By the time, when in 1934 the Faculty of History was restored at Leningrad university, the Chair of Modern and Current History already had enough high-class scientists-experts and almost developed collective with certain traditions. The founder of the Chair and initiator of all its undertakings is considered N.I. Kareev. In 1885 he began his career at Petersburg university, having created at it the Historical society which has united historians, and has adjusted the edition of a publication of this society - "the Historical review". It was he who started to read at university a course of lectures on the history of countries of Western Europe in Modern Times. This annually extended course covered the long period - from the XV century till 1914 and became very popular among students as it contained interesting materials about political life of the West European countries and their culture. In 1892-1916 this course of lectures was published in seven volumes. N.I. Kareev also became the founder of Russian school in studying history of The Great French Revolution of the end of XVIII century. In 1879 at Moscow University he defended his magister dissertation "Peasants and a peasantry question in France in the last quarter of the XVIII century". So he came to Petersburg University already with the developed scientific interests: besides agrarian problems in the revolution of 1789 he attentively studied and has perfectly understood the big role of the Parisian sections in the revolution and reflected this understanding in 1911 in his work "Revolutionary committees of Parisian sections 1790-1795". N.I. Kareev's historiographic work "Historians of the French Revolution", published in three volumes in 1924-1925, became generalizing monograph.|
Many followers of N.I. Kareev have inherited his interest to the history of the French Revolution of 1789. Well-known Russian historian professor M.M. Kovalevsky worked at the Chair in 1905-1916. His contribution to studying of the history of this period was a work "the Origin of modern democracy". One of the brightest scholars ever working on the Chair of Modern and Current History, E.V. Tarle came to Petersburg University as the privat-senior lecturer in 1903. The Graduate of Kiev University, in 1901 he already defended his magister dissertation devoted to public views of Thomas More. His teaching and scientific activity at Petersburg university E.V. Tarle began with reading a course of lectures of the history of the French Revolution of the end of the XVIII century - "Absolutism's Crash in Western Europe". He was excellently educated, exclusively widely-read person and possessed figurative thinking and oratorical abilities. All these qualities have provided to E.V. Tarle popularity both as a person, and as a teacher. Having addressed to the history of the Great French Revolution, E.V. Tarle has opened a new direction in its studying - he was engaged in research of the history of working-class movement during a revolution epoch. In 1909-1911 two volumes of his work "Working class in France during a revolution epoch" were published. A bit later, in 1913, there was one more monograph - "The continental blockade". Thus, studying the history of the Great French Revolution of the end of the XVIII century became traditional in scientific researches of members of the Chair of Modern and Current History.
Great teachers have brought up interest to this theme in their pupils. No transformations of university structure, occurring after the October Revolution, could break traditions, developed in the end of the XIX - beginning of the XX centuries. At the Faculties of social studies, at the faculties of linguistics and the material culture, and at Leningrad institute of history philosophy and linguistics some of the teachers, who were engaged in researches the history of French Revolutions, continued to work. The evidence of this is student's work of N.I. Kareev's pupil Y.M. Zaher "Views of the main historians of the French Revolution at a role of the Parisian sections", noted by an award. Later, Y.M. Zaher published his main work - "Movement of 'the Enraged Ones'", devoted to the research of the extremely left movements in the Revolution of 1789.
Works of the pupil of E.V.Tarle - A.I. Molok, who has become well-known researcher of French Revolutions of 1830, 1848, 1871, were evidences of continuation and development of traditions during hard times. In 1920s a series of his works on the history of the Paris Commune of 1871 was published: "National education during the Paris Commune of 1871" (1922), "Sketches of everyday life and culture of the Paris Commune of 1871" (1924), "The Paris Commune and peasantry" (1925). During the period of formation of the Soviet historical science and the propagation of historical knowledge these works of A.I. Molok which had more likely popular scientific character, were of great importance for distribution of historical knowledge among various strata of society.
In 1934 the Faculty of History at Leningrad University was restored. The Chair of Modern and Current History was also restored. Within several years the creative scientific and pedagogical collective was created at the Chair. Here were scientists who had already brought glory to Russian science, such as E.V. Tarle, and grown already in a Soviet period, such as A.I. Molok, E.N. Petrov, P.P. Schegolev, and absolutely young generation - V.G. Revunenkov, V.S. Alekseev-Popov, V.G. Brunin, M.M. Malkin, P.F. Kuharsky and other young scientists.
