O. I. SHKARATAN. Methodological Aspects of Research in the History of the Soviet Working Class
The article focusses attention on the expediency of singling out the history of the Soviet working class as an independent branch of historical knowledge and on the impermissibility of confusing the history of the working class with the country's history. The various problems of the history of the working class, the author stresses, can be examined in the following two aspects: 1) the working class as the "object" of history, i. e., the development of the working class itself in the process of the country's social transformation along socialist and communist principles; 2) the working class as the "subject" of history, i. e., the working class as the active and guiding force of social transformations, as a creative class. In conclusion the author emphasizes the significance of these aspects for research in the history of the Soviet working class.
M. S. DJUNUSOV. The Concept of Nation as a Socio-Ethnical Community of Men
The article puts forward and substantiates the concept of nation as a social and ethnic community of men, pointing out in this connection both the merits and shortcomings of the scientific definition of a nation given in J. V. Stalin's work "Marxism and the National Question."
The author maintains that there exists a whole system of ethnical communities of men. The tribe, nationality and nation are regarded as different types of an ethnical community. The article gives three new definitions of a nation. The following definition is based on the general visible sign of distinction between a class and a nation: nations are large groups of people which differ from one another by a stable community of language, national self-consciousness and specific national features of culture and character evolved in the process of the rise and development of both capitalist and socialist relations. As regards the general characteristic of the function and role played by the national community of men in social life, the author proposes a new definition: nations are forms of social development intrinsic to capitalist and socialist society, each of which represents socio-ethnical organisms. With a view to specifying the role and place of a nation in the system of ethnical communities of men, the author gives the following definition, a nation is the highest form of the ethnical community of men that has evolved on the basis of both bourgeois and socialist social relations. The article contains a survey of Soviet literature devoted to the theoretical definition of the concept of nation and indicates ways and means of further elaborating and enriching this theory.
V. M. KHOLODKOVSKY. Was Moscow Set on Fire by Napoleon?
Drawing on authentic Russian sources, the author convincingly proves that Moscow was set on fire by the Russians. Before leaving the city Field-Marshal Kutuzov and Moscow's Governor-General Rostopchin ordered to remove all fire-extinguishing facilities and destroy all military equipment and food supplies to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. The warehouses were set on fire and munition dumps blown up. It was these first sparks that set off a conflagration, whose rapid spread was facilitated by the predominance of wooden buildings, hot weather, strong wind and complete absence of fire-extinguishing equipment. However, guided by political considerations, the Russian government and the army command officially accused Napoleon of setting fire to Moscow. In actual fact Napoleon was interested in keeping the city intact and ordered his troops to put out the fires. The burning of Moscow could only place Napoleon at a disadvantage politically, economically and militarily. If the Russian government rejected his peace proposals, he planned to station his troops in Moscow and spend the winter there in order to make preparations for resuming hostilities towards spring. The conflagration thwarted these plans. The article shows how and why there appeared the legend about French "arsonists," refuting the patently wrong assertions, based on inaccurate quotations from original sources, that Napoleon, Clausewitz and other participants in the events admitted that the French were guilty of committing arson on the eve of Napoleon's retreat.
G. S. MATVEYEVA. The Rise and Development of the Working Class in the Mongolian People's Republic
Examining the role of the proletariat in the historical destinies of the former underdeveloped countries that have won through to national independence, the author graphically shows on the example of Mongolia's non-capitalist development the possibility of adopting this path without the existence of a national working class. Among the chief conditions required for a country's transition to the non-capitalist path is the support from the victorious socialist revolution and the existence of a party expressing the fundamental interests of the working masses. In this case the function of the worker-and-peasant alliance can be performed at a definite stage by the peasants' alliance with the international working class. But the working people's struggle for socialism can be headed only by their own, national working class, whose formation takes place at the first stage of the revolution, the stage of solving the tasks' of the non- capitalist path of development. Drawing on a wealth of Mongolian sources, the author reveals the process of formation of the Mongolian working class, which ensured the gradual development of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the working people into the dictatorship of the working class.
E. V. GUTNOVA. Certain Problems of Peasant Ideology in the Middle Ages
Drawing on West-European historical sources, the author examines certain inadequately investigated problems concerning the ideology of the medieval peasantry. Interpreting "peasant ideology" as the entire complex of socio-political, religious, ethical and esthetic views typical of the medieval peasantry, the author briefly surveys a wide range of diverse sources which can be used for comprehensive investigation of the problem. Maintaining that the spiritual life of the medieval peasantry was not confined exclusively to a definite world outlook, the author shows that in the process of its development as a class, the peasantry was formulating its ideological views and class consciousness ever more distinctly. The principal stages in the evolution of the peasants world outlook from the early to the late medieval period are examined in close context with changes in the status of the peasantry, in the character and objective aims of its class struggle. This process of theoretical understanding very often assumed the form of religious mysticism. While recognizing this generally known fact, the author convincingly shows that the general religious form concealed opposite social tendencies and the acute ideological struggle between two different ideologies - that of the peasantry and of the ruling feudal-Catholic class. The author's viewpoint in this respect is directly opposed to the views of bourgeois historians, who regard the religious form as evidence of the harmonious unity of medieval culture.
V. M. LAVROVSKY. The Subject Matter and Method of History as a Science
Regarding history as a science investigating the objective laws of social development, interpreting social phenomena as belonging to the natural historical process, and recognizing the specific character of natural science, on the one hand, and the phenomena of social life, on the other, the author stresses that, despite these specific features, they are investigated by one and the same scientific method. Any attempt to delimit or contrapose natural sciences to sociology (history in the narrow sense of the term) according to method of research is logically and scientifically unfounded. At the present time, the author believes, the problem of unity of the scientific-historical method (in the narrow sense) and the method of natural- historical knowledge has become particularly acute and requires urgent elaboration by historians and philosophers.
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