The Last Passengers of the “Philosopher’s Steamboat”. The History of the Expulsion of Religious Pacifists from the USSR

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Abstract. The article focuses on the exile of V.G. Chertkov and V.F. Bulgakov, well-known politicians and leaders of the Tolstoyan movement, and V.F. Marcynkowski, who was close to the Tolstoyans and was the head of the Russian Student Christian Union, from the Soviet Russia/Soviet Union in the end of 1922–first half of 1923. The article studies Bolsheviks’ attitude towards two main concepts of the Tolstoyan movement – religious pacifism and personal moral improvement as a main way of building just society. The study bases on the documents from the Russian Modern History Archive, the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History and the State Archive of the Russian Federation. Some documents are presented for the first time. The author concludes that the pragmatic Bolsheviks did their best to discredit the pacifist ideas of the Tolstoyans in the early 1920s. Besides, they disavow the legal basis for pacifism granted by the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR of January 4, 1919, which guaranteed the exemption from military service of religious pacifists. In addition, the article analyzes the mechanism of an exile as a measure against Soviet dissidents in the early 1920s on the example of V.G. Chertkov, V.F. Bulgakov and V.F. Marcynkowski.

Keywords: Bolsheviks, Tolstoyans, V.G. Chertkov, V.F. Bulgakov, V.F. Marcynkowski, GPU, pacifism, exile, “Philosophers’ steamboat”.

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