Petro Smolichev – Archivist: Unknown Page of Prominent Archaeologist and Museologist Activity (1932-1933)

Keywords: scientific activity, archivist, use of documents, evaluation of value, Holodomor, totalitarian system


The purpose of the study is to shine new light on the unknown page of the biography and creative activity of the prominent Ukrainian archaeologist Petro Smolichev, which was associated with his work in Zaporizhzhia State Historical Archive in 1932-1933. The authors try to show the content and reveal the nature of P. Smolichev’s work as a research fellow and organizer in the archival field.

The scientific novelty is in the discovery of completely unknown facts – the circumstances of P. Smolichev’s application to the archive as a potential place of work, finding out the terms of his tenure of appointment as deputy director of the archive, the characteristics of P. Smolichev’s professional activity as an archivist, showing the dependence of his activity on the social and political situation in the country at the time of the totalitarian system establishment, the Holodomor, and the starting of political repressions. Previously unknown archival documents from the State Archives of Zaporizhzhia Oblast are introduced into scientific circulation.

The research methodology. The addressing of the following research purpose was ensured by the use, along with general scientific and general historical methods, of archival heuristics and hermeneutics.

Conclusions. It is ascertained that at the beginning of 1932, during the reorganization of the archival system of Ukraine, P. Smolichev showed interest in working in Zaporizhzhia State Historical Archive. During 1932, he was appointed twice to the position of deputy director and worked there until February 1933. P. Smolichev approved himself to be a competent organizer, repeatedly performing the duties of a director. He worked during the difficult period of the Holodomor, which left its mark. He was a member of the expert committee of the archive, and ensuring efficient storage of documents, participated in the preparation and displaying of exhibitions.

The dramatic circumstances of P. Smolichev’s preparation of the publication ‘1905 in Zaporizhzhia Region’ for the historical and archival journal ‘Archive of Soviet Ukraine’ and the discussion on the manuscript of the publication are reconstructed.

In the example of the professional activity of P. Smolichev, the problems of the development of the archival system and documentary research in the conditions of the formation of Soviet totalitarianism are highlighted. The social and political factors and mechanisms that broke the destinies of scholars and destroyed the freedom of their creativity are shown. It is concluded that the archival page of P. Smolichev’s biography was evidence of the scholar's adaptation to harsh Soviet realities and the element of the survival strategy. We’ve got new information about the broad knowledge and versatile talent of the scholar, and his characteristic as a historian-archivist added to the completeness of his creative image.


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How to Cite
Ihnatusha, O., & Ihnatusha, A. (2022). Petro Smolichev – Archivist: Unknown Page of Prominent Archaeologist and Museologist Activity (1932-1933). Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (2(38), 114-129.
Modern History