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MAIN PAGE > Journal "Historical informatics" > Contents of Issue 01/2021
Contents of Issue 01/2021
Quantitative history
Vorobeva E.E. - 1953 Amnesty According to GULAG Statistics: Its Structure and Dynamics pp. 1-10


Abstract: The article studies the dynamics of 1953 amnesty and analyzes its structural characteristics. The 1953 amnesty was the largest in the entire history of the Soviet penitentiary system. Therefore, it is of particular interest to know the stages of the prisoners’ release process and the way such a large-scale problem could be solved. The author focuses on the structure of prisoners to be released as well as the structural changes of prisoners caused by the amnesty and their impact on the system as a whole. Despite a large number of domestic and foreign studies addressing the GULAG, the process of amnesty implementation has not been studied as it is yet. The author traces the implementation of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Decree dated 03.27.1953 "On amnesty." The methodological basis for the study is statistical analysis of data on the implementation of the release plan. The result of the study is the conclusion that the 1953 amnesty was a turning point in the functioning of the USSR camp system. However, its process was uneven and accompanied by a number of difficulties caused by the need to carry out serious control and accounting work and involve additional sources to make decisions on the release of individual prisoners.
Computerized analysis of historical texts
Soloshchenko N. - Formation of the New USSR Food Industry Worker in 1928-1937. Comparative Content Analysis of Branch and General Circulation Periodicals pp. 11-27


Abstract: The article discusses the developing of correct methodological approaches to compare the content of the USSR food industry branch and general circulation newspapers related to the formation of the “new worker” in 1925-1937.  Analyzing branch newspaper “Pishchevik” (“Za pishchevuyu industriyu”, “Pishchevaya industriya”) and general circulation newspapers “Babaevets” (Babaev confectionery factory), “Nasha Pravda” (Krasnyi Oktyabr' confectionery factory) and “Za Boievye Tempy” (Rot Front confectionery factory) by means of MAXQDA program, the author concludes about the equal focus of these newspapers on the formation of the “new worker” who was expected to fulfill the tasks to develop food industry and industrialize the USSR. The "new worker" of general circulation papers is a young lady striving to become a competent and full-fledged participant in production processes, social and party life. The branch newspaper of food industry portrayed the youth, production leaders, shock workers, Stakhanovites and Komsomol members as the "new worker". Differences in the main features of the "new worker’s" image between the branch and general circulation periodicals tell us about the specific feature of the target audience of these periodicals. The confectionary factories were dominated by females whereas males were prevalent in food industry as a whole.
Quantitative history
Shchinova A.K. - Moscow and Saint Petersburg Censuses at the Turn of the 20th Century as Sources for Labor History Studies pp. 28-47


Abstract: The article studies urban censuses taken in Moscow and Saint Petersburg at the turn of the 20th century as important sources for labor history studies (a cross-disciplinary field of research). The article addresses aggregated data of urban censuses taken in Saint Petersburg in 1881, 1890, 1900 and 1910 and in Moscow in 1882, 1902 and 1912 which provide occupational data. The research subject is the structural content of census occupational tables. When analyzing Moscow and Saint Petersburg censuses, the comparative-historical method is used to identify similar and unique data of historical sources. Despite numerous studies carried out by Russian and foreign scholars addressing pre-revolutionary censuses, one of the aspects of the sources (that is temporal occupational distribution of males and females in Moscow and Saint Petersburg) is still poorly studied. The article briefly describes the creation of each census, analyzes the way occupational data were registered and shows changes in the census program of Saint Petersburg and Moscow from 1881 to 1912. One can see different formation of Moscow occupational groups. Whereas an industry branch prevailed in 1882, social status of the worker dominated 1902 and 1912 censuses. In Saint Petersburg the distribution was related to an industry branch accompanied by a production status. The author considers census structure studies important for comparing temporal data and further analysis of labor activity in Moscow and Saint Petersburg presented in the sources understudy.   
Didenko D.V., Grineva N.V. - Soviet Economic Growth through the Interstate Prism: the Role of Research Funding pp. 48-65


