Ekaterina Sakharova (1886−1963) is primarily remembered as the first wife of the famous Russian biologist, Nikolai Vavilov (1887−1943), one of the founding fathers of genetics in Russia. Yet, Sakharova was a remarkable person herself, as can be seen in the diary that she kept, with interruptions (not making entries for some periods or destroying them), from 1905 to 1963. Fragments of this diary published in this issue of Ab Imperio present the fascinating personal evolution of Sakharova, which, as if in a mirror, reflected the main stages of the evolution of the dominant intelligentsia worldview: from revolutionarism, through a rediscovery of individualism and psychology, to progressivist reformism, the upsurge of nationalism during World War I, to frustration over the Bolshevik takeover and the outbreak of civil war. Sakharova’s diary explicates the logic behind the formation of the “statist” complex of the intelligentsia that still persists in Russia. Traditionally suspicious of the state and its institutes, sometime around 1920, the Russian intelligentsia produced a very influential discourse about the state (regardless of the political regime) as the sole guardian of Russia’s integrity and viability. This departure from almost a century-long essentially anarchist tradition of the Russian intelligentsia made the survival of the Bolshevik regime possible. In the last entry made several weeks before her death, Sakharova summarized her experience of the twentieth century – as an individual and as an exemplary intelligent, a role she consciously accepted as the author of the diary. At the end of the day, after the Soviet regime deprived the intelligentsia of its primary role – producing and debating hegemonic public discourses – the main mission of this exemplary intelligent was to be a custodian of European culture. At least, this is how Ekaterina Sakharova summarized her own experience of the twentieth century.


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pp. 247-321
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