Lenin Tales Machine Translated and Comparative Communism

The Other Lenin

Below is a DeepL machine translation of a chapter from The Other Lenin a 2006 book by the comtemporary Russian writer Alexander Alexandrovitch Maysuryan on a Russian language website dedicated to Vladimir Lenin (a website that even uses the old Soviet internet appellation “.su”!) , the most important leader of the Russian Revolution and a founder of the Soviet Union.  The machine translation reads surprisingly well. Apparently the quality of translations between various language pairs depends upon the amount of source – target language text assimilated by the machine translation system, the characteristics of the source and target languages, and the capacity of the machine translations system itself.  While machine translated texts still have the poison cookie problem – fine until you run across an unknown fatal flaw — this reads well enough for casual use.  

I used Google Translate for just part of the top page in Russian and its translation in Google Translate.  Overall, DeepL seems a bit better than Google Translate, here I use GT since it preserves the appearance of the page. The body of the translation I made using DeepL. Except for formatting and adding some links, I haven’t make any edits to the DeepL Russian-English machine translation for I have forgotten my year of Russian language study I did a long time ago. 

Google Translated followed by the original Russian language text.

I was first fascinated by the amazingly good quality of the translation (judging by the result; I’ve forgotten my little Russian) then got to thinking about comparative communism and historical circumstance vs. ideology.

Also that the book is by a contemporary Russian author, so the views on Lenin have a bit of how things turned out and how we see it now in it that makes it fascinating.

Also the tidbits.. I hadn’t known that Stalin ordered that Lenin’s widow be poisoned at her birthday party when she turned 70 in 1939. That was the end of her. I looked up on Wiki some old Bolsheviks mentioned in the Lenin piece too, so of them got killed off too.

Explore this Russian language website using Google Translate

Often the Russian Wiki was more complete, so I ran it through Google Translate instead of linking to the English language WIki page. You can use Google Translate to explore this Russian language website by clicking through links in the translation. A good method might be to use Google Translate for exploration then, once you have found an intriguing article, copy the Russian text into DeepL to get and even better translation into English or whichever target language you choose.

Ideology, History, Culture: A Tangled Web

My own view is that Communism isn’t Marxist although it is descended from it (people do get blamed for the misdeeds of their children and grandchildren sometimes…) , it was transformed by Lenin et al, I guess that is why they call it Marxist-Leninist or Marxism-Leninism (a subtle difference in there adj/noun vs noun-noun maybe) and became clearer with the break with the Socialist International that came with the founding of the Communist International in 1919 — ‘accept the Twenty-one Theses of Moscow or your party doesn’t qualify to join the new Communist International’. Tho calling everyone to the left of Attila the Hun a communist is an old and successful talking point of the U.S. right.

I am always impressed how interpretations of sacred texts change with time — I remember in grad school reading some old Chinese medical texts and being astonished how much the views of the commentators changed over 2000 years as they were heavily influenced by the ideology of their times, be in Buddhist or in the early 20th century trying to find, under the influence/criticisms of Western Medicine, to find a physical analog to the traditional metaphysical schema for understanding the dynamics of illness.

As far as China goes, it is in a different cultural zone from the West, and like everyone else, they interpret new ideas with reference to existing ones. The article by Prof Pang of Xiamen University that I translated goes into that. And many of the Chinese ideas about democracy and other ideas from the West were introduced to China through Chinese students in Japan. Though I find Chinese and Japanese culture to be very different ( i think hierarchy is even stronger in Japan than in China, xenophobia too), there was an important influence on early 20th century China.

Ideologies Manifested Through Lens of Particular Cultures and Histories: China and Russia

China boasts about having socialism with Chinese characteristics, I suspect most places have XX ideology with their national characteristics. I had the same thought when I read George Kennan’s book about the Marquis de Custine’s trip to Russia in 1839. Reading about Russia in those days made me feel that early 19th century Russia was very Stalinist!!

Comparative Soviet communism and Chinese communism is intriguing with some parallels and many pitfalls.  Sometimes it feels best to fall back on the old standby – the Russians are Russians and the Chinese are Chinese – that today’s major characteristics are shaped by history and culture and not ideology. That is not entirely unreasonable.  When I read George Kennan’s little book  Marquis De Custine and his Russia in 1839, a summary translation/appreciation of the French Marquis de Custine’s four volume work (available on gutenberg.org in the original French  La Russie en 1839) , I felt that vibe strongly!  When I read about the Russian Empire and the Tsar’s government back in the mid nineteenth century, they did feel very Stalinist to me, no doubt as a naive reader. 

Then who/what are we comparing?  Both the Chinese and Soviet ‘Russian’ founding leader (Russia a bit tricky, Russia was the only of the Soviet republics not allowed to have its own Communist Party – probably because it was too dominant already) communist states shoved aside his early comrades – after Lenin died (maybe early enough to leave the legend (and jokes about) the kindly Grandfather Lenin and to shift the ‘blame’ to Stalin), Stalin treated the Old Bolshevik’s with extreme prejudice in the 1930s.  To be fair, the Chinese were not to be left behind in the jokebook race: see Cultural Revolution Jokebook.

Mao and Lenin, Back Then and Now

Mao Zedong was a bit more gentle than Stalin, mostly putting them in prison, although his Red Guard henchmobs killed many of his real and imagined enemies. Russia had seventy years of a communist state before the USSR dissolved leaving black marketeers best equipped to revive capitalism, while PRC China had only thirty years of hard-line communism before Mao died and reform and opening began. This gave China and advantage in its transition to a market economy since many older Chinese entrepreneurs still survived and perhaps even more important, a large Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia and elsewhere were ready to invest and perhaps even more important to provide entrepreneurial expertise and technology to the PRC. 

Then we might be thinking of China today versus the old USSR.  China had Mao, then Deng who reinterpreted Mao’s changing and increasingly paranoid thoughts (for an ‘all-powerful leader’ he was remarkably frightened about coup plotters all around him) to his own Deng Xiaoping Theory.  The PRC’s current maximum leader, Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, is coming out with his own Xi Jinping Thought on Chinese Socialism in the New Era.  The international environments of the early USSR and early PRC had different international environments.  A western and Japanese intervention tried to destroy the USSR while fighting between Tsarist loyalists (the Whites) and the Bolsheviks continued. Defeated Germany as a potential friend  during the 1920s and 30s – the Luftwaffe was trained secretly in the Soviet Union and Russians and Germans both assisted the Republic of China against Japan until the Axis pact with Russia was signed – in fact Russia had a group of volunteer flyers – the Soviet Volunteer Group (operated in China during 1937 – 1941) comparable to the Flying Tigers (maybe call them the Flying Bears) who pulled out of China just months before the Flying Tigers got started.  

The New China of the PRC felt likewise threatened in its early days by the US/UN intervention in Korea after it was invaded from the North invaded the South (which also gave Mao the chance to demonstrate his “leaning to one side” in favor of the Soviet Union) and sent in the Chinese Volunteer Army. After the Korean War (in China called [link to GT machine translation of the Chinese Baidu online encyclopedia to give a current PRC perspective on the Korean War] “The War to Oppose American and Assist [North] Korea”) , the PRC enjoyed a better international environment than had the Soviet Union, one more peaceful and stable in the US-led post World War II system that promoted global economic integration. China too eventually became a part of this international system and the WTO and prospered within it: the Soviet Union was always outside that system, in its own security and economic bloc.

China Integrated into World System Far More than was the Soviet Union

The PRC and other world economies are far more integrated than the Soviet Union ever was with the economics of countries outside the Eastern Bloc. This makes casual analogies to a new Cold War less apt — engagment is a matter of more or less engagement, not on/off as with the far lower level of engagment with the Soviet Union. Another factor was that the Soviet Union was doing “Communism in one country” while internationally it ran the Communist International to which the Communist Parties of other countries looked to Moscow as world Communist headquarters – The Twenty-one Conditions, officially the Conditions of Admission to the Communist International – after the Socialist/Communist internationals split in 1919-20. The Chinese Communist Party got critical support from the Communist International in its early days. Later the New China PRC developed in a different environment of communism in multiple countries, a polycentrism that gradually weakened Soviet dominance. 

The Different Career of the Short Course in the History of the Soviet Communist Party in the PRC

How much did Chinese Communism absorb from Russian Communism? Many Chinese communists read works by Marx, Engels and Lenin and studied Stalin’s version — the Short Course in the History of the Soviet Communist Party. Changes were made in the history to suit the needs of the present just as Lenin’s works, translated in China in the early 1980s were massaged to provide support for Deng Xiaoping Theory.

The version of the history of the party described in the first edition of 1938 was significantly changed to match Stalin’s preferences and it changed during subsequent reprints, following the changes in party leadership.

Veteran Bolshevik leaders like Nikolai BukharinLev KamenevAlexei RykovLeon Trotsky and Grigory Zinovyev, who conflicted with Stalin and were killed in the 1930s were described as “mensheviks” who from the very beginning “opposed Lenin and the Bolshevik party”. The names of Filipp Goloshchyokin and Nikolai Yezhov, initially described as “experienced leaders engaged in enlightening the Red Army” in 1938, were deleted from the book after both were arrested in 1939.

Leszek Kołakowski described the “Short Course” as “perfect manual of false history and doublethink“:

Its lies and suppressions were too obvious to be overlooked by readers who had witnessed the events in question: all but the youngest party members knew who Trotsky was and how collectivization had taken place in Russia, but, obliged as they were to parrot the official version, they became co-authors of the new past and believers in it as party-inspired truth. If anyone challenged this truth on the basis of manifest experience, the indignation of the faithful was perfectly sincere. In this way Stalinism really produced the ‘new Soviet man’: an ideological schizophrenic, a liar who believed what he was saying, a man capable of incessant, voluntary acts of intellectual self- mutilation.

— Leszek KołakowskiMain Currents of Marxism, Volume III, Chapter III, part 2

Influence in China

Although the Short Course was eventually rejected by the Soviet leadership during the Khrushchev Thaw, its formulations, especially the idea that class struggle not only continued, but intensified as the state moved towards socialism, continued to be of fundamental importance in China, where Mao Zedong repeatedly attacked his opponents in the Communist Party of China as “capitalist roaders” and agents of bourgeoiscounter-revolutionary and Kuomintang conspiracies.[12] Mao felt that the Short Course best combined the teachings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin as well as being a blue print to applying communist ideals in the real world.[13] China was continuing to grow into a Marxist–Leninist state and that fully happened in 1949, making almost one third of the population of the world under the rule of Marxism–Leninism.[14]

From Wikipedia article “History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks)

Hardline ‘Communist Ideology’ (whatever that is) Had Much Longer Time to Implant in the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union had central economic planning; China never implemented it as thoroughly, perhaps partly because of the chaos involved in killing off the landlords, collectivization, the Maoist eruptions of the Great Leap Forward and the killing famine that followed and then the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution as Mao aimed to outdo to the Soviet Union by jumping straight to Communism, rather than making it a long-term goal as it later became.

When I worked in the U.S. Embassy in China in the late 1990s, a professor at Renmin University told me that during the Cultural Revolution, an essay by the PRC Ambassador to the United Kingdom circulated in secret (the professor had read it at the time) arguing that China must first pass through the stage of capitalism before it can become communist. Intriguing, but I have never been able to confirm that story. 

China’s Sinicization of Marx and Lenin

What many Chinese Communists say today is that Chinese Communism, while it was inspired by the Germans Marx and Engels and the Russian Lenin, is not a foreign ideology. PRC Communist ideology has become thoroughly sinicized. Last year I ran across Xiamen University Marxism Institute Professor Pang Hu comparison of the sinicization of Marxism from the West via Russia through continual adjustment through practice in its new Chinese environment with the vitiation of once vigorous western brought in by Sun Yat-sen which were then weakened by their re-interpretation according to China’s traditional thought aka Confucianism.  I translated Professor Pang’s article on this blog as  2015: PRC Marxist Scholar on the Sinicization of Marxism and the Confucianization of Sun Yatsen’s Three People’s Principles

The article below on Lenin in the early Soviet Union (he only lived a few years after its founding) got me thinking about the above.  Another Soviet Union – PRC comparison is how long the founding leader lived.  Lenin died in 1923, USSR year six.  Mao died in 1976, PRC year 27. History turned out that way. In some alternative history (perhaps in some parallel universe) Mao died in 1950, Liu Shaoqi became the leader and the influence of Deng Xiaoping grows. In that alternative universe, the new state doesn’t slaughter quite so many landlords, instead of collectivization China creates the contract responsibility system that incentivizes agricultural production [a myth widely propagated in China is that the contract responsibility system was created by rebel peasants in Anhui Province in the late 1970s.  Actually it was proposed by Liu Shaoqi in 1953 but rejected as heresy by Mao.  After the famine, Liu proposed it again and it was again rejected, the Great Leap Forward and succeeding famine and Cultural Revolution do not happen. While other problems might have shown up, an early PRC minus Mao would have been different. As a Chinese businesswoman told me angrily once, “Mao Zedong took us on a thirty-year detour!’

Now for the machine translation about Lenin in the early Soviet Union from a book by Alexander Alexandrovitch Maysuryan, a contemporary Russian writer. Made me think of anothe book: Orlando Figes’ The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia.

Google Translated Russian-language (much more detail) Wikipedia biography of Alexander Maysuryan

A reviewer criticized Maysuryan for focusing on only the more positive elements of Lenin’s personality and for glossing over his brutality. From its title, I imagine that The Other Lenin was written to correct what the author considered a prevailing one-sided view of Lenin. Correctives then can inspire other correctives and so on….

Alexander Maysuryan’s book The Other Lenin (M.: Vagrius) is a desperate attempt to give the “living corpse” (incidentally, the Mausoleum is once again open to the public) a glimmer of its former glow. The author movingly depicts the children’s amusements of the “inquisitive, mobile boy” and the sporting activities of the adult Ilyich: “he was very fond of all kinds of outdoor games: ‘town games, croquet'”, in Switzerland he “often went for a walk in the mountains”, and he took associates “on a bicycle 50-70 versts away”. Almost half a book is devoted to stories about how Lenin “played music,” was “fond of Nekrasov,” read Faust in the original and knew by heart “several tirades of Mephistopheles. Maisurian remains modestly silent about the cannibalistic exploits of Illich, hiding behind Lenin’s own quotation that “you can’t make a revolution with white gloves on. Sweetly repeating the fiery swearing of the fiery revolutionary in speeches and articles, the author finds “nice features” here, too. As it turned out, Ilyich easily forgot the insults he had uttered to his opponent, and “all that was said instantly forgotten.

From unsigned review in January 2017 issue of Russian language publication “Profile” via DeepL translation.


If Chapter 13 below of The Other Lenin leaves you wanting more, you can get it by pressing the back  Назад or forward Вперед buttons and then running the result through DeepL [the free version may not translate it all at one go, but you can get there by copying out the translation and then deleting the Russian text that has already been translated] or Google Translate.  Назад Вперед  For example Chapter 12 “THE REVOLT OF THE SLAVE-OWNERS.” Lenin went to Moscow to make more money, and stayed there and Chapter 14 “EVERY GOD IS A CORPSE.” Lenin killed a lot of people, but he helped build churches.


Александр Майсурян


Alexander Maysuryan Chapter 13]


Lenin ordered the transfer of rivers from Siberia to the West.

Vladimir Ilyich made an alphabet book.

Lenin created two laws – do not drink alcohol and study, study, study.

From school essays about Lenin

 The October Revolution proclaimed as its goal nothing less than “rebuilding human life from top to bottom” (the words of Trotsky). Some things the revolution managed to change, some things didn’t.

“Our present way of life,” Lenin wrote in 1923, “combines in itself, to an amazing degree, the features of a desperately bold with timidity of thought in the face of the smallest changes.” “The force of habit of millions and tens of millions,” he remarked, “is the most terrible force.” “We began to shake and destroy the most inveterate prejudices, the most firm, age-old, inveterate habits.” “The past holds us, grabs us with thousands of hands and does not allow us to take a step forward or makes us take these steps as badly as we do.” “When a revolution comes, things do not happen as with the death of an individual, when the deceased is carried out. When the old society perishes, its corpse cannot be nailed into a coffin and put into a grave. It decomposes in our environment, this corpse rots and infects us. There was no other way in the world … and cannot be.

