Quote:Chapter 39 - A High Standard
"Is your daughter a college student?" asked the librarian who used to give me the books on Zoya's list.
The lists were always long and varied. What did Zoya not read for her paper on the Paris Commune! There were historical works and translations from the French worker poets—Pottier and Clement. She read even more books about the Patriotic War of 1812. Her imagination was fired by Kutuzov and Bagration and the battles they fought, and she would rapturously repeat whole passages from Tolstoy's War and Peace by heart. Preparing for her report on Ilya Muromets, the folklore hero, she made up a long list of rare books, which I sought out with difficulty in various libraries.
It was no news to me that Zoya could work seriously, go straight to the very deepest source, to the very heart of the matter, that she could bury herself in her subject. But before Chernyshevsky she had never given herself up to any pursuit so completely and unreservedly. The day she became acquainted with Chernyshevsky was one of the most important in Zoya's life.
When she came home from the lesson at which Vera Sergeyevna had told the children about Chernyshevsky's life, Zoya said, "I want to know everything about him, Mummy! And at school we've only got What Is To Be Done? Please find out what they have in your library. I should like to have a big lull biography, and the correspondence and memoirs of his contemporaries. I want to be able to picture to myself what he was like in life."
A reticent girl, Zoya suddenly became talkative Apparently she needed to share every thought, ever discovery, every new spark ignited by the things she had read.
She would show me an old biography of Chernyshevsky, and say, "Here it says that in his first years as a student he took no interest in anything except study. But take a look at the Latin poetry he gave his cousin ft translate: 'May justice triumph or the world perish!' Or this: 'May falsehood vanish or the heavens fall!' Could that just be by chance…? And here, from a letter to the literary critic A. N. Pypin: 'To work not for transient glory but for the eternal glory of your Fatherland and for the good of mankind—what can be higher and more desirable than this?' Mama, I won't bother you any more but just listen to this. It's a note in his diary: 'I shall gladly give up my life for the triumph of my convictions! For the triumph of freedom, equality, brotherhood and prosperity, for the destruction of poverty and sin! If 1 am convinced that my convictions are just, and that they will triumph, I will not even regret not seeing the day when they shall triumph and rule, and death itself will be sweet, not bitter, be I only convinced of this'…To think of anyone saying after that that he was only interested in study!"
Once she began to read What Is To Be Done? Zoya could not tear herself away from the book. She was so absorbed in it that for the first time in her life, I think, she forgot to warm up the dinner at the usual hour. She hardly noticed me come in. For a second she gazed at me with faraway, unseeing eyes, and again bent over the book. Without disturbing her I lighted the kerosene stove, put on the soup, and took the bucket to pour water into the wash basin. It was only then that Zoya stirred, jumped up and grasped the bucket from me with the words, "I'll do it myself!"
That night, after supper was over, Shura and I went to bed. When I awoke late at night, Zoya was still reading. I got up, took the book from her in silence and placed it on the shelf. Zoya looked at me guiltily and imploringly.
"It's difficult for me to sleep with the light, and I must be up early tomorrow," I said, knowing that only this would persuade her.
In the morning Shura could not resist teasing his sister. "You know, Mummy, Zoya dived into that book as soon as she came back from school yesterday. And I saw she was lost to the world. I expect she'll soon begin sleeping on nails like Rakhmetov."
Zoya said nothing, but in the evening she came home from school with a book quoting Georgi Dimitrov's words about Rakhmetov—how the Russian writer's hero had become a model for the young Bulgarian worker taking his first steps in the revolutionary movement. Dimitrov wrote how in his youth he had striven to become just as firm, strong-willed and seasoned as Rakhmetov, how he had striven to subjugate his own personal life to the great cause—the struggle for the liberation of the toilers.
"The Life of Chernyshevsky"—was the theme of Zoya's next essay. She read and searched tirelessly for more and more material, and frequently unearthed facts of winch I had no knowledge.
Zoya described the civil (i.e., mock) execution of Chernyshevsky with laconic eloquence. The dull wet morning, the scaffold with the black post and chains, and the black board with the white letters "State Criminal," which they hung on Chernyshevsky's neck.
