Smenovekhovstvo

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Smenovekhovstvo

 

(“Change of Landmarks” movement), a sociopolitical current among the Russian bourgeois intelligentsia—primarily among émigrés—in the 1920’s, a current that expressed the bourgeois-reactionary ideology of the new (Nepman) bourgeoisie in Russia.

The term smenovekhovstvo is derived from Smena vekh (Change of Landmarks), a collection published in Prague in the summer of 1921 by a group of Cadets and Octobrists, including N. V. Ustrialov, lu. V. Kliuchnikov, S. S. Luk’ianov, A. V. Bo-brishchev-Pushkin, S. S. Chakhotin, and lu. N. Potekhin. In the first half of the 1920’s the members of the Smena vekh group—the smenovekhovtsy—issued as many as ten publications, including the journal Smena vekh (Paris, 1921-22) and the newspaper Nakanune (On the Eve; Berlin, 1922-24).

Smenovekhovstvo emerged as Soviet Russia was making the transition to peaceful construction. Its social basis was a partial revival of capitalist elements in Soviet Russia as the New Economic Policy was introduced, a policy the smenovekhovtsy regarded as a return to capitalism and the beginning of the Soviet state’s regeneration. Smenovekhovstvo’s principal features were an appeal for union between the new bourgeoisie and bourgeois specialists, the advocacy of a coup d’etat, and, subsequently, the treatment of the formation of the USSR from a great-power and chauvinist point of view. The smenovekhovtsy called upon the bourgeois intelligentsia to cooperate with Soviet power in the hope of regenerating the Soviet state. They provoked a hostile reaction among the lofty bourgeois-landowner politicos of the White emigration who were awaiting renewed anti-Soviet intervention and preparing armed outbreaks within the Soviet republic. The smenovekhovtsy also attest to the weakening of the anti-Soviet camp and the disintegration of the White emigration; they contributed to the return of several members of the bourgeois intelligentsia to the homeland.

In the words of V. I. Lenin, the ideology of the smenovekhovtsy expressed “the sentiments of thousands and tens of thousands of bourgeois, or of Soviet employees whose function it is to operate our New Economic Policy” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 45, p. 94). V. I. Lenin characterized the demarche of the smenovekhovtsy as a “warning given us by the bourgeoisie” (ibid., p. 60). In his report at the Eleventh Congress of the RCP(B), he posed the task of preparing an offensive against the capitalist elements in order to resolve the question of who will win in favor of socialism. The Communist Party defined its attitude toward smenovekhovstvo in August 1922, at the Twelvth All-Russian Conference of the RCP(B), in its resolution On Anti-Soviet Parties and Tendencies. After noting that smenovekhovstvo played an objectively progressive role in consolidating the émigré groups and Russian intelligentsia groups prepared to work with Soviet power, the resolution also pointed out smenovekhovstvo’s bourgeois-reactionary tendencies (KPSS ν rezoliutsiiakh... 8th ed., vol. 2, 1970, p. 393). Having exposed the class essence of smenovekhovstvo, the Communist Party was able to use smenovekhovstvo to win over part of the bourgeois intelligentsia. The Thirteenth (1924) and Fourteenth (1925) Congresses of the Communist Party called for resolute struggle against smenovekhovstvo ideology. The political and ideological victory over smenovekhovstvo stemmed from the radical socioeconomic changes in the country and the resolute struggle of Lenin and the Communist Party against bourgeois-reactionary ideology. The triumph of socialism and the complete elimination of capitalist elements in the USSR deprived smenovekhovstvo of its social basis.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 44, pp. 380,416–17; vol. 45, pp. 19, 60–61,92–94,413, 416; vol. 54, p. 157.
KPSS ν rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., vol. 2. Moscow, 1970. Pages 390–96.
Trifonov, I. Ia. V. I. Lenin i bor’ba s burzhuaznoi ideologiei ν nachale nepa. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.