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The historian M.Ya. Gefter in the dissident movement

UDK 9 (47)


© 2010 of E.S. Chebotov

Southern Federal University,

B. Sadovaya St., 105/42, Rostov-on-Don, 344006,

decanat@hist. sfedu. ru

Southern Federal University,

B. SadovayaSt., 105/42, Rostov-on-Don, 344006,

decanat@hist. sfedu. ru

The role and value of practical and theoretical activities of the historian, philosopher, theorist M.Ya. Gefter in the dissident movement are considered. Are described its participation in the academic recusancy, in the edition of the free samizdat magazine Poiski and Reflections.

The article describes the role and value ofpractical and theoretical activity of the known historian, philosopher, theorist, dissident Michael Jakovlevich Gefter in dissident movement, his contribution to development and judgment of dissident idea. The article is devoted to participation M.J. Gefter in academic dissident movement and the edition free magazine "Searches".

In modern literature the problem of development of the dissident movement is quite widely presented to the USSR. However it is impossible to call this difficult phenomenon of political history of the Soviet era up to the end intelligent. Sources, socio-political and spiritual and moral factors of formation of the dissident movement, evolution of its ideological and political installations, the nature of human rights activity and so forth are revealed. But today historians cannot give enough yet reasonable and definite answers to many questions which represent the greatest relevance in terms of modern interest in recusancy experience: whether it is possible to see in ideological and political installations of dissidents a real political alternative to the being in agony mode of the end 60 - the beginnings of the 80th; what concrete role of recusancy in development of social and political processes of the eve and the period of reorganization; why dissidents appeared beyond the scope of political beau monde of the end 80 - the beginnings of the 90th. In this respect in literature there are polar points of view. Dissident installations and their activity consider some (participants of the movement A. Amalrik, L. Bogoraz, the historian Ya. Krotov, etc.) as the main sources of formation of new thinking and the missed possibility of timely painless reforming. Others (S.G. Kara-Murza, etc.) are inclined to negative assessment of recusancy as the destructive force which played a certain role in the collapse of the USSR and its defeat in Cold War.

In our opinion, this situation besides pressure of a political environment in many respects results from insufficient study of contents them spiritually - theoretical heritage, their own self-assessments, the principles and the purposes of the movement. It is indisputable that these estimates not always adequately reflected the main functions of the movement, but estimates of such participant as Mikhail Yakovlevich Gefter, the historian and the contemporary, will help to recreate a subjective component of this public phenomenon and, therefore, to add its design with important elements.

M.Ya. Gefter was at the same time both a participant of the dissident movement, and its analyst. However this page of his life is studied insufficiently. Recently it is published many articles devoted to life and M.Ya. Gefter's creativity [1]. It is connected with the edition of hand-written heritage of the historian and awareness of its scale, unfortunately, as it often happens, after death in 1995. The appeared collections become the richest source in judgment of the historical, philosophical, spiritual ideas of M.Ya. Gefter [2] are of huge interest.

In 1964 M.Ya. Gefter acted as the initiator of creation of the sector of methodology of history at Academy of Sciences of the USSR who then and headed. The "thaw" inspired with trends M.Ya. Gefter and his colleagues (Ya.S. Drab-kin, M. Barg, B. Porshnev, T.S. Schmitt, V.S. Bibler, etc.) raised a question of need of revision of sample and unilateral methodology historical

researches, about "new reading" of a Marxist method of knowledge, having published in 1969 the collection "Historical Science and Some Problems of the Present" [3]. "New reading", according to M.Ya. Gefter, demanded historical approach to the inheritance: the analysis of the movement of a Marxist thought for more than century "with an emphasis" on development of a method, on dialectics of overcoming contradictions between generalization, a conclusion, the law and the imperceptible, constantly changing practice of history. It was emphasized that it is naive to reduce existence of contradictions in the theory to a defect or to someone's evil will, they are natural and inevitable and, moreover, they define "the driving beginning of science, historical, perhaps, to a large extent, than everyone another" [3, page 6-7].

The problem nature of the collection assumed debatability, collision of various points of view. It was noted that the reader will not receive in articles of ready decisions because the way to them lies through search, and search is inconceivable without hypotheses and question marks. As opposed to pragmatical, utilitarian and tactical approach to history the authors suggested researchers to solve the two-uniform problem making an essence and the meaning of a historical form of knowledge by mankind of itself: "interest in getting of the scientific truth and service to progress" [3, page 10]. Articles of the collection had production character and did not apply for full disclosure of the problems designated in them. "New reading" of Marxism did not mean revision, and revision did not provide full dismissal from heritage at all - it could confirm valuable and vital in it. It did not lead M.Ya. Gefter and his adherents to total rejection of this doctrine, it allowed to see the limited nature of some Marxist provisions in the latest time and to recognize that a number of laws (about class fight, revolutions, dictatorship of the proletariat, etc.) had no general and binding character in the second half of the 20th century

Despite scientific correctness of authors and the invitation to discussion of the questions posed, the power organized numerous discussion of articles in Academy of Sciences of the USSR and in other academic institutions which meaning was exposure of authors in revisionism, withdrawal from a Marxist-Leninist method of knowledge and the principles of party membership in historical science that was recognized inadmissible for the Soviet scientist.

