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Category: History

Nikolay Timashev — the Enigma of the Russian sociology. Innovative potential of the book of N. Timashev "Great retreat"

a. G. Shchelkin,


of the RUSSIAN SOCIOLOGY. Innovative potential of the book of N. Timashev "Great retreat" *

Summary: Article is devoted to little-known work of the Russian sociologist N.S. Timashev (1889-1970) living since 1921 in the West - "Great retreat" (1946). Timashev's idea which is that Stalin since 1934 began "great retreat" from is discussed... communism. Stalin's subject as grave-digger of communism is not investigated by domestic sociologists and is simply unknown to the Russian public.

XX century in Russia was dramatic not only in the texture. Also how last century was reflected in our consciousness was not less intriguing. The fact is that we continue to look at the Soviet history eyes of her creators. Even opponents of communism easily get to a trap of a Stalin historiography. They, as a rule, do not call into question that the communistic experiment lasted long enough and ended actually in 1991 godu1.

But in that case the tricky question arises: if from the liberal and democratic point of view communism is an abnormal phenomenon,

& the Research is executed with financial support of RGNF, project 07-03-00475a.

1 Brzezinski of ZB. Big failure. Communism agony//Quintessence. Philosophical almanac. M, 1990; River Payps. Russian revolution. M, 1994.

that why it so long existed and even achieved during the separate periods outstanding results (victory over fascist Germany, space, science, etc.). Pathology is incompatible with longevity.

On this question. If abnormal is impractical, then can be, it was not communism, and something "another" under the sign "communism"?


"a Kant revolution" in a domestic view of the contemporary Russian history was also made by the Russian sociologist and the social thinker Nikolay Timashev (1886-1970). It showed that Stalin formed not communism because it cannot be constructed by definition. On the contrary, he actually struggled against him. It appears, the Secretary general did not manage to start the developed construction of the doctrinal child as "Great retreat" from kommunizma2 immediately began. Only these can explain the fact that the country survived and on the separate directions even achieved noticeable success.

"Stalin is a grave-digger of communism"?! It even nonpluses professional social scientists. Thus it is clear, why there are all bases to speak about mysteriousness which researchers of sociological creativity of N. Timashev face today.

what was made by N. Timashev in the book "Great Retreat" makes the stunning impression. It and really mostly does not keep within habitual perception. The usual scheme says: the Stalin period is a continuous imposing of Russia (Soviet Russia) of unnatural, artificial communist regime. But actually since 1934 in the country the retreat, but Great derogation from communism began not just.

Everything depends, as always, on perception, to be exact, from insight and perception of the facts. Communist regime, naturally, did not "demonstrate" this retreat. Moreover, loudly reported about "a triumphal procession of communism", about one for another victories of "the Soviet people". The original methodology of Nikolay Timashev was necessary to make out what was not revealed contemporaries — I will tell once again: in the Soviet Russia in the heat of the II five-years period the Great (!) derogation from communism began.

Inability today's "liberal and intellectual" (and it is possible, "liberal and academic") consciousnesses to make out podob2 Timasheff N. The Great Retreat. The Growth and Decline of Communism in Russia. New York, 1946.

the ny scenario of development of the Soviet communism, of course, has the reasons. In general, usual thing. "The dead is enough live". The political fetishism (or something like that) disturbs sociological devotion to the facts. Thinking remains in captivity of "text" of the contemporary Russian history written... most this communistic power. Yes, this "story" was branded, exposed, etc., but all this was made, remaining in borders all of same "story" (even the periodization on "five-years periods" and "congresses" remains as ontology). But for some reason did not pay attention to the banal fact — "unnatural" dies not of the fact that it is branded and exposed by the contemporaries, as a rule, who are located at safe distance abroad, and especially descendants, staying at all in absolute safety. Unnatural dies because it not hardy still during lifetime. Communist regime began to hand over positions practically on start — after 1929, year of "a great change", after the adventures of 1930-1933. "Great derogation" from communism began in 1934.

For madness of rates and the program of the first years of the first five-years period was followed by payment. The erected giant plants did not manage to be put into operation really. New rolling mills stood idle up to 40-45% of time. Coal mining fell: a half of new pneumatic jackhammers stayed idle. The situation on transport became frankly catastrophic: average speed of movement of cargoes decreased to 4.5 km/h. In 1931 in a number of regions the hunger began. In 1932-33 new and even more fierce wave of hunger rose. Died from 4 to 5 million chelovek3. The power literally began to fly into a rage. The decree of August 7, 1932 on protection of state ownership (the decree known in the people as "the law on five cones") became a gloomy symbol of political adventurism: even for small offense — "tower", at best — "chervonets" (ten years of imprisonment). All this resembled an agony. In the country the rationing system and a passport system was introduced. In ranks of the party there took place mass cleaning. Actually Russia was on the threshold of self-destruction. That this gloomy "prospect" did not become a reality, the power since 1933 convulsively and breakthroughs begins to change a course. In the latest textbooks on the history of Russia these desperate attempts will even be called "neonew Economic Policy" 4. Locks for free trade in bread are slightly opened. Russia in the 20th century is urgently entered into the industries new

