I'm afraid that Lenin has gotten himself into a mess. It's not his fault, of course, but it seems that his closest friends are swindlers and scoundrels. They have all been arrested.
Leave Petrograd—it is a rather pleasant dream, and I am ready to go to Kamchatka, to Solovky, to the devil! In general, I live in a spiritual contradiction with myself and don’t see any other outlet but cultural work.
The task of culture is to develop and strengthen in the human being a social conscience, social morals, to work through and organize all the abilities, all the talents of the individual. Is this task achievable in times of widespread brutality? The Russian person, upon seeing his old way of life shaken by war and revolution to its very foundations, bellows with all his might for cultural aid. See more
People write on their opinions about the priests, people ask whether there will be changes in immigration law, people ask for stories “about the American government,” about how to cure syphilis, about whether there is a law regarding “the transportation of the wounded to a single gathering point,” people submit “petitions” for onions to be sent to the soldiers in the trenches—they are “very good against scurvy.”
All of these “petitions,” “messages,” and “demands” find no place in the pages of our newspapers, which are all occupied with bile and malicious bickering. Newspaper editors seem to forget that outside the sphere of their influence there remain tens of millions of people whose instinct to struggle for power still lies asleep but whose drive to build new forms of daily life has already awakened.
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
His strange surname seems to trace its roots to some kind of lunar enchantments that point to his “aristocratic roots from the left.” He treated me with great attention, as though he would even offer his services whenever they might be useful to me.
Good, honest books – the best instruments of culture – have all but completely disappeared from the book market. A number of slanderous and dirty newspapers have sprung up encouraging people to treat one another with hostility and hate, supposedly while trying to answer the question of who is responsible for the collapse of Russia.
Yesterday the commandant of the Tsar's residence spoke in detail about what the royal family is doing now. And it is hard. In general, everyone is right; the Cadets are right, Gorky with his "two souls" (passive East and active West) is right, and there is an ugly truth in Bolshevism also. See more
I see nothing ahead, although I do not lose optimism. All of them, both "old" and "new", reside in our hearts- in mine at least. I am suspended in the air; no land now, and no sky. For all that, Petersburg is again unusually beautiful.
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.