The defector Soviet diplomat Georgy Solomon recounted his conversation with Lenin in December 1917.

– We’re taking as far to the left as possible! – said Vladimir Ilyich.

“All this is very good,” Solomon objected cautiously. “Let’s say that you reach the very, as they say, leftmost corner … But you forget the law of reaction, this purely mechanical law … After all, you will fall back according to this law, who knows where! ..

– And great! exclaimed Lenin. – Fine, so be it, but in this case it speaks for the fact that we need to take it even more to the left! This is water for my own mill!.. And it is not for us, the old revolutionaries, to be afraid of both this experiment and the law of reaction. We will also fight against it, against this law!.. And we will win! We’ll rock the world…

– So far – I don’t know what will happen next – you only destroy …

“True, absolutely true, you are right. Right. We destroy, but do you remember what Pisarev says, do you remember? “Break, beat everything, beat and destroy! What breaks, then everything is rubbish, which has no right to life, what survives is good … “Here we are, faithful to Pisarev’s – and they are truly revolutionary – precepts, we break and beat everything, we beat and break, ha-ha-ha , and here is the result – everything shatters to smithereens, nothing remains, that is, everything turns out to be rubbish, holding on only by inertia! .. Ha-ha-ha, and we will break and beat!

“I don’t quite understand you, Vladimir Ilyich, I don’t understand some kind of gloomy, grumbling pathos that so clearly beats in your words … But here’s what. All of us, the old revolutionaries, have never preached destruction for the sake of destruction, and have always stood… for the destruction of only that which life itself has already condemned, that is falling…

“And I think that everything that exists has already become obsolete and rotten!” Yes, my good lord, it is rotten and must be destroyed!…

“The farther we bend to the left,” Lenin liked to repeat, “the closer the resultant will pass to us.” In 1921, he recalled the words of Engels that “there is, apparently, a law requiring the revolution to advance further than it can handle in order to consolidate less significant changes.”

In one of his speeches, Vladimir Ilyich remarked: “Those who have been in the countryside know that 30 years ago a lot of old people could be found in the village who said: “But under serfdom it was better, there was more order, there was strictness, the women were luxurious. they didn’t dress.” So now, after the revolution, many people praise the bygone order; but change is inevitable…

Let us see how the planned changes took place in various areas of life and what part Lenin himself took in them.

“Latching places of gold.”

Lenin tried to destroy one of the cults that underlie modern society – the cult of money, or, as he put it, “the golden bag.” It is in this sense that one should understand his famous words about “gold toilets”. “When we win on a world scale,” he wrote in 1921, “we, I think, will make public latrines out of gold in the streets of several of the largest cities in the world.”

And in the first years the revolution really went very far in the fight against the “money bag”. The money itself depreciated and turned into crisp, decorated candy wrappers, “banknotes” – millions and billions (as it was then called, “lemons and lemonards”). Lenin called them “multi-colored pieces of paper that fly by the billions and now clearly reveal that they are a fragment, scraps of old bourgeois clothes.” Chastushka of those years:

A beggar asks at the gate,

Served by a Soviet thousand.

He threw a thousand on the sand – He

asks for a piece of bread.

Lenin joked: “The Russian ruble can be considered famous, if only because the number of these rubles now exceeds a quadrillion.”

Payment in kind and exchange triumphed everywhere. One of the decrees introduced free admission to theaters and other spectacles – only a note was made about this in the work book. It seemed that one more step – and the money could be completely abolished. Gone are such professions as a banker, a manufacturer, and just a big merchant… The most famous Soviet caricature of Vladimir Ilyich (drawn by Denis in 1920) depicted him as a janitor with a broom, sweeping all kinds of evil spirits from the globe – kings – kings in ermine robes, priests in black cassocks, millionaires with tight sacks of gold…

True, instead of large-scale trade, small-scale, street trade flourished. The liberal newspaper Sovremennoye Slovo wrote in February 1918: “All the streets, squares and boulevards are filled with small merchants… The shops are empty. Shops are boarded up… Now the street is selling. Here you can get everything, for all tastes, for all needs…

“From an engraving and an old clasp to a pornographic postcard and old galoshes.

“From Kraft chocolate to bright red dog sausage.

“Bourgeois”, big “bourgeois” – at the last gasp… A new “owner” is coming… Petty, greedy, tenacious, furious for profit… Here it is – the future bourgeoisie – in headscarves, jumping from the cold, wrapping overcoats, excitedly shouts out his product:

– Cigarettes!

– Matches!

— Chocolate!

– Canned food! Different things! Gingerbread!…

In Moscow, the famous Sukharevsky market became the center of small trade. In December 1920, speaking at the Congress of Soviets, Lenin solemnly announced the closure of this, as he put it, “unpleasant institution.” Applause resounded… “Sukharevka” is closed,” continued Vladimir Ilyich, “but it is not the Sukharevka that is scary that is closed. The former “sukharevka” on Sukharevskaya Square has been closed, it is not difficult to close it. The “sukharevka” is terrible, which lives in the soul and actions of every small owner. This “sukharevka” must be closed …

And after another couple of months, in 1921, the country suddenly rebelled. The Kronstadt uprising broke out, the Tambov uprising flared more and more, strikes began in Moscow. The rebellious Kronstadt sailors sang ditties:

The All-Russian Commune

Has ravaged us to the ground,

The Communist dictatorship Has brought us to the edge


We drove out the landlords,

We waited for the wills, the land, We

shook off all the Romanovs, We

found the Communists.

Instead of freedom and land

, they gave us the Cheka,

And they planted Soviet farms

here and there.

There are no matches, no kerosene,

Everyone sits with torches,

Under the Bolshevik commune They

only eat cards. And the peasants

rose up in Russia For the land, And in Izvestia everyone writes: “The kulaks rebelled.”

Get up, peasant people!

A new dawn is rising –

Let’s throw off the shackles of Trotsky, Let’s

throw off Tsar Lenin! ..

The newspaper of the insurgents of Kronstadt printed the statements of the local Bolsheviks, who left the party in tens and hundreds… The revolutionary power staggered. It turned out that the peasants wanted not only to get rid of the landowners, but also to trade freely. “Large masses of the peasantry,” said Lenin, “not consciously, but instinctively, by their mood, were against us.” According to him, this created “a danger many times greater than all the Denikins, Kolchaks and Yudenichs put together.”

“If we do not defeat it, we will slide back like the French Revolution.”

And the pendulum abruptly swung back … The whole country turned into one continuous Sukharevka. Large-scale trade began to boil, and “sovburs” (Soviet bourgeois) immediately appeared in the light of day. Expensive shops and all kinds of amusements for the rich opened. A leaflet by the Petrograd Mensheviks in 1922 said: “Down with the money! yelled the communists. And now? .. The calf reigns again: if not real, then from gold leaf … Along with the hopeless need – all the new rich. For their joy, luxurious shops are full of all kinds of overseas goods, gramophone music rumbles, rivers of wine flow, gambling houses are full until morning. And all this for the glory of the October Revolution.” And the former Left Socialist-Revolutionary People’s Commissar Steinberg noted with condemnation: “Under NEP … the bones of the old world began to come to life easily.”

Gambling houses and casinos have become a real symbol of the NEP (“new economic policy”). Journalist N. Arkhangelsky in 1922 in the journal Rossiya described the everyday life of a Soviet casino: green tables littered with piles of banknotes … “And around these tables people crowd – men and women, seized by the only passion recognized here – card gambling. Eyes burn with an unhealthy gleam, fingers convulsively reach for banknotes, and each of the players is gripped by a special tense feeling – the hope of winning, successfully grabbing these millions and billions with their hands in order to throw them back on the table – in a new hope of doubling, tripling, doubling the winnings … Women do not lag behind men in passion – they even surpass them. Here is a red-haired beauty – with milky-white skin, with wonderful mermaid eyes, with a magnificent, artistically done hairstyle. Huge diamonds in my ears on graceful legs, covered in silk and magnificent lacquer, bracelets, also with diamonds. Bust – in diamonds and pearls. But all these “brilliant” effects are not enough for her: in her hair and on the clasps of her shoes, there are fractional, like pearls, electric bulbs. From time to time, the beauty presses the button of an electric battery hidden in her pocket, and her head lights up, like fireflies on a July night, and stars light up on her legs, like in a black southern sky … A small well-groomed pen, chained in gold and studded with precious stones, carelessly reaches for a golden reedikil with jingling pendants and takes out a bundle of credit cards.

– A billion! – the coral mouth of the beauty raps out.

And when the bet turns out to be beaten, the same mouth, with the same nonchalance, repeats:

“Another billion!”

The magazine “Red Pepper” in 1923 placed a cartoon: people with sabers and rifles take a person out of the casino. The foreigner, looking at this scene, asks with concern:

“Tell me, citizen, what is it?” Red terror resumed?

– Not. In Moscow, the police escort home those who have won big …

Of course, even in 1920 the Bolsheviks could not have imagined in a nightmare that such scenes would be played out in reality in the country under their leadership. To Lenin himself, this seemed unthinkable. He spoke about freedom of trade: “We say: we will never agree to this, we will rather lay down our bones than make concessions in this … We will fight against this to the last drop of blood.”

“What kind of merchants we are,” Lenin sighed. But now he himself urged his comrades to “learn to trade.” It sounded quite shocking. One of the listeners objected:

“They didn’t teach us how to trade in prisons.

Vladimir Ilyich considered such objections the clearest manifestation of Oblomovism. He responded immediately and indignantly:

“Did they teach us how to fight in prisons?” Did they teach you how to manage the state in prisons? ..

Only the authority of Lenin made it possible to accomplish this whole fantastic turn relatively gently. Vladimir Ilyich realized that if the Bolsheviks themselves did not want to take the path of “Thermidor” (that is, “counter-revolution”), then the country would do just fine without them. And they will, no doubt, have to “lie down with bones” in the literal, and not figurative, sense. “Thermidor”? wrote Lenin in 1921. Sober, maybe? Will be? We’ll see.” “The revolution faces some kind of abyss,” he noted, “on which all previous revolutions stumbled and backed away …” In a conversation with the French socialist Jacques Sadoul, Lenin said:

The Jacobin workers are more insightful, more firm than the bourgeois Jacobins, and had the courage and wisdom to Thermidorize themselves.

The leader of the Bolsheviks happily echoed the Smenovekhovite N. Ustryalov: “The revolution is no longer the same, although it is headed by all the same familiar faces … But they themselves were forced to take the path of Thermidor … The path of Thermidor is in the rebirth of the tissues of the revolution, in the transformation souls and hearts of its agents…” “I don’t know if Demyan Bedny is right that the monuments of Volodarsky and Sverdlov are crying with large tears, contemplating the faces of today’s Moscow and St. comparing the personalities of the leaders of the two revolutions: “At one time, the French Jacobins were unable to feel the new conditions of life – and perished. Neither Robespierre nor his friends possessed a talent for tactical flexibility.” “Lenin is more flexible and sensitive than Robespierre.” “We have embarked on the “path of Thermidor”, which we, unlike France, will, apparently,

And the old Vekhovets A. Petrishchev caustically ridiculed such dreams: “I understand the irritation of that reader of Change of milestones who said:

“Wait, lads. Already Thermidors. Not far off and the Brumers. Then Napoleon. Then Ludovic will come… Oh, those soap bubbles. Tired of them… And how will people not get tired of it…» Like the previous sharp turns, the transition to the NEP was not easy for Lenin. N. Volsky relayed the story he heard from the Bolshevik Alexei Svidersky: “At one meeting, Lenin said:“ When I look into your eyes, you all seem to agree with me and say “yes”, but if you turn away, you say “no”. You are playing hide and seek with me. In that case, let me play with you one game adopted in parliaments. When no confidence is expressed in parliaments against the head of government, he resigns. You expressed distrust of me during the conclusion of peace in Brest, although now even fools understand that my policy was correct. Now again you express no confidence in me on the issue of the new economic policy. I draw the conclusions adopted in the parliaments from this, and hand over my resignation to the two highest instances – the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Plenum. I cease to be the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, a member of the Politburo, and turn into a simple publicist writing in Pravda and other Soviet publications … “By the threat of resignation, Lenin frightened everyone so much that he immediately broke down the disagreement expressed by many.”

Despite their temporary victory, the Sovburs and Nepmen felt the precariousness and fragility of their “second coming.” (It ended, as you know, at the end of the 1920s.) After all, the rich man ceased to be a respectable person, respected in society, an example for everyone to follow: in this the revolution was successful. A characteristic joke of 1924 (from the Zanoza magazine):

– And why are you, Polikarp Fedotovich, killing yourself. Before the war, you were the first guild, but now the NEP … Only the whole difference …

– Tell me! – Nepman bitterly objects. “Before, I was a guild, and now everyone is shouting to me: “rotten, de, I! ..”

A well-known anecdote of those years – a NEP man with a child walking along Red Square.

– Dad, what is it? the boy asks, pointing to the Mausoleum to his father.

This is Lenin’s grave.

– And what is Lenin?

– Lenin is, son, our grave …

The “latrines made of gold” conceived by Vladimir Ilyich remained a dream. Perhaps, this idea found an unexpected embodiment only in the famous “golden toilet bowls” of the “new Russians” in the 90s. The golden toilet of a rich man reborn from the ashes is the real completion of Lenin’s dream, in which it turns into its complete opposite … However, is this not the fate of all human ideas in general?

By the way, in the jokes of the 90s, Vladimir Ilyich met with this, the next generation of Russian “bourgeois”: “At the crossroads, an antediluvian armored car crashes into the back of the six hundredth Mercedes. A “new Russian” in a crimson jacket jumps out of the Mercedes, fingers fanned out, ready for battle. And from the armored car comes an uncle in a gray coat and cap, with a red beard. The uncle screwed up his kind, kind eyes and said to the “new Russian”:

– And you, my friend, stopped at the wrong anecdote. Felix Edmundovich! Please shoot this bourgeois.”

“Don’t young people like the word ‘comrade’?”

Of course, the Bolsheviks saw the fight against money as part of a wider war against private property in general. Sometimes Lenin was proved that the desire for property lies in the very nature of man. He responded to this argument as follows: “The feeling of ownership is by no means a primordial human instinct. When a person wants to own something… he does it in order to make his struggle for existence easier. No one wants to own what is already enough for everyone. In the deserts, everyone takes care of their wells, but where there is plenty of water, not a single reasonable person will protect it … “

The Bolsheviks believed that if, instead of mutual struggle, brotherhood was established in society, people would stop clinging to property. The word “comrade” served as an external expression of these new human relations. This word was introduced into general circulation by the February Revolution. In those days, it was not used except in relation to the former king and queen. The American journalist John Reed described such a case: “The lady of one of my friends returned home one afternoon in hysterics: the conductor in the tram called her “comrade”!”

Vladimir Ilyich considered such a dimensionless understanding of “partnership” to be erroneous. In June 1917, he declared in one of his speeches: “The wolf is no friend to the sheep.”

And yet, in red Russia, the address “comrade” was applied to almost everyone. Very soon, notes of bureaucracy, insincerity sounded in him. In friendly communication, other, more cordial words began to supplant him. “This word is “comrade,” said Lev Kamenev in 1918, “it has been erased like a coin from repetition, but this is a great word that embodies that future system in which people will not be wolves to each other, but comrades, will live as a friendly family. In the 1920s, Lenin himself, with some annoyance, asked Komsomol member Ekaterina Loginova: “Don’t young people like the word “comrade”?” His interlocutor replied that she liked it. “Then why do you treat each other with the word “brothers”? ..”

Later, a joke appeared in Soviet folklore: “Under capitalism, man is a wolf to man. And under socialism? Comrade wolf.

