Valdis Pelsh: "The historical significance is determined by the way of its presentation"
Yesterday, the submission of applications began for the all-Russian popular science contest "Battle of history departments” that is held among students of historical and humanitarian departments. Each student studying history can provide one popular science work for the competition. The works selected to the contest shortlist will be published in the Proshloe online magazine with reviews and comments by representatives of the scientific community. Vestnik Kavkaza discussed the umpiring contest with a jury member, television presenter, producer, director, theater and film actor, musician, producer of documentary historical films, honorary professor of Moscow State University Valdis Pelsh.
- How did studying at the Philosophy Department of Moscow State University influence your life?
- MSU is the best university in the country. I enjoyed studying at the Department of Philosophy. But in the middle of my studies, I realized that the Student Theater of Moscow University was the only thing I was dreaming about. Therefore, I finished my studies with great pleasure, worked for a year at the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences and Technology of the Academy of Sciences, and without regret left the institute, dear to my heart, to engage in media projects. I shared the fate of a large number of people who receive their first higher education and then find out they will be engaged in other spheres. In any case, the Department of Philosophy is my great love. And, no doubt, my mindset was partially formed precisely thanks to my studies at the Department of Philosophy.
- Will you favor MSU students at the competition?
- If you are a jury member, you must commit to being objective. You may support, worry and wish victory to colleagues from the alma mater, but if you are on the jury, you must objectively choose the best. Although history is a very subjective science. And the competition is subjective. We will have to compare things that are difficult to compare. If you take on this responsibility, you still have to choose what, in your opinion, is most worthy, the best work, no matter whose work it is.
- Are there any plans to invite students of foreign universities to participate in the competition?
- The process of inviting foreign universities should be carried out very carefully. Since they have more skills and more experience in presenting their works, a handicap maybe not in favor of Russian universities. Therefore, I would take this very carefully and would not hurry. We must understand that world history contest places complex requirements for the jury members. And given that now Russian universities and Russian history departments are participating in the competition, we understand that most of the works will be related to Russian history. In this case, it seems to me, it is easier and more objective to evaluate. We will have the opportunity to evaluate the works more carefully and choose the best one.
- Is the priority for the jury the historical significance of the work, quality of the presentation or something else?
- Documentaries always place their work in the first place. Recently, we shot The Arctic Brotherhood film about the No 151 Wing Royal Air Force unit of Great Britain which fought in Murmansk in 1941 for only two months. But it seems to us that this episode was very important. To our great regret, we did not find a single witness from the Soviet side, from the Russian side, but we found two British pilots out of five and a flight engineer. They are all 96-97 years old now. They were in great shape and told us this story. Each of them shared their memories about working with the Soviet people that remained with them for life. Therefore, historical significance is determined by the way of its presentation, by the way, you tell it trying to be as objective as possible. It seems to me that any historical fact or historical episode of general importance deserves great attention of the audience.