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Formation of the system of administration of public education during the first years of the Soviet government (on the example of Tyumen governorate) / Система органов управления народным просвещением в Тюменской губернии в первые годы советской власти
Ключевые слова: совет народного образования, губревком, революционный комитет, военный кризис, гражданская война, отдел образования, народное образование, Народный комиссариат просвещения, Главполитпросвет, Тюменская губерния
Дата направления в редакцию: 11-04-2017
Дата публикации: 19-04-2017
Abstract. The article is dedicated to examination of the processes of formation of the system of administration of public education and cultural-educational activity during the first years of the establishment of Soviet government in the Tyumen (Tobolsk) governorate, prior to its entry into the Ural Region in 1923. Based on the analysis of archive materials, the author determines and analyzes the features of formation and human resources of the provincial department of public education under the circumstances of civil war, as well as establishment of the system of soviets. The article gives assessment to the role of military revolutionary committee of Tyumen governorate alongside the provincial political and educational committee in the organization of public education. The scientific novelty is substantiated by introduction into the academic discourse of the archive materials that allow expanding the perception on the content of state building processes in the field of public education, as well as political agitation in the territory of Tyumen governorate. The author underlines that the development of organizational structures alongside the system of administration of public education in the region were under the influence of the circumstances of civil war and repetitive change of political power.
Keywords: Tyumen province, Ministry of Education, Central Committee of the Republic for Political Education, department of education, Provincial revolutionary committee, revolutionary committee, Education department, civil war, military crisis, public education, council of public education
The goals and priorities of education policy within each historical period lean on the established sociopolitical, ideological, and cultural conditions. Analysis of development of the education system alongside its administrative bodies, allows determining certain regularities within the framework of this activity, as well as reconsider the organizational and conceptual aspects of functionality of the modern administrative structures, taking into account the historical experience.
From the historiographical perspective, examination of the questions of establishment and development of public education in Soviet Russia has deep roots. Already in 1920’s – 1940’s we can observe the attempts of description and analysis of the work of party and government bodies on administration of separate directions of enlightenment and education activity: non-formal education , administration of Soviet school , and political enlightenment .
Over the period of 1950’s – 1970’s, examination of the sphere of administration of public education was focused on the study of the work of central and republican bodies ; at the same time. Special attention was given to the analysis of organizational principles of structuring the administration system and mechanism of interaction between its separate elements .
Since 1970’s, based on the established approaches towards the study of cultural processes , an integral part of which was the system of education, attention was turned to the regional and local levels . Namely during this time, emerge the works dedicated to the history of cultural development in Ural and Siberia, as well as the first research on separate aspects of administration and analysis of independent organizational structures within the system of public education managements . A number of works over the period of 1990’s – early 2000’s  is devoted to the analysis of organizational forms of large-scale cultural facilities and their work  alongside the mechanism of interaction between the local and central government agencies on realization of cultural reforms during the first years of Soviet regime.
At the same time, we should underline the lack of special works dedicated to the formation of system of bodies on public education administration in Tyumen governorate during the period of 1918-1923. This circumstance particularly served as the foundation for the topic at hand.
Creation of the system of education and culture administration in Soviet Russian was initially based on the principles of collegium, dual subordination, and extensive discussion of the determined issues. The principal element of the system of administration became the People's Commissariat for Education (Narkompros), which was in headed the local Ministries of Public Education . The State Commission on Education was directly responsible for the questions of development of reorganization plans in the system of public education within the republic, as well as distribution of financial resources relying on the major directions of the activity. The composition of the State Commission of Education consisted of the representatives of All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VtsIK), members of collegium and heads of the Narkompros departments, representatives of the professional teachers unions and Central Bureau of the Workers Cooperatives, and representatives of People’s Commissariat for Nationalities [16, p. 452].
First steps towards establishment of the centralized system of administration of public education in Siberia were taken by the decisions of the Third All-Siberian Congress of Soviets, which took place in February of 1918.
By decision of the Congress, as a part of the Central Executive Committee of Soviets of Siberia, has been formed the Commissariat for Education that was supposed to lead the Department of Public Education (DPE) throughout the subordinate territories. It resulted in the process of reforms of local bodies of education administration (departments, units, soviets for education of the local council of deputies), which is based on the universal approaches towards the establishment of organizational structure and author of these bodies.
