The author develops a new approach to the interpretation of peasant oral stories, especially of those that somehow reconstruct the events of the Civil War of 1917–1922. The relevant short peasant stories were recorded in 1991–1993 during the first peasant expedition of Teodor Shanin. In those years in Russian villages, it was still possible to find direct witnesses of military events of 1917–1922. The fragments of peasant narratives were analyzed with a combination of philosophical, social-linguistic and folkloristic approaches to answer the following questions: what and how do old peasants reconstruct the events of the Civil War? What part of these oral stories can be considered a reliable historical source? What mise-en-scenes of military events remained in the memory of respondents? What is the dominant mode of peasant narratives? What are the discursive nuances of peasant oral stories about the Civil War? The article is intended for historians, ethnographers and sociologists interested in the peasant worlds of Russia.
oral history, civil war in Russia, historical memory, everyday “fairy tale”, peasant life practices, peasant worlds, rural sociology, discourse of short stories and fiction
Vinogradsky Valery G., DSc (Philosophy), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 119571, Moscow, Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82.