The White Book: A summary with observations (8)
Archived Articles 16 Jun 2006 Viktor VirakEWR
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At the Tallinn Technical University (from 1944-1989 known as the Tallinn Polytechnic Institute, or TPI) lectures started in November 1944, with 941 students and 86 lecturers. The TPI Party branch was hostile towards 24 professors who “had ignored the accomplishments of the USSR and bowed down to Western Europe”. (The article describes several ideological incidents.) Thus, the repressive policies of 1945-51 greatly hindered the functioning of the Institute and its scientific activities. In particular, two chairs caused the damage:

a) TPI Chair of the History of the CPSU. “Let us dedicate all our efforts and energy to the communist education of students.” The Chair was deeply hostile towards the Republic of Estonia and the Estonian independence. History of the CPSU was taught as a compulsory subject to all students, on the basis of a 120 hour programme. In the Faculty of Economics it was a 170 hour programme. Thus, in 1985, when the TPI had 9,609 students, approximately 260,000 academic hours were wasted studying this pseudo-science. A huge material loss on the social scale.

b) The Chair of Scientific Communism was formed in 1963, with Boris Tamm appointed Head. Scope of studies: “Comprehensive knowledge about the laws of development of the communist social order and about the ways establishing proletarian dictatorship”. Starting in 1974, all students, no matter in which field they were to graduate, had to pass a state examination in scientific communism. (So much for science...)

It was a large institute. In 1986 it had 2,100 employees and over 9,000 students. The function of the TPI Communist Party branch was to fight “against lecturers and students with national leanings and European sympathies” and to check and adjust the students' world views. Indoctrination of the highest degree!

The ESSR Academy of Sciences (AS) was founded in 1946. It had 4 departments, 12 institutes, 3 museums, 3 scientific societies. A total of 862 staff positions. The 1949 mass deportations aggravated the ideological antagonism between the intelligentsia and the political overlords. The work of the AS institutes of social sciences was soaked through with communist ideology — the active falsification of history influenced the compilation of reference books. For instance, 8 volumes of the Estonian Soviet Encyclopedia (ENE)were published between 1968-1976. Its articles on social and humanitarian sciences followed the ideology of the communist theory. (On the whole, this section describes the intrigues of the ideologies and their applications in AS work in great detail.)

As a consequence of occupation, an enforced absolute censorship and destruction of literature was carried through. The Soviet Union combined two historical censorship methods — pre- and post-censorship — with a new aspect: the ongoing correction of data and positions already published in encyclopedia and books. This was known as permanent censorship. In 1940, it was put into practice immediately in Estonia. According to research in 1995, approximately 50,000 titles were removed from Estonian libraries 1940-1041.

(Then, in 1941, German censorship followed: a multi-level censorship was set up, for the ideological categorization of all published works. Banned German and Estonian books were removed from the shelves, according to special lists. Likewise with communist literature. It is estimated that 250,000 books were destroyed during the German occupation.)

During the first year of the second Soviet occupation, extensive ideological clean-out of libraries was carried out. With the implementation of the Soviet Union system, libraries were “clean” by the beginning of the 1950s. The Soviet authorities banned 27,000 - 28,300 titles published during the independence years, until 1940. That is, 87 % of all titles.

The archives and museums also suffered. The established network of archives was destroyed. It is interesting to note that the oldest period (before 1710) received the most “attention”. With the Soviet occupation in 1940, the archives were reorganized to benefit the interests of the new authorities.

(Also during the German occupation, damage was caused to Estonian archives: in 1942 2,658 archival units were taken to the Potsdam military archives; more than 7,000 archival units from the Tallinn city archives were taken to Germany. Also, archives in Tallinn and Narva suffered serious war damages. Regardless, the concept of the importance of role of archives remained.)

In parallel, the museums had their own problems. Reorganization of museums started in 1940 under the Soviet occupation and under close supervision of the Communist Party. Their demands were ideological: the museums were to illustrate the class struggle through the centuries; to show differences of living conditions of various social classes and strata; the October Revolution had to be praised everywhere; revolutionary memorabilia had to be displayed; and to demonstrate “historical friendship” between the Estonian and Russian nations; etc .

Further, the section thoroughly discusses the harm caused by falsification in social and humanitarian sciences and distortion in the field of natural sciences. The superiority of the Marxist-Leninist canons and Stalinist addition was proclaimed and applied to scientific research. Thus, pseudosciences were developed in the fields of natural and exact sciences; genetics was declared a bourgeois non-science; research in the field was forbidden; eminent scientists were repressed.

This falsification evolved into developing and upholding the Soviet view of the Estonian history, in particular to 1939-1944 events. Generally, working conditions for scientists worsened; many scientists were lost. The Estonian branch of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the All Union Communist Party of Bolshevik Central Committee (!) was founded in Tallinn. This organization undertook to reorganize the research into Estonian history, rewriting the history conforming with the communist ideology, education with new generation of historians. (It shows that the history is made by those who are writing it.) Treatment of the recent history depended entirely on Party's propagandistic objectives.

Continuing, the article gives a succinct description of the efforts in rewriting of the history, against the background of occupation of the Baltic States by the Soviet Union as a "voluntary accession". To illustrate this, at the end of 1952, the “History of the Estonian SSR” (from the Earliest Times until Today) was published, being a communist propaganda textbook in institutions of higher education and secondary schools. However, Stalin's death 1953 necessitated revisions, according to changing political situation, also in Estonia. Political flexibility prevailed, as a routine.

(to be continued.)
 
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