Then, the three months of hard exhausting travel, hundreds and thousands of long endless versts. And at last Kadaya—the remote Siberian convict settlement where the tsarist government tried to extinguish "the bright torch of banished science."
In one of her books Zoya found an ink drawing or rather a sketch, done by one of the political exiles, of the hut where Chernyshevsky lived. Shura, stirred by Zoya's enthusiasm, copied this sketch into her notebook, and succeeded in conveying the main thing: the despair gripping the cold deserted region. The hard line of the horizon, the marsh, the sandy wastes, a thin dwarfish forest, the crosses on the graves—all this seemed crushed by the low sullen skies; and crushed also by a terrible weight was the little hut itself, behind the walls of which one could expect neither warmth, nor comfort, nor joy.
The years dragged on in loneliness…A cheerless dreary life. And the more incredible seemed the letters which Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky wrote to his wife and children, letters full of warmth, light, tenderness and love, which took months to arrive through the night and snow.
Thus passed seven long years. What a remarkable letter Chernyshevsky writes on the eve of his release to his wile Olga Sokratovna!
"My dear friend, my joy, my only love and thought. I write to you on the anniversary of our wedding. My dear joy, I thank you for bringing light to my life… On the 10th of August I shall cease to be idle and useless to you and the children. By the autumn I think I shall find a place in Irkutsk, or near Irkutsk, and shall be able to work as before… Soon everything will begin to go right…From this autumn…
Every word breathes the confidence and hope that they will meet soon. But instead—exile to Vilyuisk, and another thirteen long years of loneliness! The cold severe winter lasting half a year, and all round—marshland and tundra. These are the hardest years of imprisonment, not even lightened by the hope of release. There is nothing ahead. Only loneliness, and the night and snow…
And then there comes to Chernyshevsky a Colonel Vinnikov who hands him the government's proposal that he should send in a petition for pardon. Release and return to his native land is the promised reward.
"For what should I ask pardon?" replies Chernyshevsky. "That is the question…It seems to me that I have been exiled merely because my head and the head of the chief of the gendarmerie Shuvalov vary in structure, and can one ask pardon for that? Thank you for your pains… I absolutely refuse to ask for pardon…
And once again time dragged on. Day after day, year after year life ebbed away.
His is an active, mighty mind which so longs to work and create, which can see so far into the future! It is his hand that wrote those wrathful and impassioned proclamaitions to the Russian peasants. It was his voice that urged Hertzen not to call to prayer in his Kololeol but to call on Russia to take up the axe. All his life he devoted to one thing, strove always towards one goal—that the oppressed should obtain freedom. Even to his bride he said once: "I do not belong to myself, I have chosen another path which threatens me with prison and exile." And this man was condemned to what was for him the most terrible torture—inactivity. He was not even allowed to shake the hand of his dying friend and bid him a word of farewell.
Nekrasov was dying—the news was a cruel blow to Chernyshevsky. "If Nekrasov still breathes when you receive my letter," he wrote to Pypin, "fell him that I love him dearly as a human being, that I thank him for his kind disposition towards me, that I kiss him, that I am convinced his fame will be immortal, that Russia's love for him, the most noble, the most brilliant of all Russian poets, is eternal. I sob for him…
This letter took three months to arrive—and reached Nekrasov when he was still alive. "Tell Nikolai Gavrilovich," the dying man said, "that I am very grateful to him. Now I am comforted: his words are dearer to me than those of anyone else…
After twenty years of hard labour and exile Chernyshevsky at last returns to his native parts. He is full of impatience and impetuosity. He rushes on, without stopping anywhere, without giving himself an hour's rest through the whole of his long difficult journey. At last he reaches Astrakhan. And here again comes a cruel blow: Chernyshevsky is deprived of the opportunity to work. Who, what magazine will publish the articles of a "state criminal"? And again inactivity, again silence and emptiness all round.
Not long before Chernyshevsky's death he was visited by the writer Korolenko. Nikolai Gavrilovich refused to be pitied, recalls Korolenko. "He always had complete control of himself, and if he suffered—and could he help suffering cruelly!—he always suffered proudly, by himself, not sharing his bitter grief with anyone."
