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In the article on the example of cooperative societies of the Middle Volga Region one of the ambiguous problems of the development of cooperative movement in Russia in the early XX century is raised: the participation of cooperation in the political life of the country. In domestic historiography, various points of view have developed on this subject: from the complete denial of the participation of cooperatives in political life to the proud recognition and even exaggerated their role in political processes. The latter, as a rule, characterized Soviet historiography, which declared the active participation of representatives of the Bolshevik Party in the work of cooperative organizations. In the pre-revolutionary period, representatives of gendarme offices were periodically informed about the danger of cooperation as a potential hotbed of revolutionary sentiment. Theorists and practitioners of cooperation themselves, as a rule, declared the apolitical nature of cooperation. The purpose of this article is to determine the place of politics in the life of cooperative organizations and the degree of actual participation of cooperative majority and leaders of cooperation in political life.
To achieve this goal, an analysis of historiography was carried out, the experience of cooperative activity in the provinces of the Middle Volga Region was studied, and corresponding examples were given. From a methodological point of view, we proceed from the fact that cooperation is a dual phenomenon, which closely combines both economic and social functions. The article is based on the general scientific principles of knowledge, such as historicism and objectivity. These principles helped to assess the essence of the problem being studied, taking into account the different points of view of both scholars and contemporaries of the events studied. The dynamics of the processes that characterized the cooperative movement of the Middle Volga Region in the early XX century were studied using the statistical method.
The systems approach allowed us to see the place of political processes in the life of cooperative societies and the cooperative movement as a whole. And to conclude that the closer the cooperation entered into interaction with the state, the more cooperative leaders were involved in political life. The latter, in turn, led to disagreements and even to a split in the cooperative ranks.

About the authors

O. A. Bezgina

Togliatti State University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7045-4310

Candidate of Historical Sciences, associate professor, honorary worker of the education sector of the Russian Federation, head of the Department of History and Philosophy


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