Historian M.N. Pokrovsky about the peace conference in Brest-Litovsk

Repnikov A.V., Lannik L.V.


An extensive historiography is devoted to the Brest peace, but some sources have still not been published, including valuable memoirs of dozens of peace conference participants. This publication contains the historian M.N. Pokrovsky diaries from the period of his work during the peace negotiations in Brest-Litovsk, preserved in his fund in the RGASPI. The famous historian and the Bolshevik Party member was unexpectedly included in the Soviet delegation in December 1917. The Soviet government did not have a definite plan and concept for these negotiations. The main figures of the delegation were the professional revolutionaries. Sometimes they were not familiar with the basic rules and international diplomacy ethics. Pokrovsky had a clear advantage over them, and therefore rather often had to argue with L.D. Trotsky and A.A. Ioffe. Then he had sought to record his emotions and contribution to historical events. Pokrovsky's observations were not reduced to record events or ridicule on colleagues, contain elements of analysis and prognostication, and give portrait sketches of many figures from all countries that took part in the peace negotiations. His irony, however, did not extend to the sphere of state interests of Russia, which he intended to defend, despite his revolutionary beliefs. However, his efforts were not appreciated by either his party colleagues or colleagues, especially those who were critical of the Bolsheviks, and considered Pokrovsky to be involved in the «Brest disgrace ». Pokrovsky did not accept the extremely hard terms of peace and later joined the left-wing communists against signing the Brest treaty. However, later, the historian recognized the correctness of Lenin's position, emphasizing that the essence of Brest was not so much in peace with Germany as in a break with the Entente. His disagreement with Lenin had caused a long period of oblivion of his diaries.


international relations; the Peace conference in Brest-Litovsk; Treaty of Brest-Litovsk; diaries; M.N. Pokrovsky.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2021.03.11

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