Zoya read us her essay aloud. Both Shura and I said what we thought, "Very good!" "One day," said Shura, pacing about the room, "I mean to paint a big picture. It will be called 'The Civil Execution of Chernyshevsky.'"
"That's what Hertzen wrote," Zoya quickly put in. "He wrote: 'Will not someone paint a picture—Chernyshevsky in the pillory?' He said that such a picture would expose—how did he put it?—would expose the obtuse scoundrels who pilloried human thought."
"I can see it all," went on Shura, hardly letting her finish. "Both the girl who threw flowers to him, and the officer who shouted 'Farewell!' And I can see Chernyshevsky himself at that moment, you know, when the executioner broke the sword above his head…They have forced Chernyshevsky to his knees but all the same, you can see at once from his face that he is not conquered and never will be conquered!"
The next day I had scarcely appeared at the door when Shura shouted, "Mama, Vera Sergeyevna called out Zoya! And, just think, she asked about the life and work of Chernyshevsky!"
"'Excellent'! 'Excellent'! The whole class listened open-mouthed. Me too, although I knew it so well already! And Vera Sergeyevna was very pleased!"
Zoya received an "excellent" for her essay too.
"She deserved it," I said.
"Not half!" exclaimed Shura.
One might have thought that the "excellent" would mark the completion of Zoya's work. But it was not so. Her acquaintance with Chernyshevsky, his life and his books, meant very much to Zoya. Chernyshevsky became for her a high standard of thought and deed. That was the real sum total of Zoya's work on her essay.
Quote:There is a round site in the park not far from Pokrovskiye Gates with the monument to 19-th century writer and thinker Nikolai Chernyshevsky. The author of the monument is Juriy Neroda.
The bronze statue is installed on a low granite slab. There is a granite wall with iron rings behind the statue and low parapets on the sides. There are four 19-th century street lamps in the place where paths meet the site. The monument was unveiled in 1988.
For his beliefs Nikolai Chernyshevsky was condemned by the tsarist regime to seven years of penal servitude and lifelong exile to Siberia. He wrote his famous novel "What Is to Be Done?" in the Petropavlovskaya Fortress, in the dreadful Alexeyevskiy Ravelin.
Quote:What Is To Be Done
by Nikolai Chernyshevsky, 1863
"About 2:30 a.m., on a dark, cloudy night, there was a sudden flash of light and the sound of a shot from the middle of the Liteiny Bridge. The night watchmen ran toward the noise and a few passers-by gathered around. But no one was there and there was nothing left on the spot from which the sound had come. It appeared that someone had shot himself, rather than shot at someone else. A few men volunteered to dive; after a while some boathooks were produced and then even a fisherman's net. They dived, searched, fished around, caught some fifty large spars, but failed to retrieve even one body. How could they? It was so dark! During those two intervening hours the body must have been washed out to sea. Go and search along the shore. There emerged, as a result, a group of "progressives" who rejected the previous proposition: "Perhaps there never was a body. Maybe it was some drunk or mischiefmaker fooling around - someone who fired a shot and then ran off. Or else, I wonder, could he be standing here right now among this bustling crowd, chuckling about the fuss he's caused."
But the majority, as always when they are behaving sensibly, turned out to be "conservative" and defended their position: "What nonsense! Fooling around! No, someone put a bullet through his head and that's all there is to it!" The progressives were defeated. But, as usual, the victorious party split immediately after its victory. All right. So he blew his brains out. But why did he do it? Some of the conservatives were of the opinion that he was "dead drunk"; others argued that perhaps he had "gone broke". Someone else observed that he was simply a fool. On this view, "simply a fool", everyone was in agreement, even those who denied that he had shot himself. Indeed, whether it was someone drunk or broke who had shot himself, or some mischiefmaker who hadn't shot himself but was only playing a trick, it was still a stupid, foolish thing to do.