3 . Historians of the world argue. M, 1994; J. Boffa. History of the Soviet Union. M, 1994.
4 J. Boffa. History of the Soviet Union.

compensation — price-work. An end was put to policy of "big jumps". "Leftist" practice of a direct produktoobmen finally goes out of use. As result: 1934-1936 can be considered, according to specialists historians, "three good years". If the decree of 1932 "about five cones" was a fanatic symbol of repressive communism, then the Decree of 1935 on cancellation of a rationing system became the sign of derogation from this communism.

Lev Trotsky with rage of the doctrinaire scoffed at this retreat, calling it "chaotic flight" 5. Further very few people paid attention to this fact. And only Nikolay Timashev became from now on is perspicacious also along with hope to collect everything the growing country otkhozhdeniye symptoms from communism. By 1946, by the time of issue of the book "Great Retreat", to it was that to what to compare. If communism of times of the first years of the first five-years period turned the Soviet Russia, according to a terrible remark of one historian, into "society of quicksands" 6, then "Great retreat" promoted growth of the USSR to the sizes and a condition of "superstate".

Retreat really was

"great" and on a number of positions unprecedented. Many fundamentals and the principles of communism were shaken. The country began to be returned to the "institutes" and "motives" checked by history and life.

the power started talking

From the middle of the 30th in the USSR about "national interests" again. For this purpose the accent is transferred from internationalism and prospect of "world revolution" to care of national and historical traditions in Russia. By this time the power does not rave the fire any more "world revolution, especially "strange and terrible" the idea of self-sacrifice by backward Russia in this fight for communism on a global scale. From this point the Komintern begins to drag at first formal, and then and just pathetic existence. Having dropped out of World War II by one of the main winners, the USSR itself will head opposition with the West. By this time the communistic power refuses the majority of the doctrinal, "left" ideas. The Kremlin turns facing religion, to family foundations, to classical heritage in the Russian art and science. The idea of "dying off of the state" is handed over in archive. The state acts as the initiator on all main directions — in economy, in defense, education, science, culture — spiritual and physical. The mode is mobilized itself and

5 L. Trotsky. Devoted revolution. M, 1991.
6 J. Boffa. History of the Soviet Union.

will mobilize the country so that is able to afford inadmissible: to make advances in democracy, i.e. to accept the most advanced, on the European concepts, the Constitution — however, the constitution announced as lawyers, but not acting speak.

In the heat of the Great Patriotic War in article "Force and Weakness of Russia" N.S. Timashev recognizes that Stalin "Great derogation" from communism became a power source of Russia in fight against Hitler. N.S. Timashev literally speaks about it: "It is known that promotion, in particular exclusive, free from any competition, can reach much. But nevertheless, when it is directed against natural aspirations of the person and against the historical line of development, limits of its success are limited: did not create & #34; new socialist человека" persistent promotion of the first seventeen years of the mode. Other business when promotion goes to the same party as natural aspirations and historical tradition: then progress can be enormous. It also occurred in Russia for the last seven years. Under the influence of concessions in favor of historical tradition and the promotion accompanying them, Russia found itself again. At the Russian person is again for what to battle: and national pride, and, at least very limited, but nevertheless real economic wellbeing and, main thing, hope for the better future. It is possible to claim with confidence that in 1933 Russia would not be at war as it is at war in 1941-42: then, in the early thirties, the messages coming from Russia spoke about widespread defeatism. But, since 1934, time worked in favor of Russia" 7.

the Russian sociologist Nikolay Timashev did not go so "far" as "smenovekhovsky" emigration (N. Ustryalov, Yu. Klyuchnikov, S. Chakhotin and others which still in the early twenties urged to recognize the Soviet power, having been sure that it regenerates). He shared a position of other famous compatriot who appeared in emigration more likely — Pavel of Milyukova8. In "positive" assessment of Stalin they were actually uniform: in the 1930th years Stalin actually did dirty work of history, destroying Bolsheviks and spirit of Brest-Litovsk in party.

N. Timashev continued to give to

In the next years the report to unacceptabilities of the idea of external intervention as way of release

7 TimashevN. Force and weakness of Russia//New magazine. 1942. No. 2.
8 P. Milyukov. The truth about the Bolshevism//Journalism of the Russian abroad. M, 1999.

from communism in Russia. Perhaps, it, I will repeat this thought once again, was more acutely and more thriftily concerning the Russian material. It is possible that Timashev is better than others understood that "anticommunism" infected the highest circles of the power which could make bloodless return of Russia to the national and world history. It is enough to remember "Beria's incident": probably, after Stalin's death the most skilled and blood-thirsty communist Lavrenti Beria most considerably intended to finish with Stalin heritage, but "semi-communists" from Khrushchev's environment dealt shortly with dangerous "competitor" even more considerably.

