Libmonster ID: U.S.-1268
Author(s) of the publication: A. M. KHAZANOV

Monograph by D. V. Mosyakov " History of Cambodia. XX century" (Moscow, YVES RAS, 2010, 47 pp.) - in fact, the first scientific attempt in Russian historiography to systematically describe, based on historical sources, more than a century of Cambodian history - from the transformation of the country into a French protectorate in 1863 to the general elections to the parliament of the Kingdom of Cambodia in 2003 city of

The work is based on a comprehensive and thorough study of various, authoritative and highly representative sources. The unique documents of the Russian State Archive of Contemporary Political History (RGASPI) and the Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (WUA of the Russian Federation), which were first introduced by the author into scientific circulation, deserve special mention.

On the pages of this voluminous book, the author unhurriedly, thoroughly and at the same time accurately documents the fascinating, turbulent history of Cambodia, which is practically unknown to our readers. The author's fascination with the subject of his research is also involuntarily transmitted to the reader, because it is known that when it is interesting to write, the reader is interested in reading, and when the author yawns, the reader sleeps.

The well-documented and well-written first and second chapters follow in detail the process of French colonization and political modernization of Cambodia during the French protectorate era (1863-1945).

The value of the conclusions drawn by the author in these chapters is high due to the fact that the history of colonialism received extremely biased and biased coverage in Soviet historiography. This imposes a special responsibility on historians who deal with this issue. They must provide truthful answers, based not on myths and stereotypes, but on reliable facts, to a number of pressing questions, including the role of colonial conquest and its impact on the direction and pace of development of the conquered countries. It is precisely these answers, based on the study of primary sources, that we find in the book by D. V. Mosyakov.

In the third chapter, the author uses a wealth of factual material to show the events that took place in Cambodia from 1945 to 1953, when the struggle between King Norodom Sihanouk and his political opponents was complex and replete with all sorts of maneuvers. In the fourth chapter, the author analyzes the political development of Cambodia from 1953 to 1970. He shows that the political and populist rhetoric of Norodom Sihanouk turned out to be a complete demagogy (p.120), that "he was not strong in the economy, and his entire economic strategy was so politicized that it only led to the aggravation of existing problems in the country" (p. 141).

The author meticulously reconstructs the chain of events that naturally led to the fact that in March 1970 the National Assembly unanimously expressed a vote of no confidence in N. Sihanouk as head of state, ending his 29-year rule, after which the country established a regime led by General Lon Nol (p. 157).

In the following chapters (VI-VIII), the author convincingly shows with facts and arguments in hand the transformation of the Khmer Communists into the most powerful political force in the country and their struggle against the Lon Nol regime.

Chapter IX of the Khmer Rouge in Power (1975-1979) " presents their role in the history of Cambodia, with vivid portraits of Pol Pot and other leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.

As the author writes, when the Khmer Rouge defeated the Lon Nol army in April 1975, "they had the opportunity to realize their most ambitious plans for its reconstruction. The disintegration of the entire Khmer society and the post-war devastation in this case only ensured the implementation of the most extravagant and semi-fantastic plans" (p. 317). The author cites numerous, chilling testimonies of acts of bloody terror unleashed in the country by the polpotovtsy. "In Phnom Penh, terrible events took place: people who were sick and unable to move were killed; students who wore glasses or T - shirts with Latin letters were shot-in short, at one point the law turned out to be an anachronism, and people's lives began to depend on the attitude of black-uniformed soldiers to them. If they did not like someone or did not follow their orders quickly enough, they could be shot at any moment" (p.338). The total number of deaths in 1975-1979 has not yet been determined and varies between 1.6 and 2.3 million people (p.628).

It is important to draw the author's conclusion that "the period of Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia and the collapse of their 'experiment'... it was of universal significance as a clear demonstration of the utopian nature of implementing the ideals of communism through total terror and total socialization" (p. 9).

The subsequent chapters of the book show how Cambodia, in the author's words, "was crossed by the hot fronts of the Cold War, which radically deformed its development "(p.9).

Thus, the undoubted scientific merit of the author is that he was able to reconstruct a significant period of Cambodia's history on the basis of first-class (including archival) sources.

It is impossible not to mention the literary merits of the book by D. V. Mosyakov. From the very first pages, the reader is captured by a lively, dynamic and, at the same time, strictly scientific manner of presentation, in which the hand of the master of the historical workshop is easily guessed.

A. M. KHAZANOV, Doctor of Historical Sciences


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