Department of the History of Russian Social Movements and Political Parties

A great amount of attention in the faculty of history has always been given to the political history of Russian society, the history of social movements and the history of political parties. Hundreds of students, dozens of post-graduate students and trainees have been prepared in this problem, many of whom are successfully working in institutes of higher education, scientific establishments, bodies of state management, political parties and in public associations.

Currently in the department of social movements and political parties in Russia the following faculty members teach: Professor G.M.Alekseev, distinguished professor of Moscow University V.I.Zlobin, associate professors S.A.Ermishina, L.P.Muromtseva, V.A.Nikitin, G.P.Oprishchenko, junior research assistant O.S.Berezkina, and assistants A.V.Gysev and A.N.Kulikov. Doctor of the historical science, distinguished professor of Moscow University L.S.Leonova is department chair.

Over the last couple of years the department has updated considerably the contents of the major, and the problems of scientific research.

The basic directions of research work in the department are the history of social movements and political parties and political science. The staff’s publications reflect such problems as political leadership, the communist elite, left wing communist opposition at the end of 1920’s-first half of the 1930’s, the foundation of a multi-party system in modern Russia, Russia’s political transformation in the 90’s, the mutual relations of the center and regions of Russia, history of Russians living abroad, etc.

Members of the department have participated in the publication of the thematic collection of articles: “Political Parties in Russia: Pages of History” (2000), “Modernization in Central and Eastern Europe. Ideas, Programs, and Realization” (2000), “The Russian State and Society. 20th Century” (1999) etc. The results of academic work on researching the history of political parties and their leaders have found reflection in the L.S.Leonova’s work “I Can Be In Science Alone... the Political Views of V.I.Vernadskii” (2000).

A significant amount of the staff’s attention is given to the publication of documents on the history of Russian political parties, that have gained special attention in conditions of overcoming the usual stereotypes in estimating the activities of Russian political parties, the coming into being of a multi-party system in the country. The department issues the following: a collection “The Program Documents of Russian Political Parties (Pre-Revolutionary Period)” (1991). Work on creating a new manual for the course on the history of Russian political parties and movements “Russian Political Parties and Movements in the Pre-Revolutionary Period. Documents and Materials”, containing both documents, introductory texts and commentary to sources, has been completed. L.S.Leonova composed a unit of the collection of documents “The Russian State: Authority and Society” (1996). The department’s teachers further issue the directory “Russian State Figures from the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century” (1995).

The term papers and theses of students majoring in the department, and candidate dissertations of post-graduate students are devoted to special courses and proseminars on new subjects. The department offers the following special courses: “historiography of the history of political parties” (V.I.Zlobin, A.V.Gusev), “source studies of the history of Russian political parties” (L.P.Muromtseva), “intro to historical political science” (O.S.Berezkina, V.A.Nikitin), “parties in the political system of society: history and modernity” (V.A.Nikitin), “Russia in global politics 1985-2000” (A.V.Gusev), “political history of the Great Fatherland War” (V.I.Zlobin), “political elites” (O.S.Berezkina), “history of Russian socio-political thought. 1917-1945” (L.S.Leonova), “political doctrines of Russian liberalism” (L.P.Muromtseva), “the socialist tradition in Russia” (A.N.Kylikov), “national self-realization and political culture of Russian society” (S.A.Ermishina), “the national question in Russian history” (V.A.Nikitin), “economic problems in the program documents of Russian political parties” (G.M.Alekseev), “history of the development of Russian science and engineering (socio-political aspects)” (G.M.Alekseev), “history of international socialist and communist movements” (A.N.Kulikov), “youth movements in Russia” (G.P.Oprishchenko), etc.

The subjects of proseminars are various: “authority and opposition in Soviet society”, “historiography of the history of political parties” (A.V.Gusev), “national self-realization and political culture of Russian society”, “Russian conservatism 19th-20th cc.” (S.A.Ermishina), “history of monarchic parties”, “patriology”, “History of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party (bolsheviks)”, (V.I.Zlobin), “history of socialist thought in Russia”, “political struggle in Soviet Russia 1917-1920” (A.N.Kulikov), “the formation of a multi-party system in modern Russia”, “culture and ideology”, “history of Russian political thought” (L.S.Leonova), “modern political theory: the basic directions”, “the communist elite in the USSR”, “elites and authority in modern Russia” (O.S.Berezkina), “the political system of society”, “Russian liberalism”, “Russian political emigration in the 1920s and 1930s” (L.P.Muromtseva), “the national question in Russian history”, “the political development of modern Russia”, ”historical political science” (V.A.Nikitin), “political parties and public organizations in the USSR and the Russian Federation” (G.P.Oprishchenko), “socio-economic problems in program documents of Russian political parties (G.M.Alekseev), etc.

In political science courses, students’ attention is accented on such questions as political authority; the political system of society; the state as a conducting political institute; civil society and lawful states; political associations; political culture and political ideology; party systems; selective technologies; political elites; political crises and conflicts; geopolitics, etc. Students become acquainted with the history of political science and traditions of Russian political thought through methods of modern “political” research.

The faculty works in close contact to other divisions of the faculty of history, using the academic potential of MSU’s other faculties. The staff of the department of Russian history up to the 19th century give the course “history of religions in Russia”, while the faculty of sociology reads “intro to sociology” and “techniques of sociological research”.

Students majoring in the department pass practice in various structures of legislative and executive bodies of authority of the country, in archives, where the collections of documents on the history of public movements and political parties are stored.

A dissertation council was established in 1995 within the framework of the department, where candidates defend their theses and are awarded not only with academic degrees in history, but also with degrees in political science. Themes of some of the dissertations that have thus been defended have concerned the history of political science, political processes and social institutions, political culture and ideology. The newly authorized council will accept dissertations on the following specialties for defense: the theory of politics, history and methodology of political science (historical sciences); political institutes, the study of ethno-political conflicts, national and political processes and technologies (political science).

In total, from 1984-2000 the department has graduated more than 400 students and 80 post-graduate students.

Experts with historical knowledge and professionally guided in basic problems, located at the center of attention of modern political science and practice, realize their potential not only in the spheres of education and science, but also in various structures of representative and executive authority, political parties, and social movements.

The department’s professors and teachers give lectures and reports at foreign scientific and educational centers, and take part in international conferences and seminars for teachers of social sciences. Over the last few years, students from Great Britain, Bulgaria, the United States, Canada, China, Hungary, Germany, Vietnam, and countries of the CIS have majored in this department.