All the realities of the civil war inevitably affected the relations between the Soviet government and the intelligentsia. The first SNK decrees, which restricted freedom of speech, including the print decree of October 27, 1917, provoked discontent of the liberal intelligentsia .
The dispersal of the Constituent Assembly, the renewal of the death penalty, the decrees of the period of military communism, along with the intensification of punitive-repressive measures during the civil war, strengthened this feeling . A paradical situation was observed, when the number of those who were dissatisfied with the Soviet power and the number of collaborators with it simultaneously increased. Often these were the same people who, in their work, were trying to stifle their feelings of dissatisfaction with the existing order. In addition, they were pushed by the financial situation, which did not allow them to be distracted by political activities.
Only a few representatives from the circles of the intelligentsia that had supported the Soviet power opposed domestic political changes in the country, since such statements were fraught with arrests (A. Blok, S. Yesenin) and, unconditionally, worsening of their financial situation. Many, however, sought to find the best in Bolshevism, which made it possible to come to terms with the present, like M. Gorky.
The terror of whites and reds was equally alien to the Russian intelligentsia, but only a few of its representatives raised their voices against any violence in the civil war, in particular V. G. Korolenko. In their majority, the Russian intelligentsia was waiting for the outcome of the civil war, to make their choice after it ended.
The victory of the Bolsheviks pushed a significant part of the intelligentsia to choose the path of emigration. In the revolutionary five years, about 1.5 million people turned out to be abroad, including tens of thousands of families of writers, scientists, engineers, and military. They rather soberly assessed the causes of the tragedy of emigration. “There are no guilty ones, or rather: everyone is to blame,” wrote I. Hesse. Tried to unite, live together. In Paris in the early 20s. there were about 400 thousand Russian emigrants; Other centers of emigration were Berlin, Harbin, Sofia and Prague.
Separated from the native soil, the emigration retained in exile the peculiarities of the Russian stereotype of behavior and mentality, complementing them with the hopelessness of the world outlook, when the best was seen only in the past, which was irrevocably gone into non-existence, and the present is only a far ahead of an undetermined future. This sometimes led to attempts at reconciliation with Soviet reality, the most common among the first revolutionary wave of emigration. The end of the civil war in these circles was often perceived as a victory for Russian statehood, if not in the traditional way.
A group of like-minded people, the core of which was composed of representatives of the Cadet party, published in the mid-1921 the collection Milestones, in which they set out their views on the transition to a policy of civil reconciliation, calling for the revival of Russia together with the Bolsheviks. In Soviet Russia, the Smenakhovtsev movement was received with approval, as it made it possible at least partially to compensate for the losses caused by mass emigration and to split the Russian diaspora. However, the “Smenovekhovtsev” movement, although it marked the beginning of the return of the intelligentsia to their homeland, did not become widespread due to repressions against the intelligentsia in Soviet Russia.
The stay of the Russian intelligentsia abroad became permanent. Far from the homeland, works were born that make up the pride of Russian culture of the 20th century