Fedor Raskolnikov: The Tragedy of the Revolutionary and the Tragedy of the Idea

Tamara S. Kondratieva – Doctor of Historical Sciences, Center for Russian Studies of the Higher School of Social Sciences. France. 54 boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris. E-mail: tamara.kondrat@wanadoo.fr
 
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The article deals with the personal political evolution of F.F. Raskolnikov, a famous national revolutionary leader in the early USSR. Using the methodology of historical anthropology, the author intends to reach a holistic understanding of the phenomenon of the revolution in Russia, considering the development of Raskolnikov’s views as a reflection of the general evolutions of views in the Bolshevik party elites. Also, the author turns to the ideological origins of Raskolnikov’s work as a theatrical critic, publicist and a writer. His play «Robespierre» raises a key question in the study of the history of the Great Russian Revolution, namely, did the leaders of the Bolsheviks realize that there would be an inevitable rollback after revolution or a counterrevolutionary trend that could lead to a radical renewal of the elite by terror –
so-called «Thermidor» .

The author reviews the biography of F.F. Raskolnikov, charts his intellectual formation. The article covers Raskolnikov’s development as a military commander and a major functionary in the Bolshevik party. Then it describes the «theatrical period» in his life, including sources for his literary experiments and relations with literary and theatrical figures of the USSR. Finally, the author studies the revised and expanded version of the play «Robespierre» staged in Paris after Raskolnikov became a «defector» from USSR. If the original version of the play emphasizes the specifics of the French and Russian revolutions, the revised version stresses the similarities. The result of this intellectual work was Raskolnikov’s understanding of the failure of revolutionary ideas for which he fought reflected in his «Open letter to Stalin».

Key words: revolution, Robespierre, Termidor, the Great Russian Revolution.

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DOI 10.24833/2071-8160-2017-3-54-41-71 (Read the article in PDF)