What will the New Year bring? Everything that we are capable of doing. But, in order to become responsible people, we have got to believe that these crazed, dirt and blood-smeared days are the great days of the genesis of new Russia.
Having destroyed the old courts in the name of the proletariat, the People’s Commissars have thereby strengthened in the consciousness of the “street” its right to “mob trials” – a brutish right indeed. See more
Our “street” enjoyed dishing out beatings before the revolution as well, delightedly indulging in this loathsome “sport”. Nowhere are people beaten so often and with such zeal and joy as in this Russia of ours. People have grown all too inured to being “beaten from childhood onwards” – beaten by their parents, by their masters, by the police.
The former minister Konovalov, a scrupulously honest man, set up a Community Hall in his factory in Vichuga which is a model building of this type. Konovalov is now in prison. The romantic-minded but impractical Lunacharksy is now trying to foist the poet Yasinsky, a writer with a vile reputation, on the working classes. To do this is to soil the banner of the working class and corrupt the proletariat. See more
There are moves to expel the Constitutional Democrats from the Constituent Assembly. Needless to say, a significant portion of the country’s population wishes for its views and wishes to be represented by the Constitutional Democrats. For this reason, the expulsion of the Kadets is an attack on the wishes of hundreds of thousands of people. Setting aside this outrage, I should point out that the Party of the Kadets unites the most civilized people in the country, the most skilled functionaries in all fields of intellectual work.
Although the Government favours art as much as it can, the atmosphere is one in which art cannot flourish, because art is anarchic and resistant to organization. Gorky has done all that one man could to preserve the intellectual and artistic life of Russia.
I’m not sick as such, but I am a little out of sorts. My lungs are playing up a bit – it’s nothing, though: I’ve already been treated twice and I'm feeling better. But as for my nerves, they are utterly shot. Utterly. I’m not sleeping, and my mood is so heavy! I’m trying not to let it show to my nearest and dearest, but, really, how can you keep it hidden?
All is not well with Russia – very much not well!
The newspaper “Den’” (‘Day’) turned into “Noch’” (‘Night’) after the first closure; into “Dark Night” after the second; “Midnight” emerged after the third. After the fourth it became “Into the deep night”, and then the door was slammed completely shut. See more
Today the Daily Newspaper of writers was released, and in the afternoon there was a rally. It was a protest against the stifling of the press. Many people spoke: Deych, Peshekhonov, Merezhkovsky, Sologub… Gorky didn’t come, on the grounds of an illness. But in the hall we bumped into him going to Manukhin’s place; he looked gloomy, hostile, dark, but healthy. We made a point of giving him a stern telling off. But I think he’s afraid. Afraid somehow both on the inside and on the outside…
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
Or do these adventurers wish to expedite the blows of the counterrevolution, and are they striving, for the sake of this objective, to disorganise the forces which are being organised with such difficulty?
The Bolsheviks’ Central Committee is obliged to refute the rumours about the action; it must do this if it genuinely constitutes a powerful and freely acting political body capable of directing the masses rather than a spineless plaything of the moods of the feral thong, or, indeed, an instrument in the hands of the most utterly impudent adventurers or crazed fanatics.
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 can not accept being involved in the same cause as M. Gorky, head of a printing works that is so passionately working to facilitate the demise of our country.
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
I am certain that in terms of intricacy, in terms of unexpected twists, so to speak—in terms of the configuration of the mind and the emotions, the Russian people are the most rewarding material for an artist.
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
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...
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
It’s sweltering. Everything has gone green, myself included. Palms have popped up along the boulevards; baobabs, belfries and even factory chimneys are positivity yearning up towards the sky, spreading shoots out in all directions. I am not blossoming much myself, but I’m as tired as a workhorse.
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
Meanwhile those who annihilate millions of lives in the pursuit of a few hundred versts of foreign land heed neither God nor the Devil. How else could they have lived through these last three years, head-deep in blood, spilt at their will from the veins of tens of millions of innocents?