Adopted by the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom) position “On Organization of Public Education in the Russia’s Republic” of June 18, 1918 consolidated the organizational grounds of the system of education administration at the local level, as well as determined the high-priority directions of the regional governments .
Provincial, district, and administrative Departments of the Public Education realized the decisions of the Executive Committees of the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers', and Peasants’ Deputies of the corresponding level. The Executive Committees of provincial, district, and administrative Soviets of Deputies formed the composition of DPE. At the same time, the Chairman of DPE was a direct member of the Executive Committee. Chairman of the provincial DPE, was selected by the Congress of Soviets.
The central government bodies, as well as the local authorities superintended the work of DPE. Principle of dual subordination was applied in accordance with the assignment of the Chairman of DPE, who was nominated by the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Deputies, but appointed by Narkompros. It was mandatory for the Narkompros representative with the right of vote to be a part of DPE, but appointed by the corresponding Executive Committee.
Public control over the work of DPE was realized by the Soviet for Public Education (SPE), a part of which were the representatives of professional and other associations that have right to participation in formation of the Soviet of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies. Granting control to SPE was provided by the decisions of the Third All-Russian Congress of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies, which took place in January of 1918, as well as a number of claims of the party leaders on the necessity for “control over the activity of Soviet authorities” in aspects of public education [19, p. 206].
SPE member actively participated in discussion of the questions of realization of events dedicated to cultural enlightenment and public education, which influenced the final decisions made by DPE. Controversial situation often became the subject of discussion at the sessions of Executive Committees of the Soviets of Deputies; in separate cases, the Narkompros representatives were involved into the discussions.
The proposed by Narkompros plan of reorganization of the system of public education administration in a number of governorates was complicated but the circumstances of civil war. Tyumen governorate was one of the territories within the war zone. Partial transition of the governorate under the control of White Army in July of 1918 lead to elimination of the system of Soviets and restoration of the Provisional Government.
In the territories controlled by Red Army, the authority associated with organization of work on realization of measures planned by the central authorities of the Bolsheviks, were granted to the special regulatory bodies – revolutionary committees (revkoms). Revkoms consisted of the representatives of armies deployed on this territory, members of the local soviets of deputies, as well as representatives of the local party organizations. In their work, revkoms were guided by the decree of the Central Executive Committee of the party “On Revolutionary Committees”. The internal organizational structure of revkoms suggested the necessity of creating the specialized departments on separate directions of state construction in the occupied territory. The established departments “immediately enter into regular relations with the corresponding people’s commissariats… and carry out their work in accordance with the circulating orders from the commanding branches” [1, p. 306].
The order of organization, structure, and functions of the revkoms in Ural and Western Siberia, was established by the Order No. 36 of June 24, 1919 of the Vyatsk governorate military revolutionary committee of the 3rd Army of Eastern Front [1, p. 301-302]. The amendment to the order contained the following: “henceforth until restoration of the local Soviets in the Soviet held territories, headquarters of the military base which occupied this region, there is to be established a provisional revolutionary committee pursuant to circumstances and size of population numbering 3-5 persons” [1, p. 301-302].
The created by the political departments of 51st and 29th division of the 3rd Army revolutionary committee of Tyumen governorate, has existed from August of 1919 until June of 1920 [10, p. 4]. A. D. Makarov, who previously held the position of the war commissary assistant of 454th regimen, was assigned as the revolutionary committee chairman [1, p.306], while the editor of the newspaper “Izvestia of Tyumen Revkom” I. I. Zykov and head of the local organization of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) V. M. Karmashov were appointed as his deputies [10, p. 5].
In mid-October of 1919, A. D. Makarov has replaced B. Z. Shumyatsky (Andrey Chervonny) as the chairman of revkom, and himself was replaced on April 25, 1920 by S. A. Novoselov, who subsequently became a chairman of the Executive Committee of Tyumen Provincial Council.
One of the directions of activity of Tyumen revkom were the questions of public enlightenment and cultural development that were imposed on the established on Augusts 13, 1919 department of public education of Tyumen governorate [9, p. 48], which consisted of five sub-departments: school, preschool, alternative (including the classes of cinematography and theater), economic and finances, administrative. According to the staff records, the DPE consisted of 28 staff members [9, p. 123].