Nevertheless, the appeal “comrade” lasted until the very “restoration” of the 90s (and in the Russian army it remained in the 21st century). In 1991, P. Negretov, a reader of the liberal magazine Ogonyok, called for the rapid introduction of the appeal “Mr. “Mr. Lieutenant!” – how wonderful it sounds and how beneficial it is for both sides – for the one who addresses, and for the one to whom they address … Together with the restoration of private property, the old appeals will return to us the lost sense of dignity.

Ironically, the old-fashioned address “sir” returned to everyday life in 1991, just when huge queues lined up at the empty stores. What gave rise to the ditty:

While the meat was put in cabbage soup,

We were comrades.

And when the food ran out,

“gentlemen” immediately became …

Lenin as a nudist.

The tabloid-erotic press of Russia in its own way reflected the coming of the Bolsheviks to power: as the onset of an era of permissiveness. In a drawing in one of these publications in November 1917, an astonished housewife asks her cook, who is walking around the kitchen naked, in only an apron and a handkerchief:

“Why are you like this?

– And in the tail (queues. – A.M.) they said: “The Bolsheviks will come, they will take everything off you!” So I took everything off myself in advance! .. “

In another drawing, a well-dressed gentleman is playfully interested in a naked girl splashing in a bath:

– What party do you belong to?

“Can’t you see that I’m a Bolshevik,” she answers languidly, “I don’t even have a shadow of any shame! ..

Perhaps the nudist movement that flourished in the young Soviet Republic has become the most striking symbol of sexual liberation. The poet Goldschmidt became especially famous for his shocking demonstrations, who appeared before the public not only naked, but also painted with brown paint “under the nave”. From the liberal newspaper Sovremennoye Slovo for April 1918: “The Bolshevik futurist walking half-dressed through the streets, Goldschmidt, made Moscow laugh by erecting a monument to himself in a flowerbed in front of the Bolshoi Theatre. A small figurine of him in the nude, with a dog biting his heel, was opened by him according to an established ritual. In front of a bunch of onlookers and passers-by, he uttered a heartfelt word, and then pulled back the covers.

The famous dancer Ida Rubinstein performed naked on stage, which also seemed shocking and unusual in those days. Rumors about all these liberties also reached the White Guards, who in 1919 released a satirical poster “Rising prices for men’s suits in the Soviets.” According to the poster, the price of clothing has risen so much that it was “unaffordable” for ordinary Soviet citizens. They involuntarily roam the streets naked. The caption reads: “In the Bolshevik paradise, you can walk around naked, hiding behind the newspaper “Communist” …

Among the thousands and thousands of monuments to Lenin, there is probably not a single one that depicts him naked. Meanwhile, the author of such a sculpture would not have sinned much against the truth of history – after all, Vladimir Ilyich was also a supporter of nudism.

The nudist (naturist) movement arose in Germany and Austria at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The naked body for naturists has become a symbol of a return to nature, a natural and healthy lifestyle. On beaches and other places of recreation, naturists spent time without clothes, thereby challenging the sense of “false shame” and social conventions. Nudists preached sobriety, smoking cessation, gymnastics, vegetarianism. In Russia, among the supporters of this movement were such prominent figures as Leo Tolstoy and Maximilian Voloshin. Nudism won sympathy among Russian revolutionaries as well. Which was not at all surprising – after all, naturism was seen as something of a continuation of the revolution in the field of culture and health.

While in Austria, emigrant Vladimir Ulyanov visited a nudist beach, and this visit made the most favorable impression on him. He spoke out strongly in favor of the “healthy lifestyle” that nudists preached. These ideas were also shared by Lenin’s wife, Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya. Other prominent Bolsheviks also belonged to the number of supporters of nudism – for example, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Nikolai Bukharin, Alexander Bogdanov …

In 1917 Vladimir Ilyich returned to Russia. After European looseness, the domestic beach (in the summer of that year) made a depressing impression on him: deserted, with lonely bathers, who, embarrassed by their half-dressedness, timidly hid behind the bushes.

“Here, abroad, this has already been surpassed,” Lenin remarked to Bonch-Bruevich, who accompanied him. – There is nowhere such space and, for example, in Germany, on the lakes there is such a colossal need for bathing among the workers, among the public walking on holidays, and in the hot summer every day, that everyone bathes there openly, right from the shore, next to each other, and men and women. Isn’t it possible to undress neatly and go for a swim without hooliganism, but respecting each other? scandals in this regard. This must be resolutely fought … We have a lot of work ahead of us for new forms of life, simplified and free; without the priestly unctuousness and hypocrisy of hidden libertines.

A year later, Russian beaches took on a completely different look. The tabloid newspaper “Moscow Ringer” in the summer of 1918, under the heading “Freedom of Bathing”, described a characteristic scene:

“- Disperse! .. No place for mulberries! .. Hey, what’s wrong?

– Freedom, comrade… What are you driving?..

– I say, what are you gathering here? .. Disperse! .. I will shoot! .. – shouts a fellow policeman.

In what the mother gave birth bathers “loose formation” lie along the embankment. The audience from the tram letter “A” bursts into loud laughter, while others do not know what to do with their eyes. And, oddly enough, in such disputes then it was not the puritanical militiaman who won, but the liberated bathers …

In his writings, Lenin, although he does not mention nudism directly, several times venomously ridicules “the most disgusting example of a withered and anemic, hysterical old maid, proud of her barren moral purity … who coyly insists on the need for a fig leaf.”

By the way, the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, was also a nudist. (A film has been preserved: a naked sovereign dives into a river, and his household bathes in the same costume.) At the end of the 20th century, there was even such a joke among Russian nudists: “If Lenin and Nicholas II met in some nature club, then maybe and the revolution would not have happened.”

For several years, Russia turned out to be “a country of victorious nudism.” Delegations of Soviet nudists in the 20s were the most numerous at international nudist conferences. On the basis of nudism, mass children’s recreation also developed – in the pioneer camp “Artek” all the children swam without clothes (which is confirmed by archival filming).

A turn in relation to nudism was outlined in 1924, shortly after the death of Lenin. Satirists Ilf and Petrov ridiculed the nudist-klutz in the biting feuilleton “Ideological Nikudykin”. Magazines began to print sarcastic jokes like these – a customer in a store is indignant:

“Aren’t you ashamed to hang around like that?!

“I, a citizen, am a member of the Down with Shame Society.

Demonstrations without clothes on city streets were banned. Nudism was finally forced out into the sphere of family recreation. However, here, too, its mass character made an indelible impression on foreigners in those years. Pulitzer Prize winner H. R. Knickerborger described his journey in 1931 along the banks of the Moskva River. He turned out to be a guest of a real fantastic “country of nudists.” Here are his observations: “Thousands of men and women, girls and boys, children in their arms, grandparents play games, eat picnic provisions, swim in the river or just take air baths, basking in the sun … Most of the picnic participants , young athletes and older people are completely naked … A group of young men compete in the long jump. Fifty of them are in the pit for jumping, or waiting for their turn. They are all undressed. There are no girls among them but soon half a dozen girls in light summer dresses, passing by, stop to watch the jumps… On the other side, a group of girls are playing handball. They are naked… Below, in the river, several hundred women of all ages are swimming, splashing or just talking, knee-deep in the water. Nobody pays much attention to them.”

From his observations, the guest drew the following curious conclusion: “Taking off clothes is the most radical leveling action that can be taken by mankind… With nakedness, class distinctions disappear. Workers, peasants, office workers suddenly become just people. This, in a nutshell, sets out… the main goal of the Soviet revolutionaries. That’s why… this summer in the Soviet Union, on each of its rivers, on the shores of all its lakes and seas, literally millions of men and women swam and sunbathed under the sun without clothes, naturally, as if it could not be otherwise.. .”

Sexual revolution.

Marriages in the Russian Empire were concluded in the church, and therefore only the church could divorce the spouses. It was incredibly difficult to obtain a legal divorce through a spiritual consistory. Already February 1917 tried to facilitate this procedure. In the satirical drawings of those days, church marriage was depicted in the form of heavy chains that tightly bound the unfortunate spouses. Of course, the simplification of divorce met with sharp opposition from the Orthodox Church. In one of the cartoons, the new chief prosecutor of the Holy Synod, appointed by the revolution, angrily threatened the churchmen: “Your Eminences! Two more words against divorce – and I will force you to open even the Trinity Bridge! .. “

However, only the Bolsheviks had the determination to cut the Gordian knot of the previous marital relationship. “One cannot be a democrat and a socialist,” Lenin wrote resolutely, “without immediately demanding complete freedom of divorce, for the absence of this freedom is an extreme oppression of the oppressed sex, women.” The decree signed by Lenin in December 1917 was just as categorically called “On the dissolution of marriage.” Instead of a church marriage, a civil marriage was introduced, and its dissolution was a hundredfold facilitated. “Petrogradskaya Gazeta” in 1918 reported on the consequences of this decree: “Probably, few of Petrograders know that the old red tape of the divorce case has gone “into history” … Unaccustomed to the new judicial procedure, the litigants literally turn to stone with amazement when they hear the verdict on divorce.

– Already?! – with indescribable disappointment, the exclamations of husbands and wives are heard more than once, immediately freed from the chains of Hymen, which have become a burden to them.

The country’s first civil marriage was between People’s Commissar Alexandra Kollontai and sailor Pavel Dybenko. Soon, the young spouses seriously offended the new government – and Lenin joked: “I personally think that execution will not be enough punishment for them. Therefore, I propose that they be sentenced to fidelity to each other for five years.”

The magazine “New Satyricon” in 1918 scoffed in every possible way at the new orders in the field of marriage. One note: F. Sologub recounts an excerpt from a conversation overheard on the street:

– You know, she (obviously, Kollontai. – A.M.) got married.

– What do you! Did they get married in a church?

– Well, why not! I just wrote it down in my notebook.

We are sure that the method of recording a perfect marriage in a notebook will soon be abandoned as a bourgeois method. Just a wink is enough – and the marriage is perfect. For our part, we also offer the easiest way to divorce: one of the spouses drowns the other in the Fontanka. This is not a consistory rigmarole for you!”

The magazine also laid out a clever “way” to get rid of an annoying cook. After the revolution, it became almost impossible to simply dismiss the useless servants – their rights were reliably protected by the new government. On the other hand, it was possible to enter into a legal marriage with the cook, and then instantly divorce and immediately put her out – after all, it was worth nothing now to part with your wife …

In the summer of 1918, the liberal newspaper The Devil’s Pepper Pot printed a parody of the usual lawyer’s ad: “In divorce cases, there’s nothing to go to lawyers. Go to the sausage shop and get divorced. Another joke of that time: “It is forbidden to enter into a civil marriage more than 17 times a day” …

True, in some places in the villages the decree on the dissolution of marriage was understood in a very peculiar way. As the newspaper “Vse!” in August 1918, in a village near Tsaritsyn, the peasants demanded that the priest fix the secular divorce in the church. The priest refused: “There is no rite of divorce.” Then the peasants came up with their own idea: “The guilty wife was dressed in matting, they gave an old broom in her hands, they decorated her head with nettles, they hung large posters on her chest and back with the inscriptions:“ I am a divorced wife ”, and arm in arm with a triumphant husband, to the sound of basins and frying pans, with whistling and whooping, were led through the whole village to the house of her parents.

The opposition Petrograd newspaper Era in July 1918 broadcast conversations in the corridors of the people’s court. Here the court immediately divorced some young woman, and even awarded her money for a child.

“The woman’s face beams with pleasure.

— How kind. I didn’t even ask for money! she says cheerfully…

– Look, how soon! One or two, and divorced! ..

“Easier than getting on a tram!”

“Here, brother, they’ll get married in a minute!”

– How long can you do it?

“Do you think it was better before, or what?” some woman in a white headscarf, with a middle-aged, sickly-pale face, warmly intervenes. – Before seven years it was necessary to wander around the consistories and how much money to waste. And now…”

The Bolsheviks went even further – they completely equated the actual marriage with the official one. Illegitimate children acquired all the rights of “legitimate” children. “We issued a decree,” Lenin noted, “which abolished the difference in the position of a married and illegitimate child …” “We left no stone unturned in the true sense of the word from those vile laws on the inequality of women, on the restrictions of divorce, on vile formalities, surrounding it, on the non-recognition of illegitimate children, on the search for their fathers, etc. – laws, the remnants of which are numerous in all civilized countries. (These revolutionary innovations persisted until 1944.)

However, the fathers of illegitimate children still had to pay alimony “temporarily”, for six months. In one of the cartoons of the early 1920s, a man looks at a rooster with envy: “Here is expanse for roosters: two or three johns, a dozen children and no alimony!”

In another drawing, a line of Virgins with babies (Smolenskaya, Three-handed, Satisfy sorrow, Kazanskaya, Pochaevskaya …) lined up to God himself. Old man God exclaims in horror: “Damn it! Each of them to pay a third of the salary for the maintenance of the child? Why, no salary is enough for this!”

In the 1920s, temporary, short-lived marriages became widespread in Soviet society. The magazine Down with the Gods wrote in 1923: “Recently, we have an epidemic of “divorces”. What explains it? First of all, the fact that now there is no need to secretly cheat on an unloved wife or a hated husband. You can get a divorce openly … Then, now there are fewer hunters to unquestioningly endure the beatings of their drunken husband … “Leo Trotsky explained what was happening as follows:” Even the introduction of the institution of civil marriage could not but deal a cruel blow to the old, consecrated, ostentatious family. The less personal connection there was in the old marriage, the more the external, everyday, in particular ritual, church side played the role of a bond. The blow to this latter turned out to be the same blow to the family… That is why the family staggers, disintegrates, falls apart, arises and collapses again…

“Such a diversity of marital relations,” Alexandra Kollontai noted in 1918, “has never been known to history: an inseparable marriage with a “stable family” and a transient free relationship nearby, a secret adultery in marriage and an open cohabitation of a girl with her lover – a “wild marriage”, pair marriage and “threesome” marriage, and even the complex form of “foursome” marriage, not to mention the varieties of prostitution for sale… The forms of modern marital communication are contradictory and confusing.” “So it was, so it will be! There is nothing more erroneous than this saying … There is nothing to hide: the old family is dying off.

Lenin also believed that “a revolution is approaching in the field of marriage and sexual relations,” consonant with the social revolution. However, not only liberals, but also right-wing socialists disapproved of the overbroad scope of the Soviet “sexual revolution”. The former Socialist-Revolutionary activist Pitirim Sorokin in 1922 noted with alarm in one of his speeches that the family was “decaying”: “A healthy society is impossible without a healthy family. The collapse, both spiritual and biological, has gone too far here, accelerating the extinction and degeneration of the Russian people through sexual diseases. It’s time to stop this disaster.”

At the same time, Sorokin published an article in the independent Petrograd magazine The Economist, where he condemned “sexual debauchery, a frivolous attitude towards marriage.” He noted a significant number of divorces in the city: 92 cases per 10,000 marriages. “The figure is fantastic … These figures say that modern legal marriage is a form that conceals essentially extramarital sexual relations and enables strawberry lovers to “legitimately” satisfy their appetites.”

Lenin read this article, and the discussion about “strawberries” led him into violent indignation … He published a reply to Sorokin, where he accused him and the magazine of preaching “serfdom.” “If 92 divorces per 10,000 marriages seems to Mr. Sorokin a fantastic figure, then it remains to be assumed that either the author lived and was brought up in some … monastery fenced off from life … or that this author distorts the truth in order to please the reaction … The actual number of actual divorces… is immeasurably higher everywhere. Russia in this respect differs from other countries only in that its laws do not consecrate hypocrisy.”

Lenin noted that none of the Western democracies was able to ensure the freedom of marriage and divorce, to protect all the rights of illegitimate children. Russia is the first country in the world to achieve this. As for the supporters of family “serfdom”, it is high time they were “politely escorted” to the West. “There is a real place for such serf-owners.” And these were not empty words – although the Economist magazine continued to be published even after this “discussion”, within a year its employees (and P. Sorokin) were sent abroad at the direction of Lenin.

