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Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 5.1 (2004) 179-184

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The Right-Wing Parties
Historiographical Limitations and Perspectives

Igor' Narskii
Dept. of History
Cheliabinsk State University b Pr. Pobedy 162v.
45084 Cheliabinsk
Russian Federation

Pravye partii, 1905-1917: Dokumenty i materialy [The Right-Wing Parties: Documents and Materials].2vols. Compiled with introduction and commentary by Iurii Il'ich Kir'ianov. Edited by Oleg Vladimirovich Volubuev. Vol. 1: 1905-1910. 720 pp. 5-86004-171-3. Vol. 2: 1911-1917. 816 pp. ISBN 5-86004-123-3. Moscow: Rosspen, 1998. Part of the series Politicheskie partii Rossii: Konets XIX-pervaia tret ' XX veka. Dokumental'noe nasledie [Political Parties in Russia: The End of the 19th and First Third of the 20th Century. The Documentary Inheritance], under the general editorship of Valentin Valentinovich Shelokhaev.
Iurii Il'ich Kir'ianov. Pravye partii v Rossii, 1911-1917 gg. [Right-Wing Parties in Russia, 1911-17]. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2001. 461 pp. ISBN 5-82430-244-8.

This two-volume publication of basic documents on the principal ultra-right parties of the late Russian empire was produced as part of an ongoing 36-volume documentary project. The compiler of this collection of documents on the radical-monarchist associations—Iurii Il'ich Kir'ianov, Doctor of Historical Sciences and a leading scholar at the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences—has written a thorough foreword (1: 5-66), introductions, and notes (1: 630-94; 2: 745-78), as well as a survey of scholarly literature on right-wing parties and organizations in Russia in the years 1905-17 (2: 724-44). Kir'ianov, a specialist in and author of numerous works on the history of the labor movement in pre revo lu tionary Russia, in the 1990s focused his research interests on the history of right-wing monarchist organizations—in which, as is well known, workers actively participated. (For understandable reasons, this topic was taboo in Soviet times.) In terms of professional interests and research experience, therefore, it would be difficult to imagine a better-prepared or more engaged compiler of a set of documents on the right-wing parties. [End Page 179]

The first volume contains 240 documents dated November 1905 to 1910, and the second has 320 documents covering the period from 1911 to February 1917. The collection presents a broad spectrum of diverse documents and materials that are of the greatest importance for reconstructing the political history of the right-wing parties. They include contemporary published documents from the right-wing press as well as previously unpublished archival materials of the largest and most active national organizations—the Russian Assembly, the Union of Russian Men, the Russian Monarchist Party, the Russian People's Union of the Archangel Michael, Dubrovin's All-Russian Union of the Russian People, and the Fatherland Patriotic Union. There are resolutions of congresses and conferences; addresses by the leadership of the right-wing parties to the tsar, to members of the government, and to electors; and routine documents of central party offices, including correspondence with their local branches. Moreover, the collection contains a number of Duma speeches by right-wing deputies as well as correspondence of the right-wing monarchist unions preserved in archival holdings.

The documents and materials published in the collection permit a fairly complete reconstruction of the right-wing organizations' origins, heyday, crisis, and demise; their numerical strength; the details of stormy party schisms; the prehistory of important party decisions; their ideological priorities; their relation to other political parties; their reaction to government policies; and the principal facets of their everyday activities—which were much more diverse than is usually thought. A considerable portion of the material is put into scholarly circulation here for the first time. In this respect, the collection represents the most complete publication of sources on the history of Russia's right-wing parties, even by comparison with publications in central periodicals in the 1990s. 1

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