Thus the affair on the bridge that night came to an end. The next morning in the hotel at the Moscow Railway Station it was discovered that the fool had not been fooling around at all, but really had shot himself. But in the resolution of this affair there remained one element with which even the defeated party could agree: namely, that even if someone had not been making mischief but really had shot himself, he was still a fool. This result, satisfactory for all concerned, was particularly sound precisely because of the triumph it afforded the conservatives. Indeed, if someone had merely played a prank with that shot on the bridge, then, in fact, it would still be open to question whether the person was a fool or merely a mischiefmaker. But someone who shot himself on the bridge! Who would shoot himself on a bridge? How could it happen? For what purpose? How stupid to do it on a bridge! Therefore, this someone was undoubtedly a fool.
Once again doubts began to occur: someone had shot himself on a bridge. But people don't shoot themselves on bridges; therefore, he didn't shoot himself. But toward evening the staff of the hotel was summoned to the police station to identify a peaked cap that had a bullet hole in it and had been fished out of the water. Everyone confirmed that the cap was the very one the guest had been wearing. Thus he had undoubtedly shot himself; the spirit of protest and progress was decisively defeated.
Everyone was in agreement that he was a "fool". But suddenly they all declared: "How shrewd to do it on a bridge! If his aim is poor, it would obviously end his suffering at once. Good thinking! If he had been wounded, he would have fallen into the water and drowned before he could regain consciousness. Yes indeed, on a bridge...very clever!"
One couldn't make any sense whatever of this whole affair: he was both a fool and very clever."
Quote:The fortress covers more than 300 acres with its six bastions and six courtines, two ravelins, and the wide red-brick cronwerk erected by Nicholas I. on the north. It has, within its enclosure, plenty of all kinds of accommodation for all kinds of prisoners. Nobody, except the commander of the place, knows all of them.
There is a lofty three-storied building, which once obtained the nickname of “St. Petersburg Imperial University,” because hundreds of students were marched there, between two files of bayonets, after the disorders at the University in 1861. Scores of young men were kept there for months before they were transported to “more or less remote provinces of the Empire,” and saw their scientific career destroyed for ever by this “measure of the Emperor’s clemency.”
There is again the Courtine of Catherine which faces the Neva, under whose wide embrasures graceful flowering bushes grow at the foot of the granite walls, between two bastions. It is there that Tchernyshevsky wrote in 1864 his remarkable novel “What is to be done?” which is just now stirring the hearts of the Socialist youth of American, and in Russia made a revolution in the relations of the students and the women who were striving for their right to knowledge. From the depth of a casemate in the Courtine, Tchernyshevsky taught the young men to see in woman a comrade and a friend – not a domestic slave – and his lesson has borne its fruits.
It was there again that, a few years later, Dimitri Pissareff was imprisoned for having taken up the same noble work. Compelled to abandon it in the fortress, he did not lie idle: he wrote his remarkable analysis of the “Origin of the Species,” one of the most popular, and surely the most attractive ever penned. Two great talents were thus destroyed precisely as they were reaching their full growth. Tchernyshevsky was sent to Siberia, where he was kept for twenty years, in the mines first, and then, for thirteen years, in Viluisk, a hamlet of a few houses situated on the confines of the Arctic region. A petition for release, signed by an International Literary Congress, produced no effect. The Autocrat was so much afraid of the influence Tchernyshevsky might enjoy in Russia, that he permitted him to return from Siberia and to be settled at Astrakhan, only when he had no more to fear from his noble pen: when the writer was a ruin after a twenty years’ life of privation and sufferings among semi-savages. There was a simulacrum of judgment passed upon Tchernyshevsky; his writings, all of which had passed through the hands of the Censorship, his novel written in the fortress, were brought forward as so many proofs of guilt before the Senate. Pissareff was not even brought before a court: he was merely kept in the fortress until reported harmless…He was drowned a few months after his release.
Quote:And so the workers of all countries now honour the memory of Eugène Pottier. His wife and daughter are still alive and living in poverty, as the author of the Internationale lived all his life. He was born in Paris on October 4, 1816. He was 14 when he composed his first song, and it was called: Long Live Liberty! In 1848 he was a fighter on the barricades in the workers’ great battle against the bourgeoisie.