The deportations in 1922-1923 affected many “Old Vekhites” (they were taken to the West by the famous “philosophical ships”). In connection with this, the following anecdote appeared: “The Slavophil philosopher, who is being expelled to the West, says:

– Of course, it hurts to leave Russia. But rather than lie in your native holy land with a bullet in the back of your head, it’s better to stomp on the accursed Parisian boulevards.”

“Scratch a communist and you will find a philistine.”

The revolution generally simplified and made more free communication between the sexes. The boundaries of speech decency have expanded, and it has become possible to discuss previously unthinkable, taboo topics. Boys and girls began to be taught together in schools (which was not the case in Tsarist Russia).

The very habitual relationship between husband and wife, according to the plan of the Bolsheviks, was subject to a complete change. “In all civilized countries,” Lenin said, “even the most advanced, the position of women is such that it is not for nothing that they are called domestic slaves.” Women “remain in ‘domestic slavery’… crushed by the smallest, blackest, heaviest, most mind-numbing kitchen work.”

In 1920, Lenin remarked to Clara Zetkin: “Unfortunately, one can still say to many of our comrades: “Scratch a communist and you will find a philistine.” Of course, you need to scrape a sensitive place – his psyche in relation to a woman. Is there any clearer proof of this than the fact that men calmly watch women wear out in petty work, monotonous, exhausting and absorbing time and effort, work in the household; how their horizon narrows, their minds dim, their heartbeats become sluggish, their will weak… A woman’s domestic life is a daily sacrifice of herself in a thousand insignificant trifles… We must eradicate the old slave-owning point of view to the last minute its roots…

These words fully coincided with the general mood of the 1920s. And these moods can be judged by the popular ditties of that time:

I’ll come home,

I’ll plump with a swoop:

Down with the trough,

Shitvo and the kitchen!

Who does not call

his Wife: comrade, – You can’t


Water with such a oak tree.

Devils in the sky

It will be hot,

If the state is

ruled by a cook!

 A. Kollontai wrote about the ideal of a new woman: “Before us is not a female and the shadow of a man, before us is a personality, a “Man-woman” …

True, in life this peppy scope sometimes got bogged down in an impenetrable swamp. Even in relation to such a striking feature of the old “domostroevsky” life as domestic beatings. The conjugal fist for millions of women remained a more tangible and much more indestructible power than the power of the king himself. In the drawing by I. Malyutin in 1925, a worker beats his wife with a saucepan right under the portrait of Lenin.

“Leave it, Herod, the murderer! Forgot what Comrade Lenin said?

“M-shut up, fool! .. Maybe Lenin didn’t know that I was married.”

It cannot be said that the revolution completely eradicated domestic assault. Perhaps she managed to achieve only the “equality” of the spouses in this matter. In the 60s and 70s, a new figure became familiar on the pages of the humorous press: a wife waiting for a drunken husband with a kitchen rolling pin in her hands. Western journalist Karl Crane quoted Nikita Khrushchev as saying to a female audience: “In tsarist times, a man, offering you his hand and heart, said:“ I will love you like a soul and shake you like a pear … ”Today you yourself beat their husbands. This proves that we are on the road to communism.”

“The custom of beating children has not yet been abolished.”

The Bolsheviks banned the custom of corporal punishment of schoolchildren (flogging with rods), which existed in Russia until 1917. This abolition turned out to be final (at least until the beginning of the 21st century, flogging in schools was never restored). The fight against domestic corporal punishment of children has been far less successful…

In 1920, Lenin spoke with two Japanese journalists. He asked them curiously:

“Gentlemen, is it true that in Japan they never punish children or beat them?” I read about it in one book.

“Yes,” answered one of his interlocutors, “we do not beat children. They take care of them more than in the West. In general, in Japan, a kind of cult of children …

“Don’t they even give you a slap?” asked Lenin.

– Not. We never hit children.

Yes, they are wonderful people! exclaimed Lenin enthusiastically. “This is real culture. This is very important. Indeed, in the most so-called civilized countries of Europe, in Switzerland, for example, the custom of beating children in schools has not yet been completely eliminated …

Vladimir Ilyich added that he and his comrades were “resolute opponents of all corporal punishment, and above all in relation to children.”

Of course, the revolution within the school walls was not limited to the abolition of birch rods. The very behavior of schoolchildren in the classroom has become much more relaxed, freer. The gymnasium uniform was abolished (it was reintroduced in the 1940s). The satirist Dol in 1917 in the liberal magazine Lukomorye described the “revolution” among children:

Scared your mom.

Kolya raised the banner: –

Away with birch porridge,

Since the will has come! ..

– Cancel without delay, –

Calls are heard, –

The entire multiplication table,

Mountains and bays! –

Eight-year-old es-decks

In the demands of the rack: –

Ban soon forever

All colas and deuces! – A

Bolshevik of the same class

Inserted, full of ardor: –

To spit, so that Mama

Balaban bought us !!! –

Joyful streams of will

burst into their hearts.

How, bourgeois teachers,

you haven’t given up yet?!

“The unconditional repeal of all laws against abortion.”

The Bolsheviks legalized abortion for the first time in Europe. As early as 1913, Lenin advocated “the unconditional repeal of all laws prosecuting abortion.” He attributed the right to abortion to “the elementary democratic rights of a citizen and a citizen.”

On November 18, 1920, Lenin signed a decree authorizing abortion. From now on, all women have the right to artificially terminate a pregnancy during the first three months. As Leon Trotsky believed, in the future, “the very concept of legislation on abortion and divorce will … sound little better than memories of brothels or human sacrifices.” Any prescriptions of the law in family and sexual life will become superfluous.

The press savored the fashionable topic with pleasure, printing articles, poems and drawings about the “right to have an abortion” (not always approvingly). Some journalists noted with alarm the outbreak of the “abortion pandemic”. Sometimes the theme of abortion was combined with the equally fashionable theme of theomachism. For example, in 1924, in a cartoon by Konstantin Gotov in the Crocodile magazine, the pregnant Virgin Mary was looking at a street theater poster. The performance was called “Abortion”. The Mother of God exclaimed sorrowfully; “Why, why didn’t I know before!”

True, the common joke turned out to be double-edged: soon such jokes were already told about the mothers of the leaders of the Soviet state …

Despite the right to abortion, the birth rate in Red Russia increased in the 1920s. This was facilitated by the famous “maternity leave” for women – it began two months before the birth of the child and ended one and a half months after the birth. All this time the woman received a full salary. In 1920, 21.7 babies were born per thousand people in Russian cities, and in 1923 (after abortion was allowed) – 35.3. In 1927, there were already 45 births per thousand people.

“Freedom of abortion” in the USSR remained until June 1936, when abortion was again banned. From now on, a woman who made an underground abortion was threatened with public censure or a fine, and more severe punishment awaited the doctors who committed it. The ban led to a new surge in the birth rate: the number of newborns in Moscow increased by 65 percent. But the number of infanticides has also risen sharply.

The writer Andre Gide, who visited the USSR at that time, disapproved of the law. “The recent law on the prohibition of abortion,” he wrote, “plunged into despair all those whose low wages do not allow them to create their own home, start a family. He plunged many into despair for other reasons as well. Were they not promised in connection with this law something like a plebiscite, a nationwide discussion, the results of which were to be reckoned with? The vast majority spoke out (though more or less openly) against this law. Public opinion was not taken into account, and, to everyone’s amazement, the law passed. The newspapers printed, of course, only approving remarks. In private conversations that I had with many workers, I heard only humble reproaches, timid complaints.

Lenin and non-traditional forms of love.

One of the decrees signed by Lenin canceled the old tsarist Code of Punishment, which provided for penal servitude for sexual relations between men. Soviet Russia was one of the first countries in the world to decriminalize same-sex love. For comparison: in Britain, the criminal prosecution of homosexuals was canceled only in 1967, and in West Germany – in 1969.

In 1925, the Soviet physician Grigory Batkis, in his book The Sexual Revolution in the Soviet Union, explained the established point of view on homosexuality and sodomy (sexual intercourse with animals) as follows: nobody’s interests are affected… As for homosexuality, sodomy and various other forms of sexual satisfaction, which are considered by European laws to be a violation of public morality, Soviet legislation treats them in exactly the same way as so-called “natural” intercourse. All forms of sexual intercourse are a private matter.”

In the summer of 1918, the poet Ioann Pavlushin developed the following project in the Moscow newspaper Our Sermon in the Moscow newspaper: in order to improve the human race, the whole society should give up childbearing for ten years. “With these words, I do not want to say that we will have to not copulate for 10 years – no! It is possible and even necessary to copulate, but all safety precautions must be put in place, and only beautiful children should be given … A child from three beautiful generations should become the property of the state and be in the position of a factory queen or a factory male … Of course, with such reforms I foresee in advance the bias of human love towards animals, and even with copulation with the more graceful and interesting breeds of them … Then only a person can again feel in paradise and among the animals that he will take and to which he will in turn give himself. .

I need a woman as a body, A

beautiful boy for delight.

And for love and ecstasy

I need a purebred dog.

Perhaps the most famous supporter of same-sex love in Russia in the 10s and 20s was the poet Mikhail Kuzmin (symbolist, then acmeist). He deliberately did not hide the nature of his intimate life, preached it in verse and prose, and in general behaved with unusual emancipation for that time. Kuzmin welcomed the February Revolution, and then the October Revolution (he even once called himself a Bolshevik). He dedicated poems to the 1917 revolution:

The Russian revolution – youthful,

chaste, good –

Does not repeat, only sees a brother in a Frenchman,

And passes along the sidewalks, simple,

Like an angel in a working blouse.

“Journal of Journals” on this occasion caustically remarked that “M. Kuzmin, before the revolution, among all the proletarians, only bath attendants distinguished him with love. And posted these verses:

He had fun with the goat for a long time,

He stubbornly praised the attendants,

Though we begged with tears:

– Kuzmin, it’s embarrassing! Here are the ladies…

Now, having sewn a huge red bow

to the chest of the lascivious muse,

He praises, like a dandy in love,

The face of an “angel in a working blouse”…

The very first close friend of Kuzmin at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries was Georgy Chicherin, later a well-known Bolshevik. They had been friends since their high school years, and their extensive correspondence has been preserved. Chicherin, a descendant of an old noble family, was considered the most refined and “aristocratic” among the Bolsheviks. In the last years of his life, he wrote a book about Mozart and remarked: “I had a revolution and Mozart, the revolution was real, and Mozart was a foretaste of the future …” Like Kuzmin, Chicherin did not hide his non-traditional sexual orientation.

In May 1918, Lenin appointed Chicherin People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs. Evidently, Vladimir Ilyich was of the opinion on this question, which (on another occasion) he once expressed thus: “Eccentricity is not a violation of the duties of a socialist and democrat… It is impossible in a big party without big eccentrics!”

True, after the revolution, Chicherin met Kuzmin only once, in 1926. They talked like old friends, on “you”. The People’s Commissar thoughtfully asked: “Why do you publish little? Do you write a little? .. “

In the diary after this meeting, the poet wrote: “A general sensation with Chicherin. Everyone is surprised that I didn’t ask him for anything, but I think it’s better this way.” In 1929, Kuzmin published his last large book of poems, The Trout Breaks the Ice…

Lenin did not see anything wrong in admiring male beauty. L. Fotieva recalled that once they started talking about one people’s commissar. “Vladimir Ilyich asked me: “Is it so beautiful?” “I didn’t notice,” I replied. Another time, Vladimir Ilyich stood for a long time at the bedside of a sleeping 13-year-old boy in a friend’s apartment and, moving away, said: “A handsome boy.”

Not all Bolsheviks shared a tolerant attitude towards same-sex love. So, in 1907, Maxim Gorky (then a Bolshevik) wrote about the work of decadent poets: “All these are old slaves, people who cannot help but confuse freedom with pederasty, for example, for them the “liberation of a person” is strangely mixed with displacement. it from one garbage pit to another, and sometimes even reduced to the freedom of a member and – nothing more.

Since the mid-1920s, the attitude of society towards same-sex love began to gradually return to the former, pre-revolutionary one. Now it was called “disease”. And since March 1934, it has turned into a “crime”: in the USSR, criminal prosecution for sodomy was restored. From now on, the perpetrators faced up to five years in prison, and this law was widely applied until 1993. In May 1934, Maxim Gorky (who had already become a non-partisan) wrote triumphantly in Pravda: “In a country where the proletariat manages courageously and successfully, homosexuality, which corrupts youth, is recognized as socially criminal and punishable, and in a “cultural” country of great philosophers, scientists, musicians (Germany. – A. M.), he acts freely and with impunity. There is already a sarcastic saying: “destroy homosexuals – fascism will disappear!”

However, neither Kuzmin nor Chicherin were affected by the new law. Both of them died in 1936.

“Our youth have gone berserk at the ‘glass of water’ theory.”

Lenin, like other Bolsheviks, had a negative attitude towards prostitution. A. Kollontai explained this attitude: “Nothing devastates the soul so much as the evil of the forced sale and purchase of other people’s caresses. Prostitution extinguishes love in the hearts; Eros flies away from her in fear, afraid to stain his golden wings on a mud-splattered bed.

Lenin saw something similar to prostitution in any sexual relationship without love, even if it was a “legal marriage.” Meanwhile, it was precisely this attitude towards sex that won out during the revolution. People “did not have enough time” for falling in love, romantic love. The famous theory was born that the satisfaction of sexual feelings should be taken lightly – something like draining a glass of water.

In 1918, the liberal newspaper The Cry of the People condemned: “Today, as in 1905, a number of unions of free love have arisen. Members of the unions arrange real orgies, Athenian nights, where they give full rein to their desires, which, according to their concepts, are “true freedom”. The newspaper cited the anthem of one of these unions:

Away with reason! Burn the body,

It will be colorful, bright, bold!

A daring, youthful choir will burst out;

All in the abyss, all in the fire!

Let there be collapse, fires all around, –

In our heart there is a whirlwind, fumes!

There is a thrill of caress in our hearts – Masks

fall off deceitful faces ! Who is mad in pleasure, He will understand where there is oblivion! What awaits us? And death and hunger! Everything is in the abyss – after all, you are young! .. The moment is dear to us! Drink joy. There is still sweetness in the glasses!.. In the hour of ecstasy, in the hour of desires, Life will flash with a million facets. Better burn yourself in victory

Than die a pale death.

So drop the chains from your body, Throw

yourself boldly on the feast of the beast ! Our gods are moments, fairy tales, Our gods are glances , caresses… Beauty and passion are sacred That’s where the gods are, the bottom of the sea !

Aleksandra Kollontai was a resolute opponent of the “glass of water” theory. “Modern man has no time to “love,” she noted with regret in the same 1918. – In a society based on the beginning of competition, with the most severe struggle for existence … there is no room for the cult of the demanding and fragile “Eros” … How many valuable hours for the “business” take on one “dating”! Later, in the 1920s, Kollontai developed these thoughts: “In the face of the formidable face of the great rebel – the revolution – the gentle-winged Eros (“god of love”) had to fearfully disappear from the surface of life. There was neither time nor excess of spiritual strength for love “joys and tortures.” Therefore, according to Kollontai, in the days of the revolution, “plucked, wingless Eros” – “the bodily attraction of sex” won. But the time of winged Eros will yet come. “What will this new transformed Eros be like? The most daring fantasy is powerless to capture his appearance.

Kollontai’s regret about the death of “winged Eros”, apparently, was shared by Lenin to some extent. He did not like the fact that the freedom of love turned into “freedom without love.” He told Clara Zetkin:

“I, an old man, do not like it. Although I am least of all a gloomy ascetic, the so-called new sexual life of young people – and often adults as well – quite often seems to me … a kind of good bourgeois brothel. All this has nothing to do with the freedom of love, as we … understand it. Of course, you know the famous theory that in a communist society, satisfying sexual desires and love needs is as simple and insignificant as drinking a glass of water. From this theory of “a glass of water” our young people went berserk, they went berserk. This theory has become the fate of many young men and women… I consider the famous “glass of water” theory to be completely un-Marxist and, moreover, anti-social… Of course, thirst requires satisfaction. But will a normal person under normal conditions lie on the street in the mud and drink from a puddle? Or even from a glass, the edge of which is captured by dozens of lips?

