Historical Theories During the Decline of the Soviet Union and in Post-Soviet Russia

Author: Igor IONOV

Abstract. This article discusses the theoretical problems that appeared in the science of history of Russia in the latter half of the 20th and early 21st centuries and the methods used to deal with them in the context of the sociocultural and social-psychological processes unfolding in worldwide historical science. It outlines the positions of the most prominent Soviet/Russian historians and the way their theoretical postulates harmonized with their philosophies and placed them in the context of cultural, anthropological and spatial turns in our knowledge of history. The article also deals with centers of innovative historical thought and prospects of historical knowledge in modern Russia.

Keywords: civilizational approach, history of mentalities, history of everyday life, new imperial history, cognitive history, intellectual history, histoire croisée.

DOI: 10.31857/S013454860004088-4

In the latter half of the 20th century, the position of historical science in the Soviet Union was contradictory. On the one hand, the most scandalous methods of dogmatization of history and limited access to historical sources practiced after 1956 have been overcome, at least partly. The positive trends, however, were gradually slowed down, a phenomenon that became especially clear at the turn of the political crises of 1964 and 1968 as well as in 1970-1972 [37, pp. 44-45; 29]. The problem was created by the fact that the main or even the key cognitive role in the Soviet (before and after 1956) interpretation of history belonged to the party leaders. Party membership of any historian, the formational explanation of the past accepted as a norm guaranteed that his ideas about history were true


I. Ionov, Cand. Sc. (History), senior researcher, Department of Historical and Theoretical Studies at the Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences. E-mail: igion52@ yandex.ru. This article was first published in Russian in the journal Obshchestvenniye nauki i sowemennost, No. 5, 2018.

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