The peculiarity of the first two years of operation of the provincial DPE was the absence of clear delineation of the functions between sub-departments. Authority of the sections created within the framework of sub-departments were often transferred from one department to another, and often the sections themselves were transforming into standalone sub-departments. By the end of 1919 the Tyumen provincial DPE consisted of six departments: organizational, united labor school, alternative, art, statistical, and financial/accounting. In addition, the provincial DPE had Muslim section with independent status and clerical office [8, p.1].
The priority goal for the Tyumen DPE became the restoration of administration system on the county and district levels. Based on the normative documents adopted by Narkompros, the provincial DPE formulated instruction that contained recommendations on defining the organizational structure and local staff, primarily for the district sub-departments of provincial DPE. Preparation of this document revealed substantial differences in approaches towards organization of the local administration system, which was expressed in discussions on the issue of creation of district DPE.
Several staff members of the Tyumen provincial DPE expressed doubt with regards to the need to form DPE on the district level. In their opinion, due to great shortage of trained staff capable of organizing work in accordance with the requirements and political goals set by the revkom, it would be wise to concentrate organizational efforts on the provincial and county levels. As their arguments, the representatives of the “centralized” approach referred to the reports of the administrators of provincial DPE, which were regularly forwarded to the revkom and Tyumen committee of Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Thus, the report of the first head of the Tyumen provincial DPE V. V. Gerasimov read that “…there is not any administration apparatus… everything of value, all documents, were removed by White horde. Servicemen have left” [9, p. 48 b].
Assessments of the leadership of the party organization were just as grim. In the decision based on the results of Tyumen committee of Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) in August of 1919, it was underlined that “there is no evidence of any work in the department of public education… people that run the department do not know how to reestablish its activity. The head of the school sub-department does not have any idea and is unable to restart the work, since he does not understand its nature” [4, p. 4].
Despite the negative assessment of the quantitative and qualitative composition of individuals involved in the administration of education, majority of the collegium members of the provincial DPE spoke out for creation of district departments of education. Believing that the efficiency of the work of the DPE is defined by the “understanding of the local situation” and rapport between the administration and the population, a decision was made “on the need to organize district departments of public education” [4, p. 6].
Activation of the work of provincial revkom on organization of the system of administration over the education sphere manifested in creation of a special branch at the Tyumen DPE – the Collegium of DPE, which was led by the head of DPE. The main goal of the Collegium consisted in organization of systematic work of sub-departments, coordination of the work of the DPE and other administrative branches, timely response to requests of the educational facilities in order to familiarize the provincial DPE “with the relevant demands of the educators” [6, p. 20].
It is noteworthy that this initiative of the provincial authorities received support from Narkompros, which in April of 1920 issued a decree “On Collegiums of Provincial and County Departments of Public Education” [12, p. 53-54], which allowed proliferating the experience of the work of Tyumen authorities throughout the republic. At the same time, attempting to maintain control over the work of the local administrative branches and manifestation of various initiatives on the local levels the Narkompros firmly recommended inclusion of members of party and Komsomol organizations, local soviets, and “Narkompros delegates” into the Collegium of the DPE [12, p. 53-54].
To solve the staffing issue of the branches of education, the leadership of provincial DPE was tasked with involving “all cultural forces of the provincial center” [4, p. 6] into the department of public education. One of the first solutions in this regard became the order of the Tyumen revkom on recruitment of individuals who supported the Soviet authorities prior to being captured by the White Army – “those currently unemployed and desiring to get employment are invited to forward a written request addressed to the military revkom” [7, p. 16]. In addition to that, all Soviet facilities of Tyumen had to present the list of staff members with pedagogical training or practice for the purpose of their further involvement in the work of the public education institution [5, p. 76]. The severe shortage of staff members with sufficient qualifications often led to ambiguous, from the perspective of wartime, decisions of the provincial military revkom. Thus, in one of his orders the chairman of the Tyumen revkom allowed recruitment into schools of “individuals that are prisoners of war from the White Army” [6, p. 27], placing the responsibility for execution of this order upon the head of the provincial DPE. It suggested that after compiling the lists of educators determined among the prisoners of war of the local garrison and conducting due verification “on each of them within the Special department, involve in the work” [6, p. 27 b] in the public education institutions.