Second half of 1930s - the beginning of 1940s were time of successes of the Chair in research work, time of continuation and development of traditions and expansion of subjects of scientific researches. In 1937 A.I. Molok was appointed the chief of the Chair. As well educated person and a fine teacher he promoted formation of creative atmosphere at the Chair, and so these years were noted by successes in science of all generations of the members of the Chair. A.I. Molok continued study the history of French Revolutions of the XIXth century. He was the first scholar in our historiography who has addressed to studying of The French Revolution of 1848, in particular, such important event in this revolution as the June Days Uprising of 1848. The First work on this theme has been published by A.I. Molok in 1933: "The June Days Uprising: the Sketch of the History of the Revolt of the workers of Paris on June, 23-26rd, 1848". In 1934 his second work on this theme appeared: "Charles Marx and the June Days Uprising of 1848 in Paris". After Marx A.I. Molok characterized the June Days Uprising of 1848 as proletarian, noted by heroism of workers and cruelty of the army of Cavaignac which had suppressed the uprising. The author analyzed K.Marx's ideas about lessons which the working class should take from experience of the uprising of June, 1848. But in 1977 in "The Bulletin of Leningrad University" V.G. Revunenkov published his article which, having carried out the careful analysis of the structure of participants of the uprising of June, 1848, has convincingly proved that the proletarian element in it was insignificant and that the main participants of this revolt were representatives of the middle class, middle strata of bourgeoisie. Later under the invitation of academician V.P. Volgin, A.I. Molok as the author and the editor took part in preparation and the edition of two-volume work devoted to the history of European Revolutions of 1848 (it was published in 1952). Simultaneously A.I. Molok continued to study the history of the Paris Commune of 1871: "The German Intervention against the Paris Commune of 1871" - so was called his next book (1939). As the appendix in this edition the article of post-graduate student V.S. Alekseev-Popov "Working class of Germany in Days of the Paris Commune" was published. And, at last, in 1940 A.I. Molok defended his thesis for a doctor's degree "The History of the July Revolution of 1830 in France", based on large actual material collected by the scholar.
After returning to university E.V. Tarle continued his researches of the History of the Great French Revolution. During these years two great persons of the end of the XVIII - beginning of the ÕIÕ centuries paid his attention: Napoleon and Talleyrand. E.V.Tarle's books "Napoleon" (1936) and "Talleyrand" (1939) were successful experience of political biography, a genre of the historical research which has become rather popular in our country in 1960-70th. In 1938 E.V.Tarle's one more book about Napoleon Bonaparte's crash was published: "Napoleon's Invasion to Russia". E.V.Tarle's monograph "Germinal and Prairial" (1937) was devoted to last, full of dramatic nature popular uprisings in Paris of the period of the Great French Revolution of the end of the XVIII century. The history of the international relations in modern times became one more sphere of scientific interests of E.V. Tarle. Almost simultaneously in 1941 the first volume of his big work "The Crimean war" appeared (the second volume was published in 1943), and the first volume of "The history of Diplomacy" where he was one of the basic authors. For work about Crimean war E.V. Tarle was awarded the State award of the USSR. Besides, together with A.I. Molok and working then on the Chair the expert in agrarian problems of the Revolution of 1789 E.N. Petrov, E.V. Tarle participated in writing of generalizing work "The French Bourgeois Revolution 1789-1794". In 1941 this work was published under edition of V.P. Volgin and E.V. Tarle.
Early communistic, antibourgeois movement of an epoch of the Great French Revolution and Conspiracy of Babeuf were themes for research of talented scholar P.P. Schegolev. But really he became popular in 1938, already after his early death, when the monograph "Sketches from the History of Western Europe of ÕVI-XVII centuries", written on the basis of the lecture courses read by the scholar in 1934-1935. In this book P.P. Schegolev has analyzed the major events in the history of the West European countries of specified time, has formulated the concept of the English Bourgeois Revolution in the middle of the ÕVII century, displaying an originality of this conservative revolution.
The youngest generation of the Department of modern and contemporary history was very successful at the end of 1930s. Young historians were defending the dissertations and writing their first books. There appeared new subjects to study what showed wide interests of young scholars and new scientific needs of history. At that time the history of Germany, the United Stets of America and international relations was studied very actively. The first to defend the thesis on the Department specialization subject was Revunenkov. The subject of his dissertation was “Political crisis in Prussia in 1862”. Later Revunenkov added more material to his dissertation and it was published as the monograph called “Bismarck’s rise to power: political struggle in Prussia in 1859-1862”. In 1939 M.M. Malkin defended the thesis on “Civil war in the USA and Russia” and published it. In 1941 P.F. Kuharsky published the monograph called “French-russian relations before the Crimean war”. V.G. Brunin defended the thesis in 1938 (“Military legislation in 1913 in Germany and social-democracy policy”). Other young scholars defended the dissertations as well in these years. Some of their monographs are still actual.
