presents a detailed summary of:
by Georgi Mokeevich Markov
Click Here for Book Two
The Ob River
One of the great rivers of Siberia, flowing generally north approximately 2,300 mi (3,700 km) into an estuary on the Artic Ocean. With its chief tributary, the Irtysh River, it forms the world's fourth-longest river (approximately 3,460 mi/5,600 km). Although frozen for almost half the year and subject to flooding in its middle course, the Ob is a major trade and transportation route. Novosibirsk and Barnaul are the chief ports.
Part One: Flight
1-i. It is October 1916. In the Siberian village of Goleshchikhina on the Ob River, merchant and land owner Epifan Krivorukov is hosting a wedding for his son, Nikifor Krivorukov. The party has been going on for three days. Suddenly, a village constable bursts into the house and announces that a dangerous criminal has escaped and that everyone must help search for him.
It is Polya, Nikifor's 19-year-old bride, who finds the 23-year-old fugitive, Ivan Akimov, hiding by the river bank. For some reason, however, instead of turning him in, Polya tells Akimov of a cottage where he can hide and that she'll come see him in a day or two.
1-ii. Akimov finds the cottage and stays the night. The next morning, while Akimov is hiding in the forest, an old man approaches. The old man leaves some things in the cottage then shouts out, "Gavruka, food's on the table!", and leaves. In the cottage, Akimov finds food and a note saying that he, Akimov, is "Gavruka", that he should stay put, and that they'll let him know when the danger has passed.
2-i. Polya's father is Feodor Terentevich Gorbyakov. In his student days, while studying medicine at Tomsk Imperial University, he became a Bolshevik activist. For distributing revolutionary leaflets, he was exiled to a village near Parabel in the Narym krai for three years. There me met, fell in love with, and married the daughter of an old fisherman and former Sakhalin prisoner, Fedot Fedotovich Bezmaternykh. After his term of exile, Gorbyakov went back to Tomsk to get his doctor's qualification, then returned to Parabel as the regional traveling doctor. His wife died of consumption six years ago.
After his wife's death, Gorbyakov thought of returning to the city, but decided to stay for three reasons: (1) Polya loved the area; (2) he was worried about his father-in-law; and (3) he was active in the local Bolshevik underground. Polya knows of her father's past, but not of his current political work.
Polya rushes to her father to tell him about Akimov. Gorbyakov is surprised. If an escape had been planned, he should have been informed. And furthermore, with winter approaching, this is the worst time for an escape.
2-ii. Gorbyakov had his father-in-law, Fedot, drop off food for Akimov, but took no further action, waiting for instructions. Ten days passed. The rivers froze and snow piled up. One day, the Parabel constable, Varsonofi Kvintelyavich Filatov, visits Gorbyakov, dropping off a parcel of books. Filatov says that dispatches concerning the urgency of capturing Akimov are coming not only from Tomsk but from Petrograd as well. New search parties will be sent out tomorrow.
After Filatov leaves, Gorbyakov opens his parcel. In the binding of one of the books is a secret note from the Party center in Narym. It informs him that Akimov (code name "Granite") has escaped and must get to Stockholm to fulfill a special mission. He should first get to Tomsk within the next three months.
Fedot enters and says he's met with Akimov. Last night, two young men on skis surprised Akimov. They took fright and skied off toward Bolshaya Nesterova. They decide that Fedot will take Akimov to Dalnaya Taiga, a two-day trek deep into the forest, over rivers and across swamps.
3-i. In the Krivorukov household, the main driving force was Anfisa Trofimovna, Epifan's wife. When Anfisa was young, she suffered from a debilitating disease, which no one could cure. Fedot, stopping at the inn run by Anfisa's father, told him of some miraculous curative waters and mud at a remote lake in Dalnaya Taiga. Anfisa took the cure and it worked. She promised to pray for Fedot constantly and to help him if he were ever in trouble. Some years later, Epifan, traveling around on his fish trading business, got Anfisa pregnant. Anfisa's father beat up Epifan and demanded that he marry Anfisa. Epifan only consented when Anfisa's father agreed to pay him 1,000 rubles. After the marriage, Epifan's business improved, owing to Anfisa's influence. Soon they were able to buy a two-story house.
Anfisa and Epifan had three children who died before Nikifor was born. He was a sickly child, but survived thanks to the efforts of a local sorceress and, of couse, the doctor Gorbyakov. He grew up to be a bully and a brawler. His choice of Polya as a wife disapointed his parents, who had hoped for the daughter of a merchant or the like--someone with a larger dowry. Epifan's half-witted sister, Domnuskha, however, approved of the match wholeheartedly.
3-ii. Polya married Nikifor only with the understanding that whenever she might say so, they would move out of the Krivorukov household and either move in with her father or set up their own home. After a month of marriage, Anfisa attacks Polya, saying she eats but does not work. Polya, who was always willing to do whatever she was asked, is unflinching and defends herself. She announces that, as per her prenuptial agreement with Nikifor, they will be moving out. Anfisa asks Nikifor if this is true. He remains silent. Epifan, drunk, returns home after successfully completing some business. He has brought a red silk scarf and some earrings as presents for Polya. Anfisa shouts that Polya doesn't deserve them. Polya says she doesn't want the gifts, but her voice is so quiet no one hears her.
4-i. Akimov was awaited in Stockholm where Venedikt Petrovich Likhachev, an old Russian professor, was living. He was an expert in Siberia--its geography, flora, fauna, and natural resources. He was a respected professor at Tomsk University and would probably still have been teaching if not for some political developments.
SIBERIAN STUDENTS'Burning with youthful faith
SONG OF DEMOCRACY
From the Lena, Biya and Yenisei
For the sake of freedom and labor
Hungering for a brighter future
We have gathered here
And with a smile recalling
The expanse of Baikal, the shining Altai
All to our nation, our nation dear
We send our greeting, summoning
All who are with us into a common file
Every comrade here is equal
Shout it louder, our hearty toast
Our first toast, to Siberia
Its beauty and vast size
And the second toast to the people, To that sacred slogan "Forward"--Forward!
Likhachev always supported student demands for democratization and liberalization at the university. One day, the conservative rector of the university found some students in the forest, singing a song with democratic sentiments--or seditious sentiments, as the rector thought. He was shocked to find Likhachev among the students. The rector ordered the students to disperse and warned Likkhachev of consequences. Likhachev laughed, and the students kept singing.
4-ii. The next day, a faculty meeting is considering Likhachev's behavior. A policeman bursts in to announce that students have broken down the doors of the auditorium and are having a meeting. The students then march into the rector's office to read a resolution demanding freedom for science, study, and labor. They sing their song again.
4-iii. A stalemate developed at the university. If the reactionary professors attempted any action against Likhachev, the students mobilized to defend him, and the administration would back down to avoid more serious difficulties. The rector's one consolation was the fact that Likhachev was often off on his expeditions and explorations. Of course his research and writings made Likhachev more famous. He often went to St. Petersburg to lecture at the Russian Geographical Society. Russian and foreign capitalists interested in exploiting Siberia invariably sought out Likhkachev for his advice, which he gave freely. These firms usually wanted to hire him exclusively, but he refused, saying, "I work for Russia and for science."
