The theme of this article is "The Philosophical Steamer." "What is it?" - the reader may have a question. This phenomenon can be considered in several senses. In the narrow "philosophical steamer" - this is the collective name of two flights of passenger German ships. They were brought to Stettin (Germany) from Petrograd by philosophers, as well as other prominent representatives of the Russian intelligentsia. However, in reality this was a wider phenomenon, not limited to two steamships. You will learn about this after reading this article.
What role did the exile of the intelligentsia play for the country?
This event played a negative role in the fate of our country. After all, representatives of the creative intelligentsia were subject to expulsion: scientists, philosophers, teachers, doctors, poets, writers, artists. And all because they defended the principle of spiritual freedom in their activities and creativity. "Philosophical steamer" has become a symbol of emigration of the intelligentsia.
An unprecedented act in the whole of world history was the expulsion of progressive thinkers. The power thus purposefully and voluntarily reduced the spiritual and intellectual potential of its people, expelling the most educated, talented and creative people from the state. All of them proved to be a hindrance in the purpose of subordinating the whole people to the influence of the party.
The positive role of exile
The ships were taken into exile, into obscurity, without the right of return, by a lot of intellectuals. Looking from the position of modernity, in the light of the brutal repressions that the people were subjected to in the years of Soviet power, this event can be differently assessed. The expelled their exile was perceived as a tragedy. However, it turned out to be really their salvation. And the talents and knowledge of these people became the property of world art, culture, science. Not to mention the fact that the families of those who had boarded the "philosophical steamer" survived. Yes, and Lenin himself and his associates considered this action as an act of "mercy."
Three waves of emigration
A unique phenomenon in world history is the "philosophical steamer." 1922, however, is only the beginning. A lot of our compatriots left the Motherland in the following years. In three waves there was an emigration. Let us note that Russia is the only state in Europe, from which mass emigration of citizens was carried out in the 20th century, forced ("philosophical steamer") and voluntary. After the Civil War, in the period between 1920 and 1929, the country was left with 1.5 to 3 million inhabitants, disappointed by the Bolshevik regime's imposed order: repression, the fight against dissent and party dictatorship. The intelligentsia went to the states of Western Europe, China, America, Turkey, Manchuria. However, this was only the first wave of emigration. It was followed by the second - during, and after the Second World War. At that time, about 1.5 million Soviet citizens were abroad. With the advent of a legal opportunity to go abroad, which was granted in the early 1970s, a third wave followed, continuing to this day.
The reasons for emigration
Why did people agree to sit on the "philosophical steamer"? 1922 is a very difficult time in the history of our country. Emigration was voluntary in all cases, although it always had good reasons. It covered wide sections of society. A considerable number of emigrants belonged to the intelligentsia. After all, she was deprived of the freedom that she enjoyed before the revolution. G. Fedotov (pictured below), a historian and theologian who left the country in 1925, explaining the reasons why the intelligentsia left Russia, noted that Bolshevism from the very beginning had aimed to perekon people's conscience, create a fundamentally new culture in the country - proletarian. The experience of bringing up a new type of person deprived of national consciousness, personal morality and religion was undertaken.
In 1918, the Bolsheviks closed all newspapers, except for their own, including "New Life." But it was here printed from the room in the room "Untimely thoughts" Maxim Gorky, denouncing the power. All literature, all art, the media were subjected to strict censorship. It was impossible to leak through it a word of truth. Replace her profitable power with lies. Of course, the intelligentsia could not be indifferent to the policy pursued. And then she began to be viewed by the new government as a serious enemy. The attempt undertaken by the Bolsheviks to make an obedient intelligentsia "tame" it failed. Then it was decided to get rid of the most significant representatives with the help of forced expulsion, organizing a "philosophical steamer." Such a harsh measure was applied in 1922-23 to the Russian intelligentsia.
Steamers and trains, on which people went. "The first warning"
In 1922, on September 29, the steamship "Oberburghminister Haken" (in the photo below) departed from the Petrograd quay.