Abstract: The article estimates economic growth factors in the late USSR: research and development (R&D) expenditures along with physical and human capital accumulation as well as institutional and technological dynamics. The USSR results are compared with those of a sample of reference countries with the use of collected statistical data and estimates in the literature and data sets. Developing theoretical ideas by Romer (1990) the authors test a model of the production function which includes R&D expenditures as a source of endogenous growth. To indirectly characterize institutional and general technological dynamics they choose the relevant proxy indicators. The use of these variables within the modified production function is the principal methodological contribution of this research related to the analysis of historical variations of industrial economy development. The model mostly fits Japanese data and somewhat less data on other industrialized countries. The main USSR variables are statistically significant for the period of 1955-1990, but not for the period of 1965-1990. The research findings support the hypothesis that in the mid 1950s – early 1960s Soviet economy had certain prerequisites for transition to endogenous growth model based on R&D and technologies which turned out mostly unrealized. The authors have not found enough evidence to confirm the hypothesis of a decisive role of institutional factors influencing the slowdown growth in the USSR. 
Kuzmin Y.V. - Evolution of Fighter Aircrafts in the interwar Years: Cluster Analysis in History of Engineering pp. 66-130


Abstract: The article carries out cluster analysis of piston-engine fighters designed between 1920 and 1944 and takes into account more than 500 modifications of aircrafts that were serially manufactured in 18 countries. The author divides the period understudy into five-year segments and studies designs as far as such parameters as maximum speed, wing load and power load are concerned. Correlations of these variables are considered as well and special attention is paid to the correct distance determination. The article demonstrates dynamics of the main fighter characteristics between the world wars. It was found out that the main factor in the growth of fighter speed in 1920-1944 was the wing load related to modernization of profiles, quality and mechanization of the wing rather than growth of engine power of aircrafts. One can see repeating models of development in each period. These are a “power” approach that used new technologies “straightforwardly”, for instance, by totally increasing power loading, and a complex approach that provided for much better results. The author has revealed the leadership of the British aerodynamic school in 1920-1940 and has numerically demonstrated the change in the focus of the US design school from a "powerful engine - light aircraft" method to a "perfect aerodynamics - long flight range" method. He has shown the place of the Soviet design school as well. It has been found out that the last (during this period) sharp increase of wing load was not performed in the USSR and Japan. This led to rather low speed of fighters in these countries during the Second World War. The author discusses the reasons for this as well.
Methods and techniques of online analysis
Salomatina S., Garskova I.M., Valetov T.Y. - Export of Goods from an Agrarian Region: Network and Geoinformation Analysis of Bank Payments in Orlovskaya Guberniya in the Second Half of the 19th Century pp. 131-160


Abstract: The article analyzes money flows associated with agricultural products exports from Orlovskaya Guberniya which help the authors to trace the geography of incomes from interregional trade and conclude about the economic changes in this agrarian region. The source base is statistics of interregional bank transfers, loans against goods transported by railways and bills of exchange with the payment outside the guberniya. These statistics refer to the Oryol Commercial Bank and the Oryol and Yelets branches of the State Bank of the Russian Empire in 1868, 1878, 1888 and 1898. Network and spatial analysis are applied to these data. To interpret the results the authors use narrative sources telling about the economical state of Orlovskaya Gubernia. The study concludes that the Riga-Oryol railway that assigned the gubeniya the interregional trade status partially lost its importance in 1890 as far as exports from the Black Earth Region are concerned. This led to more diversified form of profits based on agricultural products trade. Big money flows from St. Petersburg and Moscow can be explained not only by payment for goods but also by broader ties of the guberniya with the capitals. The latter fact requires further study. Exports to the southern regions of European Russia were less important and those to the east were negligible. In the 1890s many new interregional railways stimulated sharp trade increase within the Central Black Earth Region, but this phenomenon of regional development has also been poorly studied.
Volodin A. - Discussion Club of Istoricheskaya Informatika Journal. Discussing the Book What is Digital History? by Hannu Salmi pp. 161-167