4-iv. When he was 70 years old, Likhachev decided to accept a position at the Academy in St. Petersburg, not to abandon Siberia, but to serve it better. All his life was inspired by Lomonosov's precept: "Russia's greatness shall grow through Siberia."
Mikhail Vasiliyevich Lomonosov
( 1711 - 1765 )
Russian poet, scientist, and grammarian who is often considered the first great Russian linguistic reformer. He also made substantial contributions to the natural sciences, reorganized the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences, established in Moscow the university that today bears his name, and created the first colored glass mosaics in Russia.
No sooner had Likhachev arrived in Petersburg when war with Germany broke out. He heard this news from a student at the polytechinal institute, Ivan Akimov, who was also a distant relative--the son of the first cousin of Likhachev's late wife. Despite the difference in their ages, they were very friendly. Akimov seemed to welcome the war, declaring that the defeat of tsarism will bring about the needed revolution. Despite Likhavchev's intolerance of injustice, he generally considered politics a waste of time, just meaningless talk. Moreover, Likhachev was ready to do everything for his homeland. He felt that the enemy must be defeated and that only in a proud and strong nation can a revolution bring the needed changes. He and Akimov argue about this, but soon patch it up.
Akimov asks permission to have a meeting of student-Bolsheviks in Likhachev's room tomorrow while he is out. Likhachev agrees.
4-v. The next day, Likhachev returns home at midnight to find that the Bolshevik students are still meeting. Likhachev sits in on the discussion. While still thinking that their talk of moving the masses to revolution is just a lot of hot air, Likhachev nonetheless starts to develop a grudging admiration for the students' firmness.
A few days later, Akimov is arrested. One of Akimov's fellow student-Bolsheviks, Aleksandr Petrovich Ksenofontov, shows up at Likhachev's to retrieve some secret documents which Akimov had hidden under the table. Likhachev angrily calls Akimov a scoundrel and says he should be fighting in the war, not eating prison food. Likhachev calms down and gives Ksenofontov 100 rubles for Akimov along with a message: Don't snivel in prison; and if they send you into exile, use the time to study.
Some days later, Ksenofontov returns with a note from Akimov. Likhachev's aid to them and his support of revolutionary students in Tomsk has come to the attention of the government. Akimov advises Likhachev to leave immediately for Stockholm, where he has been invited to lecture.
4-vi. Likhachev left for Stockholm. He was given a comfortable apartment near the university and had to lecture only once a week. A note from Ksenofontov lets him know that Akimov has been sentenced and sent to Narym in the Tomsk Oblast in Siberia for four years. He also implies that it is still not safe for Likhachev to return.
the Russian Intelligentsia
Decembrists in Irkutsk
then take the
Likhachev spends his time going carefully over all his notes, diaries, drawings, etc., from his Siberia expeditions. He is working on what he considers his life's most significant effort: a review of the eastern Siberian lowlands, an area of two and half million square kilomenters, equal in size to five Frances.
While his work goes well, Likhachev still misses Russia and Akimov. He recalls their many Siberian expeditions together and the many insightful observations and deductions Akimov made. Akimov is a clever lad, Likhachev thinks. How unfortunate that he's wasting that talent on useless politics. Revolution is more than parades and speeches. Likhachev sadly recalls revolutionaries of the past--such as the Decembrists--who were defeated by the tsarist satraps and the harsh conditions of exile in Siberia.
4-vii. A visitor from Petrograd shows up--Kazimir Emilevich Osipovsky, a lecturer, specialist in archeology and former student of Likhachev's, although Likhachev doesn't really remember him. Osipovsky carries a gift of jam from Likhachev's housekeeper in Petrograd. He then tells Likhachev of the dire condition of workers and peasants in Russia as well as of the influence of Rasputin on the tsar. To Likhachev it seems that the only way out of Russia's troubles is revolution, and he wishes it would happen soon. He mentally rebukes Akimov's revolutionaries for not taking action.
The next day, Osipovsky invites Likhkachev to a dinner with some of Osipovsky's friends at a restaurant. There he meets, among others, a Frenchman named Gustav Maupassant. Likhachev finds the evening boring. When he gets home, he collapses with a stroke. Fearing that he is going to die, he feels panic over his unfinished work and wishes he could get his papers to Akimov somehow.
Likhachev survives, but the doctor confines him to bed for a month. When the doctor permits it, Osipovsky begins to call on Likhachev. One day, he brings Gustav. They tell Likhachev the latest news and anectodes. The company and laughter have a positive effect on Likhachev who starts to feel better. One day, they ask Likhachev about his work. Usually, he doesn't like to discuss a work in progress, but not wishing to lose his company, Likhachev tells them. Gustav listens very attentively.
4-viii. Months pass and Likhachev has received only one letter from Akimov, a quick note written while in transit to say that he's all right. One day a doctor comes to visit Likhachev--not his regular Swedish physician, but a Russian pretending to be Swedish. It's Sergei Egorich Prokhorov, a Bolshevik. He gives Likhachev a letter from Akimov.
Akimov writes that he arrived safely in Narym and has not been idle. He has traveled along the Keti River and discovered the remnants of foundry apparently used by ancient Tungus tribesmen. The question remains, where did the Tungus get their ore? He also hopes to travel along the Tym River, if only to make surface studies. Akimov is studying French and English, and in a school run by local exiled Party members he has given lectures on "The Natural Resources of Russia". Likhachev is proud and happy.
History of the
(also called the Evenk)
Prokhorov tells Likhachev that Osipovsky is really an agent of the tsarist secret police, responsible for keeping an eye on Russian emigres abroad. And Gustav is working for an English bank and company named "Lena Goldfields". Gustav is under orders from London to try and buy Likhachev's work on Siberia. Likhachev is furious. Prokhorov advises Likhachev not to reveal to Osipovsky and Gustav that he knows their true identities.
Meanwhile, back in Siberia:
5-i. Fedot and Akimov ski deep into the taiga, traveling 20 versts before Fedot allows a rest. Fedot takes them on a winding path, sometimes making circles so as to make their tail impossible to follow.
They finally stop for the night at a cottage completely covered over with snow. As they eat, Fedot asks asks if Akimov's married. Akimov says he's single, which, given his life, is simpler.
When Akimov, the son of a forest warden, was 18, he fell in love with the daughter of a timber mill owner. When Akimov left for the university, he received letters from her almost every day. Then the letters got more occasional and less affectionate. Finally they stopped. Only by accident did Akimov learn that his love had married a lieutenant in the Perm military garrison.
Following this disappointment, Akimov had no romances. But three months prior to his arrest he met Ksenofontov's sister, Katya. She was taking Bestuzhev courses and helping her brother in his underground work. She and Akimov establish honest, comradely relations, but never discuss their feelings. Following Akimov's arrest, Katya became very active in helping him, bringing him books, money, and directions from the Party. Once, when returning a bag through the guard, Akimov hid a note in it telling Katya he loved her. He doesn't know if she got the note, since the guards search the bags before passing them on.
