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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

It seems apposite to ask: could there really be adventurers who, observing a waning of the revolutionary energies of the thinking part of the proletariat, hope to kindle these energies by means of a profuse blood-letting? See more

I am addressing you with a request to terminate my membership in the “Free association for the development and spreading of positive sciences”The "Free Association for the Development and Dissemination of Positive Sciences", organized in May-June 1917, brought together leading representatives of Russian science. The association was created to raise money for research and education.. See more

I am a total stranger to nationalism, patriotism—all those deficiencies of spiritual vision. Nonetheless, I see that the Russian people are exceptionally, fantastically talented and idiosyncratic. Even fools in Russia are stupid in their own original way, and our lazy folk are positively brilliant. See more

The gardener is pacing up and down the alley, a ladder on his shoulders, scissors in hand, trimming trees. He’s lost weight, shrunk a little, his clothes hang loose on him like a sail on a mast on a windless day. His scissors cut branches with loud angry clicks. I was watching him and thinking that nothing - not an earthquake, not even the Deluge could stop this man from doing his job.

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

It’s nice here. It is so beautiful that you feel ashamed when thinking about what life must be like with you all now.

I know you are crazily busy, but I beg you: I have heard on good authority that if our son applies for a medical degree he will be freed from the draft, so please try to sort this out. I’m still stuck in St Petersburg, my sojourn in part extended by the wonderful tropical weather. See more

People have been sending me nooses, images of axes, chopping blocks and hundreds of expletives—and this is in the year of my fiftieth birthday. I have served Russian culture for 25 years! Does this kill me, does it depress me? Well, no, not really, but I will not hide, I’m afraid, that it irritates me. I’d rather they didn’t.

Three years of merciless, senseless war; three years of daily bloodshed among the finest peoples of the earth; the priceless spirit of the cultural nations of Europe is being exterminated. The most villainous sort of these nations accuse those of their compatriots with the audacity to believe in global brotherhood of being dangerous madmen and heartless utopians with no love of country. See more

I am no investigator and I have no idea who is most to blame for the vile drama we are witnessing. I have no intention of defending the adventurers and opportunists; all those who try to arouse the dark instincts of the masses are hateful and unpleasant to me, no matter what name they bear, or how much fine service they may have done in the past for Russia. See more

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

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

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.

Age: 49
Lives in: Petrograd, Russian Empire
Occupation: writer, publicist
Interests: art, science
Views: social democrat
Job: "Letopis" magazine, "Luch" newspaper, publishing house "Parus"
Married to


in Petrograd
in Moscow