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Author(s) of the publication: Olga BAZANOVA

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This is in tribute to the memory of a famous historian, historiographer, teacher and organizer of science-one of the first Russian women-academicians M.V. Nechkina (1901 - 1985). She was one of the pioneer students of the Russian revolutionary movement. Her works laid the foundation to studies of the first phase of that movement-the activities of the Decembrists. She analyzed the formation of their ideology, program documents, strategy and tactics, and the causes of the defeat of their revolt of December 14, 1825. She analyzed the problem of this movement in its complex internal inconsistency and unity, tried to analyze the concept the "revolutionary zeal of the nobility". A two-volume work called The Decembrist Movement was the result of her 30 years of research (1955).

It was Nechkina's profound studies of the second phase of our national liberation movement (of the 1860s) that revealed the role of its first organization "Land and Liberty" in the social struggle, and proved the existence of two centers of the Russian revolutionary ideology - in St. Petersburg and London, and other characteristics. The problems outlined by the scholar were the basis for further studies in this field.

At the same time she was absolutely convinced that you cannot study science if you do not know its history. Nechkina worked hard in the field of historiography, its periodization, its subject, objectives, criteria of analysis and assessments of events, classifications, and methods of use of relevant sources.

Prof. Nechkina left us a rich creative heritage including business diaries. Extracts from these diaries she published in the scientific-and-practical magazine Otechestvennye arkhivy (National Archives) with comments by the Candidate of Science (History) Helena Kurapova. This unique "chronicle of interests" allows to retrace the

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process of formation of a young scientist against the social and political background of our country. The first phase, from 1922 to 1923, when a young graduate of the Historical-Philological Faculty of the Kazan University was offered a post of lecturer there is the most interesting.

Nechkina started to deliver lectures on sociology of arts, political economy, historical materialism, actively participated in the work of different circles: psychoanalytic one studying the theory of the Austrian psychiatrist and psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939) at the local Social Sciences Association, philosophical Marxist circle under the Eastern Pedagogical Institute, etc. As we see, the range of interests of the future Academician was very wide. The same is true of the range of literature used to prepare lectures and seminars described by Prof. Nechkina in the diaries. They also describe her doubts about choosing her future speciality. Although she was a holder of a professor fellowship in history, Prof. Nechkina paid close attention to theoretical and experimental psychology, psychology of scientific and artistic research.

So, having read the work of the RAS Corresponding Member (starting from 1918) Boris Modzalevsky called Decembrist Batenkov. New Data on his Biography, Nechkina noted: "It is a shocking article on G. Batenkov's mental illness" and showed it for consultation to Professor Mikhail Andreev, of the mental health clinic attached to Kazan University. This record is also interesting due to the fact it was the only mention by the young historian of problems related to Decembrists in the early 20s; later, starting from 1925 this theme (100th anniversary of the rebellion) gripped the attention of young historian Nechkina for a long time. Aside from her own works, she acted as a science editor of the V. Kartsov's book Decembrist G. S. Batenkov, published in 1965, where the author called the work of Modzalevsky as "the first Soviet study of his activities".

Prof. Nechkina had a personal story related to psychology. As became known from her diaries, Prof. Nechkina fell in love with the Dean of Kazan University Medical Faculty, Head of the University Mental Health Clinic Prof. G. Troshin. It was the winter of 1922/23 that was a breaking point in his life: he flatly rejected Communism and was exiled. It was not accidental that Nechkina developed the theme of reprisals in relation to Russian intelligentsia in her diaries.

For example, on January 9, 1923 she wrote: "In the evening I was delivering a report on the book of Professor (from 1946 - Academician. - Ed.) V. Pichet Introduction into Russian History (Sources and Historiography). There were many Moscow advocates; I got acquainted with Tager and Muravyev, lawyers in the case of socialist-revolutionaries (SRs)". Here: she speaks about a trial of SR's in the summer of 1922 which involved lawyers A. Tager and N. Muravyev. These separate episodes show how the Soviet era began to penetrate into business records of the young Kazan humanitarian.

