BELOZEROV V.K. Between Science and Ideological Pressure: Political Reflection on Civil War in Soviet Russia in 1917–1922


Vasily K. Belozerov

Doctor of Sciences (Politics), Professor, Head of the Department of Political Sciences,

Moscow State Linguistic University,

Ostozhenka St, 38, Bld. 1, 119034 Moscow, Russian Federation;

Leading Researcher,

Research Laboratory of the Study of Global and Regional Socio-Political Processes, Dobrolyubov Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod,

Minina St, 31a, 603155 Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Abstract. Introduction. The article explores the process and circumstances of understanding war as a political phenomenon in Soviet Russia 1917–1922, describes their impact on practice and theory development. For this purpose, the author studies the related political and ideological circumstances, characterizes the theory of class warfare and shows the specifics of understanding of the link between war and politics.

Methodology and research methods. The methodology is based on political realism and the recognition of war as a complex, volatile and contradictory political phenomenon. The article identifies the causality between the attitudes of the Soviet leadership, political practice and theoretical approaches to the study of war, taking into account real political situations, processes and decisions.

Analysis. The study of war as a political phenomenon took place in the context of policy impact of the ideology and doctrinal principles of the state. Two approaches have emerged in the development of the theory of war. The first was characterized by a pronounced ideological perception of the war. The second approach was marked by the recognition of the political nature and determination of war, while avoiding the discussion on the mechanism of implementation of Soviet political institutions into military theory and practice. Under these conditions, the synthesis of the two research paradigms was impossible. As a result, the first approach that didn’t recognize the existence of alternative points of view in the study of war began to prevail.

Results. In the early years of Soviet power, the scientific study of war turned out to be secondary in relation to the official ideological and doctrinal guidelines, which eventually began to formulate the comprehension of war as a political phenomenon. This situation, with minor changes, remained in the subsequent decades, which had consequences for the country’s defense and the use of military force.

Key words: Soviet Russia, theory of war, war as a political phenomenon, military doctrine, class warfare, civil war.

Citation. Belozerov V.K. Between Science and Ideological Pressure: Political Reflection on Civil War in Soviet Russia in 1917–1922. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 61-70. (in Russian). DOI:

Лицензия Creative Commons

Between Science and Ideological Pressure: Political Reflection on Civil War in Soviet Russia in 1917–1922 by Belozerov V.K. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Download this file (2_Belozerov.pmd.pdf) 2_Belozerov.pmd.pdf