So M.Ya. Gefter became the academic dissident. Modern writers try to give definition to this concept. A.V. Bezborodov understands the movement of nonconformists from the circle of erudite, scientific and high school workers which was shown in active uncompromising forms as the academic recusancy: letters, addresses, performances at scientific forums, publicistic creativity and so forth [4]. According to L. Alekseeva, the famous human rights activist and the historian, "the academic recusancy" are dissidents the scientists who had the interpreted option of Marxist-Leninist ideology as an ideological basis; among their main installations were:

freedom of speech and recognition of the principle of intellectual autonomy in scientific questions [5]. So, it is obvious that the concept "academic recusancy" means withdrawal of the scientist from officially authorized framework of scientific search.

Having faced the administrative ban on free scientific search and having exhausted until the end of a possibility of public upholding of the ideas, M.Ya. Gefter from the middle of the 70th became one of active samizdat publicists, the initiator and the coeditor of such independent magazines as "Memory" and Poiski. Its transition to the dissident movement was caused by final recognition of the right for dissent as way of creative search as way of life. The dissident, Gefter explained later, this is the person who openly defends the principle of dissent as a way of life, "insists on the right to be a dissident, consciously enters polemic, opposition with that mode which excluded, forbade and punished the obvious, convinced dissidence" [6, page 443].

At the same time articles containing reflections about the status and a role of dissidents in society about various directions and forms of this movement, its problems, such as "The day before", "All of us are hostages of the world of preaccidents", "De-Stalinization" were written to them whether "To live to us one house if to live in one house", "Farewell record", etc. [7].

M.Ya. Gefter's arrival to recusancy coincided with very difficult, crisis period in its development. Crisis was caused by irreconcilable polemic between representatives of various dissident currents on ways of an exit from the deadlock at which there was a country. In 1968 A. Amalrik, summing up the results of development of social thought of this period, came to conclusion that "for the last three decades, at least, three ideologies on which the dissident movement leaned took shape:... original Marxism-Leninism, the Christian ideology assuming transition to the religious moral principles in the spirit of Slavophilism with a claim for a special role of Russia and, at last, the liberal ideology which, eventually, assumes transition to democratic society of the western type" [8].

Further development of these directions in the 70th led to formation of more or less steady circles of adherents that in turn brought samizdat journalism to new level - "thick", problem magazines of the most various orientation became widespread: national (Lithuanian, Jewish, German, Ukrainian, etc.), religious ("37", "Community"), pochvennichesky ("Veche", "Earth", "Moscow collection"), Marxist and socialist ("20th century", "Prospects", "Left turn"), zapadnichesky ("Democrat", "Free word"), human rights ("Public problems").

Emergence and distribution of "thick" magazines became one of factors of emergence of a peculiar polemic microclimate. Consolidation of representatives of various currents of a thought around their edition

promoted restoration of natural debatable process (certainly as far as it was possible in the conditions of the existing mode). On pages of the samizdat periodical press the pochvennik, liberals and Marxists entered furious polemic. Each of the directions applied for the leading role of the program of transformations that conducted to isolationism and lack of mutual understanding between them.

It is known that ideological split was outlined in recusancy since the end 60 - the beginnings of the 70th, but until the end of the 70th of disagreement were almost not taken out on public, and was not given them by dissidents of great value. However in connection with disappointment of their some part in a possibility of dialogue with the power on democratic transformations, guarantees of human rights there was an expansion of ranks of obvious anticommunists among dissidents. It in turn brought them for a framework of legality and caused large-scale repressions from the power. As a result the dissident movement focused almost only on protection of its participants, departing from problems of society further and further in general. It even more aggravated isolationism, narrowed a circle of its participants, increased an abyss not only between dissidents and the power, but also between dissidents and society.