“I don’t have the slightest sympathy for the “glass of water” theory, even if it was labeled “liberated love.” In addition, it is not new … You probably remember that this theory was preached in belles lettres around the middle of the last century as “emancipation of the heart.” In bourgeois practice, it turned into the emancipation of the body. The preaching at that time was more talented than it is now; how things stand in practice, I cannot judge.”

Lenin was aware that on questions of sexual life he was in the minority.

“I know, I know,” he remarked, “I am also suspected enough of philistinism in connection with this. But I take it easy. Yellow-mouthed chicks, barely hatched from the egg of bourgeois views, are always terribly smart. We have to put up with it, but we do not intend to “correct” ourselves.”

At the same time, he made the reservation: “Nothing could be more false than to start preaching to young people monastic asceticism and the holiness of dirty bourgeois morality …”

Lenin defined his ideal in the field of sexual life as “open free love.” He explained it with such negative examples: “Not a monk, not Don Juan, but not a German philistine, as something in between.” And from what, in fact, should love be free? Lenin in one of his letters listed: first of all, from monetary settlements and material worries (this is the main thing), and in addition:

– from religious prejudices;

– from the prohibition of daddy etc;

– from the prejudices of “society”;

– from the bonds of law, court and police …

The freedom to dissolve marriage introduced by the revolution continued in the USSR until 1944, when the law again made marriage almost indissoluble. Of course, Lenin’s statements against the “glass of water” theory served as the rationale for these new measures. It’s funny that now the authorship of the “glass of water” theory itself was attributed to … Alexandra Kollontai.

“They promise bread, but they give a stone.”

It hardly needs to be argued that nutrition is far from the last topic in any revolution. Among the revolutionary slogans, “culinary” ones are sure to sound. Of course, this was also the case with the October Revolution; the sailors and Red Guards who stormed the Winter Palace sang with pleasure the ditty of the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky:

Eat pineapples, chew grouse.

Your last day is coming, bourgeois.

As you can see, the revolution immediately included symbolically luxurious dishes (pineapples and hazel grouses) in the ranks of the culinary “White Guard”. The fight against them at that time was also facilitated by the general lack of food. The American socialist Albert Rees Williams said that the menu was changed in the National Hotel in Moscow, where Lenin settled in March 1918: “The new, Soviet regime, first of all, abolished exquisite and expensive dishes here. The large number of dishes that made up dinner was reduced to two. You could get either soup and meat, or soup and porridge.” So, according to Williams, the rule was: “No one should eat cakes until everyone has received bread.”

If you leaf through the Soviet press of 1918-1919, it is striking that one of the main topics for jokes and caricatures is writing (or rather, its lack). Characteristic note: “It is reported that the famous artist B. I. Kustodzhiev, fascinated by one topic, cannot start work due to the lack of nature.

“I need,” the artist explains, “a plump Russian woman with dimples on her elbows.

The task is indeed difficult in our hungry time.

Horse meat suddenly became the most luxurious dish. The Menshevik newspaper “Always Forward!” in 1919, Ellen epicly asked in verse:

Tell me, cutlet from “horse meat”,

“Where did you grow up, where did you bloom”?

What kind of animal or cattle

were you a living part? ..

Joke: “In the kitchen.

— Listen! What are these horse meat cutlets, I have nothing, but why are they so small?

“Very simple: they are made of ponies.”

“The horses of Baron Klodt have not yet been eaten,” ironically reported in the summer of 1918 the newspaper “Devil’s Pepper Pot”. A popular ditty of that time is also dedicated to horse meat:

Lenin said to Trotsky:

Let’s go, Leva, to the market.

Let’s buy a brown horse, Let’s

feed the proletariat.

It is curious that it was in the hungry years of 1918-1919 that the famous poetic cafes became famous in the capitals: “The Tenth Muse”, “Red Rooster”, “Musical Snuffbox”, “Pegasus Stall” (and here, too, there was a “horse” theme) .. They feasted mainly on underground traders and raiders. Journalist L. Vasilevsky in 1919 described what this luxury of the era of “war communism” looked like: the wall of the Moscow cafe of poets-imaginists “Domino” was decorated with a shocking slogan “Lord, calve!”, And black pants hung nearby served as the highlight of the decoration. “Elegant, pale, “cocaine” type waiter girls flash by. They make their way between closely spaced tables in a commercial way, deliver meat dishes, coffee, tea, biscuits and in the most bourgeois way, although maintaining a mask of negligence and satiety on their faces, collect tips money … On the counter stands cold veal, slices of white biscuits… Whose stomachs are designed to satisfy all these things? Take a closer look at the visitors, and it will become clear to you that there is a tiny handful of literature here – she huddles in the corners and drinks five-ruble glasses of tea with saccharin. And a “real” guest, a “serious” one, is anyone, but not writers, not poets, not people of spiritual interests … “

But poetic cafes still served the “elite”, and what kind of food could a simple person please himself in those years? In 1919, the Moscow Socialist-Revolutionary newspaper Delo Naroda talked about the famous Sukharevsky market – the center of the capital’s trade (essay by K. Burevoy):

“Here is the diner… People are rubbing against each other; crush, crush. The pleasantly tickling smell of fried food stimulates the appetite. Pots, pans, entire tanks sizzle; boiled, heated, roasted…

– Fried sausage is hot! Ham! Salo, salo!

– And here is hot millet porridge! Come on! Come on, come on!..

The porridge is real, it smells good. Eat 13-14 p. portion. You can get rubles for 5-10 small buns, a glass of hot milk for 6-7 rubles, a portion of fried potatoes with horse meat for 15 rubles. There are a lot of hot pies and cheesecakes. There are many hunters for this delicacy … There are even real white cakes and cookies. Lots of bacon, ham… butter…

Huge samovars stand on the tables, from which the audience is treated to tea and coffee. Sugar is sold right there: for twenty 8 pieces. Lots of sweetness…

An elderly lady in a hat and pince-nez sells potato cakes:

– Take it, take it! 5 rub. thing!

And here are the red-cheeked village women. They exchanged a lot of various goods and materials for bread, and with difficulty, scattering and picking up purchases, they drag them with shining faces.

By selling flour and bread, the peasants and dealers (“bagmen”) frankly enriched themselves at the expense of the impoverished urban population – and this caused indignation among many. Ordinary bread or flour was the hardest thing to buy. Sergei Razzyava in 1919 in the same “Case of the People” published “The Poem of the Roll”:

Ah, bun, bun!

About her, about lush,


Like a sigh of the steppes, I sigh


I grumble rebelliously

(Although inaudibly)

About her, about her!

I want elastic,

Shamefully rich,

Blush white, Like a

day – stronger.

I’m flying like a blizzard,


Like a frantic one,

After her, after her.

I’ll give it blindly

And stupidly,

Through laughter and tears,

My goodness, –

And all the Soviet deputies,

And the executive committees,

And the economic councils, –

Everything – for her!

On the caricature of Alexei Radakov, Prime Minister Lenin (with angel wings behind his back) on the occasion of May Day 1918 presented a worker with a red flower on a platter:

“Here, my dear, eat. Red clove. Your favorite dish.

– Eh! To this dish and a side dish of potatoes, but beef !!”

In the drawing by the artist Mikhailov-Severny, an emaciated woman in a kokoshnik (Russia) asked Lenin: “Give bread, breadwinner.” Overlaid with piles of signed decrees, he brushed aside: “Wait … You see, things are in full swing.”

Curiously, a similar scene actually happened during one of Lenin’s visits to the former Michelson factory. An old woman said to him:

“They would give us more bread!” He replied:

Yes, we don’t have any bread. This is true. But we will have it… Here we will beat the whites – and then we will have bread… And who promises you bread immediately? Enemies… But keep your eyes open: they promise you bread, but they give you a stone.

Vladimir Ilyich himself was also not completely alien to thoughts about the “bun”. In December 1919, in a conversation with a Samara resident, he dreamily remarked: “Yes, Samara … I remember what wonderful rolls they baked there! And now, probably, the Samara people eat real bread, and we have to be content with a surrogate … “

In the newspapers of 1918, one can still find advertisements for anti-obesity drugs: “Your stomach is growing exorbitantly. You are flabby, become stooped, inelegant. You have a sluggish stomach … Put on an elastic male belt … obesity will decrease. In the press of 1919, such advertisements are no longer found. The feuilletonist Otsoli cheerfully wrote in the Red Devil magazine: “Some diseases, such as: excessive fullness, lack of appetite, spleen, sugar disease, etc., have completely disappeared from the environment of bourgeois society.”

The Bolshevik P. Lepeshinsky recalled how in the summer of 1918 he received Vladimir Ilyich and his wife at his home. The owner treated the guests to the most chic dish at that time – horsemeat dumplings. Lenin had nothing against horse meat, he often ate it while in exile and emigration and found it “very tasty.” “But alas,” Lepeshinsky continued, “neither Ilyich nor Nadezhda Konstantinovna touched our “luxurious” treat. The presence of white flour testified to the fact that here, apparently, there had not been a deal with some bagman – and this was a very reprehensible thing at that time – and, in all likelihood, both of my main guests decided not to betray their modest habits adapted to the era of the brutal struggle against bagging. Lenin politely explained that he was unwell, and therefore he would not be able to eat dumplings.

The attitude that the underground grain trade evoked in the summer of 1918 can be judged from this occasion. (It was described by the opposition Blue Journal.) Some woman decided to sell baked bread in addition to milk at the market. The indignant crowd grabbed the loaf from her hands and threw it into the river … Following the bread, the merchant herself almost flew into the water.

By the way, another folk ditty of those years “convicted” Trotsky and Lenin of precisely this indecent crime – bagging.

Lenin said to Trotsky: “

I got a sack of flour.

For me – Easter cake, for you – matzo,

Lamza-dritsa, gop-tsa-tsa.

Sometimes Lenin, like many in those years, had to drink carrot tea at home. The color of this drink resembled strong brewed real tea, it even felt a faint sweet taste. Instead of sugar, saccharin was often added to tea.

“Isn’t it carrot tea?” Lenin laughed. – Especially when there is no Indian. Hot and very good…

An employee of the Council of People’s Commissars, Elizaveta Koksharova, recalled the following scene: one of the peasants who met with Lenin “took a loaf of bread out of his knapsack and solemnly handed it to Vladimir Ilyich.

“You need bread here,” said the peasant.

Vladimir Ilyich was very embarrassed.

“I don’t even have time to eat it all,” he joked.

This ancient custom – to give a loaf of bread – has been going on since the days of serfdom, when the peasants considered their master, or even the father-tsar himself, to be such a gift … Lenin himself perfectly understood this parallel. “They send them like a gentleman,” he complained about such gifts. – How do you get rid of it? Refuse, do not accept – offend. And everyone is starving. Nonsense”. Peasants did not give loaves to Lenin’s comrades-in-arms.

V. Bonch-Bruevich told another story about bread, dating back to 1918. At that time, bread was not given out on cards every day – sometimes it was replaced with oats. And the barmaid Lisa, who was serving tea to the head of the government, once complained bitterly in public:

– Well, how can I go to Vladimir Ilyich. There is not a piece of bread, and they called that it will not be today …

The lamentations of a girl in a white apron were heard by a casual visitor to Smolny – some kind of soldier.

– How, – he was amazed, – Vladimir Ilyich does not have bread to drink tea? .. Well, no, this will not happen, with whom, with whom, but with our Vladimir Ilyich I will share all the latest …

“And with a deft movement of his shoulder he dropped the bag; from behind the top he took out a large folding knife, wiped it on the top of his boot, then on his hollow overcoat, took out a round soldier’s loaf of bread from the bag, pressed it to his chest and cut off a good weighty crust with one stroke.

– Here, bring it to him, tell him that from the front, from a passing soldier …

“Lisa blossomed, smiled, and solemnly, sticking her tray forward, quickly, like a duck, rushed to the cabinet doors.” A minute later, Vladimir Ilyich himself looked out from there:

– Thank you, comrade, this is the most delicious bread I have ever eaten …

Such touching stories, included in Soviet anthologies, were poisonously ridiculed by the folklore of the 70s:

“War, winter, famine, cold. Dzerzhinsky comes to Lenin and sees – Lenin is sitting and drinking hot tea as a bite. Felix Edmundovich says:

“Why don’t you put sugar in your tea, Vladimir Ilyich?”

“So it doesn’t dissolve anymore!”

Or: “Somehow walkers come to Lenin, they complain:

— Vladimir Ilyich! We are starving – no strength! Swell with hunger! How to live?

– Eat weed.

– So we’ll close soon!

– Well, guys! Yesterday Felix Edmundovich and I knocked down a cask of mead – so we don’t buzz! …

“We need a skilled chef.”

Despite the shortage of food, Lenin made sure that his colleagues ate as satisfying and even tasty as possible. People’s Commissar for Food Alexander Tsyurupa in 1918, in his presence, experienced several hunger faints. Tsyurupa himself embarrassedly joked: “The people’s commissar of food is malnourished …”

For which he received a written reprimand from Lenin. He composed and signed such a half-joking text: “For a careless attitude to state property (2 seizures), A.D. Tsyurupe is announced the 1st warning and is ordered to immediately go home … Lenin.” Next note: “Dear A.D.! You become absolutely impossible in dealing with state property. Prescription: three weeks to be treated! .. Hey, it’s unforgivable to throw around poor health in vain. The motivation here is most curious: Lenin calls on his employees to take care of themselves – if not for their own sake, but for the sake of the cause (quite in Rakhmetov’s way), as “state property.” He often spoke to them with a smile. “You need to be held accountable for your careless attitude to the state good – to yourself!”

And in 1919, Lenin told his secretary Lidia Fotieva: “Look at your comrades. Some have become so emaciated that they simply look impossible … Select for a start the thirty most emaciated, most hungry people, and organize a dining room … “

This canteen was open, and the head of the Council of People’s Commissars closely followed its work. At first, they cooked in it very unimportantly. “The canteen was shared,” Trotsky recalled. – They fed then in the Kremlin very badly. Instead of meat, they gave corned beef. Flour and cereals were with sand. Only red salmon caviar was plentiful… It is not only in my memory that the first years of the revolution are painted with this unchanging caviar…” Lenin told Gorky: “People work literally to the point of fainting, they need to be fed deliciously so that they eat more. I know that food is scarce and bad – it needs a skilled cook.

“And,” wrote Gorky. – quoted some hygienist’s reasoning about the role of tasty spices in the process of nutrition and digestion. I asked:

How do you manage to think about such things? He also asked:

– About rational nutrition?

And in the tone of his words he made me understand that my question was inappropriate.

In 1919, Lenin somehow went into the kitchen of the Kremlin cadets. I tasted cabbage soup with horsemeat and wheat porridge.

– The first is nothing, tasty, although horse meat, but the porridge is bad … Soak this wheat with boiling water for at least a day, then you will see what kind of porridge will turn out.

A couple of days later I went back:

– Well, how’s the porridge?


– Well, you see, very good porridge.

Lenin got annoyed if he noticed that they were trying to feed him more tasty than his colleagues. “I remember,” Krupskaya wrote, “how he got angry at some bucket of halvah that the then commandant of the Kremlin, comrade, brought him. Malkov “…

Vladimir Ilyich did not approve of the “excesses” of his colleagues. Sculptor Nathan Altman, who sculpted a portrait of Lenin, told such a literary anecdote. Once, in the summer of 1919, people’s commissars, sitting in the Kremlin, “feasted” – they ate lard (at that time it was an exquisite delicacy). The windows were wide open due to the heat, and visitors to the Kremlin could admire their meal. This was reported to Lenin. He summoned the participants of the feast to his office and began to scold them cruelly. At the same time, according to Altman’s story, he was indignant: “There is hunger in the country, devastation, the situation is arch-pagan, and at the same time the people’s commissars are sitting and eating lard! What a shame! After all, you are all Bolsheviks with pre-revolutionary experience! Conspirators! Couldn’t the curtain be drawn? People don’t need to know everything!