Courses of higher education for women established in Petersburg in September 1878 by historian Konstantin Nikolaevich Bestuzhev-Riumin (1829-1897). Noted for bringing a balanced, critical analysis to historical interpretation, Bestuzhev took no firm position in the debate between Westernizers and Slavophiles.
5-ii. Fedot tells his life story to Akimov. When he was young, he worked at a copper-smelting plant. There was a strike, and a traitor named the ring-leaders, who all disappeared. In retaliation, Fedot and a friend set upon the traitor and beat him. Before dying, the traitor named his attackers, so Fedot and his friend were sentenced to ten years in prison in Sakhalin to be followed by permanent exile. After his ten years, Fedot decided to move to Narym because it was something new and somewhat less remote. Hearing this story, Akimov is certain that only a deep, cleansing revolution can pull Russian out of the quaqmire into which autocracy and capitalism have dragged it.
Fedot asks why Akimov has chosen to escape at the beginning a winter, the worst time. Akimov wants to tell Fedot--but does not tell him--how the Party has ordered him to get to Stockholm to work with Likhachev and help save his papers from foreign scavengers.
5-iii. The next morning, it is November 21st. At breakfast, Fedot tells of his life as a hunter, trapping grouse and fur animals, such as ermine, which are often bought by foreigners.
Fedot and Akimov continue their journey. A fierce snow storm is blowing. Once they get in among some cedar trees, however, the force of the storm is lessened. "See what a defender our forest is", says Fedot. Fedot is calmer and less hurried today, knowing that the snow will completely cover their tracks, making it impossible for anyone to follow them.
The snow storm did not let up. Agitated snow filled the sky, the ground, the whole world. Snow flakes lashed at their eyes, nostrils, ears; gusts of wind, in a frenzy, beat against their cheeks. Trees swayed and creaked. It was murky and grey just like before the onset of darkness.
5-iv. That evening, Akimov and Fedot arrive at a snow-covered cabin in a clearning by a lake. The cabin is large and comfortable. Akimov feels the urge to sit down and write notes concerning his last revolutionary conversation in Narym about the transformation of the imperialist war into a civil war as well as the arming of the working class and tactics of rebellion. A few notes on the natural features of this area would be good, too. Too bad he doesn't have pencil or paper.
Following Fedot's instructions, Akimov cleans a path in the snow to the banya (bathhouse) and to the lake. He cuts a hole in the lake ice and hauls water to the banya. Fedot stokes the fire and they have a real Russian sauna, beating themselves with birch branches, then plunging into snow banks. They also smear themselves with lake mud, which Fedot says cured his rheumatism.
They return to the cabin for tea and snacks. Fedot serves delicious honey and tells how he keeps hibernating bees in a tree hollow covered with moss in the winter. They also have tasty bear meat, and Fedot recounts some bear hunting experiences. Fedot reveals that it was his granddaughter, Polya, who found Akimov. Akimov expresses his thanks.
5-v. Wanting to continue his journey as soon as possible, Akimov wonders if perhaps they could find some indigious people--Tungus, Ostyaki, Selkupi--to help. Fedot says these people are nomadic so you never know where you'll find them. And besides, they stay in the forest and don't know the roads to the towns.
Akimov asks if Old Believers could help. Fedot snorts angrily and advises Akimov to stay away from the Old Believers--they're a cruel and unfriendly people. Fedot knows this because he stayed among them when he first arrived in the area. They had a pit 10 arshins deep into which they would throw transgressors.
Read about these:
then visit the
Old Believers Museum
Fedot reveals that the cabin they are in was originally built by Anfisa's father for her when she was taking the mud cure.
Fedot and Akimov start the day cutting wood. Akimov is happy to feel the strain of hard work again. Fedot approves of his Akimov's work ethic.
5-vi. The next day, Akimov and Fedot go to some hot springs to fish. They just lower a bucket into the water and pull it up full of fish. Fedot promises to take Akimov to Stinking Swamp.
5-vii. On the way to Stinking Swamp, Fedot tells a folk tale about its origin. Once there was a lake filled with fish creatures that looked like horses, only bigger. During a terrible thunder storm, lightning struck the ground, sending up a huge plume of dirt, which rained down, obliterating the lake and killing the creatures. The stench of their rotting bodies has filled the area ever since.
They arrive at Stinking Swamp. Fedot says he'll wait and rest while Akimov goes forward to explore. In just a minute or two, however, the stench almost completely overcomes Akimov. There is throbbing in his temples, he sees spots before his eyes and it seems like the world is spinning. Akimov hurries back to Fedot, who knew this would happen. Fedot also warns Akimov not to go out there with a lighted cigarette; lightning has been known to set the whole swamp ablaze. Akimov says scientists must study the strange gas.
Fedot tells about another spot in the forest where lives Vrun (Liar), an echo which does not merely repeat what you say, but carries on a conversation with you and tries to lead you astray.
5-viii. Akimov dearly wishes he had materials to draw a map of the area and its wonders. Fedot suggests some Siberian solutions. Instead of paper, he'll use a plane to create some large, thin panels of wood. He'll also make a wooden compas and ruler. He'll use the barrel of his gun to create exact increments on the ruler. And for drawing, Fedot suggests burning on the wood with the tip of an awl. Fedot also has an expensive English magnetic compass, which he got from a fellow prisoner in Sakhalin--the son of a rich man who killed his father for money.
Every day thereafter, Akimov and Fedot go out hunting and trapping. The catch Siberian polecats, ermines, squirrels. Akimov thinks their catch is bountiful; Fedot says he's used to catching much more. Akimov carefully studies the area.
5-ix. One morning at dawn, Akimov and Fedot set out for Fir Gulley to visit Vrun. Even Akimov, who normally has an exclusively scientific attitude to nature, is impressed by the beauty of the rising sun on the quiet morning.
They ski all day and it is dark when they arrive at Fir Gulley. They clear a spot in the snow and lay down some springy fir branches as a mattress. They chop down two dry cedar trees on either side of the clearing and set them both ablaze. This arrangement is known as a Tungus fire. Russians have learned a lot from the Tungus.
They cook and eat a broth which tastes delicious. Fedot finds some currant branches, crushes them up, and tosses them into the teapot. This also is delicious. It tastes of summer.
5-x. After dinner, Fedot shouts out, "Hello, Vrun. Fedot is here!" There is a long silence, but then the returning echo sounds something like, "Hello, Fedot!" Akimov tries a few shouts and finds that the longer the phrase he shouts, the more deformed and strange-sounding is the returning echo. Such a deformed echo, he knows, depends on the peculiarities of the surface and the air currents. But it is easy to see how such a sound could fool people into thinking that someone else is responding.
They remove their boots and coats and lie down to sleep. The Tungus fire keeps them toasty all night.
