Politically, it seems that things have never as troubled and desperate as they are now. All things and all people, no matter how well-inclined they are to state-building, are acting as the agents of its decline. I continue to believe in Kerensky’s sacrificial impulse, but his lack of practical foresight and spiritual flexibility has led to a series of unforgivable historical misjudgments.
According to Gorky, who had just arrived in Koktebel, the issue of the death penalty emerged, with Savinkov calling for its introduction in the rear and Kerensky expressing a desire to abolish executions once again. But, given that the introduction of the death penalty is essentially the abolition of lynch law (i.e., the selfsame death penalty, meted out for what are essentially insignificant instances of misconduct), it will undoubtedly be introduced sooner or later; the most terrible thing about revolutions is sensitivity: it always ends up yielding the bloodiest fruits. See more
When the death penalty was being abolished, I said: fine, this is certainly the first gesture that needed to be made, but, alas, it does mean that the Russian revolution will be very bloody. I said this even as everyone was boasting about the “bloodlessness” of the Russian revolution. The least cruel are those who kill out of necessity and for the good of the endeavour, without any thought of justice and retribution. I believe that, of the two generative forces, Kerensky possesses only faith, but that he lacks a sufficiently profound contempt, and that he’s approaching the limit of his capacities...
On the subject of political events: I have the impression, which grows stronger and stronger all the time, that our entire revolution will ultimately turn out to be a colossal piece of German provocation. We have already been defeated by Germany, and the overthrow of the autocracy was the last piece of bacon fat that tempted us into the mousetrap.
If I was to be called up to the army now, naturally I would not refuse. Of course, my attitude to the war has not changed, but a new feeling has arisen in me, a feeling of personal responsibility for Russia’s conduct.
Bernard Shaw was right when he remarked 'how popular socialism would be, if there were no socialists!'
There exist obligatory monopolies that the state has no right to renounce. One of these is the monopoly on bloodshed. The state says: “Only I have the right to shed blood. All private bloodshed is forbidden.” Just as it says: “I impose a monopoly on the selling of wine. Any home-brewing of alcohol is forbidden.”
If this monopoly is not maintained by state power, then private alcohol production ensues. The Russian Revolution will be long, bloody and cruel.
When the earth is consumed in war, and all of humanity is divided into two irreconcilable camps, there must be such a person as would throw himself down to the floor of his cell and pray on his knees for all, for his enemies and his brothers. In the epoch of all-consuming cruelty and blindness, there must remain those who are capable of opposing the desire for revenge and hatred, who are capable of exorcising the spirit of insanity with their benediction. This must be the poet’s calling.