Pottier was born into a poor family, and all his life remained a poor man, a proletarian, earning his bread as a packer and later by tracing patterns on fabrics.
From 1840 onwards, he responded to all great events in the life of France with militant songs, awakening the consciousness of the backward, calling on the workers to unite, castigating the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois governments of France.
In the days of the great Paris Commune (1871), Pettier was elected a member. Of the 3,600 votes cast, he received 3,352. He took part in all the activities of the Commune, that first proletarian government.
The fall of the Commune forced Pettier to flee to England, and then to America. His famous song, the Internationale, was written in June 1871—you might say, the day after the bloody defeat in May.
The Commune was crushed—but Pottier’s Internationale spread its ideas throughout the world, and it is now more alive than ever before.
In 1876, in exile, Pettier wrote a poem, The Workingmen of America to the Workingmen of France. In it he described the life of workers under the yoke of capitalism, their poverty, their back-breaking toil, their exploitation, and their firm confidence in the coming victory of their cause.
It was only nine years after the Commune that Pottier returned to France, where he at once joined the Workers’ Party. The first volume of his verse was published in 1884, the second volume, entitled Revolutionary Songs, came out in 1887.
A number of other songs by the worker-poet were published after his death.
On November 8, 1887, the workers of Paris carried the remains of Eugène Pottier to the Père Lachaise cemetery, where the executed Communards are buried. The police savagely attacked the crowd in an effort to snatch the red banner. A vast crowd took part in the civic funeral. On all sides there were shouts of “Long live Pottier!”
Pottier died in poverty. But he left a memorial which is truly more enduring than the handiwork of man. He was one of the greatest propagandists by song. When he was composing his first song, the number of worker socialists ran to tens, at most. Eugène Pottier’s historic song is now known to tens of millions of proletarians.
Quote:In War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy wrote:
At the battle of Borodino, Napoleon shot at no one and killed no one. That was all done by the soldiers. Therefore, it was not he who killed people.
The French soldiers went to kill and be killed at the battle of Borodino, not because of Napoleon's orders but by their own volition. The whole army - French, Italian, German, Polish, and Dutch - hungry, ragged, and weary of the campaign, felt at the sight of an army blocking their road to Moscow that the wine was drawn and must be drunk. Had Napoleon then forbidden them to fight the Russians, they would have killed him and have proceeded to fight the Russians because it was inevitable.
When they heard Napoleon's proclamation offering them, as compensation for mutilation and death, the words of posterity about their having been in the battle before Moscow, they cried "Vive l'Empereur!" just as they had cried "Vive l'Empereur!" at the sight of the portrait of the boy piercing the terrestrial globe with a toy stick, and just as they would have cried "Vive l'Empereur!" at any nonsense that might be told them. There was nothing left for them to do but cry "Vive l'Empereur!" and go to fight, in order to get food and rest as conquerors in Moscow. So it was not because of Napoleon's commands that they killed their fellow men.
And it was not Napoleon who directed the course of the battle, for none of his orders was executed and during the battle, he did not know what was going on before him. So the way in which these people killed one another was not decided by Napoleon's will but occurred independently of him, in accord with the will of hundreds of thousands of people who took part in the common action. It only seemed to Napoleon that it all took place by his will. And so the question whether he had or had not a cold has no more historic interest than the cold of the least of the transport soldiers.
Moreover, the assertion made by various writers that his cold was the cause of his dispositions not being as well planned as on former occasions, and of his orders during the battle not being as good as previously, is quite baseless, which again shows that Napoleon's cold on the twenty-sixth of August was unimportant.
The dispositions cited above are not at all worse, but are even better, than previous dispositions by which he had won victories. His pseudo-orders during the battle were also no worse than formerly, but much the same as usual. These dispositions and orders only seem worse than previous ones because the battle of Borodino was the first Napoleon did not win. The profoundest and most excellent dispositions and orders seem very bad, and every learned militarist criticizes them with looks of importance, when they relate to a battle that has been lost, and the very worst dispositions and orders seem very good, and serious people fill whole volumes to demonstrate their merits, when they relate to a battle that has been won.