In the morning they explore Fir Gulley, testing the echo. Vrun is apparently a late sleeper because it takes him a while to wake up and respond. There are many hollows and thickets through which the echo no doubt reverberates. Akimov sees that the gulley is really the old channel of a river which has recently--geologically speaking--changed its course. Akimov is amazed with the vitality of all he has seen and thinks, "The land breathes, beats, it has a pulse." They come upon an area of magnetic anomoly where the compass doesn't work.
The taiga is not your mother-in-law.
On their way back to the cabin, Akimov thinks of the fall of autocracy, which must come soon because Lenin has predicted it. "In his prognoses, Lenin is never mistaken." Akimov knows that when the new order comes, his mastery of Siberia will be of use. To remake their country and make use of all its resources, you must first know the country.
5-xi. Three days later, Fedot says he must return to the village for supplies. Akimov will be on his own for five days or so.
6-i. & 6-ii. As soon as Gorbyakov heard that Filatov was planning to organize a search for Akimov, he rode to the neighboring villages to speak with some revolutionary-minded peasants. He warned them not to join Filatov's search parties. When Filatov showed up and the peasants refused to help, Filatov tried to bully them. One indiscreet peasant blurted out that the doctor from Parabel told them not to help.
Stunned and angry, Filatov storms over to confront Gorbyakov. Thinking quickly, Gorbyakov says he was just worried about Filatov's bad back and his health. Gorbyakov says that Filatov needs rest and that engaging in a search just now could have serious, even fatal, consequences. Filatov is satisfied. Nevertheless, Gorbyakov decides that he must erase this clash from Filatov's memory by hosting a banquet for Filatov and his friends, even though Gorbyakov is repulsed by this idea.
6-iii. & 6-iv. Glafira Savelevna, the priest's wife, comes to visit Gorbyakov. Glafira was the daughter of an office worker who decided to try his hand at gold-mining. He wound up in prison for the crime of poverty--two rich schemers contrived to get the innocent man convicted so they could take his mine. Glafira's father died in prison and her mother died two weeks later, leaving the young Glafira with nothing but debts.
She took courses in Tomsk and qualified as a teacher. She secretly dreamed of taking Bestuzhev courses or even going to Zuirch or London where there was emancipation and women studied alongside men. Fate sent her to a small village between Narym and Parabel to set up a school in a decrepit hut. The winter was fierce and Glafira found it impossible to keep warm. Snow piled up to the roof of the hut. In despair, Glarfira closed the flue in the stove, hoping the fumes would kill her. There were so many holes in the hut, however, that the wind just blew away the gas. Gorbyakov, passing through the area, came to make the acquaintance of the new teacher. He finds her inside the hut, frozen and starving, hoping to die.
Glafira is revived, and after this she and Gorbyakov become good friends. Thinking that he might be able to recruit Glafira into his revolutionary work, Gorbyakov often visits her and frankly expresses his opinion on the tsar, the war, the government. These discussions, however, merely reinforce Glafira's feelings of lonliness and helplessness in this cruel environment. She is attracted to Gorbyakov as a man, but hides her feelings. In the end, she gives in to her desire for protection and marries an older priest, Vonifati. When Vonifati is transfered to Parabel, Glarfira rushes to Gorbyakov and begs his forgiveness for how she betrayed his principles with this marriage. Gorbyakov calms her down and consoles himself with the fact that knowing what's going on in the priest's house will be useful.
He was a revolutionary and, with a shovel in his hands, he was tirelessly digging the grave for this old regime.
6-v. Glafira tells Gorbyakov that an old woman from Goleshchikhina told her husband, during confession, that she lied to Filatov. She told Filatov she had not seen the escaped prisoner, whereas, in reality, she had seen him and Fedot skiing through the forest. Vonifati thinks that he should tell Filatov because he fears that the old woman was an agent sent by the authorities to tell him this just to test his loyalty. Gorbyakov says that fears about the woman are probably unfounded. What she had seen was himself, Gorbyakov, going hunting with Fedot. Just in case, Glafira advises Gorbyakov to be careful. Before leaving, she inivites Gorbyakov for Vonifati's name's day party on Sunday.
THE PRAGUE CONFERENCEThe 6th All-Russian Conference of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers Party (Prague, 5-17 January 1912) dealt the final decisive blow to the Mensheviks, Trotskyites, and other "Liquidators" (those advocating the liquidation of all illegal operations and organizations in favor of exclusively legal means of struggle). They were purged from the party.
"Like a mighty oak which becomes stronger when withered branches are cut off in time, the Party of the working class became stronger and more robust as a result of the exclusion of the Mensheviks."
From "Istoriya Kommunisticheskoi Partii Sovetskogo Soyuza", Moscow, 1973.
6-vi. After the recent bad news, Gorbyakov wants to make sure his secret Party documents are safe. These include the minutes of a Party meeting in Narym where they discussed the Prague Conference as well as the Crackow and Poronisky meetings of the Central Committee with Party workers. Gorbyakov also has a list of the addresses of secret rendezvous and party committee locations, disguised as an apothecary's list. Gorbyakov puts all these papers in a hollowed-out block of wood and hides the block in a stack of wood in his shed. A blizzard howls and wolves prowl around.
End of Book One, Part One
Illustration by: Tatyana Vorobyova
Part Two: Katya
1-i. Katya arrives in Tomsk on a gloomy, autumn day. She has some money and a forged passport for Akimov hidden in a secret pocket on her bra. She goes to the home of Bronislav Nasimovich, a Polish tailor and her secret revolutionary contact. Katya--who had indeed received Akimov's love note at the Petrograd prison--expects that Akimov is already at Nasimovich's home. She is disappointed. Nasimovich and his wife, Stasya, tell her that Akimov was expected on a steamer from Narym three days ago, but he failed to show up. There is another boat--the last of the season--arriving in the evening and perhaps Akimov will be on this one. Katya is to pretend that she is Stasya's neice, Zosya.
1-ii. By separate routes and pretending not to know each other, Katya and Nasimovich set off to the pier to meet the steamer. As the boat docks, Katya pushes her way to the front of the crowd, ripping the cuffs on her jacket. A familiar voice calls out to her. It is Proshkin, a man she met at Akimov's prison in Petrograd and who claimed to be the father of a prisoner. Katya sees Proshkin shoot a glance at a policeman, so she immediately understands that Proshkin is probably a police spy sent here to help search for Akimov. Proshkin reaches for Katya's shoulder, but she immediately runs away. She winds up in a different part of town, by a lake. She uses safety pins to fix her cuffs and sets off back to Nasimovich's, planning to arrive after dark.
1-iii. When Katya returns to Nasimovich's, he tells her that, soon after she left the pier, the police closed off the area and checked every single person before letting them go. It's a good thing that Akimov was NOT on the ship, for he surely would have been captured. Perhaps Akimov got off at the boat's previous stop and will make it to Tomsk on foot sometime tomorrow.