Taking into account the whole range of scientific interests of Militsa Vasilyevna, it is worth mentioning that the period under review became the basis of her stable interest to the creative work of the famous Russian historian, Acad. (from 1900) V. Klyuchevsky (1841 - 1911). In 1974 it was crowned with a fundamental monograph Vasili Osipovich Klyuchevsky. History of His Life and Creative Work. At that time, in the beginning of the 1920s, she considered this researcher as a forerunner of economic materialism, "a connecting link between an idealistic legal school of Russian historiography and a materialistic school", who "contributed a lot to the gene-

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sis of the latter". In the introduction to his diaries and letters published in 1968 Nechkina called his works "a precious mosaic of information on the formation of the personality of the scholar, development of his world vision, identity, synthesis of his personal task in life and understanding of the epoch". A contemporary writer can characterize the records of Nechkina in the same way. Here are some extracts from her diaries of 1923:

January 15

I handed in the article on Klyuchevsky and a review of Pichet's book for Vestnik Prosveshcheniya to secretary Benemansky; he turned out to be a pupil and even a drinking companion of Klyuchevsky who knew many anecdotes about him...".

February 8

In the morning I studied in the university library and then visited professor Noinsky; we spoke about geology, mainly about the theory of Cuvier, Ch. Lyell and Wegener*, I was preparing to argue with my opponents on Saturday, it was very exciting...

March 5

In the evening I first visited the lecture on histology (iron tissues), then delivered a brief report "The Novel of Gustav Meinrink Golem** as a material for psychoanalysis at the meeting of the psychoanalytic circle...

March 13

In the evening together with the Malkins boys, I went to the observatory, first time in life looked at the stars through the telescope. We were accompanied by A. Dubyago (astronomer, founder of the Kazan school of comet astronomy), who discovered one comet, very interesting...

May 3

After lunch and during morning walk about the city I prepared myself for today's lecture on sociology of art. In the evening I delivered it: compensatory theory of arts + mine-on expression of emotions... in order to get rid of them; analyzed works of Goya and Michelangelo from this point of view.

September 7

In the morning I was delivering a lecture called "Marxism and Art" for students of the workers' faculty. After that, attended a lecture on the international situation for the student of the same faculty.

Then took all who wanted to go on an excursion to the museum (total 37 people); we visited artistic, Kazan and ethnographic sections... Students seemed to be happy, applauded several times, were eager to go to the museum, said they liked my lecture, etc. But I am not satisfied. Very tired.

October 17

Excursion to Prombank - very interesting: all these explanations of the assistant of the Bank Director concerning standard bank operations (active) and Lopatin's comments on passive operations, and, finally, closing (perfect!) explanation of Bernstein, Director of the bank, on the role of banks in the commercial life in general and description of the Prombank's role in the life of the Tatrepublic (bank - heart, money - blood!).

November 15

When I was ill, I was elected delegate to the Kazan section of scientific workers at the conference of scientific workers to be held on November 23 in Moscow. Last night I decided to go...

Otechestvennye arkhivy magazine, No. 6, 2004

Prepared by Olga BAZANOVA


* G. Cuvier (1769 - 1832) - French zoologist, foreign honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1802), explained the change of fossil faunas through the catastrophe theory; Ch. Lyell (1797 - 1875)-English naturalist, foreign corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1971), sustained the theory of Ch. Darwin; A. Wegener (1880 - 1930) - German geophysicist, author of the continent drift theory.

** G. Meinrink (1868 - 1932) - Austrian writer-expressionist. The novel "Golem" (1915) and his stories are based on the irrational-fantastic tradition.


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Olga BAZANOVA, FIRST STEPS INTO SCIENCE // London: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 26.10.2018. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/FIRST-STEPS-INTO-SCIENCE (date of access: 22.04.2021).

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