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   Boris Rabbot Papers , 1930-2012

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Boris Rabbot Papers; Box and Folder; Bakhmeteff Archive, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

Abstract

The Boris Rabbot Papers consist of the writings, lectures, notes, correspondence, personal documents, post-doctoral dissertation, photographs, research and reference materials related to the professional activities of Boris Rabbot—one of the first Soviet sociologists employed at the pioneering Institute for Concrete Social Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (IKSI) and a party functionary who advanced the interests of the liberal wing in General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev's entourage from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. The collection reflects Rabbot's professional life both in the USSR and USA. The collection gives an unprecedented insider's view into the workings of the Politburo and also traces the early development of a previously banned social science discipline, sociology, in the Soviet Union.

At a Glance

Bib ID:9558917 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Rabbot, B. S. (Boris Semenovich), 1930-2011
Title:Boris Rabbot Papers , 1930-2012
Physical description:5.42 linear feet 13 document boxes, 1 oversize folder
Language(s):Russian
Access: This collection has no access restrictions.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in four series.

Series I: Correspondence, 1976-1990

Series II: Professional Activity, 1960-1998 Subseries II.1: Professional Activity in the USSR, 1960-1974 Subseries II.2: Professional Activity in USA, 1973-1998 Subseries II.3: Post-Doctoral Dissertation "Problemy Eksperimenta v Sotsial'nom Issledovanii," 1969-1978

Series III: Personal Documents and Biographical Materials, 1930-2012

Series IV: Photographs, 1938-2010

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Description

Description

The bulk of the collection comprises Boris Rabbot's professional writings, documents and publications related to his academic work both in the Soviet Union and in the United States. There are also some personal documents, biographical materials, photographs, lectures and interviews.

Boris Rabbot served as a ghostwriter to Rumiantsev, authoring opinions on Soviet economic and political liberalization anonymously or in his supervisor's name; he also occasionally wrote speeches for Brezhnev. The collection contains several of these ghostwritten pieces.

Rabbot's writings in the United States include a number of texts about the Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Politburo. Some of these were published as newspaper articles—most notably, "A Letter to Brezhnev," The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 6, 1977, which challenged the hardline course that Soviet leadership had taken—while others remain in the collection as unpublished manuscripts.

Series I: Correspondence, 1976-1990

The series consists of Rabbot’s professional and personal correspondence with various people and organizations and includes letters of recommendation and support. Correspondence includes various related materials, such as proposals and clippings.

Series II: Professional Activity, 1960-1998

This series is arranged in three subseries: Subseries II.1: Professional Activity in the USSR, Subseries II.2: Professional Activity in USA and Subseries II.3: Post-Doctoral Dissertation “Problemy Eksperimenta v Sotsial’nom Razvitii.” Comprises materials related to Rabbot’s work in various organizations and his independent scholarly projects, his published and unpublished works, including articles, monographs, talks. Also included are notes, drafts, documents, interviews, and various publications.

Subseries II.1: Professional Activity in the USSR, 1960-1974

Includes materials related to Rabbot's work at the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Contains his published and unpublished writings, reports, subject files, internal documents of the Academy of Sciences, and reference materials. Also contains publications that document the birth and development of the field of sociology in the Soviet Union. Rabbot's post-doctoral dissertation is a separate subseries (Subseries II.3: Post-Doctoral Dissertation "Problemy Eksperimenta v Sotsial'nom Issledovanii").

Subseries II.2: Professional Activity in USA, 1977-1998

Includes Rabbot's published articles in the United States; manuscripts mostly related to his unpublished book on the Politburo called Upstairs in Moscow; drafts and notes; materials pertaining to Rabbot’s teaching and consulting activity, including his talks, lectures, and seminars. Also contains interviews, correspondence regarding employment opportunities and some professional letters related to various projects.

Subseries II.3: Post-Doctoral Dissertation "Problemy Eksperimenta v Sotsial'nom Issledovanii", 1969-1978

Rabbot wrote his post-doctoral dissertation in the Soviet Union in 1969-1970. It was published by the Academy of Sciences in 1970 before being banned. In the United States he translated the work into English in preparation for a book publication, but it was never published. The files contain typescripts in Russian and English with holograph notes in Russian.