Katya tells Nasimovich about her troubling encounter with Proshkin. Nasimovich says that Katya will have to stay indoors for now.
1-iv. Katya spends the next day in her room while Nasimovich, playing his part as tailor, receives customers--mainly silly and vain merchant wives. For dinner, Stasya cooks Shchi Soup, Siberian-style: with sour cabbage, a fat piece of pork, potatoes and onions. Akimov does not show up. Nasimovich makes Katya promise not to tell Stasya about her encounter with Proshin. Stasya has a weak heart and he does not want to worry her.
1-v. Nasimovich leaves to contact other comrades, hoping they have some news about Akimov. During his absence, a neighbor, the wife of a carriage driver, comes to borrow some salt. She babbles on about everything her husband knows about recent events in town, including the police raid on the pier. From her narrative, it is clear that Proshkin and the police were on the pier hoping to capture Akimov but, failing in that, they hoped to grab Katya as a sort of consolation prize. Katya is surprised that so much police effort would be extended on her, a minor participant in underground activities.
1-vi. Nasimovich arrives home after dark. He has fallen under suspicion because of a few incautious anti-government remarks he made yesterday at the pier. Tonight, he was being followed; but he managed to escape by hiding in a crowd of mourners at a funeral. The police are also searching for Katya. There was a raid on an apartment where another Bestuzhev student was visiting. Katya must be moved. She packs quickly and steps out in the pitch-black night with Nasimovich. They take a cab, by circuitous route, to another section of town. They get out of the cab, and walk another five minutes to a two-story wooden building, where Nasimovich hands Katya over to a young woman named Masha. Nasimovich bids Katya farewell and leaves, carrying a heavy package.
Darkness reigned in the courtyard. Rain was falling, mixed with snow. The wind whistled like a highway bandit. Somewhere on the roof a broken piece of metal groaned. A dried-up poplar tree creaked. The sky--no matter where you looked--was a curtain of dark. No moon, no stars. Not a single light was seen.
2-i. Katya is led into the house by the 20-year-old Masha. There are boxes of beets, potatoes, and other vegetables in the foyer. Masha serves Katya some sauerkraut, potatoes, and herring. She then introduces her 16-year-old brother, Stepa. Masha's hand is bandaged. She cut her finger cleaning fish. Then, at her work as a typesetter, the wound became infected. It became swollen and full of puss. Doctors couldn't help. So now Masha is using a folk remedy, treating the wound with a special leaf. Katya chides Masha and calls the treatment scorcery, but Masha assures her that it is working.
Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky (1828-1889), began his journalistic career in 1853 on the Petersburg journal Sovremennik, the leading radical publication of the time. In 1862, following student riots, he was arrested and sentenced to seven years hard labor in Siberia to be followed by permenant exile. During those first seven years, which he call the "best" of his life, he wrote the novel "What Is To Be Done?", one of Lenin's favorites.
The next day, Masha will take Katya to a nearby village. Katya will pretend to be another typesetter and will use the passport of friend of Masha who died some months ago at age 21, probably because of lead poisoning she got on the typsetting job--it is an occupational hazard.
That night, before going to sleep, Katya thinks that tomorrow she will be travelling along the Irkutsk Highway, the road along which marched the Decembrists, Chernyshevsky, and so many of her Party comrades on their way to prison and exile.
2-ii. The next morning, snow covers everything. Katya and Masha set off for the village. In the forest, two mounted policemen, including an officer named Karpukhin, ride up and demand to know where they are going. The police are satisfied with Katya and Masha's documents, but before riding off, Karpukhin tells them to get a ride on the mail coach, which is following behind them.
On the mail coach, Katya and Masha ride with the old driver and a soldier named Luka. The driver says that Karpukhin is searching for the criminals who recently robbed a mail coach, getting away with the salary for the entire volost. The driver says he's not afraid of robbers because they only kill rich people, who have something to steal. Luka says, "You're wrong. They kill rich people one by one, but the poor they kill by the thousands. Katya brings up the subject of Bolsheviks. There were some Bolsheviks in Luka's regiment when he was at the front; but they were arrested and sent into permanent exile.
The driver says you can't fight the rich and powerful; many have tried and wound up disappearing in Siberia. Katya says if the workers unite and remain staunch around their Party, victory is possible; no torture can stop them from establishing a socialist Russia; and that the people will be masters of their own fate. Luka shoots a glance at Katya, indicating that she should not talk so freely in front of the driver. They quickly change the subject to a bland discussion of the tactics on the German front. But they did not need to fear the driver. While he often associated with police officials, it was just to learn things to his advantage. He was not an informer.
The people shall lead themselves. That is precisely why the Bolsheviks are calling for the soldiers, workers, and peasants to end the bloody war, to turn their weapons against the enemies inside the country, to conclude a peace and turn the factories over to the workers and the land over to the peasants.
2-iii. The group stops off at an inn. Karpukhin was there recently, sucking down vodka. He left word that they should all join him further down the road--he apparantly has in mind some "merry-making". Luka curses Karpukhin's dissolute lifestyle. The driver says that in the old days they would take guys like Karpukhin to the horse doctor and turn him into a gelding.
While the driver is out tending to the horses, Katya and Masha invite Luka to come visit them in Tomsk some time, seeing him as possible recruit to the Bolshevik cause.
Rather than risk another meeting with Karpukhin, Katya and Masha continue their journey on foot.
Stolypin's Land Reforms
2-iv. As evening falls, Masha and Katya walk through the beautiful snowy silence. Katya fears wolves, but Masha is carrying some straw and matches to scare the animals off with fire, just in case.
Katya is excited that soon she will be face to face with real Siberian peasant life. How will it compare with all the reading she's done on the subject, including the works of Lenin?
They enter a small settlement and the home of Masha's 29-year-old aunt, Zinya. Also living there are Zinya's ten-year-old son, Kirya, and her elderly mother-in-law. Zinya and her husband, Kuzma Novoselov, moved to this settlement in 1912 as part of the Stolypin Land Reforms. They were given a land and a house. But the house was rotten and had to be rebuilt. And the land was mainly forest and swamp. But they worked hard and were able to scrape out a decent living. Then the war came. Kuzma was drafted, sent to the front, and...disappeared without a trace. With the men of the settlement off at the war, most of the land and power in the settlement was seized by Evlampii Ermilych, a landowner, usurer, exploiter and oppressor--in short, a kulak. Now the women in the settlement spend most of their time working his land, not their own. As Katya, Masha, and Zinya eat, Evlampii arrives to sternly remind Zinya that she must deliver the portion of oats she owes him.
Zinya wishes that a Stenka Razin would rise up to defend the peasants. Katya, greatly touched by Zinya and her story, tells Zinya about the Bolsheviks and their platform. Zinya is pleased that someone is worried about the common people, that someone has a plan to pull Russia out of the abyss into which it has fallen.
And Listen to:
The Ballad of Stenka Razin
(Stenka tosses his wife overboard to keep the troops happy.)
