Zolsky Uprising (1913) in Versions of the Revolutionary Past: Archival Documents vs. Memoir Narrative

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Abstract. In the end of May–beginning of June, 1913 in Nalchik district mass agrarian disturbances took place caused by the rule change of Zolsky and Gorny public pastures usage. The most active dissatisfaction was expressed by the residents of several Kabardian villages, who made an organized attempt to restore the traditional public availability of pasture lands. In Soviet historiography these events were labeled as the Zolsky Uprising and considered the first event of the revolutionary movement in Kabardino-Balkaria. This interpretation was coined in B. Kalmykov’s memoirs, first published in 1921 and later repeatedly supplemented. The first Soviet leader of Kabardino-Balkaria while forming his authoritarian power, paid much attention to the commemoration of his own version of the Zolsky events, which was further developed after his rehabilitation in the mid-1950s. Analysis of the sources used in the study of agrarian disturbances revealed a significant difference in the characteristics of the Zolsky events in terms of archival documents, mainly administrative and police records, and memoirs of B. Kalmykov. Nevertheless, the scientific, journalistic and monumental interpretation of the uprising based on the memoirs of Kalmykov remains to this day the main “founding myth| in the history of the revolutionary movement and Soviet statehood of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Keywords: Kabardians, Nalchik District, Zolsky Uprising, Pasture Question, B. Kalmykov, S. Klishbiyev, S. Kirov, “Karakhalk”, Congress of Entrusted, Politics of Memory, Commemoration.

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