The Great Patriotic war (1941-1945) stopped successful development of the Department. For many people who studied and worked at the Department these years were severe. Some of them became soldiers (M.N. Kuzmin, S.I. Voroshilov, S.M. Stetzkevich, V.K. Furaev). Some took part in propaganda movement in army and navy (V.N. Belanovsky, P.F. Kuharsky, M.M. Malkin, V.G. Revunenkov, S.A. Mogilevsky). And some worked at the government and did different tasks. Molok was a member of Soviet Scholars Antifascist Committee and wrote propaganda brochures against enemy. Tarle made historical and patriotic speeches and lectures in different parts of our country. Moreover, he was a member of Special State Commission to investigate fascist crimes. R.S. Mnuhina stayed in Leningrad and headed Tobacco factory named by Uritzky, which was turned into military factory. E.N. Petrov died in besieged Leningrad. Now you can see names of all students, graduates and professors who did not arrive from the war in the lecture room ¹58 on the Faculty of history. The majority of Department team and students continued their studies at first in Leningrad and then in Saratov (after the evacuation of 1942).
Many things changed at the Department after the end of the Great Patriotic war – Tarle and Molok moved to Moscow, some academic plans changed as well. V.G. Brunin became the head of the Department. The history of Germany at the beginning of the XX century was in the sphere of his interests and he was specialist in it. There appeared new professors. K.B. Vinogradov, V.K. Furaev, M.N. Kuzmin, S.M. Stetzkevich and S.I. Voroshilov began working at the Department. There was created new scholar team which did not practically change during 1950s- the first half of 1970s. These scholars were “teachers” and tutors for many people, who now work at the Department.
Changes in the world after the World War II influenced not only the contents of lectures and subjects which were parts of the course of the Department, but also provided new subjects for scientific work. There appeared a new course devoted to the history of southern and western Slavs. That Slavic center was created on the base of two departments (the Department of modern and contemporary history and the Department of Middle Ages) and eventually it became a very strong formation. The head of the center was V.N. Belanovsky, a very extraordinary person and scholar. He was the author of many monographs and articles about Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and other countries of Central Europe and Balkans. S.M. Stetzkevich and E.I. Legurov, who were specialists of Polish history, began working at the center as well. The course of the history of southern and western Slavs (from 1980s – the course of the history Slavic and Balkan countries) used to be among the main courses for students. Then the Department of Slavic and Balkan countries history was founded and the course was given to the new Department. Unfortunately, the text of the course was decreased and the very subject became non-obligatory for students.
In postwar years the course of Latin American history was created. During large period of time V.G. Revunenkov was giving it. He was the first in our country to collect materials and publish the tutorial called “The history of Latin America in modern times” (1963). At first, the course was given by the assistant B.N. Komissarov, who later became the specialist of Brazil history. A.A. Petrova gives that course from 1970s. The course of Latin American history is still one of the most important at the Department. Course of Scandinavian countries history had been given by invited professor I.P. Shaskolsky. Later, from 1970s A.V. Prokhorenko and V.N. Baryshnikov began to give this course. P.F. Kukharsy and S.A. Mogilevsky, who were specialists of international labor and communist movement, gave lecture course devoted to labor movement till 1990. Later that course was replaced with new one called “Social groups and classes in modern times” by S.N. Korotkov.
As the new discipline in the late 1940's there appeared a new source studies course of modern times history. R.S. Mnukhina had been reading this course for many years. She also wrote the first in our country book called "Source studies of Modern and Contemporary History", published in 1970. Later, this important course was read by B.N. Komissarov. The course of lectures on the historiography of modern and contemporary history became more extensive and traditionally it was read by the team of professors: French historiography was given by V.G. Revunenkov, then by S.N. Korotkov, German historiography was read by V.G. Bryunin, then by S.I. Voroshilov, English and international relations historiography was read by K.B. Vinogradov, American by B.A. Shiryaev, then by V.A. Ushakov. The added hours (for the specialization) allowed to increase the course of international relations history. Earlier the course used to contain history of XIX-XX centuries, but now it starts from the very beginning of modern times history.
This first part (from the mid XVII century to 1860) was read by professor V.G. Revunenkov, the second part by A.A. Petrova and S.N. Korotkov.
Serious changes in the curriculum occurred in the early 1970's when specialization was moved from the third to the first year. Then there appeared such new subjects as the Introduction to the modern and contemporary history, the second foreign language, International law studies, the history of the bourgeois state and law (the latter two subjects are read by the professors from the Faculty of Law), History of Foreign Literature (read by specialists from the Faculty of Philology ), the history of world religions (this course is read by the professors from the Faculty of Oriental Studies and by S.V. Shershneva, who works at the Department). Recently, in the curriculum appeared absolutely new subject devoted to the History of military art in modern times, which is given now by the PhD, L.V. Sidorenko, who is the specialist of English history and military art.