The dispositions drawn up by Weyrother for the battle of Austerlitz were a model of perfection for that kind of composition, but still they were criticized - criticized for their very perfection, for their excessive minuteness.
Napoleon at the battle of Borodino fulfilled his office as representative of authority as well as, and even better than, at other battles. He did nothing harmful to the progress of the battle; he inclined to the most reasonable opinions, he made no confusion, did not contradict himself, did not get frightened or run away from the field of battle, but with his great tact and military experience carried out his role of appearing to command, calmly and with dignity.
Quote:It was while he was in prison that his whole life changed. He first learned of the existence of the Honouranble Elijah Mohammed and of the movement known as the Black Muslims from his brothers and sisters outside the prison. They had become converts to the movement and asked Malcolm to write to Elijah Mohammed. In Chapter 11 of his autobiography, Malcolm writes that “at least twenty-five times I must have written that first one-page letter to him, over and over. I was trying to make it both legible and understandable. I practically couldn’t read my handwriting myself; it shames me even to remember it. My spelling and my grammar were as bad, if not worse”. This chapter in his autobiography is extremely moving as it documents a man’s desperate pursuit of an education.
Malcolm became a letter writer and as a result he says that he “stumbled upon starting to acquire some kind of homemade education”. He became extremely frustrated at not being able to express what he wanted to convey in letters that he wrote. He says that “in the street I had been the most articulate hustler out there … But now, trying to write simple English, I not only wasn’t articulate, I wasn’t even functional”. His ability to read books was severely hampered. “Every book I picked up had few sentences which didn’t contain anywhere from one to nearly all of the words that might have been in Chinese”. He skipped the words he didn’t know and so had little idea of what the books said.
He got himself a dictionary and began painstakingly copying every entry. It took him a day to do the first page. He would copy it all out and then read back aloud what he had written. He began to remember the words and what they meant. He was fascinated with the knowledge that he was gaining. He finished the A’s and went on to the B’s. Over a period of time he finished copying out the whole dictionary. Malcolm regarded the dictionary as a miniature encyclopedia. He learned about people and animals, about places and history, philosophy and science.
As his word base broadened, he found that he could pick up a book “and now begin to understand what the book was saying”. He says that “from then until I left that prison, in every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library, I was reading in my bunk. You couldn’t have gotten me out of a book with a wedge”.
He preferred to read in his cell but one of the problems he had was that at 10 o’clock each night when ‘lights out’ was called he found that it always seemed to coincide with him in the middle of something engrossing. Fortunately, there was a light on the landing outside his particular cell and once his eyes got accustomed to the glow, he was able to sit on the floor by the cell door and continue his reading. He found that the guards would come around once every hour so that when he heard their footsteps approaching, he would rush back to his bunk until they had gone past and pretend to be asleep. As soon as they had gone, he would be back by the door reading. This would continue until three or four every morning. He says that “three or four hours of sleep a night was enough for me. Often in the years in the streets I had slept less than that”.
Malcolm read and read and read. He devoured books on history and was astounded at the knowledge he obtained about the history of black civilizations throughout the world. He read books by Gandhi on the struggle in India, he read about African colonization and China’s Opium Wars. He found within the library’s collection some bound pamphlets of the Abolitionist Anti-Slavery Society and was able to read for himself descriptions of atrocities committed against the slaves and of the degradations suffered by his forbears. “I never will forget how shocked I was when I began reading about slavery’s total horror … Book after book showed me how the white man had brought upon the world’s black, brown, red and yellow peoples every variety of the sufferings of exploitation”. His reading was not limited to history, however. He read about genetics and philosophy. He read about religion.
He relates that “ten guards and the warden couldn’t have torn me out of those books … I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life”.
Quote:President (interrupting Dimitrov): It is none of your business to criticize us here.
Dimitrov: I admit that my tone is hard and grim. The struggle of my life has always been hard and grim. My tone is frank and open. I am used to calling a spade a spade. I am no lawyer appearing before this Court in the mere way of his profession.
I am defending myself, an accused Communist.
I am defending my political honour, my honour as a revolutionary.
I am defending my Communist ideology, my ideals.
