ⓘ Academic Trial. The Academic Trial was a criminal trial fabricated by the Joint State Political Directorate against a group of scientists of the Academy of Scie ..


ⓘ Academic Trial

The Academic Trial was a criminal trial fabricated by the Joint State Political Directorate against a group of scientists of the Academy of Sciences and local historians in 1929–1931 in Leningrad, where the Academy of Sciences was located until 1934.


1. History

The formation of the case was carried out in two stages. The first was due to the failure of three Communist candidates in the election of members of the Academy in January 1929, who were elected among 42 new academicians. Newspapers appeared demanding the reorganization of the Academy of Sciences and the political characteristics of academics, pointing to their supposedly counter-revolutionary past. However, after the election of the Communists Abram Deborin, Nikolai Lukin and Vladimir Fritsche, this campaign ceased.

The next assault on the Academy of Sciences began in August 1929 – a government commission headed by Yuri Figatner was sent to Leningrad to "clean" the Academy of Sciences. In June – December 1929, by the decision of this commission, 128 full-time employees out of 960 and 520 supernumerary employees out of 830 were dismissed. The main blow was directed at institutions headed by Sergey Platonov: the Library of the Academy of Sciences and the Pushkin House.

At the end of 1929, arrests of employees of the Academy of Sciences, mainly archivist historians, began. In Moscow at that time, active preparations were underway for future demonstration processes of "pests" "Industrial Party" and others. The Leningrad Joint State Political Directorate began to create from the arrested scientists a "monarchist counter-revolutionary organization". In January 1930, Sergey Platonov and all his closest employees were arrested in Leningrad, as well as Yevgeny Tarle, whom the investigation had read to the Foreign Ministers first as the "Industrial Party", then as the "Labour Peasant Party", then as the "Platonov Government".

In total, in December 1929 – December 1930, more than 100 people were arrested under the "Academic Trial" mainly specialists in the humanities. Former employees of the Academy of Sciences who were already in exile or in custody were also involved in the "case".

To give more weight to the organization, the provincial offices of the Central Bureau of Local Lore included in it as branches – in February – March 1930, additional arrests of local historians were carried out throughout the country, and former prisoners of humanities who had been convicted from exiles and camps were brought to the Leningrad House of Pre-trial Detention. The total number involved in the case was 115 people.

An open trial did not take place. The fate of those arrested was decided out of court by the board of the Joint State Political Directorate by its resolution of August 8, 1931. 29 people were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment and exile, including Sergey Platonov, Yevgeny Tarle, Nikolai Likhachev, Matvey Lyubavsky died in exile in 1936, senior scientific keeper of the Pushkin House Nikolai Izmailov, orientalist Alexander Mervart, Sergei Rozhdestvensky died in exile in 1934, philologist Alexander Petrov shot in 1938, Yuri Gauthier, Sergey Bakhrushin, Dmitry Egorov died in exile in 1931, Vladimir Beneshevich shot in 1938 and others.

In February – August 1931, by the decisions of the Joint State Political Directorate, a group of former guard officers who worked in various institutions of the Academy of Sciences Alexei Kovanko, Yuri Verzhbitsky and others was sentenced to death; to imprisonment and exile were sentenced:

  • A group of publishing workers Ferapont Vityazev-Sedenko, Sergey and Evgenia Baranov-Halperson.
  • The so-called "German group" Professor Emanuel Furman, Pastor Arnold Frischfeld and others;
  • A group of employees of the Academy of Sciences related to expeditionary work ;
  • The so-called "church group" ;
  • A group of scientists from the institutions of the Academy of Sciences, the Russian Museum, the Central Archive and others, Alexei Bialynitsky-Birulya, Mikhail Prisyolkov, Sergey Tkhorzhevsky, Alexander Zaozersky and others);

2. Consequences and rehabilitation

The "Academic Trial" has damaged historical science and local history in the Soviet Union:

  • Under the ban were studies of Narodnichestvo, the history of the church, the nobility and the bourgeoisie.
  • Continuity in training ended;
  • Research stopped for several years;

Soviet historians became an obedient weapon of the Soviet propaganda machine.

Rehabilitation lasted until 1967.