Background. In recent years significantly increased the interest of researchers to the period of the NEP. Currently, relevant seems the study of factors that influenced to the mentality of the citizens of the RSFSR of the NEP period. The discussion about the NEP can be supplemented by the study of mentality and its determinants.
A significant factor in the problem of studying the mentality is the study of phenomena: drunkenness, moonshining and the struggle against them. This line of investigation can add to the image of Soviet authority in the mass consciousness of the peasantry. The purpose of this article is to study the influence of the factors of drunkenness and moonshining at the formation of the image of Soviet authority in the mass consciousness of inhabitants of the rural districts of Nizhny Novgorod province in the period from late 1921s to the beginning of 1926s.
Materials and methods. The study involves the widest possible use of multiple types of sources, including: research, campaign literature and a study period; the materials of the party archive containing the minutes of the meetings of the provincial Committee, and special materials to them, reports the GPU and criminal investigation department summary sheets, forms and complaints, witness statements and trial transcripts, and materials of the investigative bodies and the Prosecutor’s office.
The source base was both published and previously unpublished record keeping documentation. The methodological basis of research are principles of scientific objectivity and historicism. The authors used the comparative-historical method, which was able to match different factors in these counties and to identify their specifics. For a more impartial evaluation of the work of the authorities, the authors used statistical method.
Results. It was studied the peculiarities of the period of the NEP in the Nizhny Novgorod region and features of the formation of the provincial Soviet authorities. Researched County main provincial centres on the subject of how moonshine and drunkenness affect the processes of criminalisation and the degradation of the representatives of local authorities. Characteristic for a number of counties the population’s attitude towards the Executive authorities and the connection of this relationship with moonshining and drunkenness.
Conclusions. In some districts of Nizhny Novgorod province in the period from 1921 to 1926 was a decline in the authority of local government in the minds of the County population due to the antisocial behavior of the authorities on the grounds of drunkenness. Breaking the legislation in the sphere of turnover of alcoholic beverages, authorities discredited criminal and administrative law, as an integral norm. Drunkenness became the norm of public life of the districts, provoking the growth of banditry and epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases. The prevalence of drunkenness decreased level of trust of the population in the counties to the activities and initiatives of the Soviet government. The fight against alcoholism has become one of the main tasks in strengthening Soviet power in the field.
NEP, drunkenness, moonshining, the peasantry, the kulaks, society and power, the criminal investigation Department (CID, UGRO), County Committee (UKOM), township Committee (VOLKOM), the militia, the GPU, social history, history of everyday life, the Nizhny Novgorod province
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