Many were expelled out of borders of the Homeland. M.Ya. Gefter expressed in the observations severe pain and experiences concerning split in the dissident environment on emigration and those who remained. Except a split trend M.Ya. Gefter allocated also other very painful problem of the movement. He called it "a problem of generations" which essence, according to him, consisted in arrival of the new, younger generation to recusancy and their rejection of the old dissident principles. M.Ya. Gefter saw difficulty of their relationship in fear of old generation to declare himself bankrupt and at the same time their natural right, leaving, to see the life not vain especially as she was full of the victims and fight for the ideals is on the one hand, and with another - rejection, unwillingness to accept these ideals the younger generation that attracted danger of loss, dispersion of the dissident idea which Gefter considered more moral. As a way out he called "a meeting, a dispute equal and only he will convince young people more, than something another. With them, but remaining itself! Anew finding children, but not at the price of loss of!" [9].

M.Ya. Gefter, apparently, was one of the first who understood and proved the main task in these conditions: search of the consolidating idea (alternative) for association of all flows of the accruing opposition. The theoretical contribution of M.Ya. Gefter to its development consisted in search of ways of overcoming split of all levels of informal currents, through equal dialogue on development of the constructive program of reforming of the country, more true - its theoretical justification.

For this purpose M.Ya. Gefter made as the initiator of issue of the samizdat magazine the characteristic name "Search" which was published in "samizdat" (1978-1979) and "tamizdata" (New York, Paris, 1979-

1984). Entered an editorial board: V.F. Abramkin, V.L. Ger-shuni, Yu.L. Grim, P.M. Egides, R.B. Lert, G.O. Pavlovsky, V.V. Sokirko. Active participation in formation, preparation and the edition of Poiski was accepted by M.Ya. Gefter, A.Z. Kopelev, P.A. Podrabinyak, M.Yu. Yakovlev.

The historian wrote a number of articles for the magazine: "Invitation" whether "There is an exit", "Personal and others'", "The letter to the American colleague", "Notes about pessimism, about complacency and tomorrow of dissent", "The last statement of edition & #34; Поиски"". In one of them, he reflected on bases of modern society. He carried science, modern socialism and the state to them. M.Ya. Gefter meant an abutment which "you will replace with nothing by modern socialism, remaining in borders admissible, without joining the dangerous games where results of the whole era are staked" [10, page 215-255]. The carrier of modern socialism - the state which has to become more flexible ustupchivy is comprehensive, "most more democratically", but the allowing partnership and amateur performance recognizing itself responsible before society when maintaining all completeness of sovereignty for itself. Answering a question: who, as well as than is capable to induce the state to these changes, the historian noted a role of society as sets of the persons capable to other communication among themselves, than that which comes through the state and is exhausted by it. That is Gefter addresses a problem of civil society which through the institutes has to influence the state.

The principles of work of the magazine he stated in "The last application editions & #34; Поисков"" [11], written concerning its closing and criminal prosecutions of members of the editorial office. These principles were: openness of a thought and dialogue of beliefs, dialogue for mutual understanding, limitlessness of list of participants.

Working credo became "there are no unimportant ideas, empty opinions, excess details". The circle of the issues touched by the magazine was extremely wide: constitution and right, economic reform and legal assistance, culture of an underground and socialist realism, restoration of the historical past and social problems. On pages of the magazine representatives of the most various directions of social thought acted: pochvennichestvo, neosocialism, Marxism, liberalism, Christianity, etc. For the samizdat periodical press of that time the program of editorial office of Poiski formulated in "Invitation" - introductory article to the first number - was rather unusual. "To participation in ours & #34; Поисках" we invite all who for mutual understanding which cannot be reached differently as collaboration of the thought which is not limited to the one and only position, in the unique way to raise questions and to seek for answers" [12, page 1]. The invitation to dialogue, to mutual understanding, to a discussion, orientation to "divergence" - the lines inherent in the magazine made Poiski uncommon and in a sense the unique phenomenon of social thought of the end of the 70th. Professional level of the magazine was allocated against the background of the samizdat periodical press of that time.

So as we see, two provisions were a conceptual basis of the publications undertaken by the magazine:

1. Coexistence of various ideas in one "house" and a dialogue priority as process of exchange of the ideas; dialogue samotsenen because creates "house" - a prototype of normal society.
2. Creation of ideal model of society by collective search, discussions, "removals of cream" from each program.

In the magazine those who were not satisfied with all already existing movements and the directions gathered. None of participants of the magazine had action program, there was only an idea to overcome insufficiency of the democratic movement which was at that time in a condition of crisis. Also there was an understanding that crisis can be overcome only at cooperation various, time of opposite groups, but not their polarization. M.Ya. Gef-ter's participation in creation and the edition of the magazine was caused, according to him, by active consent with its conceptual bases.

In many articles, draft sketches, conversations of this time M.Ya Gefter comprehended an essence of the dissident idea and status of dissidents in the Soviet society. He considered recusancy the multilayered and many-sided phenomenon of intellectual, cultural and public life in the USSR, carrying its sources to the 50-60th

In a number of works M.Ya Gefter analyzed the nature of change of the status of recusancy in the society of in the late seventies, having noted that it already "not just a call - to both the dominating consciousness and the dominating unconsciousness, not only one loss of the former status and the place in society. Now it the admitted and ineradicable fact of public life. Now the recusancy has leaders famous to the World, the mass media" [13, page 98].