With the introduction of the New Economic Policy, rich, refined dishes returned to everyday life. The transition from horse meat to more refined food was reflected in the joke: “Nepman sells cheap hazel grouse cutlets. He is asked:

But hazel grouse is very expensive. How do you manage to make meatballs cheap?

– And I, you know, in half. One hazel grouse, one horse … “

The feuilletonist Swift in 1922 described the lifestyle of the new era as follows:

“Where do you have lunch? a friend from Mostorg asked me.

I named the restaurant.

– Rubbish! he snapped.

– Quite right, rubbish, and three hundred and fifty thousand dinner.

“That’s why it’s rubbish, it’s so cheap. Better go to “Empire”. We had dinner there yesterday. There were four of us. Left the fourth.

“Two and a half million?”

No, twenty-five. We drank a little. Well, of course, caviar, balychok. In general, inexpensive. What is twenty-five million! .. “

Begemot magazine wrote these verses about dietary change:

Let’s remember, brothers, about food

In the nineteenth year.

Prod-cases were bad!

Vobla was a luxury.

But a number of past years

Changed to luxury view:

– Today, salmon and salmon

Do not count as chic.

However, along with luxurious meals, the old inequality in nutrition has also returned. There was abundance in the grocery stores, but not everyone could afford this abundance. N. Zub’s joke, typical for those years:

“At the window of the candy store.

– Senka! look, the cakes are so magnificent, this one in cherries would have shrunk.

– Well, he has! one sour.

– Have you tried it yet?

“Yes… I licked him through the glass.”

It was during the years of the New Economic Policy (NEP) that a particularly sharp struggle against luxurious dishes unfolded. Of course, no one introduced direct prohibitions on them, especially in domestic life (although such examples are known in history, for example, in ancient Rome). But they tried to deprive these dishes of the main thing – the halo of desirability, the unique taste of success in life. Those who ate modestly and poorly could now feel a certain inner superiority over the visitor to a posh restaurant.

“I’m doing well,” says the Nepman in Tom’s 1924 drawing. “The family is dressed, shod, on the table there is vodka, and liqueur, and salmon, and balychok, and caviar … What am I missing?”

“Conscience,” the worker replies glumly.

At the head of the edible “white guard” were dishes that were still available to ordinary people – but only on holidays: dishes such as the Christmas goose, Easter cakes … They were ridiculed most of all. Christmas ditties 1924:

He offered me sweet tea,

And a goose, and a duck,

I said: “I don’t want,

This is prejudice!”

Before the roast goose

We ate at Christmas.

And now my Marusya

Cancels it.

Pancakes were also attacked – one of the most traditional and ancient dishes, originating from pagan times. More recently, the dominance of pancakes in Russian cuisine seemed eternal and unshakable. In 1913, the fantastic story “Pancake Vision” was published. It described the execution of a heretic who dared to deny pancakes. But now such heretics have appeared in reality. The poet R. Volzhenin wrote on Maslenitsa in 1923 (putting the words of Karl Marx “Being determines consciousness” as an epigraph to his poems):

I’m fair to pancakes.

I don’t eat pancakes.

Damn, only food – no more than sausages.

But there is a category of people who are in love with pancakes,

captured by a pancake, blinded by a pancake.

And why – we will analyze “Marxist”.

Sturgeon. Salmon. Golden balls.

White-bodied, ruddy, openwork pancakes.

Emeralds in decanters ignited herbalists.

Feelings, eyes, conversations are directed to pancakes.

Oiled lips. In salmon – teeth. Adam’s apples are moving.

An aggravating vest is unbuttoned under the napkin.

Glass-fork, fork-glass – do not go out of hand.

Crap. Zubrovka. – Crap. Leaflet. – Crap. Oporto. – Crap. Kcharet.

Everything is forgotten at the trough in the rapture of grub.

Eat with gusto. Dull varnish covers the eyes.

Tears of “brothers”? The pig’s brain of this fat head

Can only touch the cheese with an appetizing tear.

Thoughts (turn sour!) quietly wander over a piece of sturgeon,

Over caviar and over a crust of voluptuous kulebyak …

I don’t eat pancakes. Is it criminal to bake a pancake?

I approach the analysis in a Marxist way:

Where BEING is one: get drunk, drink, lie down,

Where food is discussed from morning to night,

There the consciousness is directed like a pig.

Indeed, they managed to change the public mood: now it was still pleasant to feast on gourmet delicacies, but it was completely dishonorable, even embarrassing. It is doubly ashamed to put “religious” dishes on the table like cottage cheese Easter, Easter cakes or a Christmas goose. Luxury was thrown off the “culinary throne” – for two decades.

The triumphant return of most of the “White Guard dishes” occurred only at the end of the 30s, along with the famous “Book of Tasty and Healthy Food”.

“You are not used to wine, but Georgians will be offended.”

In a caricature of November 1917, a pompously dressed lady complains: “If my Bolshevik cannot feed me, it means that there really is nowhere to get food in Russia. He would have got it, because he is capable of anything!

One of the White Guard posters depicted Soviet citizens (as they were presented on the other side of the front) – skeletons withered from hunger crowd around a bread shop, on which there is a sign: “There is no bread.” Lenin is depicted on the same poster. He feasts at a luxuriously laid table, laden with a variety of wines, dishes with sturgeon, chicken, ham … With a glass in hand, Vladimir Ilyich proclaims a toast: “I drink to those whom we freed from violence and hunger, who were given the opportunity to see the communist paradise” .

How was the situation with wine drinking in the Kremlin in reality? There was wine in the Kremlin, although the question of its ban was raised. A curious episode was described by Leon Trotsky:

“In 1919, I accidentally found out that Yenukidze had wine in the warehouse and suggested that it should be banned.

“It will be too strict,” Lenin said jokingly.

I tried to insist:

“The rumor will reach the front that they are feasting in the Kremlin—I am afraid of bad consequences.

The third person during the conversation was Stalin.

“How can we Caucasians,” he protested, “can do without wine?”

– You see, – Lenin picked up, – you are not used to wine, but Georgians will be offended.

“There’s nothing to be done,” I answered, “since your morals have reached such a degree of softening here …”

“I think,” Trotsky concluded his story, “that this little dialogue in joking tones still characterizes the customs of that time: a bottle of wine was considered a luxury.”

Apparently, this conversation was not forgotten by Lenin himself. In 1921, when Stalin was about to have an operation, Vladimir Ilyich sent a note to his attending physician: “I beg you to send Stalin 4 bottles of the best port wine. Stalin needs to be backed up before the operation “…

Lenin sometimes drank a little wine while hunting. His driver Stepan Gil recalled the following incident: “One of us had some wine. Vladimir Ilyich was the first to suggest:

“We need to bolster our strength. Drink up, comrades!

Some were shy to drink. Ilyich remarked:

– If you drink, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Perhaps I will drink with you for the company … “.

As for stronger drinks than wine, they remained banned in the Kremlin and throughout the country. Ironically, the Bolsheviks did not dare to cancel the “prohibition” introduced by Emperor Nicholas II. The newspaper Vecherniye Vesti wrote in 1918: “They expected the Soviet authorities to cancel the Romanov ban, like a red testicle for a bright holiday. Convinced alcoholics were ready to stop all sabotage and recognize Soviet power. The moment is one, and there is no fairy tale … “

When the bridge across the Volga was being repaired in frosty weather, it took the permission of Lenin himself to give the workers alcohol. He became alarmed: he began to prove that alcohol does not heat, but cools, and therefore in the Swiss mountains, when climbing the peaks, it is completely forbidden to take alcoholic drinks with you as they contribute to freezing.

“The other one will drink,” he said, “he will get tipsy, go to this terrible height, and even fall and hurt himself!” What will we do then? And this misfortune will be accomplished because of our decision to dispense alcohol.

In the end, Lenin relented, but ordered that alcohol be issued only after work. He asked the engineer:

– And how did you give out alcohol to the workers?

– After work.

– Because the?

– Half a cup.

– Did you drink?

— They drank very willingly.

“And didn’t get burned?”

— No, they didn’t burn themselves… Now they ate bread.

– Were you drunk?

– Almost no one … “For warming up …” – said the workers.

“For the sake of warmth…” Lenin repeated thoughtfully, shaking his head. “But all the same, it would be better to have hot cabbage soup with meat, and porridge, and tea … It would be more satisfying and warmer … After all, all this is just a bad habit, a prejudice.

It seemed that a little time would pass – and this “prejudice” would become a thing of the past. The Smekhach magazine in a feuilleton described an imaginary 1994. In this future, vodka is preserved only as an exhibit in the museum of the old way of life.

“The peasants sniffed moonshine, shuddering with disgust.

– If such a disgusting smell, – said the young peasant, – what does it taste like?

“The taste is deadly,” said the professor.

But it turned out differently … “Dry Law” in Russia did not long outlive Lenin himself: in the autumn of 1924 it was canceled. “An event in Moscow,” the writer Mikhail Bulgakov wrote in his diary, “they released a 30-degree vodka, which the public rightly called “rykovka” (in honor of the new head of the Council of People’s Commissars Rykov. -A.M.). It differs from “royal” vodka in that it is ten degrees … weaker, worse in taste and four times more expensive.” Shortly after the sale of the “rykovka” began, the following anecdote appeared:

“Nicholas II meets Lenin in the next world:

– What, Vladimir Ilyich, did you also release vodka? And how many degrees? Thirty? Ah, Vladimir Ilyich! And it cost you because of ten degrees to make a revolution! After all, it was possible to collide … “

“Shkrabs are starving.”

Lenin’s speech is well recognizable, and the point here is not only in the characteristic words scattered over it like “my friend.” (Another favorite word of his is “nail”: “What is the nail and the essence of this struggle? ..” “This is the nail of the matter.” “That’s the nail!”

It is striking that Vladimir Ilyich handled his language very naturally, uninhibitedly. In his writings we now and then come across such, for example, peculiar expressions: worthless speeches … the most trifling thing … nothing, nothing at all … malicious gibberish … gouging … similar slugs are protruding … joining the revolution old women … etc. “Think a little, a little, a little,” he persuades his comrades. “Think little…”

To create new words, Lenin used the prefix “archi” hundreds of times. It seems that there is no word that Vladimir Ilyich would not have been able to adorn with his favorite prefix: arch-scandal, arch-stupidity, arch-hinged, arch-rejoicing, arch-squalid, arch-harmful, arch-terry, arch-vulgar, arch-poisonous, arch-nonsense, arch-disgrace… A little less often he used the prefix “super”: super-much , super meanness, super impudence, super monsters …

Obviously, Lenin should be considered one of the authors of such words as “Bolsheviks” and “Mensheviks”. He even tried to improve these words – he cut them down to “beks” and “meks”, but the language no longer accepted such a replacement. And supporters of the PDR (the liberal Party of Democratic Reforms) were already called by Lenin, with frank mockery, “faggots” … By the way, Ulyanov’s party nickname also gave rise to new words. The Blue Journal shortly after February called Lenin “the founder of 27 new words (Leninists, Leninism, Leninism, in Lenin’s style, etc., etc.).”

The language in those years generally easily gave birth to new words. Even before 1917, such abbreviated words as Social Revolutionaries, Social Democrats, Cadets, etc. were invented. After February, new words fell upon the country in a real wave. John Reed transmitted the grumbling of a Petrograd porter during the days of the revolution: “Oh, something will happen to unfortunate Russia! .. I have been living in the world for forty-five years, but I have never heard so many words.”

The rhythm of life accelerated incredibly, and the old names of things and phenomena now seemed too long, slow, and sluggish. For example, Lenin replaced the expression “crash” with the brisk verb “crash” … Everything that was possible was reduced and chopped off: savings banks turned into savings banks, wages into wages, Christmas Grandfather into Christmas, and even the former Grand Duke into former grand duke. According to Korney Chukovsky, instead of the old-fashioned phrase “I have the honor to bow”, a cheerful exclamation “Chick!” appeared. And lovers in Moscow in the 20s made appointments with each other briefly – “Tverbul Pampush!”, Which meant in the old way: on Tverskoy Boulevard near the monument to Pushkin. There was a funny verse:

On Tverbul near Pampush,

dear Grusha is waiting for me.

The magazine “New Satyricon”, which remained faithful to the old spelling, in every possible way mocked the revolution taking place in the language. Here is one of the malicious notes placed by the magazine in July 1918: “Gold Placers. How to define Russia most intelligently and accurately in fifteen words? Here: Sovdep, Kredep, Sovnarkom, Sovnarkhoz, Executive Committee, Vikzhedor, Produprava, Komzem, Zemkom, Uzemkom, Komprod, Municipal Executive Committee, Food Department, Moluispolkom, Uezemelkom. Oh, the rich Russian language… Would you be impoverished, or what?

In an August 1918 cartoon, one priest complained to another: “And don’t say, Fr. Yevmeny, just as you don’t read the newspapers in the morning, you don’t know whom to commemorate: the Council of People’s Commissars, the Executive Committee or the Economic Council.

Heated disputes about the fate of the language did not subside even later. Thus, in 1919-1920, the independent magazine Vestnik Literature was full of headlines: “The Disfigured Russian Language”, “The Disfigured Russian Language”, “To Talk About the Corruption of the Language”, etc. “Speech is no longer flowing smoothly,” the publicist lamented V. Krivenko, – and bounces, rolls heavily, like a cart on a log gati.

The writer Evgenia Ginzburg recalled the university lectures she heard in the 1920s by the linguist Rudde: “The professor proceeds to characterize the abbreviated words introduced by the revolution. First … sarcastic. Say, now a lyrical landscape with a description of the moonlit night will look like this: “The moon was all stale …” This … causes only laughter. But here the lecturer falls upon our neologisms with all his erudition and predicts the death of the Russian literary language with such force that he takes the shivers. You search frantically in your mind, but you don’t find strong enough objections and you can’t sort everything out in any way. ”

“The reactionary dullards assert,” Leon Trotsky replied to such judgments, “that the revolution, if not ruined, then destroys the Russian language … The reactionary dullards, however, are mistaken about the fate of the Russian language, just as about everything else. The language will come out of revolutionary upheavals strengthened, rejuvenated, with increased flexibility and sensitivity. Lenin himself admitted in 1920: “During my Soviet experience, I got used to treating different names as childish jokes, because every name is a kind of joke.” “The Russian language is progressing towards English,” he remarked.

According to some mysterious laws, some words, seemingly cleverly invented, did not take root in the language, while others, launched by an unknown person, remained for a long time. “It’s a shame for the Futurists, it’s a shame for the Imagists, it’s a shame for the poets,” wrote literary critic Arkady Gornfeld in 1922. “People are worried, tearing themselves up, puffing up, they want to turn the world upside down, they compose such successful words at the desk, and these excellent word innovations are dying, but self-seekers and bagmen, dancing and extras live.” This strange choice of language also struck Lenin quite a bit. “Look,” said Vladimir Ilyich, “how our ugly words like the word “Bolshevism” are spreading all over the world. Despite the fact that … the name “communist” is a scientific, pan-European, it is less common in Europe and other countries than the word “Bolshevik”.

October 1917 drastically simplified spelling – excluded the letters “yat”, “fita”, “izhitsa” from the language; canceled hard signs at the end of words. This reform was worked out under the tsar, but only the Bolsheviks had the courage to put it into practice. Journalist Osip Slitzan in 1917 jokingly said goodbye to the abolished letters: “A girl without “yat”, victory through “e”! .. Who loves a poor girl through “e”, who needs an inglorious, meager victory … -admiral, who immediately lost both of his solid signs … The old sea wolf, hardened in storms, will secretly shed more than one tear over a rash circular …

– Delete the letter “i” with its replacement through “and” (Russia).

Perhaps through the “and” it will be stronger and more economical, but somehow our former Russia, which did not save on an extra letter, is somehow nicer, cozier and warmer … “

Konstantin Balmont ironically stated: “A word without a solid sign at the end is like a dog with a severed tail.”