I am defending the content and significance of my whole life.
For these reasons every ward which I say in this Court is a part of me, each phrase is the expression of my deep indignation against the unjust accusation, against the putting of this anti-Communist crime, the burning of the Reichstag, to the account of the Communists.
I have often been reproached for not taking the highest Court in Germany seriously. That is absolutely unjustified.
It is true that the supreme law for me as a Communist is the programme of the Communist International, the supreme court - the Control Commission of the Communist International.
But to me as an accused man the Supreme Court of the Reich is something to be considered in all seriousness - not only in that its members possess high legal qualifications, but also because it is a highly important organism of state power, of the ruling order of society: a body Which can dispose of the highest penalties. I can say with an easy conscience that everything which I have stated to this Court and everything which I have spoken to the public is the truth and nothing but the truth. As regards my Party, which has been forced underground, I have refused to make any statements. I have always spoken with seriousness and from my inner convictions.
President: I shall not permit you to indulge in Communist propaganda in this Court. You have persisted in it. If you do not refrain I shall have to prevent you from speaking.
Dimitrov: I must deny absolutely the suggestion that I have pursued propagandist aims. It may be that my defence before this Court has had a certain propagandist effect. It is also possible that my conduct before this Court may serve as an example for other accused Communists. But those were not the aims of my defence. My aims were these: to refute the indictment and to refute the accusation that Dimitrov, Torgler, Popov, and Tanev, that the German Communist Party and the Communist International had anything to do with the fire.
I know that no one in Bulgaria believes in our alleged complicity in the Reichstag fire. I know that everywhere else abroad hardly anyone believes that we have anything to do with it. But in Germany other conditions prevail and in Germany it is not impossible that people might believe such extraordinary assertions. For this reason I desired to prove that the. Communist Party had and has nothing whatever to do with the crime.
If the question of propaganda is to be raised, then I may fairly say that many utterances made within this Court were of a propagandist character. The speeches here of Goebbels and Goering had an indirect propagandist effect favourable to Communism, but no one can reproach them for their speeches having produced such results (commotion and laughter in court).
I have not only been roundly abused by the press - something to which I am completely indifferent - but my Bulgarian people have also, through me, been characterized as savage and barbarous. I have been called a suspicious character from the Balkans, and a wild Bulgarian, I cannot allow such things to pass in silence.
It is true that Bulgarian fascism is savage and barbarous. But the Bulgarian workers and peasants, the Bulgarian people's intelligentsia are by no means savage or barbarous.
It is true that the standard of life is not so high in the Balkans as elsewhere in Europe, but it is false to say that the people of Bulgaria are politically or mentally on a lower scale than the peoples of other countries. Our political struggle, our political aspirations are no less lofty than those of other peoples. A people which lived for five hundred years under a foreign yoke without losing its language and its national character, our working class and peasantry who have fought and are fighting against Bulgarian fascism and for Communism - such a people is not savage and barbarous. Only fascism in Bulgaria is savage and barbarous. But I ask you, in what country does not fascism bear these qualities?
Quote:Rakhmetov was created by Nikolai Chernyshevsky and appeared in Chto Delat? (What is to be done?) (1862-1863) Chernyshevsky (1828-1889) was a Russian socialist, reformer, and writer; he wrote for the radical journal Contemporary. What is to be done? was his most influential work, though, giving him the reputation as a forerunner of the Russian revolutionary movement as well as a primary influence on Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground, and Crime and Punishment.
Rakhmetov is an exceptional person in many ways. Among the boatmen of the Volga Rakhmetov is known as "Nikitushka Lomof," after the legendarily huge and strong boatman hero. Rakhmetov wasn't born strong, but at age seventeen decided to improve himself, and so spent hours practicing gymnastics. Rakhmetov also spent time as a "common laborer," improving his physical strength, and feeding himself a special diet. The result was that he became exceptionally, almost superhumanly, strong. (At one point he catches the axle of a runaway wagon and holds it for long enough to stop the horses). He read widely, in philosophy, science, and literature, always trying to improve his mind and become as knowledgeable as possible. He traveled across Europe and North America, studying other languages, cultures, and peoples.
