The true essence and meaning of culture lies in an organic aversion to everything that is dirty, base, false, or rude, that humiliates people and causes them to suffer. We must teach ourselves to hate suffering; only then will we annihilate it. We must teach ourselves at least a bit to love people the way they are, and we must passionately love people the way they will be.
Yes, we are living in a disturbing, dangerous time—to this, with gloomy certainty, testify the pogroms in Samara, Minsk, Yuriev, the savage escapades of soldiers at railroad stations and a whole myriad of other instances of debauchery, stupefaction, and impudence. See more
Of course, one should not forget that screams “fatherland in danger” can be induced not only by a feeling of sincere concern, but also by indoctrination as a political tactic.
However, it would be erroneous to think that anarchy is created by political freedom; in my view, freedom has only turned an internal disease—the disease of the spirit—into an epidermal one. Anarchy has been ingrained in us by the monarchical regime, we have inherited this infection from it.
Here, in Russia, you should always talk about culture - you should talk endlessly.
There seems to be no shortage of those who incite animosity towards the intelligentsia; it seems to me that most often it is yard keepers, footmen, cooks, and generally, house staff. See more
After one rally at the “Moderne” circus, a red-faced, fat woman was telling soldiers, “how the lords lived,” she was witty and used such words that you cannot even write three out of those ten on paper. The soldiers laughed wildly and spat heartily, listening how a doctor, a specialist in women’s health, acted, or how a Jewish dentist behaved herself and how an actor was “polishing” his female students.
An aggrieved man is terrifying, when he feels he has a right to revenge and has received the freedom to take revenge. It is this man that social reformers and political leaders need to think about first of all.
In the first days of the revolution, some shameless people threw heaps of dirty pamphlets onto the street, which told heinous stories on the theme of “court life”. The pamphlets talked about “Autocratic Alice”, “Sleazy Grishka”, Vyrubova and other figures from the murky past. We have to fight this poison - I don’t know how exactly – but we have to do it, especially seeing as there are too few publications on the book market (which we really need at the moment) next to these sadistic, afflictive fabrications of filthy so-called “literature”.
Following the traditions established during the Tsarist era, some journalists continue the old ways of abusing those they oppose in their polemics, hitting them “where it hurts”, “right in the gut”, “below the belt”. It clearly follows that there is no space for clam, academic disputes in our papers, but I continue to maintain that a free press needs to develop a tradition of respecting public figures. At least where it becomes unavoidable to target a man’s vulnerabilities, this should be resorted to only when he gives genuine cause for the slaps, kicks and punches in which our people are so firmly tutored by the experience of their schooling years.
The bloody nightmare we have lived in these last three years has deprived us not only of ours senses but even our humanity.
The bright wings of our fledgling freedom are sprinkled with innocent blood. I don't know who shot at the people on the Nevsky three days ago, but whoever these people were, these people are angry and stupid, people poisoned with the venom of the rotten old regime. See more
It is criminal and vile to kill each other now when we all have a perfect right to honestly argue and disagree with each other. Those who think otherwise are incapable of feeling and realising themselves to be free people. Killing and violence are arguments of despotism, vile arguments, and are powerless, because violating someone else's will, killing someone, does not mean killing an idea, proving an error of an idea, the falseness of an opinion.
На фронте происходит братание немецких солдат с русскими, я думаю, что это вызвано не только физическим утомлением, но и проснувшимся в людях чувством отвращения к бессмысленной бойне. Не буду говорить о том, что отблеск пламени русской революции не мог не зажечь ярких надежд в груди немецкого солдата. See more
Может быть, факты братания врагов количественно ничтожны, это отнюдь не умаляет их морального, культурного значения. Да, очевидно, что проклятая война, начатая жадностью командующих классов, будет прекращена силою здравого смысла солдат, т. е. демократии.
Если это будет — это будет нечто небывалое, великое, почти чудесное, и это даст человеку право гордиться собою, воля его победила самое отвратительное и кровавое чудовище — чудовище войны.
The new order of political life requires a new spiritual order from us. It goes without saying that you won’t be born again in two months, but the sooner we rid ourselves of the baggage from our pasts, the stronger our spiritual health will be, and the more productive our work to create new forms of social life will become.
I would like to say to everyone suffering the cruel torments of current conditions, to everyone who feels downhearted, I would like to say that even in these days, days which threaten to spell the end of Russia, the country’s intellectual life has not faded away, nor has it simply come to a standstill. On the contrary, it is continuing to develop energetically on all sides.
While we support the war between the generations, we also know that age should be measured mentally and not physically. Thus we beseech you with a modest request: give us answer, following the dictates of your conscience, to the following question: are we capable of being virtuous members of the Government of the Earth or not? We plan to convene it in the nearest future.
We await your pleasure.
There are rumours in the press that I am one of the organisers of the radical democratic party. I should like to declare that I remain what I was before, a social democrat.
Do not get too carried away, do not allow yourself to succumb to naive optimism and warn others against this disease. The situation is very difficult and dangerous. Take cake of your son; his strength will still be needed by this country. We won’t soon get over this chaos of destruction and construction, this fever of passions and illusions. Be healthy, consider everything in a calm manner, work, work!
Gorky does not like the Russian peasant, who is so dear to Tolstoy. He shows the peasant more often as someone wild, stupid and cruel. A person from the masses whom Gorky sympathises with is the worker. But it seems that with age, and with the rise of fame, Gorky has calmed down.
Quite practically, it seems, will arise the question of returning to Russia. From all sides this question rises. In Bern, Zinoviev and I discussed the prospects with others. They learned from Temps that Gorky has responded to the request of the Volunteer, Agafonov and others with a telegram: revenez tous, to which they responded with a telegram to Kerensky and Chkheidze to “arrange all measures” for transportation. And today a telegram from St.Petersburg has arrives in Temps: “The bankers handed Kerensky 5 million francs collected by them for organising the transportation of emigrants.” I begin to think that my idea is not utopia: to charter a streamer, and from England to be delivered under the escort of a Russian torpedo boat, which more or less guarantees against an attack.
The situation is very difficult and dangerous. The slogan “Down with the War" is an idiotic one in the new conditions. A victory for the Germans is a victory for reactionaries. We oughtn’t to pin our hopes on the troops – ignorant Russian muzhiks togged out in greatcoats, they have no understanding of this moment and won’t come to appreciate its significance anytime soon.
The revolution has just begun, it will last for years, counter-revolution is possible, and reactionary ideas and moods inevitably rise. We won not because we are a force, but because the government was weak. What is happening here is facing great dangers. We have committed a political revolution and mist consolidate our gain - that is the meaning of the event and that is the task of the moment.
The most frightful and fantastic types human specimens imaginable have crawled out onto the streets of Petersburg. Where have these people been hiding? One imagines that the gates have been opened to some vast asylum in the slums, in which these people, spurned and rejected by life, once wiled away their miserable lives. While quietly meandering around the city, they give an insuppressible impression of a people struggling to recall some lost memory. See more
They are dirty and in rags, their hunger is visible, yet they do not look like beggars and ask not for money. They proceed silently, carefully, casting disbelieving but curious looks at their fellow citizens. Stopping in front of shop windows, they stare at the articles on sale with the eyes of those who are trying to guess or recall what purpose these things once held. They are frightened by passing cars, just as twenty years ago were frightened fresh arrivals to the city from the villages.