L. R. Ignatova, H. M. Kostromina, A. A. Melnychenko Class Cleansing of Students at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in the Late 1920’s.

DOI: 10.20535/2307-5244.50.2020.210127

The article elaborates on the phenomenon of class cleansing, which took place among the students of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in the late 1920s. When enrolling in higher educational institutions, the Soviet government carried out a careful selection of applicants based on class origin. Moreover, in the course of study, the social composition of students was the subject of regular checks.

The article is the result of original research and comprehensive analysis of archival documents and diverse scientific sources. This analysis has revealed the process of social origin check among students that implied sending inquiries by various organizations and individuals. The purpose of such inspections was to purge the student body from those who were considered as «class enemies» by Soviet authorities, while a meticulous selection of applicants was an integral part of the enrollment process. In this practice, an active role was given to the secret department of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. The task of this department was to verify the social background of students, responding to letters from «concerned» citizens and inquiries from various organizations regarding the class origin of students.

In addition to party organizations, student youth, especially Komsomol members who were united in special squads, were also involved in such inspections. Among the main tasks of such detachments were, in particular, checks on the social status of students, which was an additional source of control over the class structure of students.

The authors conclude that the Soviet regime in the late 1920s controlled all the layers of the population. The practice of class cleansing in the course of teaching students was carried out within all the institutions. This helped to establish full control over future technicians and to create ardent supporters of the new government.

Keywords: social composition of students, class cleansing, search for «enemies of the people», Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, secret department of KPI.


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