Abstract: This article reports about the new initiative of the Historical Information Science Journal editorial board aimed at creating a discussion club to review topical monographs. The journal today covers many fields of history digitization such as historical information science, digital history, digital humanities. The first discussion of the club addresses the book by the Finnish Science Academy professor Hannu Salmi titled “What is Digital History?” (Medford: PolityPress, 2020). The first club meeting was attended by L.I. Borodkin, V.N. Vladimirov, I.M. Garskova, N.G. Povroznik and moderated by A.Yu. Volodin. The article briefly characterizes the series the reviewed book is a part of. Those are “What is history?” series by Polity publishing house. The author describes the monograph structure in general and analyzes new historiographic examples provided by H. Salmi which relate to digital history discussions and issues which are characterized by numerous approaches, opinions and projects. Considering the writer’s definition of digital history as a “mobile layer of historical research with multiple approaches, projects, publications, services and sources” the author concludes that this field can hardly be precisely defined nowadays. This is true of the experimental character of the majority of projects within this sphere.
Vladimirov V. - What is Digital History after all? pp. 168-173


Abstract: The article summarizes the author’s report at a discussion organized by the editorial board of the Istoricheskaya Informatika journal that addressed the book “What is Digital History?” by Salmi H. published in 2020. The book is named a manual for students thus justifying the opinion to consider the material presented to readers as representing a set of the most established positions and opinions in the field of digital history. The book discusses such issues as the time of digital history birth, its definition, subject field, functions as well as the importance for the widespread dissemination of historical knowledge in society. The author criticizes the concept of prerequisites for digital history birth outlined by H. Salmi which completely ignores the History and Computing movement in Western Europe and North America which played an important role in the formation of Russian historical information science and which was the discussion panel where many digital history issues were raised and resolved. The structure of the book is discussed as well. The article emphasizes the author's viewpoint on the importance of geographic information systems and technologies for historical research which he clearly underestimates. It is concluded that historical information science and digital history are different spheres of interdisciplinarity.
Garskova I.M. - Historical Research and Digital History or How Much History is there in Digital History? pp. 174-181


Abstract: The article discusses the book by H. Salmi "What is digital history?". It is the first monograph that attempts to systematize many digital history issues from the viewpoint of a historian and culture researcher. While evaluating the conceptual problems of the relationship between digital history and digital humanities as well as digital history and historical science, the author considers Salmi’s historiographic review, reference apparatus and representativeness of Internet resources links. The content of the monograph is analyzed through the prism of the national school of quantitative history experience and from the standpoint of the national model of historical information science. The performed analysis allows the author to conclude that H. Salmi reasonably emphasizes the great “disciplinarity” of digital history, its ties with the subject area of historical science. The author of the book does not ignore quantitative methods either.  His idea of the proximity of textuality and visuality seems to be interesting as well.At the same time, H. Salmi's monograph (traditionally for digital humanities) simplifies rather complex process of mathematization and informatization of humanitarian research in the second half of the 20th century. It seems that when describing the digital past, excessive attention is paid to technological progress while methods and technologies of digital data processing are relatively less in the focus.It can be concluded that the information support of historical studies can give digital history the necessary integrity and indicate a promising vector of its development.
Povroznik N. - Digital History, Digital Historical Sources and Criticism: Review of What is Digital History?
by Hannu Salmi

pp. 182-188


Abstract: The article is a review of the book “What is Digital History?” by Salmi H. which discusses digital history, a new field in history, and defines its framework. The review considers a range of issues related to digital sources, their typology, approaches to the formation of the source base and their criticism. The article analyzes the author’s attitude to digitized historical sources based on original analogous sources and born-digital ones as well as methods of their processing used by contemporary historians. These aspects have a direct impact on present day historical research and must be taken into account by historians. The review also addresses the author's views on epistemology and hermeneutics which are increasingly important in the digital age.  The topics named are unevenly distributed in the book. Sources of a new type are considered in detail in the chapter “The Digital Past: Sources and Problems”. Other issues are studied in the rest of chapters and in less detail. The review is complemented with examples of other projects and modern publications that were not included in the text of the reviewed book, but are essential for the topic as a whole.
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