White historiography

When the Russian Civil War ended in 1922, both Soviet Russia and the White diaspora immediately set about recording their contradictory narratives of it. The historical journal Arkhivʺ grazhdanskoi voiny (Archive of the civil war) is a prime example of how the émigrés voiced their experiences abroad. The two issues of this journal were published in Berlin in 1922 or 1923. The first, whose original front cover is shown here, contains a personal account of the civil war and reprints of articles by Nikolai Nikitich Ivanov, a former member of an anti-Bolshevik government which controlled north-western parts of the former Russian Empire for some months in 1919.

The cover is dominated by a heavily stylised illustration of a bird wistfully gazing towards a city, possibly Petrograd. The illustration is framed by equally stylised text which is ornamented with the same abstract flourishes as the illustration. The same hand is evident in the illustration of the second issue too, but is not named in either of them.

The illustrations are reminiscent of those produced by the artist Iurii Annenkov for Aleksandr Blok’s Dvenadtsat’ (The Twelve) in 1918, a book which has previously appeared in this exhibition. However, since Annenkov was based in Petrograd in 1922, it is perhaps unlikely that he illustrated a White émigré journal. It was not until 1924 that he emigrated to Paris and designed books and stage and film sets in France and Germany.

Arkhivʺ grazhdanskoi voiny (1922?)  586:9.b.90.2-3

caption by Phoebe Day