As it has been already mentioned there occurred many changes not only in the curriculum but in the subjects for studies. But a lot of subjects were still under the work. V.G. Bryunin, who headed the department in 1950-s., was as well the professor at Berlin University named by Humboldt in 1954-1956. There he read lectures on the modern history of Western Europe and America and worked in the archives of the GDR. He collected large amount of material for scientific work. On the basis of archive materials, published documents, German press and literature of the beginning of the XX century V.G. Bryunin wrote many monographs and articles (mainly on the history of the German labor movement at the beginning of the XX century). In 1961 he defended his doctoral dissertation on "The Great October Socialist Revolution and the labor movement in Germany (the end of 1917 - the beginning of 1918), and in 1965 published a monograph called " The internal political struggle in Germany in the summer and autumn of 1917”, which was highly appreciated by Russian and foreign scholars. In 1957 V.G. Revunenkov was elected as the head of the Department and headed it till the end of 1980s. This great scholar was always able to say something new on such historical problems which seemed to be already explored. Thanks to his professional and personal skills the Department became one of the strongest at the Faculty and the great team of scholars worked at it. Revunenkov has always been democratic as the head of the Department. Everyone regardless their degree could have and express their own opinion. Academic researches have always been of great importance for Revunenkov. Secondly, he paid a lot of attention to åðó teaching process. It was essential for him to let students inherit his interest and love to subject, his knowledge. In 1951 V.G. Revunenkov defended the doctoral thesis on the “Polish problem and diplomatic struggle in Europe at the end of 1850s – at the beginning of 1860s”. In 1957 it was published as the monograph called “Polish rebellion of 1863 and European diplomacy”. Later Revunenkov worked as editor and author of many chapters and tutorials (for pupils, students and teachers) devoted to the history of modern times. Many of these tutorials were translated into different languages (for peoples of the USSR, Eastern Europe and China.
From 1960s Revunenkov dedicated a lot of his time to the French Revolution studies. His monograph “Marxism and the problem of Jacobin dictatorship” (historical sketch) was published in 1966 and contained analysis of Marx’s, Engels’s and Lenin’s views on the problem of Jacobin dictatorship, what was extremely interesting and essential for historians. The method was specific as well. Revunenkov explored the problem not as the historic fact but as the developing process. Then he published the monographs: “Paris sans-culottes of the times of the French Revolution” (1971), “Paris Commune. 1792-1794” (1976) and the articles devoted to different historical issues and historiography of the French Revolution: “Sans-culottes and Jacobins” (Modern and contemporary history, 1969, ¹3); “Agrarian policy of Jacobins” (Vestnik of Leningrad University, 1973, ¹2); “Death of hebertistes” (History issues, 1974, ¹6); “About the social basis of hebertistes movement” (Modern and contemporary history, 1974, ¹ 4); “Paris Commune and Convent maximum law” (Vestnik of Leningrad University, 1976, ¹ 20), etc. All these monographs and articles meant that Leningrad academic tradition in the French Revolution studies appeared and that tradition was absolutely different from Moscow one (N.M. Lukin and A.Z. Manfred headed it there). Basing on the achievements of historiography, especially on the French one, and on the large amount of historical sources revolution of the late XVIII century, V.G. Revunenkov carefully analyzed the social structure, ideology, tactics and political organizations of the Paris sans-culottes and their relations with the Jacobins, and concluded that the Jacobin dictatorship was not a union of the revolutionary bourgeoisie and people masses, that during the Jacobin dictatorship there were dual power - with the bourgeois Jacobins dictatorship on the one hand and the Paris Commune and its sections on the other. The author proved that the Paris Commune and its sections were the beginning of democratic dictatorship of “lower classes”. Preparing to write the monograph on the history of the French Revolution, V.G. Revunenkov did a lot for the problem of chronicles: in the article published in the Vestnik of Leningrad University in 1979 (¹ 14), he proved that the revolution period was from 1789 - to 1799. Thus, “Napoleon epoch” - 1799-1814 - was distinguished in a special period of development of France. In 1982 he published the first part of "Historical essays on the French Revolution”, in 1983 - the second. The subtitle of the first part was "The fall of the monarchy. 1789-1792", and subtitle of the second part was "The Jacobin republic and its collapse". “Essays” were published for the second, third and forth times. During these years V.G. Revunenkov was writing the monograph about one of the main heroes of the Revolution - Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1999 he published the monograph "Napoleon and the Revolution. 1789-1815" and in 2001 the new edition of it was published ("The Rise and Fall of Napoleon Bonaparte"). Revunenkov devoted more that 30 years to different studies on the French Revolution. But that was not the only subject of his studies. Even small articles about English Revolution (XVII century), June rebellion in Paris in 1848 and others were of great value and interest for history, because Revunenkov has always given his own new interpretation of these events.
