Biographies of the Communists of the “Revolutionary Turning Point” Generation (1917–20s): Materials from the Archives of the Tambov Region

Print PDF

Scientific article

УДК 93/94+930.25+930.2+930.85+930.23+930.24+930.253+308+316.42+304.442+304.444+329.8+329.63+329.71+329.15+341.231.14+343.412+343.43

doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2023-3-835-848

Bezgin, Vladimir B.

Tambov State Technical University, Tambov, Russian Federation

Biographies of the Communists of the “Revolutionary Turning Point” Generation (1917–20s): Materials from the Archives of the Tambov Region


The relevance of studying biographies of the representatives of the revolutionary generation stems from public interest in the fate of the makers of the era of change, as well as from heuristic potential of the “history of generations” approach in historical science. Drawing on archival fonds containing personal data of the Tambov communists born in the 1890s, the biography of the "revolutionary turning point" generation has been studied. Prosopographic study permits to establish their origin, social status, activities, and life strategy. It uses autobiographies, personal data cards, materials of the party census of communists registered with the Tambov Provincial Committee of the RCP (B) in 1918–22. Most sources are being introduced into scientific use for the first time. The object of the study is biographies of five communists. Our “protagonists” occupied various positions in the punitive and repressive bodies of the Soviet government system and took an active part in the suppression of the peasant uprising of 1920–21 in the Tambov gubernia. The research is to identify factors of social mobility and determine forms of “revolutionary” career of the young party members. It is interesting to study the society’s means of survival during systemic crisis and operation of “social lift” mechanism during social upheavals. The research methodology is based on “history of generations” approach and interdisciplinary nature of the work. Historical-comparative, historical-genetic, retrospective, systemic methods, and method of cohort analysis have been used. The novelty lies in recreation of life paths of the representatives of the studied group through the prism of most important events of the era of wars and revolutions. It has been established that career advancement was facilitated by education (as a rule, town or uezd school), military experience (in the Red Guard and special forces), and mandatory membership in the Communist Party. Four of the five protagonists were not native to the uezd, the arrived from the capital as appointees to strengthen the activities of the local authorities. As a result, a typical biography of the representatives of the studied generation, young communists of the Russian periphery during the Civil War has been reproduced.


Historical sources, biographies, Tambov gubernia, communists, "revolutionary turning point" generation, social lift, peasant uprising, emergency commission, revolutionary tribunal

Download the article: bezgin_doi


ANFERTIEV, I. A. Metodologicheskie osnovy i metody issledovaniya roli i granits politicheskogo faktora v deyatel’nosti RKP(b)-VKP(b) v sisteme gosudarstvennogo upravleniya politicheskimi i sotsial’noekonomicheskimi protsessami v 1920-e – 1930-e gg. [Methodological Frameworks and Methods of Studying the Role and Scope of Political Factor in the RCP (B) – AUCP (B) Activities in State Management of Social and Economic Process in 1920s – 1930s. In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2018, no. 1, pp. 84–97. doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2018-1-84-97

ANFERTIEV, I. A. Politicheskaya biografiya pravyashchei RKP(b) - VKP(b) v 1920 – 1930-e gody: kriticheskii analiz. Monografiya [Political biography of the ruling RCP (B)—AUCP (B) in the 1920s–30s: A critical analysis. Monograph. In Russ.]. Moscow, Infra-М. publ., 2017, 284 p.

ANFERTIEV, I. A. Politicheskii konstruktivizm pravyashchei partii. Programmnye ustanovki RSDRP(b) - RKP(b) - VKP(b). Bor'ba za vlast' v RSDRP(b)-RKP(b)-VKP(b). 1917-1930-ye gody. Monografiya [Political constructivism of the ruling party. Program provisions of the RSDLP (B)—RCP (B)—AUCP (B). The struggle for power in the RSDLP (B)—RCP (B)—AUCP (B). 1917–30s. Monograph. In Russ.]. Moscow, INFRA-M publ., 2019, 555 p.

BEZGIN, V. B., YAKIMOV, K. A. “Clerks of Revolution”: Jewish Youth of Province in Events of Civil War (The Tambov Gubernia). IN: Nauchnyi dialog, 2022, no. 11(9), pp. 301–321.

BEZGIN, V. B., YAKIMOV, K. A. Sotsial’no-demograficheskii portret politkatorzhan pokoleniya “revolyutsionnogo pereloma” nachala XX veka [Socio-Demographic Portrait of Political Prisoners of the “Revolutionary Turning Point” Generation in the Early 20th Century. In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2022, no. 4, pp. 1235–1247.

VYAZINKIN, A. Yu. Generation of the “revolutionary turning point” in the fate of the Russian village of the first third of the 20th century: Problems of historiography. IN: Voprosy istorii, 2022, no. 7–2, pp. 153–165.

LEVADA, Yu. A. Pokoleniya XX veka: vozmozhnosti issledovaniya [Generations of the 20th century: Research opportunities. In Russ.]. IN: Ottsy i deti: Pokolencheskii analiz sovremennoi Rossii [Fathers and Sons: Generational analysis of contemporary Russia. In Russ.]. Moscow, NLO publ., 2005, pp. 39–60.

About authors

Bezgin Vladimir Borisovich, PhD in History, professor, Tambov State Technical University, research laboratory “Communication Aspects of Historical, Social and Economic Development of Society,” leading researcher, Tambov, Russian Federation, +7-910-758-43-83, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Grant information

The study has been realized with support of Russian Science Foundation grant no. 22-18-00132

Submitted 22.02.2022, published (for citation):

BEZGIN, V. B. Biografii kommunistov “pokoleniya revolyutsionnogo pereloma” 1917-1920-kh gg. Na materialakh arkhivov Tambovskoi oblasti [Biographies of the Communists of the “Revolutionary Turning Point” Generation (1917–20s): Materials from the Archives of the Tambov Region. In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2023, no. 3, pp. 835-848. doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2023-3-835-848

You can read completely article in the russian historic-archival magazine “The Herald of an Archivist”. Read more about terms of subscription here.

Полностью материал публикуется в российском историко-архивоведческом журнале ВЕСТНИК АРХИВИСТА. Ознакомьтесь с условиями подписки здесь.