Overcoming the war crisis and establishing Bolshevist government on the local level, was meant to transfer authority to “newly organized Soviet, to which the local revkom must surrender all cases and documents, and the members of revkom will report to the base to which they were assigned” [1, p. 301-302].
Guided by the decree of the Soviet of the labor and peasant defense, issued in January of 1920, “in light of the change in circumstances, which excludes the possibility of local parallel branches of power (revkoms, ispolkoms, and military commissariats)” [17, p. 72], began the process of abolishment of all provincial and country revolutionary committees.
The groundwork for the transformation of the administration system in Tyumen governorate was laid in May of 1920. It was during this period that Tyumen (Tobolsk) governorate was taken from under the control of the Siberian revkom and undergone preparation for new elections into local soviets, to which all local authority was to be transferred.
Overcoming the aftermath of the civil war and difficulties in restoring the local soviets apparatuses, by June of 1920 the system of soviets in Tyumen governorate was reestablished. Between the 1th and 5th of June of 1920 Tyumen held the first provincial Congress of Soviets, resulting in election of the Executive Committee (provincial ispolkom) and its chairman S. A. Novoselov [13, p. 2]. On June 9, 1920 a decision was made to dissolve the provincial revkom and transfer all its authority to the provincial Executive Committee, which carried out administration between the Congresses of Soviets. The Tyumen provincial Executive Committee concentrated the control functions on realization of all state policy in the region, including education, cultural development, and propaganda. The questions of rapid administration were assigned to the Presidium of provincial ispolkom and its departments, which were formed based on branch principle.
Reestablishment of the soviets system lead to reexamination of the structure and general approaches towards managing separate life functions. The reforms also affected the sphere of education administration. One of the changes to the structure of the provincial DPE intended to liquidate portion of the sub-departments and reassign the functions between the remaining subdivisions. The reexamination of the functional responsibilities primarily impacted the alternative and financial/accounting sub-departments. Authority of the former was significantly expanded due to its allocation of authority in the area of regulation and organization of the activities of the creative collectives and cultural institutions, while the authority of the latter was significantly expanded due to the transfer of functions of the liquidated sub-department of statistics to its competence. Within the framework of the new organizational structure, there was suppose to be a substantial expansion to the authority of the Muslim section, which was transformed into the department of national minorities, being justified by the ethnic composition of the local population, and the need for consideration of the nationalistic-cultural traditions of not only the Tatar diaspora of the governorate, but also the members of other nationalities.
Towards the end of April of 1920, the Tyumen provincial DPE consisted of eight departments: alternative, united school, information-publishing, financial-accounting, organizational, national minorities, general clerical, and economic. But in this form the structure of the provincial DPE existed only until the Summer of 1920. By the second half of the year, being influenced by the party leadership that based its decisions on the cultural development, again transformed the structure by forming ten sub-departments, half of which had specialized sections on key directions of educational and cultural policies.
In November of 1920, the leadership of the DPE has been replaced. The provincial Executive Committee has assigned the leadership to V. Karmashev, which became an impulse for yet another reorganization of department’s structure [6, p. 49 b]. By the early 1921, the structure of Tyumen provincial DPE consisted of the following sub-departments: united labor school, alternative, professional education, protection of childhood, child security, arts, political education committee (as sub-department), national minorities, information-publishing, statistics and financial [8, p. 23].
Image 1. Structure of the department of public education of the Tyumen governorate in 1921 [6, p. 45, 49 b].
The special status within the system of sub-departments of the provincial DPE belonged to the political education committee. Foundation of the work of this organizational structure in the Tyumen governorate was laid back in October of 1918, when at the Executive Committee of the Soviets of Deputies was created the cultural education department, which carried out the functions of interaction between the local authorities and the Narkompros, as well as informing the central branch on the state of affairs and realization of the program events of the republic’s government in the area of general and political education of the population. Carrying out the realization of the assigned tasks through the system of local Soviets or branches of local self-governance, the cultural education department ensured the overall administration of the activity of instructors in the alternative and political education work, providing financial and organizational support for conducting recruiting events. The role of political educators rapidly grew after the decisions of the X Congress of the party, which acknowledged the work of the local Glavpolitprosvet departments as an important branch of the work of the Soviet government in proliferation and propaganda of the fundamental ideals of the new Socialist State. The tasks of the propaganda work throughout the territory of Siberia experienced certain difficulties having to do with the absence of strong ties with the central governorates, low number of Communists in the Tyumen governorate, and high level of illiteracy among local population. As the first step of the provincial DPE in proliferation of “the basics of understanding of the foundation of the Soviet government” became organization of lectures in coordination with the members of the Tyumen committee of Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) on the history of professional and workers’ movement, as well as party history [3, p. 25]. The structure of the provincial political education committee is presented in Image 2.