K.B. Vinogradov was a great historian. He had already had his own historical specialization when he came to the Department. His main interests were international relations of the second half of the XIX – the beginning of the XX century. He defended the thesis in 1948 and its subject was foreign affairs of Austria-Hungary. But the first monograph by Vinogradov was devoted to historiography of England and called “Essays on English historiography in modern times” (1959). In 1975 there was published a new edition of his “Essays”. Vinogradov had two main subjects to study – historiography and history of Great Britain. His works have always been full of factual material, all of them have had conceptual accuracy and proved arguments. The base of his monographs and articles contained large amount of sources and books in different languages; all the persons, whom he mentioned in his works, were shown so emotionally, so preciously, what tells us about great interest and love of the author to everything he had written about. In 1962 there was published the monograph “Bourgeois historiography in the period of the First World war: origin of the war and international relations in 1914-1917”. The author created his own conception of that war, told much about the reasons for the war and analyzed international situation in that period. This monograph was mainly historiographical and Vinogradov included in it full characteristics of documental sources of the war and scholars who specialize on the First World war can still use it. In 1964 Vinogradov defended his doctoral dissertation on the base of his monograph “Bourgeois historiography in the period of the First World war”. The same year he published another monograph devoted to prehistory of the war – “Bosnian crises of 1908-1909 – backgrounds of the First World war”. In 1960-1970 the genre of political biography was very widespread and popular. Vinogradov was one of the most outstanding authors in that genre. In 1970 he published the monograph about David Lloyd George. Then he wrote about Bismarck and Wilhelm II, Palmerstone and Solisbury, Brian and Lesseps, Parnell and Kuhlman. Part of these essays was written with the assistance of Vinogradov’s students. And later some of them were included in the book “Monarchs, ministers, diplomats of the XIX - the beginning of the XX century” (2002) and some in the monograph “World politics in 1860s-1880s: events and people” (1991). Different essays from the monograph are connected and characterize the end of the XIX century. There is no doubt that these two books take place among the most important monographs about that period.
K.K. Khudoley was the specialist in British modern history and worked at the Department. He became the assistant on the Department right after graduation. Soon he published a few articles devoted to the history of labor movement and internal development of England in 1970s. In 1978 he defended the thesis on the “Strike contrary of shipbuilders in Upper Clyde (1971-1972) and its influence on anti monopolist struggle in Great Britain”. In 1984 he published the monograph “Internal political struggle in Great Britain under the Edward Heath conservative government in 1970-1974”. The subject for the doctoral dissertation was the same. Khudoley gave lecture courses on the history of international communist movement and Comintern history. For a long time he headed the Faculty of International relations of St. Petersburg State University.
Two historians from the Department of modern and contemporary history devoted their monographs to the international labor movement. In 1955 P.F. Kukharsky published the book “International labor movement nowadays”. The monographs by S.A. Mogilevsky were probably more informative. He gave that lecture course after Kukharsky. His main works are “Restoration of the Second International. 1919-1923” (1963) and “Current history of world communist and labor movement” (1971).
German studies have always been traditional subject of studying at the Department. S.I. Voroshilov studied that subject very fruitfully. He chose it because of fluent German language skills and his long work as the interpreter in the soviet army secret service (and work at Soviet Military Administration in Austria). Voroshilov had a great opportunity to study Austria from within, to see its political development and general situation. Moreover he could use the Austrian archives. All these factors helped Voroshilov in his work as a historian. He defended the doctoral dissertation on the base of his monograph published in 1968 “The birth of the Second Republic in Austria”. In the book author explores the processes in the country, characterizes some political and business groups which were loyal to fascism and explores the process of new republic development. In his next monographs and articles Voroshilov widened the studied period of history: many of his articles were dedicated to complicated processes, which had taken place in Austria-Hungary and German Empire, political parties of East and West Germany, etc.
