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  • Польские мемуарные свидетельства 1920-1930-х годов о Российской империи: обстоятельства создания и информационная ценность

Article

Польские мемуарные свидетельства 1920-1930-х годов о Российской империи: обстоятельства создания и информационная ценность

The Polish memoirs of the interwar period help to understand how the Poles recalled the pre-revolutionary times by settling with the past after the collapse of the Russian Empire, establishment of the Bolshevik regime and the rebirth of independent Poland. These memoir narratives are crucial for the understanding of continuity in the Russian and Polish relations, including their inertial component as the stereotypes of mutual perception. The memoirists’ motivation was influenced by the politics of memory and some initiatives from the academic community. The situation in Poland favored the creation of a patriotically correct picture of the past. However, many authors viewed the Russian Empire not just in a negative way. Personal experience conflicted with influential stereotypes. The escape from the canon of “the fighting Poland” was the narration about the life of the Poles in the pre-revolutionary Russia as the history of their success in the implementation of civilizing mission. Not all the texts written by the representatives of the lower social layers met the expectations of memory contest organizers. A special branch of the Polish memoirs were testimonies of communists living in the USSR. The authors writing their memoirs in the interwar period perceived the uprising of 1863–1864 recognized then as the lower border of contemporary history as the earliest personal experience. Memories reflected intergenerational transit of data concerning the past, including the formation of historical perception of children. The number of texts and the degree of detail amplified closer to the World War I. One can talk about the existence of related but not identical images of Russia, the Russian government and the Russian people. Polish memoirs written both by political decision-makers and people from the remotest borderlands provide many important insights about the Russian Empire. They are of interest for Russianists, Slavists and Orientalists.