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Ports of access into the mental and social worlds of Don villagers in the 1920s and 1930s

D’Ann R. Penner
p. 171-198

Abstracts

This article is a critical analysis of archival sources available to historians of popular mentalities during the first decades of Soviet power. The author argues that the most generous, frank, and least problematic veins of popular sources are amongst the documents generated in the townships (sel’sovety) or counties (raiony), wherever they may be housed today. In particular, she examines OGPU svodki and conference interventions (the short, impromptu commentary, rebuttal, or query after the orations of state or Party representatives). County-originated OGPU incidents, preferably compiled by a county, district or territorial agent, hold unparalleled potential for both vertical and horizontal comparison. The descriptions of conversations and incidents in OGPU svodki are inevitably more complete at the county level, where even crowd responses to “inflammatory” speeches are included. The conference interventions offers a potentially invaluable port of entry into the minds and thought processes of people who, on the whole, when they were able to write, did so laboriously. She concludes by describing the wealth of seemingly ordinary sources available in remote provincial archives that supply the building materials for a database of village histories. The article concludes with a demonstration of the widened possibilities for exegesis of popular letters when examined in the context of the writer’s social, revolutionary, and historical context.

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Index terms

Keywords:

USSR
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References

Bibliographical reference

D’Ann R. Penner, “Ports of access into the mental and social worlds of Don villagers in the 1920s and 1930s”Cahiers du monde russe, 40/1-2 | 1999, 171-198.

Electronic reference

D’Ann R. Penner, “Ports of access into the mental and social worlds of Don villagers in the 1920s and 1930s”Cahiers du monde russe [Online], 40/1-2 | 1999, Online since 15 January 2007, connection on 10 May 2021. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/monderusse/9; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/monderusse.9

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About the author

D’Ann R. Penner

History department, University of Memphis.
deepenner@email.msn.com

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Copyright

2011

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