One of the leading historian of southern and western Slavs was professor S.I. Stetzkevich. His professional interests were as well influenced by the War. He served in the Polish army. Polish history of XIX-XX centuries was the main subject of his works. In 1951 he successfully defended the thesis “Labor movement in Warsaw in the period of Russian revolution in 1905-1907”, which was written on the base of many archive documents and other sources. In 1955 Stetzkevich published his first monograph called “Revolution in Poland in 1905-1907”. The monograph was very well prepared and written. Stetzkevich was invited to take part in writing the “Essays on southern and western Slavs history” as the editor and one of the authors. In 1957 that monograph was published. In the same year he was invited to work at the Department. In 1966 he took part in writing of another book “Essays on the people’s Polish history”. Later he defended the doctoral dissertation on the base of his fundamental monograph “Labor movement in Poland in 1918-1919”. In his monograph (and dissertation) Stetzkevish showed which place took working class in Poland in 1918 (when polish people restored their independence). Then he wrote many articles about different issues in Polish history. In 1980s-1990s S.M. Stetzkevich returned to the subject of his first works – the revolution of 1905-1907. After his death the monograph “Proletariat of the Kingdom of Poland in the revolution of 1905-1907” was published. Stetzkevich emphasized the great meaning of polish historiography, which allowed him and other scholars to study the subject on the new better level.
An important moment for the author was his participation in the collective work on the "Public movement on Polish territory: The main ideological trends and political parties in 1864-1914." (Moscow, 1988). S.M. Stetskevich was one of the authors of the chapter "The Revolution of 1905-1907 and Polish political party". Revolution in the Kingdom of Poland, one of the borderlands of the Russian Empire, was part of the Russian Revolution. As the author mentions, despite the common for the whole Empire reasons of the Revolution, in Poland the pressure on the polish people played a huge role. The working class played the leading role. In the conclusion Stetzkevich wrote that despite the defeat revolution changed a lot in the country and made tsarist government to make concessions. Scholar emphasizes important changes in the life of working class. In the end of the book the author added that to understand the development of Poland after the Revolution and till independence it was important to look at two personalities – Pilsudski, who was the head of the state, and Dzerzhinsky, who was one of the initiators of “red terror”. The monographs by Stetzkevich were very important for the polish studies. His way of thinking and analizing was unique and his works are still actual because of great amounts of used documents and press (Polish and Russian).
He used all these qualities being a lector as well. He was really modern man, interested in everything around inside the country and in foreign countries, knew a lot about current situation in the world what helped him to characterize very realistically all the events in Eastern Europe (1980s-1990s), discuss current problems and understand them. His lectures were very popular - and not only the course of southern and western Slavs history, but also his special courses. They were of great interest not only for students but for graduates and other professors as well. “Anti fascist uprisings in 1944 in Eastern Europe countries”, “Anti fascist struggle of Central and Eastern Europe peoples during the World war II” were among his special courses. Stetzkevich was invited to read lectures in different places, like Higher Party School, Center of Advanced Studies (in Leningrad University), thanks to his professionalism, knowledge, ability to characterize and analyze historical events.
It is essential to mention that he did a lot to write tutorials for pupils and students. Many of them were translated into all languages in the USSR. The most popular was the tutorial “Socialistic European countries” (1977).
The USA history has always been another important subject of studies at the Department. B.K. Furaev studied relationships between the USA and the USSR between the wars of the XX century. He defended the thesis, published the monograph “Soviet-american relations in 1917-1939”. That very monograph was the base for his doctoral dissertation which he defended in 1964. B.A. Shiryaev began studying insufficiently explored issues of development of American state. In 1981 he published the monograph “Political struggle in the USA. 1783-1801”. Later he defended the doctoral dissertation. He used to be the Head of the Department in 1990-1993 and then began working at the Faculty of international relations.
In 1985 S.V. Shershneva defended the thesis on the unique subject devoted to religious movements in the USA – “Charismatic movement in the USA. 1960s-1970s”. Then S.V. Shershneva paid her attention to working out new courses on the history of Christianity in Western Europe and the USA. In 1999 she published the tutorial “Issues of the USA modern history: religion and church in the social and political life of English colonies in America in the XVII century” and the articles devoted to different sides of religious life in the USA.
Professor V.A. Ushakov works at the Department from 1999. For the moment when he came to the Department he had already become a scholar. He wrote serious monographs dedicated to the American history of the XVIII century: “America under Washington”(1983), “American loyalism” (1989), “American state establishment” (1992), etc.
M.N. Kuzmin was a talented person and a scholar. He was a great specialist in French history, especially of the last quarter of the XIX century and the period between two wars of the XX century. He was erudite, well-read and the names of R. Rolland, G. Giraudoux, A. Maurois, M.E. Saltikov-Tschedrin and others could be often noticed in his works. In his articles Kuzmin analyzed the events of internal politics of France. The monograph “Internal political struggle in France (1926-1932)” is well-known. It was published in 1975. He used large amount of sources for his works and the style of the monographs and articles was very extraordinary, lively and imaginative. That made his books and lectures very popular.