Later that night, a woman shows up with a proposition for Zinya from some man. Zinya angrily says she's not a widow, that she feels in her heart that Kuzma is still alive. She chases away the woman.
3-i.The next day, Katya and Masha leave and walk to the village of Lukyanovka. They are happily met by Masha's 50-year-old mother, Tatyana Nikanorovna. Based on her looks, Katya assumes that Tatyana is at least partially of native Siberian stock.
The authorities used to send political exiles to Lukyanovka, but recently the local muzhiks have fallen under suspicion, so it doesn't happen anymore. Tatyana regrets this because the exiles were decent people who helped out with the chores. And besides, Tatyana used to make some money cooking for them, etc.
Tatyana's husband is off in the forest hunting. He spends a lot of time there. Besides Masha, Dunya, and Luka, Tatyana has another child--her eldest boy, Pavel, who is in the army at the front. Tatyana lovingly boasts about her children. Katya sadly remembers her strained relationship with her own parents.
3-ii. In the morning, Katya looks at some family photos on a wall in Tatyana's house. Katya is shocked to see there a photo of Likhachev and Akimov, who is holding an axe in one hand and a fish almost as long as himself in the other hand. Katya is dying to know how a photo of Akimov wound up in this house, but knowing that she should not reveal any details about herself or Akimov, she decides to be patient.
3-iii. It is a holiday in the village. Katya joins Masha in the village clearing, where the young men are gathered. Among them are several soldiers back from the front--some on crutches, some missing arms or legs. Masha and Timofei Chernov, one of those on crutches, seem to have eyes for one another.
3-iv & 3-v. Now, the main event of the holiday: the return of the hunters from the forest. As each hunter arrives, he shows his catch to the crowd, who praise or ridicule the hunters success. Everyone waits eagerly as Masha's father, Stepan Lukyanov, emerges from the forest with some young boys he took along as helpers and to teach in the ways of hunting. Stepan had a successful hunt, catching many squirrels, Siberian polecats, and ermine.
3-vi. Masha introduces Katya to Stepan. Katya immediately strikes Stepan as one of the exiled revolutionaries, always asking questions. He tells her about the history of the festival. Before the war, it was a very big holiday, with skating races, target shooting and reveling long into the night. Now, with many men gone to the war, it's more subdued. Katya peppers him with questions about the economy and history of hunting--what hunters catch, when they go out, what their expenses and profits are. Stepan says he knows of no rich hunters. To Katya, it seems that although Stepan is a peasant, he is no doubt literate and he freely uses bookish words. She thinks this is no doubt the result of his association with exiled revolutionaries and perhaps with Likhachev and Akimov.
4-i. That evening, Katya and Masha go to a young person's party. The house is crowded and there is laughing, music and dancing. They had to hire an accordionist from another village because Lukyanovka's accordionist is off in the army. The men have a dancing contest. Then the women compete in singing chastushki (rhymed poems on some topical or humorous theme).
KATYA'SFor the honor of Mother Russia
The soldiers go to battle!
They go with no complaint,
They go no matter what.
They go boldly....
But at home, small children
And their orphaned wives
Are still unemployed.
The government soldiers
Occasionally gnaw on dry bread
With a carefree smile
And with swampy water....
...And in entire regiments
Under heavy bombardment,
For the honor of Mother Russia,
Like flies the soldiers die.
They lie together in groups
For the honor of Mother Russia,
The unlucky soldiers.
...For the honor of Mother Russia
Priests say prayers
And forgetting the teachings of Christ
Call for other to enlist.
...The time of peace will come,
And all the rich land
Will pass you by, boys,
The landlords will take it all
And leave you crosses on your graves.
And you'll remain naked
Because you laid down your lives
For the honor of Mother Russia,
Timofei, asking as master of ceremonies, has all the young women place a personal item--comb, hair pin, etc.--into a hat. As each item is then pulled out of the hat, the owner is given a task to perform--sing a song, do a dance, etc. Timofei pulls out Katya's hair pin and tells her to recite a poem. Katya recites a moving poem about the life of soldiers that her brother once taught her--how the soldiers selflessly give their lives while the rich grab all the land. Everyone listens in silence. They are greatly touched by the poem and beg Katya to recite it a second time. After this, Timofei declares a recess in the festivities, feeling that laughter and gaity would be amiss following such a serious recital. This is just as well since the local constable, Feofan Parokopytov had entered during the recital.
4-ii. The next morning, Katya engages Stepan in conversation. She asks about fishing and the photograph of Akimov. Stepan says that he acted as guide for Likhachev's expeditions five times. Akimov came along on one of the trips. Masha blurts out that after the last expedition, Likhachev left behind some papers, which Stepan keeps hidden in a locked box. Stepan is angry with Masha for revealing this, saying that the papers belong to Likhachev and that he will probably return for them sometime.
4-iii. Katya is troubled by the news that Stepan is holding some of Likhachev's papers. She wonders if she should try to get a look at the papers. But as a non-scientist, they would be meaningless to her. She decides to try and impress on Stepan the need to keep the papers secret until Likhachev himself calls for them.
Masha returns from a visit to Timofei and tells Katya that the whole village is reciting her Soldiers Poem. Katya confers with Masha about Likhachev's papers. Masha tells Katya not to worry. She has already talked with her father, who very sternly reminded her that the papers should remain secret. Masha, in turn, reassured Stepan that Katya would be discreet about them.
Stepan and Tatyana return from visiting a nearby village. They bring news of many new deaths in the war. They also have learned of the robbery of the mail coach, the theives getting away with the money meant for widows and orphans. Stepan is very indignant both about the robbery and about the war. He displays a desire for a new order. Katya asks if the village would rise up to support such a change. Stepan is reluctant to talk on revolutionary topics and only says that with so many of the men away, it would be difficult for the village to take any action.
A messanger arrives telling Stepan to attend a village assembly that evening. Judgement is to be passed on Kondrat Sudakov and his sons for fishing in a forbidden zone.
5-i. Stepan recalls past village assemblies. Once, a father and his son were called to account for their constant brawling. They were given one last chance with the warning that if they did it again, they would be thrown out of the village and their house dismantled. Another assembly was called when a villager was secretly harvesting pine nuts before the village elder had given the signal. The offender was forced to hand over the nuts, any profit he made was to be given to the church, and he was forbidden to take part in the nut harvest for three years.
Katya asks if she can come to the assembly. Tatyana advises against it, saying too much swearing goes on. But Stepan feels that Katya's like the political exiles, for whom the village assembly is like a holiday. Masha decides to go along with Katya.
5-ii. Village elder Filimon Seleznev stands at the door and greets the villagers as they arrive for the assembly. In general, he does not like women attending the assembly, thinking that all they do is screech and cry and cause disorder. Filimon respectfully shakes Stepan's hand, but secretly wishes Stepan were off hunting instead. Filimon sees Katya, whom he does not recognize, and eyes her suspiciously. He pulls aside an old woman named Fekla and asks who Katya is. Thinking that Filimon has a bawdy interest in Katya, Felka knees him in the groin.
