THE PLOT IN SHORT
Gleb Chumalov, a demobilized Red Army soldier, returns to his home town after the civil war. The cement factory where he used to work is a crumbling mess. His wife, Dasha, is a Communist Party worker and too busy for him. Their daughter, Nurka is living in a children's home, and eventually dies.
Gleb goes to the District Party Committee headquarters and tries to get them to restart the factory right away. They tell him he's a dreamer. The leader of the party's women's section Polya Mekhova, is attracted to Gleb, but he rebuffs her. He loves Dasha.
Gleb takes command of the factory party committee and starts whipping it into shape for an eventual restart. He learns that in his absence Dasha was somehow involved with Engineer Kleist, a bourgeoise engineer from the pre-revolution days, who was responsible for handing Gleb over to the Whites for torture. (He eventually escaped the Whites and joined the Red Army.) Gleb ponders killing Kleist.
Dasha and head of the local Soviet Executive Council Badin ride out to a nearby village where the people are resisting forced grain requisitions. During the ride, Badin tries to force himself on Dasha, who rebuffs him. Dasha is captured by Cossacks and threatened with death, but they let her go.
Badin excuses the peasants from grain requisitions, and Dasha agrees to sleep with him.
Dasha finally tells Gleb of what happened during his absence. After Gleb had fled to join the Reds, Dasha was seized by the Whites, interrogated, then let go. Dasha then began to work for the Red partisans, delivering messages, getting them supplies, etc. Dasha is again arrested and raped. She would have been killed but Kleist, feeling guilty for what he did to Gleb, intercedes.
Communists go through the town, expropriating the property of the ex-bourgeoise and relocating them out to the villages. One Communist, Sergei, is troubled by this action, particularly because his father is one of those to be shipped out. His father, however, is happy to go.
The Cossacks attack the factory. Gleb and others fight back. They arrest and execute a leader of the Cossacks, Dmitri, the brother of Sergei.
As the New Economic Policy (NEP) takes root, traders return to town; shops and cafes open up. Mekhova is opposed to the NEP, considering it a capitulation.
Badin, Shramm, and others abuse the privileges of their office, getting extra food and vodka supplies for themselves and having parties. Badin rapes Mekhova. Shramm tries to stop the restart of the factory, but Gleb denounces it as sabotage gets authorization from the Bureau of Industry to continue.
A Party commission shows up and purges many members from the factory committee, including Mekhova, who opposed the New Economic Policy, and Sergei, who is a former Menshevik. The commission, however, is gushing in its approval of Dasha. Badin receives a promotion.
Work to restart the factory continues at a feverish pace. Mekhova is sent away for rest. Dasha takes over leadership of the women's section. She leaves Gleb, not for another man, but for her work. Shramm is arrested.
The factory finally reopens, and thousands cheer Gleb.
Presents a summary of:
by Fyodor Gladkov - 1924
CHAPTER I: THE DESERTED FACTORY
1. On the Threshold of Home. Still in uniform and wearing the Order of the Red Banner on his chest, Gleb Chumalov returns to his home, a workers settlement near a cement factory in Novorossiisk. As Gleb approaches his house, Dasha, his wife, wearing a red kerchief, is startled to see him. They kiss and Gleb starts to carry her inside, but Dasha calls him "comrade" and says she must hurry away. She will be gone for two days--she works in the Party's Women's Section. She tells him to register at the Factory Committee for his food ration and that their daughter, Nurka, is in a children's home. She leaves. Gleb is perplexed. The factory is idle and crumbling. Goats, chickens, and pigs wander around the workers' settlement.
2. Gloom. Across the way, Gleb hears the cooper Savchuk raising a drunken row in his house. Gleb enters and sees Savchuk punching and kicking his wife, Motya. Gleb intercedes. When Savchuk finally recognizes Gleb, he is glad to see him. Savchuk then sorrowfully comments on the broken state of the factory and of their life. Motya is equally glum. Their children are dead. Gleb tries to inspire them, saying that they will rebuild the factory.
3. Machines. Gleb wanders around the factory, which is falling apart. He enters the engine room. Unlike the rest of the factory, here it is spotlessly clean. The diesel engines are shiny and oiled, ready for the command to start. They are being taken care of by Brynza, Gleb's old friend, who is very glad to see him. Brynza has a rifle to keep away pilferers, who are everywhere. "The factory mustn't die! Otherwise, what the hell did we have a revolution for?" Brynza asks. He urges Gleb to do all he can to save the factory.
4. Comrades. Gleb goes to the Factory Committee office, where all the workers are idling and complaining about everything. They look at Gleb in his uniform with indifference. Loshak, a hunchbacked old mechanic, says no one has work but if they get the factory started, things will be different. Gromada, a consumptive little mechanic, recognizes and excitedly greets Gleb. Gleb chastises everyone for letting the factory go to hell. Out the window Gleb notices a stooping old gentleman with a cane, Engineer Kleist. Gleb scowls.
CHAPTER II: THE RED KERCHIEF
1. The Cold Hearth. Dasha finally returns, but she seems like a totally different person--not the happy, submissive wife she was when Gleb left. Gleb tries to force himself on her, but she rebuffs him. She has become a new person. She tells him, "I've learned something fine and new, and I'm not just a woman anymore...After you'd gone I discovered I was a real person and learned to value myself. It was very hard, and it cost me dear, but now no one will destroy the pride I have in myself--no one, not even you, Gleb." She will not be a submissive slave with no will of her own. Gleb is furious and ashamed at the same time. He assumes Dasha has a lover.
2. The Children's Home. The next morning, Dasha seems happy--more like the old Dasha. She has worked up a report for the Women's Section on proposed nurseries. She has all the estimates, but there is no money. She thinks they should squeeze the bourgeois more. Gleb and Dasha promise to try and understand one another. They go to the children's home. Gleb is shocked to see all the dirty, undernourished children, all dressed in identical grey smocks. Dasha is well known and respected here--seemingly in charge. Everyone is indifferent or suspicious of Gleb. All the children rush up, happy to see Dasha. Nurka lovingly kisses Dasha, but looks hostilely at Gleb. "It's not Daddy! It's a Red Army Soldier", she says. Gleb is hurt. "Both here and at home he was lonely, and childless now."
"There are enemies everywhere you look."
