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Project 1917 is a series of events that took place a hundred years ago as described by those involved. It is composed only of diaries, letters, memoirs, newspapers and other documents

Day after day the Bolshevik orators toured the barracks and factories, violently denouncing “this Government of civil war.” One Sunday we went, on a top-heavy steam tram that lumbered through oceans of mud, between stark factories and immense churches, to Obukhovsky Zavod, a Government munitions-plant out on the Schlüsselburg Prospekt. See more

Although we did not know it at the time, our fate really hung on the outcome of a Congress of Soviets which was then being held in Petrograd, and to which both Sheiman and Ostrovsky were delegates. Sheiman returned to Helsingfors and visiting my cell told me that both Trotzky and Lounacharsky were insistent on the release of Kerensky's prisoners. That evening, he said, would be held a secret session of the executives of the Helsingfors Soviet at which he would urge the recommendation of Trotzky and Lounacharsky. If the executives agreed the question would then be referred to the entire Soviet, made up principally of sailors of the old Baltic fleet. That evening I was invited to tea in the officers' quarters, and while sitting there the telephone rang. "It is for you," said the officer who answered the call. I picked up the receiver and heard Sheiman's voice saying briefly: "The executive has voted unanimously for the release of the prisoners."

My dearest Nyurochka!
I am simply ready to cry! First, on the tram, they took that little red wallet from Veve away from me—a memory of you. Then, they stole the pen you gave me (now I have another one, a present from Dmitry Ilyich), and yesterday, they even stole my wonderful watch, the one that always made everybody jealous!
Today, I bought a new one. And you know how much it cost? 120 rubles!! And it’s not a jot better than the one I had. And that one only cost 45 franks! See more

It's our huge victory at the elections. It's exceeded all expectations. I'm almost certain I'll be elected Vice Mayor. 

Arrested

The situation is still the same. Terrible misfortunes at the front and other circumstances provoke a sharp reaction in us, but also in Germany. Times are dismal. Perhaps, I will also be arrested on charges of "incitement" or something like that. But it’s not important. See more

I’ve just sent you a telegram so that you’d know at the very least that I’m alive. You’ll know all the details already from the newspapers of course, by the time you receive this letter. I’ve had to show solidarity with the Bolsheviks. But… they ignore my advice. True, the movement sprang up spontaneously, but it was nevertheless right in fighting against the partially armed uprisings prompted by the anarchists and the awful state of Petrograd’s underbelly, in keeping with our prior agreement. See more

Mayakovsky is extremely talented, a young half-giant infected with an ebullient energy, and in whose eyes you sense direction; upwards and to the left.

A lot of people are turning sour here. They’re frustrated. They want the revolution to be as sweet as candy, and for democracy to follow us, the socialists, in through the door without a hitch.

I saw the most charming A. Mikh. Kollontai. She looked some ten years younger and had become very unassuming and sweet while retaining traces of her former elegance. Held in high affection in Bolshevik circles, she’s ubiquitously renowned as a first-class orator. She addressed me with great cordiality and asked me to send you a warm hello and to tell you that she’d like to see you here soonest. See more

The Congress of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies recently adjourned at the Cadets’ College has only deepened my pessimism. The meeting began with a discussion of the Dacha Durnovo. Pereverzev, Liber, Kamenev, Tsereteli with his histrionics, and Lunacharsky, all made speeches, the latter receiving reproaches from the Asiatic Chkheidze for addressing the congress without the reverence apparently accorded it. See more

The bourgeois press is corrupted. It lies and vilifies without restraint. Perhaps we will begin taking them to court.

Unfortunately, far from all of the speeches currently being made at the All-Russia Conference of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies can be called intelligent. Lenin and his associates seem to have lost all their capacity for reason. Our well-known founder of a new religion, Father Anatoly Lunacharsky, has suffered the same loss. See more

I have been working hard at the Congress. On the third day there was a large, captivating meeting. Tsereteli spoke about general politics with dignity and intelligence, and he defended his impossible position as powerfully and systematically as could be imagined possible. Lenin spoke after him. See more

Gorky introduced me to Lunacharsky. The latter seemed to me like a real charmer. Wide-ranging erudition, wonderful mastery of speech, an “almost Jewish” nimbleness! He seemed all around to belong to the chosen people, but the rumor goes that Lunacharsky isn’t a Jew at all, but a pure-blooded Russian and even a nobleman and a Southern landowner. See more

Age: 41
Interests: foreign languages, philosophy, poetry, rhethoric
Married to

Today:

+9
in Petrograd
-1
in Moscow