MOSCOW, June 21 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Historical Society has been resume operation and elected State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin its chairman.
“The lessons of Russian history teach moral conduct in politics,” Naryshkin said, adding that this is one of the main reasons for the restoration of the society.
“By reviving the Historical Society we must consolidate the efforts of the state and scientists, different social and professional groups in order for foster a national historical culture,” the speaker said.
He believes that this must be done “on the basis of objective and impartial study of historical events”.
Naryshkin said making Russian archives more available to people and a thorough study of their documents should be one of the key aspects of the Historical Society’s work.
He said earlier that the restoration of the society would become “an important event for Russian culture”.
“The creation, or to be more precise recreation of the Russian Historical Society is a long-needed decision. It is largely connected with the goals of our support for Russian culture. This is why I said at a meeting of the Russian Historical Society Organising Committee that the Society's doors will be open for all humanity science scholars, including art experts,” the speaker said.
The year 2012 is the Year of Russian History. “We must do everything we can to make sure it has a lasting effect and sets long-term traditions. Our predecessors from the Imperial Russian Historical Society tried to do the same. The Society worked for half a century in the country until the revolution of 1917 and then continued abroad. But its members did so much even in those hard conditions to preserve our historical memory,” Naryshkin said.
“We will continue the best traditions and will most likely start our own ones that match the times. There are many plans and we will discuss them in late June at the founding congress of the Society,” he said.
The Russian Historical Society was founded in St. Petersburg in May 1866 and functioned until 1917. According to regulations issued by Emperor Alexander II, the society was placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its main purpose was to collect and publish materials and documents on Russian history from state and private archives.
The chairman of the society’s council was Prince Pyotr Viazemsky. Alexander Polovtsov, the secretary, directed most of the work and became chairman of the society in 1879. Various members of the ruling Romanov dynasty served as honorary chairmen of the Russian Historical Society.
Scholars connected with the society included Solovyov, Klyuchevsky, Zabelin, Platonov, Ikonnikov, Chechulin, Popov, and others.
Between 1867 and 1916, 148 volumes of the Collections of the Russian Historical Society were published; they included various documents on Russian history from the 15th through 19th centuries. A great deal of work was done in locating diplomatic documents pertaining to Russian history in the archives in London, Vienna, Paris, and other foreign cities. Between 1896 and 1918, 25 volumes of the Russian Biographical Dictionary were published by the society.