Series III: Personal Documents and Biographical Materials, 1930-2012

This series comprises Boris Rabbot's personal documents and biographical materials, including certificates, IDs, immigration papers, travel documents, passports, CVs, financial and legal documents. There is also a memorial volume published after Rabbot’s death that serves as an important source of biographical information for the researcher: Visson, L. and Arkanov, V. Boris Rabbot: An Unheeded Voice of the 1960s. Moscow: R. Valent, 2012.

Series IV: Photographs,1938-2010

This series contains copies of Rabbot's individual and group photographs with family and friends.

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Using the Collection

RBML

Restrictions on Access

This collection has no access restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Accrual

Additional materials are expected.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Boris Rabbot Papers; Box and Folder; Bakhmeteff Archive, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Summer 2018: Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public as part of the Hidden Collections initiative.

Processing Information

Papers processed 12/10/2018 by Katherine Tsan, Queens College, CUNY (under supervision of Katia Davidenko)

Processing Information

Finding aid written 12/10/2018 by Katherine Tsan, Queens College, (under supervision of Katia Davidenko)

Processing Information

August-December 2018: The collection was fully processed. Materials were rehoused into archival-quality folders and boxes. Original folders were preserved when possible. Some folders were discarded due to poor condition but metadata was preserved. Three folders were sent to conservation due to mold suspicion. Preservation photocopies of newspaper clippings were made. Brittle materials were placed in mylars and enclosures.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion September 1, 2018 Finding aid written in English.
    2018-09-01 File created.
    2018-12-10 dsc added

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Boris Semenovich Rabbot was born on September 18, 1930 in the city of Kostroma, Russia, USSR and moved to Moscow at an early age. In 1948, Rabbot was admitted to Moscow State University's Department of Philology, where he studied until 1953. From 1954 to 1956 he was a graduate student at Moscow State University's Department of History of Western European Philosophy and Sociology. From 1958 to 1959 he worked as the managing editor of the journal V pomoshch' lektoru of the Vsesoiuznoe obshchestvo Znanie (All-Union Knowledge Society) and, from 1959 to 1965, department head and traveling correspondent for the magazine Nauka i religiia (Science and Religion). From 1965 (official appointment 1967), he held the position of Executive Secretary and Chief Researcher of the Sector for Social Sciences of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, led by Academician Aleksei Rumiantsev. In the years 1969-1972, he served as Head of the Sector for Experimental Research of the recently founded Institute for Concrete Social Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (IKSI), led by Rumiantsev.

Following the anti-Soviet protests in Prague of 1968 and demonstrations of support for them—some from IKSI researchers, as documented in the archive—the Brezhnev regime cracked down on détente and IKSI was disbanded. Rabbot, whose 1970 post-doctoral dissertation raised controversy by dealing with the Soviet experiment from a sociological standpoint and was banned from defense, had to curtail his intellectual work and hence worked as senior scientific researcher at the N. I. Vavilov Institute of the History of Natural Science and Technology.

In 1976, Rabbot gained legal entry to the United States as a Jewish refugee, having applied for his exit visa two years previously. Joined by his wife, he settled in New York City and, after a separation, got married for a second time, to Lynn Visson. Visson's father, a Russian émigré to France and then the United States, had been the director of exhibitions at the Wildenstein Galleries in New York (see Vladimir Visson Papers at the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian & East European Culture at Columbia University).

Upon immigrating to the United States (1976) Rabbot's activities changed to those of a freelance consultant, independent scholar and lecturer of Russian. He also worked on several unpublished manuscripts that straddled academics and politics, including a translation of his dissertation on the "Problems of the Experiment in Social Research" and popular analyses of Brezhnev-era Soviet politics and society. The most important of these were an unpublished manuscript on the private lives of the Politburo members and a series of lectures on the consequences of the American approach to détente. Rabbot's controversial position was that the Carter Administration's tactics of forcing the human rights issue by passing the Jackson-Vanick Amendment backfired by bringing hard-liners to the fore in the Politburo. Boris Rabbot died on February 3, 2011.

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