The Matron, a devious-looking woman with gold teeth, comes up and speaks ingratiatingly about Nurka. Dasha becomes cold and says there is nothing special about Nurka. The Matron praises the Soviet government but then starts to complain about many things. Dasha gives orders, demanding that the carpets and sofas be taken out of storage for use by the children. The Matron heaps insincere-sounding praise on Dasha. As Gleb and Dasha leave, Nurka finally gives Gleb a timid hug.
CHAPTER III: THE DISTRICT COMMITTEE
1. Comrade Zhuk Speaks Out. Gleb enters the Palace of Labor. Comrade Zhuk, an old friend of Gleb's, is arguing with Comrade Sergei Ivagin. Zhuk says bureaucracy and red tape are ruining them. Sergei is in favor of merciless terror. He says the Soviet government must be strong and efficient, even if it is bureaucratic. Zhuk is happy to see Gleb and introduces him to Sergei. Sergei's handshake is soft and timid, like a girl's. The three of them head to the District Committee office. They pass through a room where Dasha is giving a report to the Women's Section. Dasha hardly takes note of Gleb, and the women are annoyed by the men's presence. Polya Mekhova, head of the women's section, asks Gleb to come see her before he leaves.
2. A Concrete Proposal. Gleb enters the District Committee office. The Secretary, Zhidky, is talking with Chibis (head of the local Cheka) and Lukhara (chairman of the local trade union council). They are discussing the need to establish a reliable method of supplying wood for fuel. Zhidky says that Gleb has been appointed secretary of his factory group, which currently is totally disorganized, full of speculators and profiteers. Gleb says that to establish strong organization, they should make a firm announcement that the factory will be reopened. Chibis snorts contemptuously. Lukhara says Gleb lacks understanding of the facts. Zhidky angrily tells Gleb that the factory must wait until the firewood problem is dealt with and challenges him to come up with a solution. Gleb thinks a moment then devises one: extend the gravity railroad, or ropeway, up to the mountain pass, using voluntary Sunday work. Lukhava supports the idea. Zhidky tells Gleb that worrying about the factory is utopianism. The factory is a thing of the past and of the future, not the present. Gleb is angered by this, and says the workers need concrete goals in order to be made into class-conscious proletarians. Zhidky calms down and agrees that the main problem is the inspiration and organization of the masses. The meeting ends and Lukava proposes that he and Gleb work together on the plan. Lukhava says he's heard about him from Dasha. Gleb wonders if Lukhava is Dasha's lover.
3. Woman in Curls. Gleb goes to the office of the curly-haired Polya Mekhova. Dasha is also there. Mekhova says factory party work will be difficult, given the disorganized state and pilfering going on. Gleb says Zhidky and the others don't understand that getting the ropeway going is the first step toward restarting the factory. Mekhova says life here won't be as interesting as life in the army. She wants to hear about his military exploits. She took part in street fighting in Moscow and once fought in the trenches. She loves military life and its heroism. Gleb says that heroism is needed here at the factory, too. Mekhova invites Gleb to visit her at her home in the House of Soviets. Dasha looks at Mekhova and Gleb, then starts to shove Gleb out of the office. Mekhova starts to praise Dasha and what she went through while Gleb was away, but Dasha immediately shushes her. Gleb leaves, but Mekhova comes out to say that she will do everything she can to help him restart the factory. She also advises him to be patient with Dasha, that Dasha will come to him in her own time.
CHAPTER IV: THE WORKERS' CLUB "COMINTERN"
1. The Party Group. Gleb opens a meeting of the factory party group in the Comintern Club, formerly the home of the factory director. Gleb suggest that they elect a chairman for the meeting. The women immediately nominate Dasha. There are objections from the men, but Dasha wins. She calls on Sergei to speak on the fuel problem. He drones on, using high-falluting rhetoric ("Phew, these stupid intellectuals!") to which no one really pays attention. Then Gleb makes an impassioned, clear statement about how solving the fuel problem is the first step to restarting the factory. The ropeways will be build with voluntary Sunday labor. The engineers must start the planning immediately. Savchuk denounces engineer Kleist, who, years earlier, had turned Gleb over to the Whites to be killed. Loshak says Kleist may be a louse, but when he saved Dasha from death.... Dasha immediately shuts him up. Gleb says he'll fight his own battles with Kleist. Dasha says the Party group has been ordered to provide a certain number of workers for communal farm labor. Everyone explodes in indignation and refuses. Gleb volunteers for the farm work and denounces the others as being afraid of work, saying they are only concerned about the goats they are now keeping. He rips off his shirt to reveal his many battle scars. The others are shamed and volunteer also. Dasha then introduces an item not on the agenda--turning the homes of the former factory officials into day nurseries. She ramrods the proposal through for approval, then gets them all singing the Internationale.
"We are cement, comrades; the working class!"
2. August Bebel and Motya Savchuk. On the way home, Gleb tries to get Dasha to tell him what happened with Engineer Kleist. All Dasha will say is that somehow she got involved in the affair with the Greens. At home, Dasha sits down and reads August Bebel's Woman and Socialism. Gleb goes over to the Savchuks and tries to weedle Dasha's secret out of Motya, but she refuses. Gleb goes back home and pleads with Dasha to tell him what happened. She says she was with men...more than once. Gleb is enraged and raises his arm to hit her. Dasha glares back, saying she said that just to test him, and he failed. She says, "You're a Communist, it's true. But you are also a brute man, needing a woman to be a slave for you, for you to sleep with. You're a good soldier, but in ordinary life you're a bad Communist."
Be like Dasha
Find out who is:
CHAPTER V: THE UNDERGROUND EMIGRANT
1. The Secret Room. Engineer German Germanovich Kleist, stands in his study and disdainfully looks out through the windows at the workers scurrying about outside. Here only the past exists, never touched by the present. Every day at one o'clock the office messenger, Yakob, would bring him tea. Kleist would order Yakob to dust the windows, but never to open them. Kleist had built these factory buildings, so he could not flee abroad and abandon his creation. "The masterpieces of his hands stood in his path more immovable than the mountains, more indestructible than time; he had become their prisoner."
