Yefim Pivovar: "It is necessary to study the national component of emigration processes"
Historian, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, president of the Russian State University for Humanities, member of the Russian Historical Society Council Yefim Pivovar in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza stressed the need to study the national component of emigration processes.
- Yefim Iosifovich, what influence did the ideas formed by emigrants have on the post-Soviet countries?
- In the 1990s, the study of Russians living abroad became fashionable in our country. Previously, this topic was closed, and after the collapse of the USSR, it is extensively highlighted. A huge number of centers for the study of Russian diaspora have been created, I myself is actively engaged in this process, wrote two monographs on this subject, not to mention the collective writings.
Initially, this topic was studied as a whole. National foreign components of the Russian diaspora (for example, Azerbaijani, Armenian, Kazakh, Ukrainian, Belarusian) were studied only as the part of the powerful Russian foreign tree, which was planted in the 19th century and grew after the 1917 Revolution.
The national segment of the Russian diaspora began to be actively studied after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the post-Soviet countries. In this segment, many experts were looking for the foundation that forms the national ideas of these countries, the concepts of historical development and the idea of what Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan or Moldova should be. Many postulates and statements of those years became the basis of modern national statehood. Even the symbols of some countries— the flag, the coat of arms — left from that period. The Russian flag and coat of arms is also a return to the pre-revolutionary period.
But very few people studied the relation of Russian emigration to those foreign countries that were far away from their homeland - Paris, Berlin, Sofia, Belgrade, the US, Brazil. Not everything that representatives of this national segment of the Russian abroad put forward, was shared by the Russian emigration as a whole. There was a debate, there was a rejection of some elements.
The Ukrainian National Institute in Germany became the mouthpiece of the Ukrainian diaspora in the interwar years, and then one of the driving belts of the German elite influence on Ukrainian territory. All this was based on some of the postulates that emerged at the end of the 19th century.
- Are some representatives of the Ukrainian elite trying to return to these postulates today?
- In the modern political atmosphere, an understanding of what was happening, the roots of ideas and movements that then arose are extremely important for understanding what the political class of this or that country is referring to. And it's not just about Ukraine. There are many such examples. They are of different levels, of different degrees of influence on the modern political class of a particular country. But it must be studied, it must be known, it must be operated on.
Today this topic is acquiring completely new sounding and special relevance. Yes, unfortunately, this was manifested fully during the Ukrainian events of recent years, but this was also obvious during the 1990s in Georgia and Azerbaijan before Heydar Aliyev came to power.
This topic is multidimensional because the national part of the Russian or Soviet diaspora has many faces. There were people who participated in the resistance or partisan movement in the occupied territories. There were people who actively collaborated with the Nazis and created national formations that the Nazis tried to use in the war against the Soviet Union. They also participated in logistical operations, guarding the camps ... That is, it is all very difficult and ambiguous.
We must study the diverse palette of trends and documents representing the ideology of a particular movement, the actions of organizations that were carried out, the descendants of those organizations representatives that came to the scene of the political life of the Baltic countries, Ukraine, Georgia or others. Almost everywhere it somehow manifests itself. Somewhere it became the ideological basis of the opposition, which impedes integration processes in the post-Soviet space, especially those in which Russia participates. That is, now it has great scientific and political importance. It is necessary to study the origins of those processes, their influence on decision-making, the participants of the events, and the manifestations on the external contour at the academic level.