In 1918, the poet Ostroglaz dedicated a whole nostalgic ode to the solid sign:

I say goodbye, my angel, to you,

Oh, a solid sign, oh, a solid sign!

You are doomed to death by fate,

Disappear – as the penny disappeared.

I’m sorry for you, I’m sorry to the pain,

Although you had no face,

And did not play a noticeable role,

And huddled modestly at the end.

Now, in the general mess,

In the collapse of all circles and spheres, –

We only, only in a solid sign

Had an example of hardness!

The fate of the letter “i” was decided almost by accident. Everyone agreed that there should not be two “and” in the Russian language. But which one to keep? The Bolshevik Pavel Lebedev-Polyansky recalled. “When the draft on the new spelling, drawn up under the Provisional Government, was being voted on … the question of i and i was discussed for a long time. Many were in favor of 1, pointing to the West. Civil rights were won by a majority of one random vote and ” … It is curious that in one of Lenin’s articles there is some regret about this cancellation – after all, now by the word “peace” it has become impossible to understand what kind of world is meant – the absence of war (peace) or the surrounding world (Mipe).

The head of the revolution that roused this whole linguistic storm did not always rejoice at its fruits. What language is this written in? He sometimes got angry. – Some kind of gibberish. Volapyuk, not the language of Tolstoy and Turgenev. People’s Commissar of Education Anatoly Lunacharsky recalled that he once read a telegram to Lenin, which ended with the words: “The Shkrabs are starving.”

– Who? Who? Lenin asked.

“Shkrabs,” Lunacharsky explained, “is a new designation for school workers.

“With the greatest displeasure, he answered me:

“I thought it was some kind of crabs in some kind of aquarium.” What a disgrace to call such a disgusting word a teacher!”

Soon, by order of Lunacharsky, the word “skrabs” was taken out of official circulation. However, it lived in the language for several more years – in the Soviet press of those years you can find, for example, ditties:

Dear nurse, like a woman,

Sold trousers and a vest,

Don’t like girls, shkraba,

There is no money in the People’s Commissariat for Education…

Lenin’s famous note “On the Cleansing of the Russian Language” (subtitled: “Reflections at Leisure, i.e., While Listening to Speeches at Meetings”) belongs to the same mood of Lenin’s. “We are spoiling the Russian language,” Vladimir Ilyich is indignant. We use foreign words unnecessarily. We use them incorrectly. Why say “defects” when you can say shortcomings or shortcomings or gaps? .. Isn’t it time for us to declare war on the use of foreign words without need? I confess that if the use of foreign words unnecessarily embitters me (because it makes it difficult for us to influence the masses), then certain mistakes in newspaper writers can completely piss me off. For example, they use the word “wake up” in the sense of excite, disturb, wake up. But the French word “bouder” (bude) means to be angry, pout. Therefore, to wake up means actually “to be angry”, “pout”. To adopt the French-Nizhny Novgorod usage means to adopt the worst from the worst representatives of the Russian landlord class, who studied French, but, firstly, did not finish their studies, and secondly, distorted the Russian language. Isn’t it time to declare war on the distortion of the Russian language?

Later (decades later), this short note by Lenin became almost the “banner of the counter-revolution” in the field of language. It may seem that it fully coincided with the mood of the liberals of 1918. But this, of course, is not the case. Lenin was not at all a “retrograde” in this matter (as can be seen from his own texts), he simply, as a revolutionary, habitually scourged any reality, including revolutionary.

In February 1921, Lenin talked with young artists. They read Mayakovsky’s poems to him, to which he noted that the abbreviations that the poet uses clog the Russian language.

“Yes, you are the first,” the artist Sergei Senkin objected to him, “they introduced these abbreviations – the Council of People’s Commissars, etc.”

“Vladimir Ilyich began to repent of his sins in a very comical way,” recalled Senkin, “that he, too, was guilty of this, that he had spoiled the great, mighty Russian language by the fact that he himself allowed the names “Sovnarkom”, “VTsIK”. We, on the contrary, took abbreviations under our protection, proving their convenience.

Of course, Lenin’s struggle to remake the language was also reflected in folklore. Here is one of the jokes from the 70s:

“Once a telegram was sent to Lenin from the provinces: “The Shkrabs are starving.”

— Who, who? Lenin did not understand.

“Shkrabs,” he was told, “is a new designation for school workers.

“What a disgrace to call a teacher such a disgusting word! Vladimir Ilyich was indignant.

A week later, a new telegram arrived: “The teachers are starving.”

– That’s a completely different matter! Lenin rejoiced.

“Lenin did not swear.”

The revolution had the courage to take a swing (albeit not very successfully) even at the “holy of holies”, the most secret part of the Russian language – in other words, at swearing. How did Vladimir Ilyich himself treat swearing? Although we know that he was very fond of strong, juicy and energetic expressions, it is impossible to detect obscene language in his writings. “Lenin did not swear,” V. Molotov noted. – Voroshilov is a foul-mouthed man. And Stalin was not averse.

Why, without hesitation, using words like “shit” or “shit”, Vladimir Ilyich so delicately eschewed obscenities? At first glance, this may seem like a puzzle. But there is no mystery here: very many Bolsheviks believed that swearing instills a spirit of inequality in society (primarily in the sexual sphere, in relations between a man and a woman). And so they carefully avoided it. Obviously, Vladimir Ilyich also adhered to this opinion.

This point of view was expressed in the most detailed way by Leon Trotsky, who wrote in 1923: “It can be said that, as a general rule—of course, there are exceptions—a foul-mouthed and scolding attitude is contemptuous of a woman and disregards a child… Swearing is the legacy of slavery , humiliation, disrespect for human dignity, someone else’s and one’s own, and our Russian abuse in particular. We should ask philologists, linguists, folklorists whether other peoples have such unbridled, sticky and nasty abuse as ours. As far as I know, no or almost no. In the Russian battle from below there is despair, bitterness, and, above all, slavery without hope, without outcome. But the same scolding from above, through the throat of the nobility, the police chief, was an expression of class superiority, slave-owning honor, the inviolability of the foundations … Two streams of Russian scolding – lordly, bureaucratic, police, well-fed, with a fat throat, and the other – hungry, desperate, torn – painted the whole Russian life with a disgusting verbal pattern. And such a legacy, among many others, was received by the revolution.

Trotsky called for the eradication of swearing. This initiative was enthusiastically picked up by the press. One of the cartoons of that time depicted swearing in the form of a queen – “Her Majesty swear”, which still “reigns” in the barracks, factories and dormitories. But outraged people are already crowding around the throne with placards: “Down with the queen!” The poet Chersky wrote in the Military Crocodile magazine:

In the barracks, to this day, we are very often

A heavy obscenity will respond in our ears.

Trotsky told us to fight this poison

And declared him a stubborn, formidable check.

In other jokes, irony about the unfolding campaign was clearly visible. In the drawing by Ivan Malyutin, two workers are playing chess under a portrait of Trotsky, and one of them angrily says to the other: “Oh, Sasha, I would have declared checkmate to you now, but you can’t … Trotsky doesn’t order.”

In another drawing in Red Pepper magazine, an entire “swearing league” has gathered under the same portrait. The sailor and the driver sit timidly clasping their mouths with their palms so that a word does not inadvertently fly out. “The place of the representative of the loaders is marked with an asterisk. Couldn’t take it – left…

The attack on swearing quickly bogged down. Mat continued to “reign” in the barracks, and in factories, and in everyday life. However, the revolution nevertheless achieved in this respect a completely unexpected, and perhaps even an undesired “victory”. Obscene blasphemy has completely disappeared from the speech turnover. True, this happened only because the very sacred halo around such words as “God”, “Christ” or “Holy Spirit” became very dim, dimmed. They became in most cases “indecent”, were officially placed almost below the curses themselves.

Revolution in clothes.

The “clothing revolution” in Russia was not started by Lenin, it unfolded immediately after February. Even Kerensky shocked many with his simple clothes: a khaki jacket, a work jacket – completely unusual attire for a minister. It was revolutionary clothing – a symbol of universal equality. I. Gurevich in May 1917 published the following note under the heading “Surprise”: “One former “Her Excellency”, the wife of a prominent dignitary of the old regime, said:

“I can understand everything, but I just don’t understand how the minister’s wife allows him to appear everywhere in a simple working jacket … If he doesn’t have a chamberlain’s uniform, then he can sew a tailcoat! .. If he doesn’t have ribbons, stars and orders, then he can get the French or American president!”

The attempted “revolution” against tailcoats and uniforms was immediately followed by a “counter-revolution”. At least in the mood. In June 1917, the liberal satirist Arkady Averchenko devoted an entire feuilleton to this issue. It is curious that, on mature reflection, he actually took the side of the old-time dignitary. “Do you remember,” he asked, “what were the ministers of the old regime cursed by God and people? Remember what Jupiters they were, what Zeus the Thunderers held. They walked on tiptoe in front of them, they bowed before them … What’s the matter?!!!! I’ll tell you, just don’t be offended by me: it was all about their uniforms, orders, ribbons and gold embroidery. And when they came out in front of the crowd in such a stuffed form, everyone respectfully bowed their heads before them and a reverent whisper rushed through the ranks: “The minister is coming, the minister” …

Citizens! Comrades! Brothers! Make a conclusion: since the collective all-Russian fool needs a written sack … – so give him this “written sack”. Ministers! take off your modest work jackets, which were so touching at first – take off your shabby jackets! .. Free Russian comrades have not yet matured to respect the noble poverty of the outfit. They are unworthy of this symbol of fraternal unity with them … Give them the wretched luxury of attire, put on ten pounds of gold, hang yourself with “White Eagles”, “Red Garters” and “Green Crocodiles”, and when you arrive in such a parrot meeting, a red carpet will be stretched out in front of you, they will raise you to the podium under your arms and say: “Speak, your honor.” And no one will slap you on the shoulder, ask for a cigar, and even Comrade Trotsky himself will take his feet off the table and stand up when you appear.

Uniforms did not give up just like that, without a fight. The American socialist John Reed cited the following story: “A curious incident happened to Senator Sokolov, who, in the midst of the revolution, somehow appeared at a meeting of the Senate in a civilian suit. He was not allowed to take part in the meeting, because he was not wearing the prescribed livery of a servant of the king!

October brought the clothing revolution to an end. Tailcoats and uniforms embroidered with gold finally became part of the theatrical or carnival wardrobe. Foreign journalists devoted entire articles to the unusually simple clothes of the Soviet “ministers”. Diplomat Ivan Zalkind recalled: “One American correspondent was also very nice, bringing his dispatches to me for viewing: this gentleman did not write a word about the revolution itself, its goals and conditions; what occupied him were the costumes of Lenin and Trotsky: the facts that Trotsky once spoke at a rally without a collar, and Lenin changed his checkered jacket to gray, gave him topics for telegrams of 200 words … “

However, the domestic press did not shy away from such topics either. For example, the newspaper “Evening Life” in May 1918 published an essay by D. Bolkhovitinov “Lenin”. “He dresses old-fashioned,” the journalist noted, “not because of a kind of panache, not because, a great destroyer and shaker in the social sphere, he is a great conservative in everyday life. Usually – a simple jacket (almost always double-breasted). Occasionally a frock coat of such a cut as our grandfathers wore (not a redingot, don’t think, for God’s sake!). Jacket hates. Doesn’t accept tuxedos. He does not wear yellow or patent leather shoes, or any fashionable striped trousers. And I would pay dearly to the person who saw him in a top hat or in a tailcoat.

General Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich, not without surprise, recalled how Lenin dressed in 1918: “A modest, almost turned over jacket, a tie with white polka dots.” Resting in Gorki in 1922, Lenin usually wore a faded satin shirt. By his appearance, Vladimir Ilyich, as it were, showed: there is nothing shameful in walking around in cheap, shabby, worn clothes. So did many other revolutionaries of the older generation. At his only meeting with Krupskaya in 1921, Mikhail Bulgakov remembered her “worn fur katsaveyka”. When an English newspaper published an essay about Krupskaya under the heading “First Lady”, Lenin jokingly remarked that it would have been more correct to call the essay something else, namely “The First Ragged Man.”

Vladimir Ilyich himself donned a tailcoat and top hat for the last time, probably back when he acted as a lawyer in the tsarist courts. But, oddly enough, he did not completely reject these “bourgeois” clothes. After October, even the orchestra members at the Bolshoi Theater stopped wearing tailcoats and tuxedos, and wore some kind of folk outfits, sometimes deliberately caricatured. The German conductor Oskar Fried visited Russia in 1922. “I doubted,” he said, “whether it would be appropriate to speak to the new proletarian public in a tailcoat.” Speaking with Lenin, the conductor started a conversation on this topic: “I found it convenient to ask a question about the costume. Lenin, without hesitation, found the correct answer:

— But, of course, dear Mr. Conductor. The approach to our proletarian public must not be worse than the approach to the old bourgeoisie. And why shouldn’t the conductor, leading the orchestra, perform, as always, in a festive costume – in a tailcoat?

Lenin did not completely reject uniforms. When, after October, the creation of a new militia was discussed, Vladimir Ilyich immediately asked:

– Is there a uniform for the police?

His interlocutors hesitated: any form seemed to them a harmful relic of the old regime.

“No, comrades,” said Lenin, “a policeman cannot be without a uniform!” The policeman must be different from the layman. Think about it.

Among men’s hats, the victory (up to the 40s) was won by a working cap with a visor. In June 1917, at the demonstrations in the capital, two streams were very clearly divided – “caps” and “hats”. Lenin ironically said to the “defencists”: “Your slogans are worn, as you see, only by those who wear hats and top hats.”

Since 1917, the gray cap has become Lenin’s favorite headdress (and in winter he usually wore a hat with earflaps made of black astrakhan fur). Even university professors began to wear caps. N. Ustryalov described Moscow in 1925: “Kepka has become positively ubiquitous… At first, it was a little strange to meet old acquaintances in a new, “processed” outfit. But, of course, I soon got used to it. The dictatorship of the cap is so universal that even the most quickly somehow felt compelled to submit to it.

And European costumes were everywhere replaced by paramilitary service jackets, the first example of which was set by Kerensky. In the 1920s, Vladimir Ilyich also willingly put on gray or green jackets. A characteristic detail is that the buttons on one of these service jackets were of different sizes: obviously, Lenin did not attach importance to such a trifle … Lenin did not wear another typical commissar’s clothing – a shiny leather jacket “with fish fur”, preferring a black demi-season coat (through the lining of which cotton wool). Although at one time a black leather jacket served as a real symbol of the Bolsheviks. “During the first post-October period,” Trotsky noted, “the enemies called the Communists, as you know, “leather”—by their clothes.”

With the advent of the New Economic Policy, the jackets were strongly pushed back by other outfits. The magazine “Crocodile”, for example, in 1922 published the following poems by V.O.:

Frenchies everywhere are terribly tired –

It becomes embarrassing to wear them.

The nepo dandies have long been dressed

in a mix of bohemian and sweatshirts.

But Vladimir Ilyich remained faithful to the jacket until the last days, in a brown jacket he lay down and in a fob. He was dressed in an English suit only in the 40s, when the revolutionary jacket finally receded into the realm of history. (True, in people’s China, paramilitary jackets were worn until the end of the 20th century, and in North Korea even in the 21st century. But few people remembered that Kim Jong Il’s ceremonial attire had a direct origin from Kerensky’s modest jacket).

“You can’t arrest for mutilating a portrait.”

In 1924, various Soviet publications reprinted with pleasure an unusual photograph taken by L. Leonidov: Moscow, magnificent Kremlin palaces, in the middle of the hall – the royal throne of the Romanov dynasty. And on the throne, in a businesslike way, having crossed his legs, some black man was at ease. He smiles merrily, and above his head the imperial coat of arms topped with a magnificent crown flaunts … The signature in one of the publications read: “Comrade. Lunion, a member of the Fifth Congress of the Comintern, a representative of the most oppressed, most enslaved part of the working people – the French colonial blacks – is resting on … a throne, on the ancient throne of Russian tsars, preserved as a museum exhibit in the Kremlin. Now it is an ordinary chair.