November 16 in the direction of Germany went "Prussia" - another "philosophical steamer." The emigration of the intelligentsia continued on September 19, when a regular vessel proceeded from Odessa to Constantinople. From Sevastopol was sent the steamer "Jeanne" on December 18. In addition, the trains were sent abroad: from Moscow - to Germany and Latvia, as well as through Finland, Poland and the Afghan border, trains were sent to other countries. The unique cargo was carried by the "philosophical steamboat" of 1922 - the glory of our country: philosophers and professors of world renown, whose works were considered in Europe and in the world the pinnacle of scientific and philosophical thought; doctors, teachers, as well as other representatives of the intelligentsia.
By order of Lenin, they were sent without trial and investigation, since there was nothing to judge: the object of the court could not be the defense of freedom of thought, as well as the rejection of the unanimity that was imposed from above. L. Trotsky (pictured below) wrote that the intelligentsia was expelled because there was no reason to shoot it, but it was impossible to endure.
The main purpose of this expulsion was to silence the intelligentsia, to intimidate it. This was a warning: one should not oppose Soviet power. The article dedicated to the expulsion in Pravda was not accidentally named "The First Warning".
What prevented the Bolsheviks from the intelligentsia?
The Bolsheviks did not regard the intelligentsia as a political force dangerous to themselves. Trotsky wrote in Izvestia that the elements that are sent out are "politically insignificant". However, they are potential weapons in the hands of possible enemies. The Bolsheviks, after seizing the sole power after the October Revolution, did not feel completely confident, realizing that their power was illegal. Therefore, they were afraid to lose it. The "dictatorship of the proletariat", established by them, was in reality an arbitrariness of the party nomenclature. The party tried in every way to eradicate dissent. To do this, it was necessary to cleanse the country of citizens who are able to analyze and think independently, to suppress radically criticism of power and free-thinking. Having organized the departure of the "philosophical steamer", the party hoped to fulfill this task.
Names of the most significant exiles
Among the expelled were NA Berdyaev - one of the best philosophers of Russia of the 20th century, such well-known philosophers as SL Frank, NO Lossky, LP Karsavin, VA Bogolepov, S.N. Bulgakov, FA Stepun, NA Il'in, II Lapshin, NS Trubetskoi, and also AV Frolovskii (historian), BP Babkin (physiologist), M. Osorgin (writer). Among the exiles there were progressive progressive professors, and heads of schools and higher educational institutions, including the rectors of Petrograd and Moscow universities.
Repressions until 1922
Communication of the intelligentsia with European states before the revolution
As a result of the questionnaire carried out in 1931, it turned out that 472 Russian scientists worked abroad. 5 academicians, as well as about 140 professors of higher schools and universities were among them. Before the revolution, a close association of intellectuals with European states was a natural phenomenon and there were no obstacles from the government. The artists went to improve their skills in France and Italy, the scientists were in close contact with their foreign colleagues, the young people considered it prestigious to graduate from the Sorbonne or other universities located in Austria, Germany or Prague. Talented Russian women, such as Lina Stern and Sofya Kovalevskaya (pictured below), were forced to study abroad, as higher education was not available for them in Russia.
Those who had money Russians went abroad to be treated. Until the mid-1920s, legal emigration also did not encounter significant obstacles: for this it was sufficient to obtain permission from the country's leaders. Abroad, therefore, there have always been a permanent or temporary residence of a large number of immigrants from Russia. Together with emigrants who were expelled or voluntarily left the country after the Civil War and the Revolution, the number of Russians abroad was about 10 million.
The further fate of exiles
Most of the exiles first found themselves in Germany. However, over time, most of them moved to Paris, which turned out to be a real center of Russian emigration. The high professional and intellectual level of the exiles contributed to the fact that they all managed to get a job in their specialty. In addition, they created the scientific and cultural values that have become the property of America and Europe.
Now you know what kind of concept it is - the "philosophical steamer." People who left their homeland then were not traitors. They went to this forced step in order to be able to continue their activities, serve their country and the whole world at least abroad.