2. Enemies. Kleist goes to the bathroom. (It's the bad food, you know.) When he returns he is shocked to see his study door open (neither he nor Yakob would ever allow that), and--horror of horrors--the window open! Gleb is there, sweeping away the cobwebs in the window frame. Gleb reminds Kleist that he had Gleb beaten and handed over for death, yet here he is alive again. Gleb also reminds Kleist of how the Whites had grabbed four men and brought them here to this study to be tortured and killed. Gleb asks a riddle: How did these four dead fools get transformed into one living one. Kleist makes no answer and Gleb leaves. Yakob returns. Kleist remembers the four men Gleb referred to. He also remembers that he saved Dasha from death. His hand trembles as he remarks that he and Yakob are living out their last few hours.
3. Retribution. Kleist goes out walking to gaze at the factory buildings, the only things that were near and dear to him. He fully expects to be killed now. He thinks that the factory should have been blown up long ago and him with it.
Gleb is standing at the top of a factory tower and sees Kleist. He remembers that fateful days years ago. Most of the workman had fled the factory. Gleb and three comrades had no chance to flee. White officers grabbed them and beat them. Then they were dragged into Kleist's study. Kleist identified Gleb and the others for the Whites. Gleb and his three friends were tossed into a shed and beaten savagely again. Later, when Gleb regained consciousness, he somehow managed to crawl away, escaping.
Gleb calls for Kleist to come up and join him on the tower. Kleist, fearing and expecting death, does so. Gleb comments on the sad state of the factory, how it is like a graveyard. He considers killing Kleist, but realizes that he has no desire for revenge. Gleb tells Kleist how they must rebuilt the ropeways to bring fuel and bring the factory back to life. Gleb calls Kleist one of the greatest technologists in the republic and says that he must get his brains and hands working again. Kleist, thunderstruck, realizes that Gleb has pulled him back from death and forced him back into life.
CHAPTER VI: THE PRESIDIUM
1. Little Knot. Gleb goes to the offices of the Soviet Executive Committee. Zhuk is parading around, denouncing bureaucracy. Gleb promises to find an appropriate job for Zhuk. Gleb, himself appalled by the bureaucracy, then barges into the office of the Chairman of the Soviet Executive Committee Badin. Badin is arguing with Borshchy, Chairman of the District Executive Committee. Borshchy was obviously a war hero. Badin demands that within a month Borshchy obtain the supplementary deliveries of grain and that by September he force the peasants to return the seed grain which was advanced to them. Borshchy protests, saying that the peasants must be given until next year. He says more forced requisitions will cause starvation among the peasants and increase the numbers of the White-Green bands. Badin cuts him off and orders him to obey. Borshchy reluctantly agrees, but warns, "it will be a butchery."
Badin then turns to Gleb who tells of the plan to bring wood to the factory over the ropeways. Badin's first question is, "Isn't Dasha Chumalova your wife?" (It seems Badin's been trying to seduce Dasha for some time now, without success.) He then says he'll bring up the question of setting up the ropeway at the next meeting of the Economic Council, but the question of restarting the factory is not for the present. Gleb makes an impassioned plea for the factory. Badin says its time will come in the near future, but not now; Gleb should deal with concrete immediate needs, not absurd dreams.
The Chairman of the Council of People's Economy Shramm enters. When asked about the possibility of restarting the factory, Shramm does not answer, but gives a long-winded speech about the inventories being conducted by the Economic Council. He says the most important work of the Council is to conserve the patrimony of the State without tolerating any doubtful undertakings. When asked about wood supplies, Shramm says he has the plan of how much wood is to be felled, but the problem of delivery of wood to the districts is not the Council's affair. Badin tells Shramm that they must start the dynamos at the factory and get the ropeway going for wood deliveries. Shramm says that only the Bureau of Industry can sanction such a plan. He suggests that any plans for the factory should undergo several studies and that he himself would oppose such schemes. Badin angrily orders that he will not oppose the plan and that Shramm in fact will present a report on it at the next Economic Council meeting. When asked if he knows that the people's property, which he works so hard to protect, is being openly plundered, Shramm says, "This is unknown to me." Gleb promises Badin that, while the work will be hard, he and his comrades will get the project done. Shramm asserts, "We must cure our comrades of their leaning to all kinds of adventure." Gleb laughs and leaves.
2. Eyes That See At Night. Gleb goes to see Chibis, who stares dreamily out the window at the sea, and it seems that a tear glistens in his eye. He has such eyes that do not sleep at night; they can see through walls. Gleb gives Chibis his unflattering estimation of Shramm. Chibis says Shramm is a mechanical communist who would die for his department. Chibis then talks strangely about indispensability and phantoms at night. Gleb is somewhat alarmed, then brings up Zhuk. Chibis promises to make him a messenger for the Economic Council and the Forestry Department. Gleb then asks Chibis if he's every seen Lenin. Chibis says it's of no importance. Gleb says he imagines that if he ever sees and hears Lenin, Gleb will be able to speak with bigger, more profound words. Chibis advises him to act, not talk. "Struggle with all your might, organize labor, decide vital questions. Then Lenin will be before you in his full aspect."
"Struggle with all your might, organize labor, decide vital questions. Then Lenin will be before you in his full aspect."
CHAPTER VII: HIS PARENTS' HOUSE
1. The Bookworm. Sergei receives a note from his father, Ivan Arsenich, asking him to visit. Sergei comes and finds his father, as usual, among his stacks and stacks of books. His father tells Sergei that his mother is ill and that he should go visit her. Ivan wonders how Sergei will act if he should meet his brother, Dimitri.
2. At His Mother's Bedside. Sergei goes to visit his dying mother in her bed. There he also meets his brother Dimitri, with one arm, a shaven head, and wearing Cossack breeches. Dimitri greets Sergei warmly, but there was something strained and insincere in the greeting. Their father notes, "How strange that you are my children. How strange that you two are strangers--to each other and to me. Sergei asks Dimitri where he has been. All Dimitri will say is that he was a Colonel on the German front, but now is a citizen without definite occupation. Dimitri tries to embrace Sergei, but Sergei turns away. Dimitri notes that they will no doubt meet again, and leaves.
CHAPTER VIII: BURNING DAYS
1. Workers' Blood. Gleb gets busy organizing things. The electricians restore electricity to the workers' quarters, bringing smiles and hopes to their hearts. Brynza and his assistants get the diesels ready. All they need now is fuel. Gleb is sad to see the state of disrepair in the coopers' shop. But he is happy when he sees Savchuk is there, testing the machinery. Soon, a train arrives with tank cars full of benzine and oil.