The result is that Rakhmetov becomes, in the words of a critic, "the prototype of hard-headed materialism and pragmatism, of total dissatisfaction with the government, and of the self-sacrificing nobility of spirit that was the ideal of many of the radical intelligentsia." Rakhmetov is a rationalist and ascetic who prepares himself for total and complete revolution against the Czarist regime. He is, in other words, a revolutionary Doc Savage.
Quote:These people and this case--the Petrashevtsy, as a group or for that matter as individuals--were creatures of the Russian state. And like sinners in the hand of an angry God, Dostoevskii and several of the "most guilty" among them were subjected to a sadistic mock execution by firing squad, halted by preordained and wholly arbitrary plan just before triggers were pulled. The state then marched them off to Siberia, some, like Petrashevskii, never to return.
The Petrashevtsy, under judicial threat of extinction, had not for their own part so much called for the "destruction" of "the existing order" as they had felt in their bones that the existing order was collapsing around them, and they perceived active ways to ride out the winds of change, perhaps to emerge victorious, transformed from petty hirelings in a ponderous and unjust bureaucratic tyranny into participants in, perhaps leaders of, a brighter and better life for their whole nation, possibly the whole world. The solutions of their problems sometimes appeared to be solutions of all mankind's problems. Fourier contributed to these moments of giddy vision. Tsar Nicholas and his commission countered with sobering reminders of cold reality.
Quote:Berlioz was fortunate to have made his visit in 1847. After the upheavals of 1848, the final years of the Emperor’s rule were darkened still further by the spectre of revolution and conspiracy. Censorship became more prohibitive, the agents of the Third Department – the secret police – stepped up their surveillance of dissidents; private letters were routinely opened; societies were infiltrated. Among those arrested for conspiracy in 1849 was the twenty-eight year-old Dostoevskii. Along with twenty others, he was subjected to a terrifying mock execution in Semenovskii Square in the centre of St Petersburg, before being sent to Siberia. He was not allowed back to Russia until four years after Nicholas’s death.
Quote:In October of 1941, still a high school student in Moscow, she volunteered for a partisan unit. At the village of Obukhovo near Naro-Fominsk, Kosmodemyanskaya and other partisans crossed the front line and entered territory, occupied by the Germans. She was arrested by the Nazis on a combat assignment near the village of Petrishchevo (Moscow Oblast) on November 27, 1941. Details of the assignment and the arrest were classified for sixty years due to the fact that there was a treachery in this case.
The criminal case number 16440 was declassified in 2002. The case was then reviewed by Russia's Chief Military Prosecutor Office, and it decided, that Vasily Klubkov, who betrayed Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, is not the subject for rehabilitation. According to the criminal case 16440, three Soviet combatants: Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, Vasily Klubkov, and their commander Boris Krainov had to perform acts of sabotage on the Soviet territory occupied by the Nazis. They had the task of setting fire to houses in the village of Petrishchevo, where the Nazis were quartered. Krainov should operate in the central part of the village, Kosmodemyanskaya in the southern and Klubkov in the northern one. Krainov had carried out the task first and returned to the base. Zoya had performed her task too, as was evidenced by three tongues of flame in the southern part of Petrischevo, seen from the base. Only the northern part was not set to fire at all. According to Klubkov he was captured by two Nazi soldiers and brought into their staff. The Nazi officer threatened to kill him and Klubkov told names of Kosmodemyanskaya and Krainov, who had similar tasks to Klubkov's one. After this Kosmodemyanskaya was captured by the Nazis.
Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was tortured and humiliated. In particular, she was undressed and beaten with rubber sticks for two or three hours by several Nazis. But Kosmodemyanskaya did not give away the names of her comrades or her real name (claiming that it was Tanya). She said: "Kill me, I'll tell you nothing" (Russian: "Убейте меня, я вам ничего не скажу").  She was hanged on November 29, 1941. It was claimed that before her death Kosmodemyanskaya had made a speech with the closing words, “There are two hundred million of us, you can’t hang us all!” Kosmodemyanskaya was the first woman to become Hero of the Soviet Union (February 16, 1942).