Filimon then gets an even more unplesant surprise: Mamika (Stepanida Semyonovna), the oldest resident of the village, almost 100 years old, is in attendance.
5-iii. The assembly meeting begins. Kondrat and his sons are accused of fishing in some waters on the land allotment belonging to Grigori Elizarov. Grigori showed up and demanded that Kondrat stop the fishing. When Kondrat refused, Grigori attacked and punched one of Kondrat's sons. Kondrat and his sons then tied up Grigori, put him in the back of his cart and slapped the horse, sending him running back into the village. Grigori is demanding restitution for the fish and that Kondrat's family receive a stern warning.
Stepan asks, "So, land holdings and waters are the same thing?" Filimon stutters. Mamika speaks: "Every child knows that peasants divide up only the land. The rivers and lakes belong to God." Stepan asks Grigori where he was catching carp this summer. Filimon is forced to confess that he and Stepan both saw Grigori fishing in Konoplyanoe Lake, which is on Stepan's land holding.
5-iv. Watching the village assembly, Katya feels that it is Bolshevik literature come to life--the class struggle in the village, the growth of the kulaks and their grabbing of power and land.
Realizing that they won't get any money out of Kondrat, Filimon and Grigori start demanding that Kondrat at least get down on his knees and apologize. Kondrat protests, "Why should I apologize? Only because he's rich and I'm poor?! Or maybe because he's the village elder's son-in-law!"
Mamika aries to enforce a solution. She has Kondrat and Grigori stand face to face and shake hands. While everyone realizes that this will not solve all the problems, they all agree that a bad peace is better than war.
The villagers are ready to disperse, but Filimon stops them, saying that a woman has come to talk to them about the damnable war and when it will stop.
5-v. A very tall and stout woman, Efrosinya Kharitonovna Zatunaiskaya, enters. She begins with talk of the soldiers' suffering at the front. But, she says, no matter what the hardships, the soldiers will carry on the battle to a victorious conclusion. And after the war, Zatunaiskaya goes on, the land will belong to those who work it, peasants will all become brothers, and the countryside will be a land of plenty.
Katya is horrified. Zatunaiskaya is an S.R., Social Revolutionary! Spreading her political rubbish here! Instead of exposing the ulcers in today's society, instead of calling the people to struggle for a different life, instead of offering a revolutionary way out of this quagmire, Zatunaiskaya is deceiving the peasants with illusions, sapping their will and their energy!
5-vi. Unable to restrain herself, Katya leaps up and delivers a rip-snorting, no-holds-barred revolutionary speech:The path for the future which this person has described...will lead only to new sufferings and misfortunes, to the pauperization of thousands and millions of more peasants!Zatunaiskaya's face distorts in a horrible grimace. She scratches her own face to blood and lets out a terrifying scream. This so frightens the peasants that they all rush to the exits and out onto the street.
The situation on the front is desperate; the soldiers are tormented, exhausted. It is becoming clearer to them that the war will not bring the Russian people any salvation from its centuries of suffering. The time will soon come when their weapons will be turned against the tsar and the capitalists, those truly responsible for the unheard of suffering of our people!
There is only one way out. The workers, soldiers and peasants must throw out their insane leaders, take power into their own hands, immediately conclude a peace, and give the land to the peasants and the factories to the workers!
5-vii As the meeting breaks up in confusion, Timofei picks up Masha and Katya in a sleigh and rides off with them. He intends to take Katya to a barn where Stepan has said she can hide. Kayta, however, does not want to involved the Masha's family in this situation. Firstly, she fears, if the police do a search of Stepan's house, they might discover Likhachev's papers. And secondly, if Masha's undercover work were compromised, the whole Tomsk organization might unravel. So, despite Timofei and Masha's entreaties to the contrary, Katya walks back into the village.
As Katya enters the village, peasants respectfully take off their caps and bow to her. Filimon and the constable rush up and tell Katya she is under arrest. She asks why, since she's just a refugee traveling through the area; Masha's family were just strangers who were kind enough to offer her a night's lodgings.
6-i. The constable locks Katya up in a hut with some chickens, intending to take her to officials in the city on the following day. However, a fierce snow storm begins. When the constable returns with food, he says they won't be traveling until the storm ends.
Left along, Katya thinks her brother would approve of what she did. he used to say, "A real Bolshevik must not miss the slightest chance to confront the people with the real truth."
Listening to the howling wind outside, Katya recalls a Pushkin poem about a snow storm and notes how accurately he decribed the sounds. She then recalls the poetry of Lermontov, Tuitchev, and Blok.
Be like Katya.
Read the works of:
Pushkin in Russian
Pushkin in English
She thinks about the research project she had begun back in Petrograd. It was a social survey of Russian at the end of 1916, a comparison of the class groupings and political parties. If she ever gets to continue the work, her experiences here in Siberia, including her discussions with Zinya, will provide much useful information.
That night, as the snow storm continues to howl, Katya hears a pounding on the window and the sound of nail being pulled out of the walls.
6-ii. Following Katya's arrest, Masha was very troubled and pondered what to do. A young fellow from the village named Petka, barely more than a boy, tells Masha that he has a plan to free Katya. Masha is overjoyed. Timofei participated in the planning of this rescue as well as--much to Masha's surprise, Stepan, her father. Stepan suggests that they take Katya to Mamika's after her liberation.
6-iii. Petka pulls the whole window and frame out of Katya's prison hut. After Katya climbs out, Petka replaces the window and frame so that nothing looks suspicious. Petka and Katya then battle through the howling blizzard to Mamika's.
6-iv. In the morning, with Katya hiding, a neighbor woman named Anisiushka comes to help Mamika milk her cow. Anisiushka brings news of Katya's escape, and Mamika pretends to be surprised.
Later, Mamika talks about marriage with Katya. Katya is shocked when Mamika says there's nothing wrong with a husband beating his wife. In fact, Mamika says, "a muzhik's fists make a woman younger".
Petka comes. He says that while searching for Katya, the constable found part of a coat and a boot and leapt to the conclusion that the escaping Katya was killed by a wolf and her bones and clothes scattered about. Katya and Petka have a good laugh over this. The blizzard continues unabated.
6-v. That evening, Stepan comes to Mamika's. He reports that the Social Revolutionary Zatunaiskaya does not believe that Katya was eaten by a wolf and that the search for Katya has resumed. Stepan says they must move Katya to another hiding place.
That night, with the storm still howling, Katya and Stepan take off through the taiga on Siberian skis. These skis are wider than normal, so as not to sink in the snow; they're also shorter, making it easier to maneuver among the trees; and the skis have some fur on the back, so they won't slip backwards.
