There's been a lot of talk on this blog about why I'm here and what I want to achieve with all this hard work. Its very difficult to put across the excitement I enjoy from this history game. The fact that I've been lucky enough to 'play' for the best part of three months in the archives of Moscow hasn't diminished that enjoyment one bit.
If anything I'm hungrier now than I ever was. I've proven I'm capable, that the two years of hard work have paid off and I can complete original and - I hope - revealing research about the Soviet Union of Stalin.
Today was a good day. Despite the fact I'm only in Petersburg for a week I took the time on Monday to visit the former Leningrad Party archives hoping to register and review their holdings. I arrived with a lead and low expectations (just in case) yet walked away today with more material than I could hope to transcribe in the few hours afforded to me, despite over five hours of solid commitment to the reading room. I ran on adrenaline but found a few more pieces of the puzzle. The quote you see above you comes from a report sent to the heads of the Leningrad Party - Zhdanov included for those of you in the know - detailing popular responses to the signing of peace between the USSR and Finland in March 1940. It remained censored until last year. I was not the first to see the file but I hope I will be the first to use it in my work.
Its significance? It helps me show a chink in the armour of the Soviet propaganda machine. It allows me to engage with secondary literature of an established historian whose work you could pick off the shelf of a library or bookstore. It is my attempt to move one step closer to becoming a 'proper' historian'...