The article considers the academic career of the eminent Soviet historian Boris F. Porshnev (1905–1972) in the second half of the 1930s. It reveals that his turn to the French studies was determined by various circumstances and accidents. Boris Porshnev advanced quickly in a new field and took a sustainable position in the emerging academic community. The attitudes, dictated from above, Marxist patterns and research work in the MO GAIMK and MIFLI shifted his research interests towards the study popular movements, peasant and urban uprisings. The establishment of academic degrees prompted the historian to write quickly a candidate and doctoral dissertations. He intended to publish his doctoral dissertation, covering almost the entire seventeenth century, as the book with minimal revisions. It is obvious that all the material of the thesis and the proposed book was based on the published sources. Boris Porshnev transformed his detailed retelling of the history of the uprisings into broad generalizations and doubful sociological constructions, which was directly and indirectly pointed at the reviews of the opponents.