Image 2. The structure of political education committee of Tyumen governorate of 1921 [15, p. 122].
The efficiency of the work of the provincial DPE and its subordinate departments of local public education were further complicated by great shortage of specialists and staff. In accordance with the staff list consolidated by the head of the provincial DPE in December of 1920, the number of staff was suppose to consists of 219 people, of which only 110 were recruited [14, p. 136].
To staff shortage continued to remain a problem. Throughout the 1921-1922, there was gradual reduction of the administrative staff and specialists of the DPE. By December of 1921, the provincial department had only 66 staff members, and by April its number diminished to 45 [15, p. 63]. By November of 1922 out 47 staff members needed, only 33 were employed [11, p. 46]. On the county and district levels, the administration of education and political education was practically nonexistent. In the conditions of absence of sufficient funding, the system of districts DPE was eliminated, and their authority transferred to county inspectors, who were unable to organize the work in such vast territory. Dissolution of the district departments of education placed the provincial DPE into the circumstances where control of the activity of mass cultural and educational facilities became impossible. Partial improvement in the staff shortage situation took place in 1923, when a new scheme of administration was introduced, and Tyumen provincial DPE was reassigned under the authority of the public education of the Ural Regional Executive Committee (Ural DPE) [2, p. 242].
In conclusion, we can note that formation of the system of public education administration in the territory of Tyumen governorate in the early years of the Soviet government could be conditionally marked by three periods, which differed in the level of centralization, approaches towards decision-making, as well as degrees of self-sufficiency of the branches of education administration and their structural sub-departments.
The first stage in creation of the system of public education administration (February of 1918 – July of 1919) was characterized by creation of a unified network of departments of public education, subordinate to the Executive Committees of Soviets of Deputies of the provincial, county, and district levels. The democratic trends in the administration of public education, which manifested in creation of various types of councils (for example, Soviets of public education), suggested close cooperation between the DPE and local public organizations. At the same time, even at this stage of the establishment of the Soviet government, elements of strict administrative oversight and control began to manifest from the party and state authorities. First and foremost, this was expressed in the system of “dual subordination” in assignment of leadership positions in the DPE.
The second stage of formalization of the system of branches of administration of the sphere of public education in Tyumen governorate was associated with reestablishment of the Bolshevist control over the territory and its liberation from the White Army. A special role at this stage (August of 1919 – July of 1920) was played by the provisional branches of government represented by the military revolutionary committees, which reestablished the system of DPE and system of Soviets that were liquidated by the White Army. Use of special administrative methods, justified by the circumstances of civil war, led to concentration of authority on administration of education sphere in the Collegium of the DPE, consisting of members of provincial revkom, party and Komsomol organizations.
The advent of the third stage of development of the system of public education administration came in July of 1920, after the provincial Congress of Soviets, which served as the starting point for transition from “revolutionary committees to executive committees”. Leaning on the already acquired experience and recommendation of the central branches represented by the Narkompros of the Tyumen provincial DPE, remained only the restoration of the work of the county and district departments of education, but also lead the internal organizational structure to compliance with the priority goals of state policy in the area of public education. The peculiarities of the ethnic composition of Tyumen governorate population justified the creation of department of national minorities, while increased party control over the activity of the DPE lead to expansion of the authority of the political education department tasked with political propaganda.
The first steps in creation of the centralized system of local education administration were marked by number of difficulties, one of which was the severe staff shortage in branches of administration and their subordinate educational facilities. The issues of staff shortage was a continuous problem through all stages of the establishment of the system of administration in the first years of the Soviet government. The sharp need for specialists capable of organizing local work often led to rather ambiguous decisions, which practically went against the general trend of establishment of local party and state control. One of such decisions was the decree of provincial DPE to liquidate the district departments of education and transfer their authority to county inspectors, which led to decrease in efficiency of the overall administration of the lower level of educational facilities in the governorate.