Gorbachev and the Rediscovery of Russia's Past

Gorbachev and the Rediscovery of Russia's Past JOHN KEEP (Toronto, Ont., Canada) GORBACHEV AND THE REDISCOVERY OF RUSSIA'S PAST George Lukacs best summed up the problem: "Without dis- closure of the past one cannot discover the present." For more than half a century Soviet citizens were fed a falsified picture of their history. Myth took the place of fact; reasoning was possible only within narrow ideological limits. After the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956 Khrushchev allowed some fresh winds to blow, but progress towards telling the truth was arbitrarily halted once he fell from power in 1964. During the Brezhnev years, however, the credibility of the official version was gradually eroded. This was due to the heroic efforts of such dissidents as Alexander Nekrich, Roy Medvedev, Anton Antonov-Ovseenko and, on another plane, literary giants like Alexander Solzhenitsyn. People simply stopped reading the mediocre and repetitive works churned out by the historical establishment under the vigilant eye of S. P. Trapeznikov and other redoubtable watchdogs of Party orthodoxy. ' No one then foresaw the transformation that has been wrought in Soviet intellectual life since Gorbachev came to power-or, more precisely, since the first months of 1988, when he worsted certain conservative opponents in the apparat and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Soviet and Post Soviet Review Brill

Gorbachev and the Rediscovery of Russia's Past

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 1989 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1075-1262
eISSN
1876-3324
D.O.I.
10.1163/187633289X00102
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

JOHN KEEP (Toronto, Ont., Canada) GORBACHEV AND THE REDISCOVERY OF RUSSIA'S PAST George Lukacs best summed up the problem: "Without dis- closure of the past one cannot discover the present." For more than half a century Soviet citizens were fed a falsified picture of their history. Myth took the place of fact; reasoning was possible only within narrow ideological limits. After the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956 Khrushchev allowed some fresh winds to blow, but progress towards telling the truth was arbitrarily halted once he fell from power in 1964. During the Brezhnev years, however, the credibility of the official version was gradually eroded. This was due to the heroic efforts of such dissidents as Alexander Nekrich, Roy Medvedev, Anton Antonov-Ovseenko and, on another plane, literary giants like Alexander Solzhenitsyn. People simply stopped reading the mediocre and repetitive works churned out by the historical establishment under the vigilant eye of S. P. Trapeznikov and other redoubtable watchdogs of Party orthodoxy. ' No one then foresaw the transformation that has been wrought in Soviet intellectual life since Gorbachev came to power-or, more precisely, since the first months of 1988, when he worsted certain conservative opponents in the apparat and

Journal

The Soviet and Post Soviet ReviewBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1989

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