It’s a strange life: uprisings, killings, fight for power, directives, hunger, war, and everyday, regular life, continues as it always had been—people go to the theatre, are interested in art, deliver lectures, assemble, organise drinking routs, dances, ride around in costumes—despite everything, and here is the enduring power of life that will overtake everything and will make everything the way it should be.
Racked with desperate ennui, I mourn the death of Russia in the ruins of Moscow with a voiceless throat and aching temples.
Generally speaking, my view of our future is a highly optimistic and favourable one. We have to marvel at how little in the way of evil and terror is happening here. Theoretically, Russia ought to be a heap of smoking ruins See more
. Yet we’re still here; riots are being suppressed virtually without bloodshed, the army is defending the cities, parties wield words rather than axes as weapons, and lampposts are still intended purely for lighting purposes...
Tolstoy described the conversations of the summer of 1917 thus, “Will we perish or not? Will Russia be or not? Will they slaughter the intelligentsia or let us live?” The other said, “Leave it, old chap, there’s no point in slaughtering us, rubbish, I don’t believe it, but they will ransack the grocery stores;” a third reported, based on a reliable source, that “by the first, the city will start dying out from hunger.”
Everywhere you can hear: "Russia is enveloped in anarchy, a hundred billion public debt will lead us to poverty, the state will break up into pieces and perish." Why there is such cowardice, or they think that our revolution should be a continuous blessing, which immediately falls from the sky?
Sometime, maybe in 35 years, my son will sit in a train wagon, crack open a book he bought on the road, and read unsettling and frightening words about our time, which some will call great and others will call bloody: See more
“It was a time,” he will read, “when more than two million people died in war every year and when some countries facing shortages of chemical products made them out of soldiers’ corpses; when instead of the green hills and peaceful hamlets past which you are now riding there gaped cavities of ruined earth dotted with corpses and steel debris, and whole cities were blown to bits; when there was neither bread, nor clothes, nor coal, nor metal; when the debts of planet Earth exceeded three million and the gold that flowed from country to country lost every trace of power and value; when thrones began to tremble, and the grandest and bloodiest of them all was the first to crumble; when tribunals, having agitated the masses, drove them out of the factories and into the palaces and there, in the name of the destitute, proclaimed the principles of absolute freedom; it was a time when death always threatened to come tomorrow, but people lived through that terrifying time nonetheless, and they emerged from it purified, as metal emerges from fire.”
Literature — pure art — is the clear wine of life. What then will I do when this wine is stirred up and wanders about, when the devil himself cannot grasp whether it is tar or honey.