2. Leap Over Death. Badin receives a report that Borshchy horse-whipped Saltanov, Chief of the District Militia, who had been sent to help Borshchy with the grain requisitions. Saltanov, with a detachment of Red soldiers, was attacking the Cossacks and townspeople, clearing the grain out of the granaries and driving the last of the cattle out of the stalls. It was when the wagons were leaving town, accompanied by the wails of the peasants, that the incident between Borshchy and Saltanov took place. Badin orders a horse and carriage so he can go out there and investigate. Dasha, who has long been asking for a carriage to take her out to that area on other business, is invited to come along.
As they start riding out of town, they pass Zhuk. Badin tells Dasha that Zhuk is a good-for-nothing disrupter. Dasha, however, defends him as a good turner and conscientious Communist. Once out of town, Badin lunges at Dasha and kisses her. She struggles against him. Suddenly, they are attacked by Cossacks, who kill their driver. Badin takes the reins and urges the horses on. Dasha leaps out of the carriage and knocks down a pursuing Cossack. As Badin gallops to safety, the Cossacks beat Dasha. Dasha is then brought to their Colonel who admires her bravery but hates all communists and plans to execute her, even though she is a woman. He orders her to be hanged. They drag her to a tree and put a rope around her neck, but Dasha does not flinch, does not beg. Finally, the Colonel relents and orders her released.
3. The Puffed-up Chicken. As the somewhat dazed Dasha staggers along the road, Badin returns with a regiment of Red Soldiers. They take Dasha into the Cossack town, Badin never leaving her side. In the town, Badin orders Saltanov arrested. He tells the peasants that they are excused from the grain rationing and that they can take the grain and cattle home. When the peasants disperse, Borshchy asks Badin to excuse Saltanov, saying that both Saltanov and himself had perhaps acted excessively. Badin refuses the request. Dasha spends the rest of the day with the Cossack women, and Badin stays by her side. That night, Dasha and Badin sleep together.
CHAPTER IX: THE ROPEWAY
1. The Masses. Gleb and the other workers have been working mightily and happily on the ropeway construction for three days now. Flashes of pleasure and excitement can even been seen in Kleist's eyes. Kleist had become a devoted technician of the Soviet Republic; he and Gleb could now become friends. Mekhova, laughing, comes up to Gleb and leans on him provocatively, invitingly. Dasha, leading the women's brigade with shovels comes by; Gleb looks at her with pride and admiration. Tears glisten in Mekhova's eyes.
Cowboys and Kolkhozniki
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When Dasha had returned from her ordeal with the Cossacks, she told Gleb the story. He was greatly moved. He resolved henceforth to never reproach her nor to try and force his caresses on her. She then mentioned that she had slept with Badin, expecting Gleb to make a scandal. Gleb was astonished, as if hit with a blow, but he was not hurt. He felt only tenderness toward her. If it happened, he said, "let it be". Dasha laughed slightly, then crawled into bed with Gleb.
Back at the work site, Gleb cheers on Savchuk, who works hard. Sergei, exhausted, comes to sit by Mekhova. When she pats his arm in a friendly way, his face lights up with a smile.
2. Betting on Blood. Cossack bandits start firing on the workers from the crest of the hill. At first, the workers start to flee in a panic. But Gleb and other Communists stop them and organize them. Rifles are distributed to Communists, who move up to help the Red soldiers in the battle. Mekhova comes up to fight alongside Gleb, ignoring his admonitions to stay behind. Gleb sneaks up on a Cossack and engages in a death struggle with him. Mekhova comes up and cracks the Cossack in the ribs with a rifle butt. The Cossack surrenders. Then, shouting, "Catch a Cossack in flight", the Cossack leaps over the edge of the cliff, plunging to his death. Gleb and Mekhova move back and rejoin the battle.
3. The Switch is Thrown. After the battle, Gleb, Mekhova, and others in the workers detachment come back down the hill, carrying the body of a fallen comrade. It is Mitka, the accordion player who by force had grabbed a rifle and thrust himself amid the Communist detachment. The workers cheer their victory and happily toss Gleb up into the air. Even Dasha smiles at him and puts her hand on his shoulder, but then she just disappears in the crowd.
The ropeway is ready to go. They place the body of Mitka on the first truck to leave, and it is carried in honor down the slope. Gleb gives a speech saying they have won this day and that with their work and blood and suffering, they can win the world.
CHAPTER X: STRATA OF THE SOUL
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1. Quiet Minutes. As Gleb and Dasha walk home, Mekhova, uninvited, joins them. Mekhova takes Gleb's arm and secretly presses her breast against him. Gleb picks up both women in his arms and carries them for a while. Mekhova says, "We're only near each other when we are working; but as human beings we are apart." She says many people are lonely in their soul but are afraid to express it for fear of being reproached with "ideological inconsistency". She goes on that with the New Economic Policy (NEP) they are approaching some contradictions and she is worried about them. They reach the Chumalovs' home, and Mekhova departs. Gleb and Dasha then walk on to the reservoir. Gleb is surprised when Dasha, for the first time, takes him by the hand like a good friend. Dasha tells Gleb that he is free to pursue Mekhova or other women if he likes and that she shall not ask for his permission to follow her heart either. Gleb is hurt by this and doesn't know how to respond. He has boundless love for Dasha as a human being who is closer to him than any other. He lays his head on Dasha's lap and asks her to tell him what happened while he was gone. She agrees.
2. Birth of Strength. This is the story Dasha told Gleb:
After Gleb had left those many years ago, Dasha was terrified and depressed, knowing that he had perhaps left forever. One day, soldiers burst into her home, demanding to know where Gleb was. They search the home then drag Dash and Nurka to a villa and put them in a cellar. Numerous other people are also locked in the cellar. Hours later, Dasha is interrogated about Gleb's whereabouts, but of course she had nothing to tell them. She and Nurka are released.
One day, Efim, a soldier with enormous mustaches, brings Dasha a letter from Gleb. He is alive, trying to cross White lines to get to the Red Army. Efim tells Dasha to organize all the Green widows [wives of men who have gone off into the forest to join the partisan or Red forces] into a band and to get a job in the factory cooperative in the food department. Dasha says that if Gleb is risking his life, so should she: "I should follow the road that my Gleb has followed."
