Northern Illinois University Press

Coming to Terms with the Soviet Regime

The "Changing Signposts" Movement among Russian Émigrés in the Early 1920s

Hilde Hardeman

"A most interesting comprehensive analysis.... A welcome addition to our understanding."—Slavonic and East European Review

"Hardeman's detailed study fills in many gray spots in the murky history of smenovekhovtsvo in the 1920s."
American Historical Review

"An admirably thorough study.... A reliable, readable and well-structured exposition."—Revolutionary Russia

The Bolshevik takeover in 1917 and the subsequent Civil War drove thousands of Russians into exile. Expecting the Bolshevik dictatorship would soon collapse, they settled in the West, waiting for the moment they could leave their refuses in Berlin, Prague, and Paris and return to their homeland in triumph. But as the Reds tightened their grip, émigrés faced the dilemma of coming to terms with their enemies or accepting the loneliness of exile.

Early in the 1920s, some of the émigrés began to argue for an end to resistance, pleading that the Russian nation and state could be saved only if opposition to Soviet power came to an end. The smenovekhovstvo ("changing signposts") movement called for émigrés to come to terms with the Soviet regime. Taking its name from a collection of articles written by young émigré intellectuals who had fought on the side of the Whites in the Civil War, the movement appealed for an end to the anti-Bolshevik struggle, the acceptance of the October Revolution as a Russian national revolution, and the return of the émigrés to help rebuild Russia.

Coming to Terms with the Soviet Regime traces the rise of the smenovekhovstvo movement among the émigrés and those anti-Bolshevik intellectuals who had remained in Russia. The first comprehensive study of this long-ignored and critical subject, it broadens our understanding of the Russian intelligentsia and sheds new light on the relationship of the émigré community to the intellectual and political forces in their homeland. Of particular interest to historians of the Russian emigration and the Russian intelligentsia, Hardeman's study serves also as a sensitive case study of how men and women struggled to come to grips with the victory of the Bolsheviks.

(1994) 331 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-187-2
cloth $40.00

Table of Contents

1 Mir i Trud: The Illusion of a Modus Vivendi between the Soviet Regime and Its Opponents
2 N. V. Ustrialov: Joining the Bolsheviks for the Sake of "Great Russia"
3 Smena Vekh: The Mystique of the Revolution
4 Indignation and Condescension: Reactions to Smena Vekh
5 The Weekly Smena Vekh: A Second Step toward Reconciliation
6 Nakanune: Smenovekhovstvo as an Instrument in Moscow's Hands
7 The Effects of Smenovekhovstvo: Smenovekhovstvo and the Bolsheviks

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-187-2
cloth $40.00