«I do not know what I am guilty of and what I am being punished for»: based on the materials of the investigative case of M. A. Gukovsky (1949–1956)

Kravtsova E. S. «I do not know what I am guilty of and what I am being punished for»: based on the materials of the investigative case of M. A. Gukovsky (1949–1956), in: Proslogion: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Social History and Culture, 2023. Vol. 7(1). P. 10–37.

Elena Sergeevna Kravtsova, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Researcher, Sector of History of Social and Political Development, Institute of History SB RAS (630090, Russian Federation, Novosibirsk, 8 Nikolaev Str.)

Language: Russian

The arrest of M. A. Gukovsky in 1949 was not formally affiliated with any repressive campaign of that year: neither with the anti-Semitic campaign «against rootless cosmopolitans», nor with the political «Leningrad affair». This gave rise to the multiple versions about the reasons for his arrest. The State Archive of the Russian Federation (GA RF) keeps the investigation case file, covering the period from 1949 to 1956, from arrest of M. A. Gukovsky to his complete rehabilitation. These materials could reveal the link between circumstances of Gukovsky’ life before 1949 and his imprisonment. The case file, on the one hand, includes documents drawn up by government officials. On the other hand, it contains Gukovsky’s statement and petitions, which could be considered as a communication processbetween the accused and the authorities. Such an approach allows us to reveal, firstly, M. A. Gukovsky’s ideas about power, and to show how a scholar and an administrator forms a narrative explaining its actions. Secondly, the documents drawn up by the authorities demonstrate the isolation of both repressive bodies and commissions for the rehabilitation of the repressed persons. And furthermore, these materials contain a lot of hidden Gukovsky’s biographical details from 1917 to 1949, such as his possible participation in the White movement in the Russian Civil War. Some of these details raise the question of reexamination the scholar’s biography. In conclusion, the author arrives to the idea that Gukovsky’s arrest was primarily due to his administrative activities and proximity to the party officials which fell out of favor of J. Stalin in the 1930s and 1940s. The case file contains also the materials collected, apparently, during the Great Terror (1937–1938), when N. I. Bukharin was repressed, and the materials related to the Gukovsky’s post-war activities at the Leningrad State University led by A. A. Voznesensky, a victim of the Leningrad affair (1949–1950). Interrogation materials dated 1949–1950, however, allow to consider the Gukovsky’s repression as a part of a number of post-war campaigns against soviet scientists and artists. The first publication of petition from M. A. Gukovsky to the First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee N. Khrushchev (dated August 8, 1954) is attached to the article.

Keywords: M. A. Gukovsky, Stalin’s Soviet Union (1945–1953), Stalinist repression, The Leningrad affair, Antisemitism, Amnesty and Rehabilitation, Letters to the authorities

URL: http://proslogion.ru/71-kravtsova/

DOI: 10.24412/2500-0926-2023-71-10-37

Creative Commons License