Recovery of the Russian tradition and school of sociological thinking is inseparably linked

with art of judgment of own domestic material. On this fruitful empirical soil we also meet such outstanding sociological figures which in the XX century could combine a principled and hard line in relation to communism with sober understanding of that, as in the Soviet Russia, without changing the communistic sign, a lot of things were made of what was demanded by common sense and safety of Russia. Nikolay Sergeyevich Timashev — one of this group of compatriots, whose star only begins to rise because of the oblivion horizon, enriching an arsenal of our still poor social and historical imagination... The scarcity of this scientific imagination as it is represented to me, itself is caused by the social and situational reasons for which search and understanding, apparently, it is the best of all to address an arsenal of "knowledge sociology". But it is the subject which is beyond this article.

I Will give only one example of as far as N. Timashev's work not only is not estimated by the Russian sociological community, but it is distorted by bringing down to the habitual level of Misunderstanding of the main point more likely. In article of the doctor of sociological sciences O. Hnatiuk "N.S. Timashev as the sociologist" 9 we read: "Timashev considered "communistic revolution in Russia" as "great retreat"". The reader, apparently, has to understand it in the habitual course: communists forced Russia to recede from its pre-revolutionary development going towards democracy, modernization, constitutionalism, etc. But we know that N.S. Timashev investigates other, opposite plot — great derogation from communism. Even "more cleverly"

9 Hnatiuk O.N.S. Timashev as sociologist//Sociology and social anthropology. 2001. No. 6.

other author — the candidate of historical sciences Yu arrived. Daykov10. In article with the binding name "Nikolay Timashev and Russia" the best-known book by our compatriot Russia, the book which, according to N. Timashev, was its "the first and true success in a scientific field" is not even mentioned. I will remind that work "Great retreat" came out in 1946 when to the author there was the 61st year of life.

the Conclusion arises with

by itself. The riddle of sociological creativity of N.S. Timashev, a paradigm of his sociological approach are practically not deciphered yet and especially are not adopted by domestic sociologists as the conceptual and strategic tool. With it especially it is difficult to be reconciled as this method of scientific approach to social dynamics of Russia shown by the Russian sociologist continues to remain with all evidence relevant and by the nature innovative.

can mark out to

as preliminary generalization the following principles of sociological thinking of N.S. Timashev.

1) Extreme attention to the facts — especially to those which are not demonstrated by the power and even public opinion and are not collected in ideological cliches. Basic lack of ready explanatory schemes and convenient metaphors (one American researcher called Timashev's sociology "ugly" 11).
2) The principle of exarticulation "natural" contrary to "unnatural", "abortive". In other words a support on the principle — "survival without thanking, and contrary to". The Soviet Russia provided the dynamics "not so much thanks to how many contrary to" communism. In other edition — thanks to "great derogation" from communism towards a "natural" order of things — in economy, policy, culture. (We find something similar at the economist A. Nayshul who in Soviet period investigated such bearing structure as "the black market", and works with concept "national economy" 12 today. It is partially possible to refer also to such author as And. Goryanin13. But most productively and klassichno the principle "without thanking, and contrary to" as now it becomes clear, Daykov Yu. Nikolay Timashev and Russia//Sociology and social anthropology developed
10 . 1996. No. 7.
11 J. Shoyer. N.S. Timashev's sociology//On subjects Russian and the general. The collection of articles and materials in honor of the prof. N.S. Timashev. New York, 1965.
12 V. Nayshul Revolyution and justice. M, 2005.
13 A. Goryanin. Imaginary poverty of Russia//Russian Europe. 2004. November.

in parallel with N. Timashev of another unvalued us the contemporary and the compatriot — Mikh. Lifshits (1905-1982)14.

3) N. Timashev distinguishes a condition From symptoms of social health of the nation, first of all, of such institutions as "right" and "religion". On these signs, for example, N. Timashev identifies Russia "and nowadays, and dnes" as a civilization unambiguously European and defines Russia as the country relating if not to leaders of the European process, then, at least, at this stage — to the European periphery what, for example, was at the time Portugal.

Wants to think that paradigms and the heuristic principles of a tima-shevsky thought express not least the nature of Russian culture of sociological vision of the world. Now, when the Russian elite carelessly got confused in fatal dominants of the country, timashevsky experience of observation and a reflection concerning Russia — enter it a political turn — would reduce torment of incubation of our normal, but not speculative future.

14 M. Lifshits. What is classics? M, 2004.
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