The topic of this article is “The Philosophical Steamship”. “What is it?” - a question may arise from the reader. This phenomenon can be viewed in several ways. In the narrow “philosophical steamer” is the collective name of two flights of passenger German ships. They were taken to Stettin (Germany) from Petrograd by philosophers, as well as other prominent representatives of the Russian intelligentsia. However, in reality this phenomenon was broader, not limited to two steamers. You will learn about this by reading this article.
What role did the expulsion 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 only because they defended the principle of spiritual freedom in their activities and works. The “Philosophical Steamship” has become a symbol of the emigration of the intelligentsia.
The unprecedented act in the whole of world history was the expulsion of advanced thinkers. Thus, the authorities purposefully and voluntarily reduced the spiritual and mental potential of their people, expelling the most educated, talented and creative people from the state. All of them turned out to be a hindrance in the goal of submission to the influence of the party of the whole people.
The positive role of exile
The ships were taken away into exile, into the unknown, without the right of returning a multitude of intellectuals. Looking from the standpoint of modernity, in the light of the brutal repression to which the people were subjected during the years of Soviet power, this event can be differently assessed. Sent their exile 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 boarded the “philosophical steamship” survived. 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 ship”. 1922, however, is only the beginning. Many of our compatriots left their homeland in subsequent years. In three waves passed emigration. Note that Russia is the only state in Europe from which mass emigration of citizens, a forced (“philosophical steamer”) and voluntary, was carried out in the 20th century. After the Civil War, between 1920 and 1929, between 1.5 and 3 million people left the country, disappointed by the order imposed by the Bolshevik regime: repression, the fight against dissent and party dictatorship. Intellectuals 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 also after the Second World War. Then about 1.5 million Soviet citizens turned out to be abroad. With the emergence of a legal opportunity to go abroad, which was granted in the early 1970s, the third wave followed, continuing to this day.
Reasons for emigration
Why did the people agree to take 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 a wide society. A significant number of emigrants belonged to the intelligentsia. After all, she was deprived of the freedom 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 from the very beginning Bolshevism set its goal to forge the consciousness of the people, to create a fundamentally new culture in the country proletarian. An experience was taken of bringing up a new type of person deprived of national consciousness, personal morality and religion.
In 1918, the Bolsheviks closed down all the newspapers, except their own, including Novaya Zhizn. And after all, it was here that from the room to the number of “Untimely thoughts” of Maxim Gorky, who denounced power, were printed. All literature, all art, the media were subjected to strict censorship. It was impossible to leak through her a word of truth. Replaced her favorable power of a lie. 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 by the Bolsheviks to fail to make the intelligentsia obedient, “tame” it, ended in failure. Then it was decided to get rid of the most significant representatives by means of a forced expulsion, having organized a “philosophical steamboat”. Such a severe measure was applied in the years 1922-23 to the Russian intelligentsia.
Steamers and trains, on which people went. “First warning”
In 1922, on September 29, the steamer “Oberburgermaster Haken” (pictured below) departed from the Petrograd berth.
On November 16, “Prussia”, another “philosophical steamer”, set off towards Germany. The emigration of the intelligentsia continued on September 19, when another ship proceeded from Odessa to Constantinople. The steamer “Zhanna” was sent from Sevastopol 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 went to other countries. The unique cargo carried 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 as the pinnacle of scientific and philosophical thought; doctors, teachers, and other intellectuals.
By order of Lenin, they were expelled without trial, as there was nothing to judge for: the subject of the court could not be the upholding of freedom of thought, as well as the rejection of like-mindedness 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 tolerate it.
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 devoted to expulsion in Pravda was not by chance called the “First Warning”.
What prevented the Bolsheviks intelligentsia?
The Bolsheviks did not see the intelligentsia as a political force dangerous to themselves. Trotsky in Izvestia wrote that “politically insignificant” are the elements that are being sent. However, they are potential weapons in the hands of potential enemies. The Bolsheviks, capturing the sole power after the October Revolution, did not feel quite 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 the arbitrariness of the party nomenklatura. The party tried in every way to eradicate dissent. To do this, it was necessary to clear the country of citizens who are able to analyze and think independently, to stop radically criticizing the authorities and free-thinking. Having organized the departure of the “philosophical steamboat”, the party hoped to accomplish this task.
The names of the most significant exiles
Among those expelled were N. A. Berdyaev - one of the best philosophers of Russia of the 20th century, such famous philosophers as S. L. Frank, N. O. Lossky, L. P. Karsavin, V. A. Bogolepov, S. N Bulgakov, F.A. Stepun, N.A. Ilyin, I.I. Lapshin, N.S. Trubetskoy, as well as A.V. Frolovsky (historian), B.P. Babkin (physiologist), M. Osorgin (writer). Among the expelled were progressive progressive professors and leaders of schools and universities, including the rectors of Petrograd and Moscow universities.
Repression before 1922
Communication intellectuals with European countries before the revolution
As a result of the survey carried out in 1931, it turned out that 472 Russian scientists worked abroad. 5 academicians, as well as about 140 professors of high schools and universities were among them. Before the revolution took place, close interaction between representatives of the intelligentsia and European states was a natural phenomenon and did not meet any obstacles on the part of the government. Artists went to improve their skills in France and Italy, scientists closely contacted foreign colleagues, 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 Sofia Kovalevskaya (pictured below), were forced to study abroad, as in Russia higher education was not available for them.
The Russians who had the money went abroad for treatment. Legal emigration until the mid-20s also did not encounter significant obstacles: for this it was enough just to get permission from the country's leaders. Thus, a large number of immigrants from Russia always lived permanently or temporarily abroad. Together with the emigrants who were expelled or voluntarily left the country after the Civil War and Revolution, the number of Russians who were abroad was about 10 million.
The fate of the exiles
Most 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 were all able to get a job in their specialty. In addition, they have created scientific and cultural values that have become the property of America and Europe.
Now you know what this concept is - “the philosophical ship”. The people who left their homeland at that time were not traitors. They took this forced step in order to be able to continue their activities, to serve their country and the whole world at least abroad.