Dasha put Nurka into Motya's care and did as Efim instructed. Sometimes unknown men would come to her at the food cooperative and she would give them sacks of bread "for the workers in the mountain quarries". She organized the Green widows and they would go to the mountains taking clothes, boots, papers and reports to the Greens.
After a year, Dasha was again arrested and thrown in the same villa cellar. Others in the cellar included Efim, a fellow Green widow named Fimka, and Petro, Fimka's brother. They pretend not to know each other. Dasha is brought before the same Colonel who interrogated her last time, and he demands to know about the Greens. Dasha is then thrown into another cellar where Efim, naked, likes on the floor being savagely whipped by Cossacks. Dasha is also whipped, as is Petro. Dasha is then brought back to the Colonel. She still pretends to know nothing about the Greens, so she is dragged into another room and raped.
Dasha, Efim, Fimka, and Petro are loaded into a truck and taken to a secluded spot. Efim, Fimka, and Petro are shot dead. Dasha is given one last chance to reveal what she knows about the Greens. She is defiant. They roughly toss her back into the truck and take her back to the Colonel. He says Kleist has made himself responsible for her, so she is released.
Thereafter, Dasha became friendly with Savchuk, Loshak, and Gromada, who were secretly working to welcome the Red Army. Dasha then began having relations with soldiers who would come once or twice, then disappear into the mountains and be replaced by others. She feels no regret for this, viewing it as part of her work under the eyes of the counter-espionage, until the day the Red Army arrived.
After hearing this story, Gleb is crushed and at a loss for words. But he says, "Well, so be it. I can't make laws for you....You are alive. You went alone and you found your own ways of fighting. Dasha, my dove, my darling!" Dasha responds, "You're stupid, Gleb, but you're good."
CHAPTER XI: IN THE VICE
1. The Masters' Hands. One night, the communists are turning the rich bourgeoisie out of their houses and expropriating their property. Among them are Zhuk, now no longer a complaining buffoon, but a fierce, menacing-looking soldier. Gleb enters the home of Chirsky, a well- known lawyer and former socialist member of the Imperialist Duma. Dasha is gathering and sorting the clothing, linen, and household utensils. Sergei is also there and is troubled. He and his father knew Chirsky and had been in this house in the before times. Chirsky mildly reproaches Sergei for this "robbery" and asks for some indulgence for old time's sake. Sergei steels himself and says that his father will receive the same treatment. And with these words, Sergei suddenly felt relieved. Dasha finds an old doll and returns it to the young girl in the family. Dasha then reports to Gleb that everything has been inventoried. The family has been left one change of clothing and linen. The books will be sent to the People's Commissariat for Education, and everything else will go to the Children's Homes and the Clubs.
Gleb asks Sergei where his father's house is. Sergei offers to accompany him, but Gleb says that would be a mistake: "We're not doing this to torture people, but to execute our business."
2. Sent Out to Pasture. When Gleb gets to the house of Sergei's father, Ivan Arsenich (Sergei's father) is happily prancing around enthusiastically cheering on the communists, telling them to take "everything". Dimitri enters. Gleb demands he identify himself. Dimitri complies, but with an "indefinable mockery" in his eyes.
Ivan Arsenich is enthusiastic about the prospect of being put out to the grazing grounds: "What could be more ideal than that condition? The earth, the sky, infinity!" His only regret is that Sergei was not there to personally take part in the expropriation. Gleb offers to let Ivan Arsenich stay living in his room with whatever possessions he wants them to leave. Ivan Arsenich is terrified at the prospect and quickly refuses. "Take everything, everything!" he says.
3. The Grazing Grounds. In the day, the communists start herding the rich bourgeoisie down the street toward the edge of town. Sergei was troubled. He could not believe that the Party would approve of this, the sobbing women and children. Ivan Arsenich, barefoot, walked at the front of the crowd. Sergei is sickened to see his haggard condition--Ivan Arsenich had aged greatly since the death of Sergei's mother. Sergei urges his father to stay and live with Sergei in his room. Ivan Arsenich refuses. Verochka, Ivan Arsenich's young librarian, takes Ivan Arsenich by the arm and joins him on his march out of town.
Gleb himself is stirred with outrage and anger as he surveys the crowd of hungry, crying children, this mad panic of living corpses. He thinks that some other way must be found to destroy the nests of the bourgeoisie because this way instills fear and terror in the children, and they will carry this with them into the future. Gleb also thinks it's a waste of time to deal with this now when there is the factory to think about and brigands roaming the countryside.
Mekhova is thrilled, excited, and inspired by the events. She happily pronounces that this is the end of the New Economic Policy and that these people will be turned over to forced labor.
The crowd is then led out of town to live in huts and hovels.
Lukhava then rushes up with news: The Whites have attacked the ropeway and damaged it. Fighting is going on in the mountains. The town is threatened.
CHAPTER XII: SIGNAL FIRES
1. On Guard. Gleb's detachment was posted at the foot of the mountains. Dasha and part of the Women's Section went to the fighting zone with the Ambulance Corps. Mekhova stayed in town with the rest of the Women's Section helping to prepare an evacuation of the town if it should prove necessary. Mekhova meets with Gleb and is excited by the activity, seeing it as an antidote to the creeping bureaucratism she noticed. After the bandits are smashed, she expects the 10th Party Conference will reject the "nonsense" of the New Economic Policy (NEP). Gleb supports the NEP. Mekhova is aghast. "Heroic exploits for the immortal revolution! That's what we need....Not to abandon conquered positions, but to seize new ones"," she says.
Know your enemy.
Find out what
say about Lenin's:
That night, Gleb and Sergei are posted on a road at the outskirts of town. Gleb is sad that all they achieved--the ropeway, the revitalization of the factory--has been lost. The diesels are again idle. Sergei is worried that future generations will overdramatize and revere those making the revolution today, turning them into heroes and giants, forgetting their human weaknesses, failures, etc.