B.N. Komissarov was one of the leading specialists of Brazil history and historiography at the Department. He dedicated a lot of time to studies of Russian scientist and traveler G.I. Langsdorff biography and his archive. He publishe the monographs “G.I. Langsdorff 1774-1852” (1975), “The first Russian expedition to Brazil” (1977), “Russian documents on the Brazil history of the first third of the XIX century” (1977), “Petersburg – Rio-de-Janeiro, relations establishment. 1808-1828” (1987). Komissarov used all the materials from Langsdorff archive, studied them carefully and on the base of these materials, the documents from Russian archives and the archives of Brazil ministry of foreign affairs Komissarov found a lot about the beginning of relations between Russia and Brazil – from first nongovernmental visits and meetings to the official establishment of relations. Before Komissarov there were no such attempts to analyze the history of Russian-Brazil relations through such long period of time from 1808 to 1828. B.N. Komissarov used to be the Head of the Department till 2003 (from 1993) and then left for another place of work.
A.A. Petrova work fruitfully at the Department. Her dissertation was devoted to the Cuban Revolutionary Party and Hose Marti. But she has studied the history of Spanish colonial policy in Latin America in XVI-XVIII centuries and the history of Spain: formation of colonies in the Western part of the world, their management, their economic and political development, foreign policy of Spain, etc. All these issues are the main subjects of articles and monographs by A.A. Petrova. She took part in writing the monograph and lecture course: “Three centuries of colonial America: about the typology of feudalism in the Western hemisphere” (1992) and “History problems of Colonial America” (1991). The works by A.A. Petrova are always very logical, all the facts and suggestions are proved and supported with arguments. She was one of the authors of the monograph “Burning issues of modern Spanish history” (1997). The monograph presents the lecture course and the rich source and literature base proves that it is a serious, professional work.
N.P. Evdokimova studies the history of international relations. She began with studies of French-German relations history of 1925-1930, when France understood the necessity to change their attitude toward Germany. N.P. Evdokimova devoted her dissertation and a few articles to that issue. Then she studied the history of the First World war. In 1985 there was published the monograph “Between East and West: the problems of separate peace and diplomatic maneuvers of Austria-Hungarian union in 1914-1917”. The author explores in details the actions of Germany and analyzes why they were unsuccessful in that period of time. In 1997 A.A. Petrova and N.P. Evdokimova wrote the lecture course “Burning issues of modern Spanish history”.
S.N. Korotkov and O.V. Sokolov continued studying of the French Revolution. Korotkov defended the thesis in 1992 on the “Financial policy of Convent”, in which he paid a lot of attention to the period of Jacobin dictatorship. S.N. Korotkov published a lot of articles about these issues. He was the author of introduction, biography notes, comments of the publication “Liberty. Equality. Fraternity: the French Revolution: Documents, letters, speeches, memories, songs, poetry” (1989). O.V. Sokolov studies French army in the period before the revolution and during it. The subject is absolutely new for Russian historiography. In 1991 he defended the thesis on the “Officer corps of the French army before and during the Revolution (1789-1799)”. In 1999 he published the monograph “Napoleon’s army”. It was published in France in 2003. Sokolov is the president of Association of military and sport clubs and he makes many reconstructions of different battles of Napoleon times. In 2003 he was awarded National Order of the Legion of Honor.
On the 22nd of December, 2003 Professor V.N. Baryshnikov became the Head of the Department. He graduated from the Faculty of history in 1982, defended the dissertation on the “Increased socio-economic situation and development of internal political crisis in Finland in the period of the Second World war”. Then he began giving the lecture course on the history of Finland and in 1993 became a member of the Department team of the scholars. The first monograph by V.N. Baryshnikov (he was one of the authors) “Finland in the Second World war” was published in 1985. Actually, in our country for that time it was practically the only thorough monograph devoted to Finnish participation in the war. The book was published in Finland and then republished in Leningrad in 1989. New materials were included in the last edition. After that V.N. Baryshnikov began working out another burning issue, connected with Finnish history and the Second World war – the scholar tried to find out the reasons for the Soviet-Finnish war in 1939-1940. In 1997 he published the monograph “From cold peace to winter war: Eastern politics of Finland in 1930s”. The book became the base for the doctoral thesis, which was defended in 1998. Later V.N. Baryshnikov began to study the very history of the war between the USSR and Finland. The two new monographs were published: “Winter war 1939-1940. Part I” (1998, translated into Finnish) and “Terijoki Government: new documents tell” (published in 2002, in Finnish language). Both monographs were written in co-authorship. In 2003 the second book was published with added materials in Russia. “Finland’s entry into the World War II” was another monograph published in 2003. A lot of articles by V.N. Baryshnikov are devoted to the burning issues of Finnish history. One of the main advantages of his works is the large basis of different documents, books and other materials used for them. The author studied accurately Finnish and Russian archives, the majority of which was closed for the historians for a long time. The opportunity to use these materials let the scholar understand and explore all the events and the general situation in both countries before and during Soviet-Finnish war and the World War II.
