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From History of Serbian-Russian Historical and Cultural Relations: Dušan I. Semiz (1884–1955) and His Family. Commentaries to Archival Materials from St. Petersburg and Moscow

Milena V. Rozhdestvenskaia


The fate of a Serbian political emigrant in Russia, the journalist, politician, and historian Dušan Ivanović Semiz (1884–1955) and his family, is studied for the first time on the basis of archival materials from St. Petersburg: the Institute of Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Pushkin House) and the Russian State Historical Archive. Dušan Semiz was a journalist and press correspondent at the frontlines of WWI and the author of historical and political pamphlets and books, and translations of Serbian epics into Russian. He was first arrested in Leningrad in 1929 for being a former active participant in the Serbian nationalist revolutionary organisation Crna ruka (The Black Hand) and sentenced to five years in the GULAG. His first spell in the labor camps was followed by several others. Semiz did hard labor as a lumberjack in the Archangel region and at the construction of the White Sea–Baltic Canal; he was exiled to Kazakhstan in Berlik, where Alexander Solzhenitsyn was also later exiled. Semiz was not released from the GULAG until 1953, not long before his death. Here I present some fragments of the works by Semiz on historical and current relationships between Serbia and Russia, the causes of WWII, and also a short story he wrote in 1933, as well as his letters from the GULAG and exile to his family and letters from his family to him. These documents show hist strong personality, which was maintained even through his period in the  GULAG. The archive materials presented in the paper are another historical document of Stalinist terror and are of interest for the study of Serbo-Russian historical and cultural links in the mid 20th century.


Dušan Semiz; Semiz family; archival materials; Serbian-Russian historical and cultural relations; History of Balkans; repressions by Stalin; White Sea-Baltic Canal; GULAG


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