2. Prisoner with the Empty Sleeve. Gleb and Sergei stalk an enemy soldier in the bushes and capture him. It is Sergei's brother, Dimitri. Dimitri is haughty and taunts Sergei, calling him foolish and prone to feminine hysteria and a pitiable slave to his Party. He says he would have been glad to hang Sergei publicly. Sergei says he's glad he had a hand in capturing Dimitri and leading him to his death. Dimitri invites Sergei to take part in the execution.
CHAPTER XIII: SLOW PACE
1. At the Turning Point. The town returned to peaceful economic activity. The markets were full of food. Shops were being cleaned and new cooperatives, cafes, etc., being established. Another Sunday voluntary mass work got the ropeway working again.
The forestry workers beseige the Economic Council building, demanding clothes and food and that the "thieves and robbers" in the Forestry Department be punished. A somewhat tipsy Zhuk addresses the group, riling them up against the bureaucrats and loafers. Badin shoves Zhuk out of the way and tells the workers their complaints will be satisfied if they submit them through the Soviet organs and Trade Union Council. Leaving their work, Badin says, is shameful, instigated by intriguers and disrupters, including Zhuk whom Badin plans to have arrested. Lukhava then jumps up and tells the workers to go over to the Trade Union Council house, that the supplies will be loaded onto trucks and that the Party Committee has appointed Zhuk in charge of supplies. Each worker will be given a suit of overalls. The staff of the Forestry Department, Lukhava says, will be dealt with. The workers cheer and move off. Badin glares disapprovingly at Lukhava. Badin has already reported to the authorities how Lukhava rushed the eviction and squeezing of the bourgeoisie. Badin says Lukhava has no right to destroy the Forestry Department without a decision from the Soviet Executive. Badin will report him to the Regional Soviet. Lukhava disdainfully calls Badin a bureaucrat.
2. With Persistent Step. The ropeway is working, bringing loads of wood down from the mountain. Gleb views with suspicion the specialists from the Economic Council and Bureau of Industry working in the factory management office. They, in turn, view Gleb with well-hidden scorn and mockery. The Communist Group decided to demand a detailed report on the factory management at the general meeting of the workers. So Gleb set to work to study all the reports, figures, documents, etc. He calculates that the ropeway will not be able to bring in enough wood by the end of the year to prevent a crisis. The ropeway will have to work through the winter.
3. Alarm. Walking through the town, Gleb sees the shop windows announcing the imminent openings of cafes, trading companies, etc., and he is vaguely troubled as he ponders the New Economic Policy. He sees Mekhova staring in the window of a cafe, where violin music is being played. Gleb stands behind Mekhova. He hears the lawyer Chirsky passing, talking of a stabilized currency, freightage charges, net profits, feluccas. Mekhova tells Gleb she is troubled by the changes and that she doesn't understand it. Gleb is also alarmed at the idea of giving the factory as a concession.
Mekhova is afraid to be alone and invites Gleb up to her room. Sergei lives in the room on one side of her, and Badin in the other. Gleb comments that he may have to settle accounts with Badin sometime because of his womanizing. Mekhova says, "Jealousy is worse than despotism. It is the exploitation of one human being by another that can only be compared with cannibalism." Mekhova is also worried about the loneliness of the daily routine which is returning. Gleb embraces her. She confesses that she is very depressed and that she loves Gleb. There is a knock and Dasha enters. She laughs at seeing Gleb there. "How foolish", she says, commenting that Gleb's wonderful but still stupid. Dasha then reminds Mekhova that she is scheduled to give a report to the Trade Union Council. Mekhova asks Dasha to give the report instead. Dasha advises Mekhova to get a tight hold of her feelings.
Gleb leaves and bumps into Chibis. Chibis reports that Dimitri was shot. Chibis admired Dimitri's cultured attitude and bearing. "In order to master culture one must know how to use it", he says. Chibis also thinks, however, that they will get in trouble for the expropriations they carried out. Bad timing--it was during the Party Congress.
CHAPTER XIV: MEETING OF THE PENITENTS
1. Through Golgotha to Canossa. Chibis, Zhidky, Gleb, Sergei, and Mekhova get in a small launch to go out to an English steamer in the port. On board are 300 Cossack soldiers and 14 White guard officer who have come to surrender. "From Golgotha to Canossa, such is the way of counterrevolutions", says Sergei. Zhidky says, "That's the ravings of an intellectual."
Gleb looks at the dolphins rolling in the waters, and they remind him of the rolling wheels of the factory's diesel engines.
2. Toothless Wolves. On board the steamer, Chibis asks the dirty, hungry, raggedy White officers why they have come. One proudly says a defeated enemy is no enemy and that they have no where else to go but their homeland. And from their homeland they are ready to accept torture and even death. A young officer becomes hysterical and says, yes, he has been a murderer but he wants to vindicate himself and please don't kill him. Chibis threatens that they might very well shoot the whole lot. Sergei asks Chibis to speak with more worthy words, speak to the foes as human beings. Chibis threatens to send Sergei ashore immediately.
Chibis then tells the crowd that the Soviets don't want vengeance. Those who want vengeance will be destroyed as criminals. The Soviets forgive. Those on board will be able to contribute their strength to the Republic of the Soviets. The Cossacks throng around the Bolsheviks happily.
3. Red Flag. A Cossack shows Gleb a blood-stained rag, the shirt of their leader, the Cossack Gubati, drenched with his blood. He was killed when the Cossacks had decided to give up the fight and rebelled against the Whites. They now see the shirt as their red flag on the road to freedom, the road to the Bolsheviks. Gleb welcomes them and tells them proudly about the factory. Gleb, Mekhova, and Zhidky then do a little propaganda work among the English sailors, who are receptive.
4. The Girl on Board. Sergei approaches a young woman on the deck, who seems vaguely familiar to him. She is excited to be here now, yet somewhat frightened of the Communists, not knowing what to make of them. "You Communists are frightful people. Do you come from a nightmare or have we only lived in dreams?...There are so many heroes among you, but also so many villains and cannibals", she says. She asks Sergei's permission to write to him saying it will help her to understand and love the Communists. Sergei turns cold and says only stern work can help her.
5. Capture of His Majesty's Steamer. The crowd of soldiers and sailors happily toss Gleb and Zhidky up in the air. In effect, the English captain is now a prisoner on his own ship. Mekhova, excited, jumps up on a box, pulls off her red kerchief and waves it in the wind, shouting, "Long live the Proletarian Revolution! Down with Capitalist England!" The girl Sergei spoke with is smiling through her tears.