To understand value of the dissident movement, M.Ya. Gefter analyzed a condition of society in Brezhnev's time. It was the difficult period which is not giving in to unambiguous definition. By this time the Soviet Union turned into the warring power, became a huge "militaristic Cyclops", having achieved nuclear parity with the USA. All internal development of the country was subordinated to one task which became more and more senseless. "The absurdity began to own life". The historian suggested to look at this period in terms of behavior of people. Unlike the 50-60th with their first steps "to release", ideological confrontation arose euphoria of the XX congress of the CPSU later. For the first time since the end of the 20th, according to the theorist, something that did not keep within the existing system began to be formed and never agreed with it. It was new. Considering from this point of view of change, their set, the fact that they made impossible life in former conditions, M.Ya. Gefter highly appreciated a contribution of the people who chose the path of resistance. "Now can seem that the criticism was insufficient, but the dissident movement created something essentially new, led, eventually, to feeling that so it is impossible to live already"

[14, and 235]. And the speech then went not about just to step in absolutely differently over the arranged life, and understanding the reasons, conditions, the nature of the existing reality, ways of its reforming that then "other generations, maybe, did not make this step any more" [14, and 238].

M.Ya. Gefter denied the version about depletion and degeneration of recusancy. Recognizing the general crisis state, along with it he noted emergence of the new various directions in its framework which requirement was self-realization, protection of own human dignity which got on with any dictatorship more and more difficultly.

The elicited facts, events, in general the maintenance of ideological heritage of the 60-80th give us the chance to say that the role and M.Ya. Gefter's value in the Soviet recusancy consisted, first, in a performance in three forms at once: the academic dissident (scientific dissent), the human rights activist and-izdatchika, analytics of this movement, secondly, in its attempts on overcoming split, consolidation of the movement on the basis of dialogue and mutual understanding, but not an odnomysliya, thirdly, in theoretical judgment of the most dissident idea by it.


1. Ya.S. Drabkin. M.Ya. Gefter's memories (historian 19181995)//Modern and contemporary history. 1995. No. 5; Pavlovsk G.O. Emergence of a profile: M.Ya. Gefter: historian, philosopher, human rights activist//Spark. 1995. No. 5-10; I.K. Pantene Russia in the world: historical self-recognition (reflections in connection with the book by M.Ya. Gefter "From those and these years")//philosophy Questions. 1993. No. 1. Page 20-30; M. Rozhansky. Draft copy of the World of the worlds. Experience of a discrepancy//Free thought. 1994. No. 1; etc.
2. M.Ya. Gefter. From those and these years. M, 1991; It. Holocaust echo. M, 1995; The Voice from the world which is absent any more. Graduates of department of history of MSU of 1941 in letters and memoirs / sost., introduction texts of M.Ya. Gefter. M, 1995; GefterM.Ya. Death - death - murder. M, 2000; It. Where to consciousness it is narrow and sick. M, 2004; Tvardovsky M.Ya. A.T. Gefter. The 20th century. Holograms of the poet and historian. M, 2005; Pavlovsk G.O. Trenirovka on stories. Gefter's master classes. M, 2004.
3. M.Ya. Gefter. Introduction//Historical science and some problems of the present: sb. the article / under the editorship of M.Ya. Gefter. M, 1969.
4. A.V. Bezborodov. A phenomenon of the academic recusancy in the USSR. M, 1998.
5. L. Alekseeva. The history of dissent in the USSR. The latest period. M, 1992. Page 95.
6. M.Ya. Gefter. The future of the past//From those and these years...
7. M.Ya. Gefter. From those and these years. M, 1991.
8. Whether A.A. A.A. Prosushchestvuyet the Soviet Union till 1984? URL:// lrik.html (date of the address: 05.12.2008).
9. M.Ya. Gefter. Farewell record//Century XX and world. 1996. No. 2.
10. Whether M.Ya. Gefter Est exit//Poiski. 1979. No. 1.
11. M.Ya. Gefter. Last statement of the editorial office "Poiski"//Zhurn. "Search": dock. and materials / sost. L. Afanasyeva, E. Linkova. M, 1995. Page 168-170.
12. M.Ya. Gefter. Invitation//Poiski. 1979. No. 1.
13. Whether M.Ya. Gefter Zhit to us one house if to live in one house//From those and these years.
14. Interview with M.Ya. Gefter//Zhurn. "Search"... Page 235-238.

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On December 23, 2008

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