Teadusseltsid nõukogude ühiskonnas


  • Kersti Taal




Research Societies in Soviet society

Kersti Taal

Library of the University on Tartu

In the year 1940 there were numerous research societies in Estonia, the activities of which were rearranged in the first Soviet year. Most of the private societies were already closed. Because of the beginning of the war in 1941 no changes, except the initial plans, were made. The learned Estonian Society and the Society of the Academic Native Language, discussed in the article, survived in the war years, their evacuated property reached Tartu successfully but both societies had lost an essential part of their membership.

The Learned Estonian Society and the Society of the Academic Native Language could start their activities after the adoption of the respective regulation of Soviet of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Estonia of 22 September 1945. After the establishment of the Academy of Sciences of Soviet Estonia in 1946 the subordination of the societies to Tartu University was changed into the subordination to the Academy of Sciences. Meetings of presentations and the arrangement of collections continued in both societies in the old way until 1950. The themes of presentations were selected in conformity with the new conditions- as much as possible Russia-centred. The learned Estonian Society tried to continue publishing yearbooks but only the manuscripts were made and no publication followed. The publication of Fr. R. Faehlmann, the founder-member’s manuscripts heritage failed. In its word the Society of the Academic Native Language devoted its attention to the work in the big masse of people – the collection of dialects continued, the students’ language circle started its work. After the VIII plenary session of the communist Party of Estonia in 1950 which started extensive search of bourgeois nationalists and their liquidation campaigne, it was planned to close both societies. The main reason was that the opened Institute of History and the Institute of Language and Literature at the Academy of Sciences did the same work. The societies were accused of keeping to bourgeois traditions, passiveness and in little interest in solving the problems of the Soviet population. The Learned Estonian Society was under the special attack. The chairman of the society professor Harri Moora was declared a bourgeois nationalist; the Learned Estonian Society was liquidated with the decision of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Soviet Estonia as of 28 June 1950 (restored in 1988). The Society of the Academic Native Language succeeded in continuing its activities using the tactics of delay. The collection of dialects could be presented as the work in broad masses of people.

In the following years of Soviet power different publications came out – the yearbook, scientific proceedings, instructions for collecting language materials, “The Local Dialect” (“Kodumurre”), the best papers of dialect correspondents. Language days were organised in Schools, language conferences were held. Being the only research society in humanities, the Society of Academic Native Language also joined folklorists, ethnographers, archaeologists and historians.



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Author Biography

Kersti Taal

University of Tartu Library