taylor, A. Bastian, I.Ya. Bakhofen, K.L. Morgan's theories.

Works of the scientist contain not only the richest ethnographic material with the description of clothes, the dwelling, ware, jewelry, household items, but also its attempts, leaning on methods of a scientific and historical research, to define initial resettlement of the studied people, the direction of their migrations, the relations with the next people, their situation in the structure of the Russian state. Based on empirical researches, I.N. Smirnov created own concept of origin of the Finno-Ugric people of edge according to which they were considered as result of a miksation of Aryan and Mongoloid races what pointed to, according to the scientist, many their physical priznaki3.

Ideas of the scientist of ethnogenesis of finno-ugr are very contradictory as, on the one hand, he used such progressive methods as, for example, cross-disciplinary and comparative approaches in the researches, and on the other hand — remained in captivity of evolyutsionistsky prejudices. The weakness of evolyutsionistsky approach was that the current state of the people which were considered as backward was considered by scientists of that time as the invariable phenomenon, as a sample of the most ancient state. History of such people was perceived by them as stiffened and became attached, first of all, to prirodno-geo-

3 See: I.N. Smirnov. The messenger and library of self-education, 1904, No. 34 — 35.

to a graphic factor without other historical factors. One of mistakes of I.N. Smirnov, as well as at all evolutionists, is an inability to explain high-quality changes in culture and public life of the studied people. It led to an explanation for scientists of all difficult elements of their culture only imitation and loan at Tatar, Russian and other people.

As well as many scientists-evolutionists of that time, I.N. Smirnov tried to compare the phenomena in the lives of the studied people which were relating to different stages of cultural development and developed in different natural and economic and cultural conditions. So, for example, keen on the ideas of the Swiss scientist I.Ya. Bakhofen about evolution of the family relations from primitive "geterizm" to matriarchy and patriarchy, it, having found separate elements of these phenomena in life modern to it the Volga region finno-ugr, apprehended them as the proof of deep backwardness of these people. The scientist went into even big extremes when he developed the idea about the "bloody human sacrifices" which are allegedly still practicing at some people of Russia. Approaches to studying other people in domestic and foreign science quite often differed during this period in bias, intolerance. Differences in "another" were perceived as something negative and primitive: sacrifices of the pagan people by all means were called "bloody" and were presented as the remains and remnants of "former cannibalism".

I.N. Smirnov as the ethnographer especially was interested in processes of interethnic interaction of the people of the Volga region. He devoted to this problem many pages in the essays and articles. He considered a top trend in the ethnic processes happening in the Volga region assimilation by the Russian people of the Finno-Ugric people of edge. The scientist claimed that assimilation has natural character and is caused by such factors as long cohabitation, joint activity at the plants and factories, international marriages. A decisive role was played at the same time by "charm of the Russian culture". It is characteristic that, criticizing real practice of use by the state and church nasilstven-

ny measures in rusifikatorsky policy, I.N. Smirnov, nevertheless, denied presence at them of the assimilyatorsky purposes. Proceeding from the observations of interethnic interaction in the region, the scientist predicted final assimilation of the Finno-Ugric people of edge already in the near future.

Summing up the result, we will note, as. N. Smirnov, being under the influence of the Western European theories, as well as many other scientists of his time, often noncritically applied them when studying the Finno-Ugric people of the Volga region and Cisural area which were considered by it as similar to the tribes of Australia, Africa, islands of Tierra Del Fuego. Perception of Volga region "foreigners" by I.N. Smirnov as extremely backward was obviously prejudiced since between the Russian and non-russian peasants there was no such obvious cultural difference as, for example, between Europeans and the Australian natives. But the temptation of possession of exact schemes of the general development of humanity tempted supporters of the evolyutsionistsky theory, including and I.N. Smirnov. It quite often led it to europocentristsky estimates of cultures, adjustment of the facts under ready theories, to exaggeration of scales of assimilatory processes in the Volga region, to pessimistic forecasts concerning Finno-Ugric ethnoses.

And nevertheless, on the example of scientific activity of I.N. Smirnov it is necessary to see steady progress of pre-revolutionary ethnographic science. I.N. Smirnov's merit as scientific finno-ugroved is also that he in studying the Volga region finnoyazychny people used cross-disciplinary approach which allowed to look for the first time at their history through a prism of world-wide and historical processes, to show its antiquity and complexity of its peripetias.

I.N. Smirnov, though followed the standard discourse concerning these people, however will not be exaggeration to tell that in the essays it put the beginning of hand-written history of Maris, Udmurts, residents of Perm and a mordva thanks to what they for the first time appeared as subjects of history. Further it allowed to break down reactionary stereotypes in representations relatively not only their past, but also, what is the most important, their future.

Isabella Grace
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