ROZHKOV A.Yu. “Only Bad With This Civil War”: Representation of the Events of 1917–1918 in Children’s Narratives


Alexander Yu. Rozhkov

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor, Head of Department of Sociology,

Kuban State University,

Stavropolskaia St, 149, 350040 Krasnodar, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. Our understanding of the life of children during the Civil War is largely based on two sets of published documents: the essays of immigrant children, written abroad in 1924–1925, and personal documents of the children of the Petrograd nutritional colony, who made forced trip around the world in 1918–1921, about whom the book by O.I. Molkina. Therefore, any new sources in this area are very valuable. The purpose of the article is to reconstruct the images of childhood during the period of civil confrontation through the interpretation of the collection of “children’s letters” written in 1917–1918.

Methods. The study is based on methodological developments in the study of “children’s” texts created by A.A. Salnikova. Based on the objectives of the study, the analysis of 54 selected narratives of children and adolescents (1917–1918) was carried out within the methodological framework of interpretive approach based on “understanding” reading of “children’s letters” through an unformalized analysis of their texts.

Analysis. As a result of the analysis of the texts of letters of children and adolescents, the main thematic topics of correspondence were revealed, which made it possible to structure the texts of children’s letters. The identified thematizations were grouped into nine blocks: “war”, “revolution”, “deprivation”, “children”, “adults”, “life”, “protest”, “study”, “feelings / emotions”. The scope and objectives of the article allow to focus only on the first three blocks. Unlike the essays written by children in exile, many of the authors of the letters we studied belonged to a completely different social environment – the families of the Russian intelligentsia, who positively perceived the revolution, sympathizing with the Bolsheviks or being in their ranks.

Results. Analysis of “children’s letters” 1917–1918 showed that there is no single children’s discourse about the Civil War. At least two diametrically opposite children’s discourses – “emigrant” and “revolutionary”, are quite clearly observed. The second discourse was presented in this work.

Key words: Civil war, revolution, Russia, 1917–1918, “children’s texts”, children’s narratives, children’s discourse about the war.

Citation. Rozhkov A.Yu. “Only Bad With This Civil War”: Representation of the Events of 1917–1918 in Children’s Narratives. 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. 225-238. (in Russian). DOI:

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“Only Bad With This Civil War”: Representation of the Events of 1917–1918 in Children’s Narratives by Rozhkov A.Yu. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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