Monday, January 7, 2019

Russian Scholars View Russians and Non-Russians as the Objects rather than the Subjects of History; Non-Russians Must Not, Historian Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 7 – Cheboksary historian Sergey Shcherbakov says that unfortunately Russian scholars and following them ordinary Russians view both Russians and non-Russians as the objects of history rather than its subjects. Non-Russians must not; and to that end, they must develop their own academies of sciences and other scholarly centers.

            In a wide-ranging interview with Ersubay Yangarov of the IdelReal portal, Shcherbakov argues that Chuvashia must reverse a decision taken 15 years ago to strip its Academy of Sciences of a state status both to counter this Russian perspective and to promote the alternative (

            Scholarship should be super-national, the historian says; but “when the existential vector of research is directed at recognizing its place in this global world, then scholarship can and must be national.” That is certainly the case of the Chuvash and other non-Russians living within the current borders of the Russian Federation.

            “All-Russian academic thought studies peoples of the country as the object but not the subject of the historical process.” That is wrong for Russians and for non-Russians alike – and the latter must promote the idea that they are all subjects of history, capable of making their own way in the world rather than remaining in the shadow of larger ethnic communities.

            The Chuvash nation needs not a scientific center which is a branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences but its own academy. Any federal center will “fulfill common federal tasks.” For the study of the nation’s unique characteristics, Shcherbakov says, there must be one under exclusive local control.

            “The Chuvash republic public organization, ‘the Chuvash National academy of Science and Arts’ which we now have could be such a center,” he says; but it needs financing in order to be able to attract and hold the best professionals necessary to train the rising generation and inform the population at large.

            One of the first order tasks of any Chuvash academy is to prepare a serious history of the nation, one that treats it not as a subordinate and “second class” group of people but rather as a group that to the best of its ability has been acting as a subject of history and not just the object of the actions of others.
            Only if Chuvash think in that way will they be able to make their own history in the future, rather than existing as many of them now are and waiting for others to make their history for them, the scholar concludes.

No comments:

Post a Comment