CHAPTER XV: SCUM
1. The Daily Round. The shop windows and cafes were coming to life. In the communal dining room of the House of Soviets there was for the first time the smell of soup with meat in it, tomato sauce and vegetables. Badin always dined at the same table with Shramm, Suskin, the superintendent of the Public Health Department, and Khapko, the Commissar of the local Food Department. Khapko was always jumping around, accusing the kitchen staff of stealing or accusing young women or wasting food for dropping bread crumbs on the ground.
These four men often met in Shramm's room, which has fine upholstered furniture, fur rugs and carpets. Sometimes they would stay there till dawn. In the morning, the maid swept out empty bottles, sausage skins and food tins. Once, for several evenings in a row, their door was watched by Tskheladze, a Georgian, former partisan and now worker in the Food Commissariat. Khapko caught him listening at the door and slammed him against the wall, accusing him of being a spy and threatening to turn him over to the Cheka. Badin recognizes Tskheladze and asks for an explanation. Tskheladze wants to know why Badin is spending his time with scoundrels and what he is doing for the workers? Badin patronizingly promises Tskheladze a trip to a rest home and tells him to leave. Badin and Khapko return to Shramm's room.
Zhidky pulls Tskheladze into his room. The Georgian says what Badin and the others are doing is a shameful scandal and it is ruining the Party. Zhidky paces, pondering. He says they are in for a dreadful trial, worse than civil war, ruin and famine. The petty trader is crawling out of his hole, trying to insinuate himself into Party ranks. The foe is cunning, and a new strategy must be developed, Zhidky says. It will be a long siege. The romance of the tumultuous battle fronts is over. Tskheladze doesn't understand Zhidky. He only bewails the plight of the workers and leaves.
Before, the Regional Bureau of the Party would have descended and Badin and the others to maintain discipline. But not now. Now no one ever talked of the affair of the expropriations. There had been disputes between Zhidky, Lukhava, and Badin. The blond comrade from the Regional Center would give harsh criticism of the Party Committee. Zhidky wondered is this the struggle between two different powers or just a quarrel between men? Badin knew how to use the bureaucratic apparatus and couldn't be attacked from that side. The blond comrade was always holding Badin up as a good example for Zhidky. Yes, romanticism was dead.
Zhidky did not approve of what was going on in Shramm's room. He knew of the written orders from them for sausages, hams, preserves, and alcohol, but he did not raise the alarm. There was no more romance any more--that belonged to yesterday. Today, cold calculation is in order.
2. A Difficult Transition. At a meeting of the Economic Council, Gleb presents a report on the necessity of partial resumption of the work of the factory. Zhidky and Lukhava support the idea. Shramm speaks categorically against it. Ignoring Shramm's objection, Badin says there is no objection and the resolution is passed. It is also decided to send Gleb to the Bureau of Industry to secure needed supplies.
Every morning and evening, Dasha goes to the Children's Home to kiss Nurka. Nurka is withering, fading away. This troubles Dasha. Mekhova asks what's wrong, but Dasha says, "Nothing." When pressed, she finally admits she has troubles but refuses to discuss them because, "It doesn't concern anyone." Mekhova says, "That's just it! We're strongly organized, strongly bound together. But we're terribly apart, one from another, in our private lives."
Dasha knows that Nurka is missing a mother's care and love. "Nurka was a blossom torn from the branch and thrown upon the highway." One evening, Nurka asks to stay with Dasha. When leaving the Children's Home, Dasha throws herself on the ground and sobs inconsolably.
One evening when Gleb is away, Badin comes, hoping to embrace Dasha. She sends him away firmly.
3. Nightmare. Starving people, victims of the famine in the Volga region start showing up in town, begging. Mekhova is shocked and troubled by this and by the contrast with the growing opulence in town--cafes with music, gambling, well-dressed men and women in French heels and patent-leather boots. She has nightmares about it. One night, Badin comes into her room and forces himself on her. Insulted and humiliated, she goes to Sergei for comfort. He says if she had cried out he would have burst into the room and strangled Badin.
4. Sabotage. When Gleb left to visit the Bureau of Industry, work on renovating the factory was going on at a fever pitch. But slowly, the factory management stopped carrying out the plan and supplies stopped coming. Kleist inquired at the Economic Council, but was told they are awaiting instructions from the Bureau of Industry and the Cement Trust.
When Gleb returns a month later and sees that work as stopped, he is furious. He storms into the factory management office and accosts the assistant manager, Muller. Muller says work was stopped because the Economic Council decided to wait for authorization from higher organs. The Council locked up all supplies and took all relevant documents out of the factory offices.
Gleb storms out and meets a group of workers. He promises them that work will resume tomorrow. Gleb barges into Badin's office. Dasha is also there. Badin is in the process of criticizing Shramm and his Economic Council for not seeing or doing anything about the robbery in the Forestry Department. Further, the Council used false figures to argue for leasing a tannery to its former owner. Gleb denounces as sabotage and counterrevolution the stoppage of work at the factory and demands to know which criminal is responsible for it. He produces documents from the Bureau of Industry saying that the renovation of the factory must be carried out immediately and that supplies will be provided. Shramm turns deathly pale.
Gleb leaves but is stopped by Dasha who tells him that Nurka is dead.
CHAPTER XVI: WEEDS
1. "Let Our Hearts Be As Stone." The purge of the Factory Group is scheduled for a week from now. Sergei is afraid that he, as a former Menshevik, will be kicked out of the Party. Zhuk has already been excluded from the Party for disruption and fractional work. Zhidky says those doing the purging don't know what they are doing and are only destroying the organization. He plans to appeal to the Central Committee. Mekhova also thinks she'll be turned out of the Party. Her relations with Dasha are strained. In a violent fit of rage she reminds Dasha of the blood that was shed for the revolution and that now they're giving it all back for fancy cafes, etc. Mekhova then cries, wishing that she had died during the street fighting in Moscow or when in the Army. Dasha tells her that their hearts must be of stone.