6-vi. After some time, Katya and Stepan arrive at an isolated hut in the forest. They are greeted by it's owner, Okenty Svobodny. Stepan tells Okenty to keep Katya here for a few days, then escort her to the settlement. Stepan then leaves. Katya notices that Okenty doesn't have an icon in his cabin and asks him about it. Okenty says he does not believe in God, the devil or the tsar. He believes only in nature. Katya considers him a natural materialist. Okenty says that mankind's happiness lies in freedom from fear. From an early age there's fear of one's parents; then fear of society, of the tsar, of god; fear of evil forces; fear of hunger; fear of death. Okenty has finally come to free himself from fears by living alone in the taiga for almost forty years now. He trusts in nature and does not even carry a gun.
7-i. Okenty leads Katya through the forest to the settlement. He stops half a verst short of the settlement and tells Katya to continue on her own; he has no business among the people.
It is around midnight when Katya enters the settlement. Stepan had told her not to go to Zinya's, but to the home of Olga Tolchenova, Zinya's neighbor. All the homes are dark except for one--Zinya's. Katya sneaks up and looks through the window and what she sees shocks her: sitting at the table, seemingly drunk and half-naked is Zinya, and behind her is that vermin Karpukhin, embracing her.
Katya makes it to Olga's home and describes what she's seen. Olga already knows. In fact, earlier she went to Zinya's in an attempt to help her escape, but Zinya sent her away. Troubled, Katya has difficulty falling asleep.
Katya is awaken when she hears women whispering excitedly to Olga. During the night, Zinya has murdered Karpukhin. The local kulak, Evlampii Ermilch, is already on the scene, and the elder and constable from Lukyanovka have been sent for. Olga urges Katya to leave immediately.
7-ii. Katya reaches Mikhailovka and goes to an inn for the night. Some soldiers enters. They are illiterate, so Kayta volunteers to help them write a letter home. The letter mainly complains about the suffering and mistreatment of the soldiers--lice, the cruelty and arbitrary orders of their superiors, etc. A stern ensign enters and angrily puts an end to the letter-writing. So as not to get the soldiers in further trouble, Katya hides the letter in her jacket and leaves to spend the night at a different inn.
7-iii. The next day, Katya safely makes it to Masha, Dunya, and Stepa's house in Tomsk. Only Stepa is home; Masha and Dunya are at the prison, hoping to see and, if possible, help Zinya. Nasimovich has passed word that Katya is to come to his home, but only after 10 P.M. Katya changes clothes, fixes her hair, and sets off for Nasimovich's. Despite everything else that has happened, Katya has spent the last few days out in the open air, physically exerting herself. She has become fresher and stronger.
7-iv. Katya arrives at Nasimovich's home. Nasimovich and Stasya happily greet her and note that she seems to have grown and become more impressive. Nasimovich tells Katya that he has received word that Akimov is alive and well, being protected by some hunters in the taiga. It probably will be some time before Akimov can continue his flight.
Nasimovich brings Katya into an adjoining room where seven members of the local Bolshevik committee are gathered. Katya reports on everything that she has seen and done.
7-v. Katya write a letter to her brother with the details of her experiences: her speech to the peasants, arrest, and flight. She says that the people in Siberia are hungry for the revolution. She describes her report to the local Bolshevik committe and says that they approved of everything she did. The local Bolsheviks have also assigned her tasks. She is to write a propaganda poster on the situation of the Siberian peasants. The local committee is also going to do what it can to turn Zinya's trial into a political process.
Ah, if only you could know what a great impression Siberia has had on me! Everything here is vast, mighty, robust, and truly majestic!
In the letter, Katya also mentions Likhachev's papers which Stepan is holding. The Tomsk committee agreed that it is important to save these papers. Katya thinks that she might convince Stepan to hide them with Okenty, whom Katya describes as far from the revolution, but sympathetic to the oppressed.. Katya closes the letter with an enrapt panagyric to the greatness of Siberia.
As soon as she finishes the letter, Katya realizes that she should not send it, because of the danger of it being intercepted by the police. So, Katya burns the letter.
End of Book One
Will Katya elude the evil tsarist police?!
Will Akimov survive in the taiga without a pencil?!
Will Zinya be exiled to Siberia for Murder?!
And what about the Bolsheviks?!
Will they seize power, declare a separate peace,
hand the land over the peasants and the factories to the workers?!
Read the Exciting Conclusion in
Markov, Georgi Mokeevich. Born on 19 April 1911, near Tomsk, Siberia. He authored the novels Strogovi, Father and Son, Salt of the Earth, Siberia, and To The Future Age. |
The first chapters of the novel Strogovi which chronicles the adjustments of Siberian peasants to the new Soviet power, were published in the almanac "Novaya Sibir" and elicited an extremely hostile reaction from the central press. Literaturnoye Obozreniye denounced them, saying "Markov writes with the impudence of a villiage hooligan." One of Markov's early defenders, however, was the Siberian poet Ivan Ivanovich Molchanov-Sibirsky.
In October 1958, as one of the secretaries of the Writers Union, he gave a report to the Presidium, demanding Pasternak's ouster from the Union following his winning the Nobel Prize.
By 1967 he had obviously outgrown the "village hooligan" label. He was an active participant in the crackdown at the Writers Congress of that year.
In 1969 he was among those voting to kick Solzhenitsyn out of the Writers Union.
"Siberia" was published in two parts in the journal Znamya; Part One in 1971 (issues No. 3-4), and Part Two in 1973 (issues No. 6-7).
He was made First Secretary of the Writers Union on 20 July 1971. He enjoyed an unusually warm relationship with Leonid Brezhnev. On 25 February 1976, at the 25th Party Congress, he began his remarks thusly: "The deep, wise report of Comrade Leonid Ilych Brezhnev, suffused with a Leninist analysis of the contemporary world, contains a gigantic, immeasurable energy of inspiration. As if along wires, this energy has jolted into the hearts of people, inspiring them to work and great achievements."
In April 1979 he personally gave Leonid Brezhnev the Lenin Prize for Literature for Brezhnev's books Malaya Zemlya, Rebirth, and Virgin Land, saying that these works "had an enormous influence on all types and genres of literature".
It was during his tenure as head of the Writers Union that the Central Committee issued its decree of 8 October 1979 "On the Responsibility of Chief Editors for the Ideological and Artistic Content of Works Published."
In the 1980s, a statue of Markov was erected in his Siberian home town and small museum dedicated to his life and works was opened.
Between 1981 and 1985 print runs of Markov's works were 4,129,000.
In 1986, his final novel, "To The Future Age", appeared in Zamnya. The prototype for the positive hero of this novel was Politburo member Egor Ligachev during the time he worked as a Party Secretary in the Tomsk Oblast.
At the Party Congress in March 1986, Markov said he did not see the need for more glasnost in Soviet society. At a press conference, he opposed publishing "Dr. Zhivago".
In June of 1986, he retired from the post of First Secretary of the Writers Union.
In September 1991, a Polish newspaper published a story on the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, who was supposedly killed in London with a poisoned umbrella. They mistakenly accompanied the article with a picutre of our Georgy Markov, the Soviet writer. The newspaper, of course, published an apology and, strange as it may seem, a few days later, Georgy Mokeevich Markov died.
During his lifetime, he was awarded the Hero of Socialist Labor medal.