From 2003 many extraordinary scholars began working at the Department. O.U. Plenkov is one of them. Plenkov was a student of Voroshilov. His main historical interests are German fascism, the World War II and all the right-wing fascism streams in Europe in 1920s-1930s. In 1997 O.U. Plenkov published the monograph “Nation myths vs democratic myths. German political tradition and Nazism”. His doctoral dissertation was dedicated to the “German political culture and national-socialism”. In 2004-2005 in the series “The X-Files” (“Secret materials”) there were published four monographs by O.U. Plenkov devoted to different aspects of the totalitarian ideology, political and military of the Third Reich: “Hitler socialism”, "The Nazi state", "Aryanculture ","Wehrmacht, the war, German society”. In all these monographs the author used absolutely new approach. He managed to demystify many wrong views toward Hitler Germany.
V.E. Vozgrin is an outstanding specialist of the Scandinavian countries history. He works at the Department from 2005. He graduated in 1967 from the Faculty of history. From 1970 he worked at the Leningrad Department of History Institute, Academy of Science, the USSR. He is a member of Royal Danish Academy of Sciences. V.E. Vozgrin is the author of more that 150 works.Many of them are translated into other languages. The history of diplomacy and culture of Scandinavian countries is the main subject of studies for the scholar. He defended the thesis in 1977 and the doctoral dissertation in 1989. His supervisor and teacher was professor I.P. Shaskolsky. “Russian-Danish relationships in 1697-1714” and “Russia and European countries in the years of Great Northern war (the history of international relations in 1697-1710)” were the subjects of his dissertations. Moreover, Vozgrin is interested in the history of Crimean Khanate and Greenland history. He edits, translates and writes comments to sources publications – especially the notes of Scandinavian travelers in Russia.
V.N. Borisenko is the specialist of British history and works at the Department from 2006. He has a PhD. His main interests are: imperialism, Great Britain of Victorian epoch. He graduated from the Faculty of history in 1977, he was the student of K.B. Vinogradov. In 1984 he defended the dissertation on the “Relationships between the USA and Great Britain in Europe in 1904-1907”. He was the head of the organizing committee of the conference (9 December, 2008) devoted to the “Empires and imperialism of modern times”. This great historical forum was of great importance for the Department and its main work.
B.P. Zaostrovtzev, in the past student of V.K. Furaev, has a PhD and works very actively at the Department from 2006. The main subject of his studies is the history of economy (XX century), especially American economic history and the influence of “big business” on international relations. He is the author of large amount of articles devoted to these subjects.
A.V. Bodrov works at the Department from 2004 and has a PhD. He began his work as a historian right after graduation from the Faculty, continuing his studying and working at the Department as the assistant. He is specialized in the history of international relations of the second half of the XIX century. He pays a lot of attention to the subject of French-German relations. His teacher and supervisor was Vinogradov. In 2007 he successfully defended the thesis on the “French-German relations in the first years after the Treaty of Frankfurt (1871-1872)” led by N.P. Evdokimova. He pays a lot of attention to the French publicists’ and litterateurs’ of the Third Republic attitude towards defeat of 1870.
L.V. Sidorenko is one of the youngest scholars of the Department, has PhD. He works on the Faculty from 2009. In March, 2009 he defended the thesis on the “Mobarchy and the Cabinet of Great Britain: problem of relationships in 1760-1783” (supervisor and teacher V.N. Borisenko). Now L.V. Sidorenko gives the course of military art history.
From 2004 T.N. Goncharova works as the assistant at the Department. She graduated in 1994, was student of K.B. Vinogradov. T.N. Goncharova continued her studying in EPHE, Paris, France. In 2004 she defended the dissertation on “Russia through the eyes of French diplomats”.
Nowadays the Department of modern and contemporary history continues to study burning issues of history of international relations and world wars, and history and historiography problems of Germany, France, the USA, Spain, countries of Northern Europe and Latin America. Every year the Department organizes international conferences devoted to the main issues of history.
The Department passed through different times. But as always the scholar team confidently walks into the future, saving and developing traditions of elder generations. The most important fact is that every year new students come to the Department and we are ready to give them our knowledge, love and interest to history and everything that we have taught from out Teachers.
Trans. by S. Ryabinkina (Yakimova) and L. Sidorenko