2. The Purge. The Cleansing Commission meets to examine the local party members. They give short shrift to Gromada and Savchuk. They ask Sergei why he hadn't arrested his brother earlier and why he didn't leave town in 1918 with the Red Army. When Mekhova is interviewed she says she can't reconcile all the sacrifices they made and all the lives they lost with the return of bacchanalian traders, etc. The Commission member calls her speech lyricism and an infantile sickness of the left. Members of the audience shout in support of Mekhova, but the Commission member silences them, saying this isn't a barnyard. The Commission gushes in approval of Dasha, wishing her every success and shaking her hand.
3. Insignificant Element of the Whole. Back in his room at the House of the Soviets, Sergei reads Lenin's Materialism and Empirio- Criticism: "Everything lies in methods and not in words. Dialectics are energy."
Be like Sergei!
Sergei dozes and dreams of his father. He awakens and hears Badin in Mekhova's room and the creaking of her bed. Sergei raises his fist, ready to strike a blow. Then slowly he lowers his fist and with weak exhausted steps goes to his bed and lies down to sleep.
4. Chips. The next morning, Sergei goes to Party Committee Headquarters to the office of the Party Cleansing Commission. There Zhuk, who has been purged, is haranguing the lanky commission member, denouncing him as a careerist and profiteer. The commission member says Zhuk has just lost any chance of every being readmitted to the Party. Sergei is excluded, along with Savchuk and Mekhova. Badin, Shramm, and Khapko however remain in the Party. Tskheladze is also there. He has been turned out of the party for intrigue and plotting. Tskheladze, agitated, raises a scandal. A moment later a shot rings out and Tskheladze is dead, shot through the head.
CHAPTER XVII: THRUST INTO THE FUTURE
1. We Shall Go On. Work at the factory was proceeding at a feverish pace, getting ready for the festive reopening, scheduled for the anniversary of the October Revolution. One day, Kleist sees Gleb and asks his forgiveness for when he handed Gleb and the others over for torture and death. Gleb says that was in the past and that Kleist is now one of their best and most valuable workers. Gleb also thanks Kleist for saving Dasha. Kleist says he now intends to dedicate all his life to his country. "I have no other task except our struggle to build up a new culture." Gleb and he agree to be friends.
2. Ashes. Mekhova is listless, frightened and confused. She asks Dasha to stay with her if only for a few days. When Dasha tells Gleb that she's moving out to help "fix" Comrade Mekhova, Gleb is surprised and feels that she really is moving out for good, never to return. As they have an awkward good-bye, Gleb says he really doesn't understand their life together. Dasha says it's simple. She is no longer what she was, a woman for his bed, and that he should feel free to make whatever arrangements in that area he wants. After all, she says, "There are plenty of fools in the world." As Dasha walks away, the pregnant Motya comes out and tells Dasha that Gleb is one of the best men in the world and that Dash should be a wife to him, having babies. Dasha chuckles and continues away without turning back to wave at Gleb. Motya says she pities Gleb, who has destroyed his own home. Gleb says, if it got destroyed, that means it wasn't any good. Instead of returning to his house, Gleb goes to the factory.
3. North-easter. Shramm is arrested, along with a number of technicians on the Economic Council and in the factory management. Badin is made Chairman of the District Economic Council. Chibis is sent off to some distant part of Siberia.
Sergei learns that he was purged from the Party "as a typical intellectual and Menshevik, with demoralizing influence on the Party". He quietly files an appeal and diligently continues on with his work at the Agitprop and Department of Political Education. Dasha promises to write a testimonial on his behalf to support the appeal. Mekhova is sent away to a sanatorium for rest.
At a meeting to plan the celebration for the opening of the factory, Gleb clashes with Badin. Gleb is against the bestowing of ranks and titles such as "Hero of Labor". For the first time, Gleb sees an iron hatred in Badin's eyes. Losing his self-control, Gleb calls Badin a libertine and a son of a bitch. Dasha intercedes, saying Gleb has no right to talk like that. She defends Badin as an exceptionally good and capable worker.
As a strong north-eastern wind blows, Sergei walks along the quay. He realizes that his personal fate is unimportant compared to the fate of the Party and his country and the work that must be done. On the beach he sees a dead new-born baby, a red handkerchief on its head and socks on its feet.
4. Waves. Tens of thousands of people have gathered for the celebration for the opening of the factory. Red banners are everywhere. There is a sign: "We Have Conquered on the Civil War Front. We Shall Conquer Also on the Economic Front!" It was impossible to distinguish the roar of the machinery from the roar of the crowd. Badin, reserved and cold, with a stern aloofness and brooding hostility in his eyes, steps up to the railing to make a speech. Gleb steps back, feeling he cannot stand next to Badin, a "careerist".
Gleb recalls the last time he saw Mekhova. He came to her room, but she, touchy and nervous, wouldn't let him in. She is nervous of all men, thinking there's a Badin in every one. She feels as if she's been in an accident, crushed by the wreckage. Perhaps if, earlier, Gleb had given her what she wanted, all of this mightn't have happened. Dasha arrives and tells Gleb to go home, pushing him off with a cold, unfriendly hand. He asks Dasha if she is coming home. She says no. Gleb is furious, blaming the "worthless scoundrel" Badin for gobbling up both Dasha and Mekhova. Dasha calls Gleb stupid. Gleb says he is a homeless dog now and will put his whole soul into the factory. As Gleb starts to leave, he bumps into Badin, who looks at him with gloomy mockery. Dasha leads Gleb away, promising that someday she and Gleb will find each other again, but bound by other ties. Gleb feels that Badin should be shot.
Back in present time, Gleb is introduced to the crowd, who cheer him with wild, unrestrained enthusiasm, shaking the mountains and the tower on which he is standing. Gleb speaks, saying the whole world will soon know of their victory: "We've staked our blood on it, and with our blood we'll set fire to the whole world. And now, tempered in fire, we're staking everything on our labor. Our brains and our hands tremble--not from strain but from the desire for new labors. We are building up socialism, comrades, and our proletarian culture. On to victory, comrades!"
Gleb grabs a red flag and waves it over the crowd which cheers thunderously, shaking the mountains.
Gladkov, Fyodor Vasilyevich. Born 9 June (Old Style--21 June New Style) 1883 into poor family of Old Believers in the village of Chernavka, Saratov Province. In 1895, family moves to Ekaterinodar (later, Krasnodar) in the Kuban. . . . (...Continued...)