Let’s try to understand what idea the photographer wanted to convey to the readers? Of course, not at all the one that this African now occupies the royal throne in Russia. He wanted to express the following with the greatest clarity: from now on, this throne belongs to everyone and everyone, and at the same time – to no one (“this is an ordinary chair”). It is impossible to imagine that, for example, Lenin himself would take the place of an unknown African with the same satisfied smile.

The feuilletonist A. Menshoi described with pleasure other “sitting” of the same throne. Here a couple gently hugs and whispers on it – a fair-haired girl from Munich (“she is all in white and smiles blissfully happily”) and a Soviet guy (“violently black-haired, swarthy, with velvety eyes … in a black kosovorotka, in ragged trousers … sandals on bare feet”). “Let’s leave,” the journalist delicately remarks, “we are interfering with them …” “It’s so strange,” he argues, “against the background of royal gilding — gilding and heavy silk curtains, drapes, canopies — against the backdrop of royal majesty — these people with beards a l a Lenin … in shirts unbuttoned on the chest … people from the masses, from the people … these people are in the throne room!

Lenin tried once and for all to destroy the sacred charm of power, to destroy the “reverent awe” that it inspired. He began this breakdown long before 1917, in the circle of his comrades. Joseph Stalin left a curious testimony in this regard. In 1924, Stalin spoke of his first meeting with Lenin at the congress of the Social Democratic Party: “It is accepted that the “great man” usually has to be late for meetings, so that the members of the meeting wait with bated breath for his appearance, moreover, before the appearance of the “great man”. human,” the congregation members warn, “shh… hush… he’s coming.” This ritual seemed to me not superfluous, because it impresses, inspires respect. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that Lenin had arrived at the meeting before the delegates and, hiding somewhere in a corner, was talking in a simple way, the most ordinary conversation with the most ordinary delegates … I will not hide that it seemed to me then some violation of certain necessary rules. Maxim Gorky shared a similar feeling from meeting Lenin: “I expected that Lenin was not like that. I was missing something in it. Burrs and put his hands somewhere under the armpits, stands with a fort. And in general, the whole thing is somehow too simple, nothing from the “leader” is felt in it.

Perhaps, with each of his lines – short stature (165 cm), burr, laughter, a working cap on a bald head … – Lenin refuted the usual image of the “leader” … The leader of the Mensheviks, Julius Martov, wrote in the 20s: I never noticed vanity in the character of V.I. Ulyanov.

One of the textbook stories about Lenin said that when the walkers in Smolny asked him “who is in charge here?”, the head of the government pointed at them with a sly smile (they began to turn around in confusion) and announced: !..”

True, at the level of the whole country, this “revolution of style” began even before Lenin, in February 1917. In the days of the revolution, the seemingly insignificant act of Alexander Kerensky became the subject of noisy and even scandalous discussion. Having just been appointed Minister of Justice, when he first came to the service, he shook hands with the most junior employees of the ministry – the porter and courier. A ministry worker, S. Militsyn, wrote in his diary at the time: “It seems to me that Kerensky had his full effect on his first visit to the ministry. He, they say, ran in, shook hands with the porter … and dismissively threw: “Well, the bureaucrats have not come yet?” Our watchmen immediately changed their tone … “

By the way, the old porter himself (his last name was Moiseev) was not at all pleased with this innovation.

“Well, what kind of minister is this,” he grumbled displeasedly, “if he shakes hands with me? ..”

And the satirist writer Arkady Averchenko, referring to Kerensky, still invested with power, wrote: “Your fall, Alexander Fedorovich, began precisely from that seemingly touching moment when you arrived in the ministry for the first time in March and greeted the courier by the hand. … You shook hands with him, and at that moment there was a characteristic outburst: this was the first time in Russia that the prestige of power had fallen into a puddle. You are crazy! How can a minister shake hands with a courier in a country where for hundreds of years everything was built on a dent, an official shout and an official cap with a cockade … Yes, you only answer this courier for a bow with a gracious inclination of the head – after all, he would be happy! .. Friendly a nod of the head – that’s what the all-Russian downtrodden courier needed.

A few years later, already in exile, Averchenko again returned to this idea and wrote even more sharply: “Do you know from what moment Russia went to ruin? From the very moment when you, the head of Russia, came to the ministry and gave the courier a hand. Oh, how stupid it was, and if you were a different person, how painfully ashamed you should be now! You then thought that the courier was the same person as you. Quite right: the same … But he should not have shaken hands … I do not argue, maybe this courier personally is a charming secular person, but you didn’t stretch out your hand to him alone for a shake, but to the whole impudent, boorish part of Russia. ..”

Lenin managed to bring to its logical end what February had begun: say, in 1920, it would never have occurred to anyone to be surprised that the head of government shook hands with a simple courier or porter. How else? Vladimir Ilyich had a habit of always greeting the first – with the Red Army men, porters, cleaners … Politely seated the Kremlin lackeys and doormen on a chair during a conversation (and they were used to standing). By the way, the commandant of the Moscow Kremlin, Pavel Malkov, left curious memories of the porters who daily communicated with the head of the Council of People’s Commissars: they were extremely zealous about their own people … At first, most of them treated the Soviet government with open hostility: what, they say, is it power? No splendor, no grandeur, with any craftsman, any peasant – easily …

– Not that! sometimes this or that old porter sighed, looking at Ilyich, quickly walking along the Kremlin, in his cap pushed back to the back of his head, or Yakov Mikhailovich in his unchanged leather jacket. – Not that! Grace is not enough. Lenin! What a man! There must be trembling around, timidity. And he is equal to everyone. No, not that.

P. Lebedev-Polyansky described the behavior of other old officials: “The lower officials were distrustful; couriers jumped up and pulled themselves to attention when responsible workers arrived, and could not understand when they were comradely explained that this should not be done, that now new times. Such treatment was incomprehensible to them, and they considered us “not real bosses”, whose orders they are accustomed to carry out silently, respectfully.”

When Vladimir Ilyich noticed signs of proud behavior in one of his colleagues, he publicly scolded him: “Who are you? Where do you get this swagger, these noble habits? The people put you in a state chair. But he, the people, can give you a kick … “

Kremlin cleaner Anna Baltrukevich recalled watching the play “At the Bottom” with the head of government: “The play is over, let’s go home. The mood is good, cheerful. Vladimir Ilyich suddenly grabbed Yakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov, began to wrestle with him and put him in a snowdrift. And then Sverdlov contrived and threw Lenin into the snow. Then he put me on the snow, and I him. And we laughed so much and played out so much that we poured snow into Vladimir Ilyich’s collar. Is it possible to imagine a similar scene involving Nicholas II or even Kerensky?

It seemed that a little more – and the power would finally “fall to the ground”, dissolve among ordinary citizens. After all, the simplest person could now visit, for example, in the chair of the arbiter of justice (people’s assessor). Tomorrow, even higher positions will become just as accessible… The feuilletonist V. Ardov described the year 1976 in the mid-1920s. From the screen in this imaginary future, viewers are sternly reminded: “Citizen, do not skip your turn to fulfill the duties of the people’s commissar! Wherever you are, inquire about the timing of your duty!

About the same were the famous words that “every cook must learn to manage the state.” They were attributed to Lenin. (In fact, he wrote more carefully: “We know that any unskilled worker and any cook is not capable of immediately entering into government.”) It is curious that already in the 1920s the phrase about the cook began to be gently ridiculed in the Soviet press. The poet F. Blagov wrote in 1926:

Ash poured into cabbage soup,

Bagels were burnt,

Because – the wife left

to govern in the republic …

(And in the last decades of the USSR, the “cook who runs the state” in folklore completely turned into a favorite “whipping pear” …)

The slightest manifestations of “sacred awe” before the authorities irritated Lenin. The point here, as we understand, was not at all in his personal modesty – such an exaltation was contrary to the whole meaning of the revolution. According to the memoirs of Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich, in 1918, Lenin, who had recovered from the assassination attempt, sincerely resented the reaction of society to his illness.

“I find it hard to read newspapers,” he complained. “Wherever you look, they write about me everywhere… And these portraits? Look, everywhere and everywhere … Yes, there is nowhere to go from them! .. Why all this? .. “

The newspaper Pravda on September 1 came out under the heading: “Lenin is fighting the disease. He will defeat her! This is how the proletariat wants, this is its will, this is how it commands fate!” Vladimir Ilyich was indignant:

– Look what they write in the newspapers? .. It’s a shame to read … They write about me that I am such and such, everyone exaggerates, they call me a genius, some special person, but here there is some kind of mysticism … Collectively they want They demand, they want me to be healthy … So, what good, perhaps, they will get to the prayers for my health … It’s terrible! .. And where does it come from? All our lives we have fought ideologically against the glorification of the individual, the individual, long ago we settled the issue of heroes, and then suddenly the exaltation of the individual again! It’s no good. I’m the same as everyone else … Some heroes made me, they call me a genius, just the devil knows what it is!

One of the participants in this conversation, the old Bolshevik P. Lepeshinsky, joked:

– And Patriarch Tikhon, perhaps, what good, will rank you among the saints. That’s really profitable will be a saint. I just want to remember Geneva and draw all this…

“That’s right,” put in Vladimir Ilyich, “Panteleimon Nikolayevich, console me… Draw, as always, a good caricature on the theme of the ‘heroes’ and the crowd, besides, remember the Narodniks with Mikhailovsky at the head….”

Lunacharsky conveyed Lenin’s words that day in this way: “With great displeasure, I notice that my personality is being exalted. It’s annoying and harmful. We all know that it’s not about personality. I myself would be embarrassed to forbid such a phenomenon. It would also be something funny, pretentious. But you should gradually put a brake on this whole story.

Shortly before the assassination attempt, in the summer of 1918, Lenin and Krupskaya were visiting Lepeshinsky at home. “Ilyich gladly treated himself to my caricatures,” he recalled. “On one of them he himself appeared as Jupiter the Thunderer … Ilyich laughed with pleasure at these and other caricatures.” But then a caricature fell into Lenin’s hands, where one of the participants in the conversation was depicted as a “fat cow.” Vladimir Ilyich immediately hid the drawing, refusing to hand it over to this lady.

She was indignant, but he strictly minted:

No, no, it’s not for you.

And meekly took upon himself all her just indignation … Then he explained:

Why offend a person?

In November 1918, at the former Michelson plant, Lenin saw a monument … to himself. Workers were decorating a wooden column topped with a globe with kumach at the spot where Lenin had been shot two months earlier.

– What are you doing here? asked Vladimir Ilyich. The workers replied that they fenced off the place where he was wounded and erected a wooden obelisk. Lenin winced.

– In vain, this is superfluous … You are busy with trifles! Vladimir Ilyich felt awkward when he was greeted with applause. “He simply did not know at that time what he should do on the podium,” remarked the Bolshevik Andrei Andreev. “He either showed the delegates to his watch: they say, time is running out, but the applause only intensified, then he pulled out a handkerchief, although there was no need for it, he looked for something in his vest pockets, etc.” He shook his head reproachfully, rang the bell, and sometimes shook his finger or even his fist from the podium if he saw that people he knew were shouting “Hurrah!” He could angrily shout out in the midst of applause: “Enough!” Once I read a whole notation to the audience: “Is it permissible that you spend almost five minutes on unnecessary applause! You took five minutes from me. It’s not good of you. You have to spend time.

One day he was late for a meeting. “I remember one case,” wrote the Bolshevik Stepan Danilov, “when even Comrade Lenin was late. 6 a.m. struck, but he was not there, which surprised those gathered at the meeting a lot. He appeared only at 7-8 minutes past seven, blushing, embarrassed, like a delinquent schoolboy. He asked his comrades to excuse him, as he was detained at a meeting of the Central Committee. In response to his apology, there was an explosion of laughter and shouts: “we do not accept”, “reject”, “enter into the protocol”, which confused Comrade Lenin even more.

There were times when, in a fit of enthusiasm, the crowd picked up Lenin in their arms and carried him to the podium. “Comrades, be quiet, what are you, comrades!” he quelled his exuberant delight. Once he joked: “Don’t knock off my cap”…

In the summer of 1920, Vladimir Ilyich once again found himself in the midst of an enthusiastic crowd, and a cry was heard: “Swing, pump Comrade Lenin!”

“It wasn’t there,” recalled S. Zorin, an eyewitness to this episode. Lenin was stubborn.

— Only not this… Just don’t pump… I beg you…

And, already sitting in the car, he said:

“How harmful this bourgeois culture is. How contagious she is. I never thought that this gymnasium rocking technique could penetrate the masses of workers. Where did they get this intellectual idea from? .. “

Once Lenin went to a concert to hear Chaliapin sing. Seeing him in the hall, the audience began to applaud violently and shout “Lenin!”. He stood up and quickly left the room. Everyone thought that he had moved into the box, hiding from the applause. The next day, the writer Sofya Vinogradskaya retold this scene to Maria Ulyanova.

“He didn’t hide anywhere! she exclaimed. “He’s gone, completely gone. So Chaliapin did not listen … They did not let him listen … Ilyich returned home furious. “Our audience,” he said, “doesn’t know how to behave in a concert at all. They go to listen to Chaliapin, but give Lenin an ovation! What disrespect for the artist!

When Lenin’s 50th birthday was celebrated in April 1920, at one meeting someone suggested “honoring him.” “The audience is laughing,” recalled V. Molotov. Lenin waves his hands to him. Whom to honor? Only the memory is honored. But another anniversary meeting still took place. Lenin asked to be released from listening to speeches. Then, having appeared at the meeting, the head of the Council of People’s Commissars passed along the rows of the caricature he had received that day, which poisonously ridiculed the anniversary festivities. Moreover, he noticed that this was a surprisingly good caricature … When it was decided to release the collected works of Lenin by the same anniversary, he began to object: “Why is this. To nothing. You never know what was written in thirty years. Not worth it.”

Once he saw that Karl Radek was looking at a volume of his old articles. “His face was covered with a sly smile and he, giggling, said:

“It’s very interesting to read what fools we were.”

One day in 1919, news came from Tsaritsyn that a certain Valentina Pershikova was arrested only because she deliberately mutilated a portrait of Lenin torn from a book. Lenin considered it necessary to intervene immediately. And he sent a telegram: “Tsaritsyn, Myshkin. You cannot be arrested for mutilating a portrait. Release Valentina Pershikova immediately, and if she is a counter-revolutionary, then keep an eye on her.” He asked to be informed about the release of the arrested woman, and all the material about the case – “to give to the feuilletonists.”

“When Vladimir Ilyich found his portraits in the room for work,” wrote L. Fotieva, “he immediately gave instructions to remove them.”

At the beginning of 1923, the Red Pepper magazine decided to remind the artist Denis of his old sin – participation in the campaign against the Bolsheviks and Lenin. The magazine reprinted in the form of a riddle an old drawing of Denis – an ugly man, similar to a tavern boozer, with a royal crown fastened on his head. The drawing originally appeared in Beach magazine at the end of 1917 with the caption “Lord of our days. His Majesty Ham I. The picture was accompanied by a significant caption: “Printing this picture, Red Pepper invites all readers to puzzle over the following three questions:

1. Who drew?

2. When did you draw??

3. Who did you draw???

When Lenin himself was told about this story, he was annoyed: what trifles people are doing!

“So Moses is me?”

The Soviet press of the early 1920s was full of caricatures of the leaders of the revolution. It is curious to note that the veneration of Lenin made its way precisely through these jokes, caricatures, anecdotes. Praise Lenin with a smile, as if jokingly, with a touch of the grotesque seemed acceptable. He was drawn in the form of Ilya Muromets, a lighthouse keeper of communism, a football player, a chess player… In one of the cartoons, Lenin pierced a pot-bellied bourgeois with a flagpole…

Especially often the leaders were painted in the form of saints, gods and Orthodox priests. Apparently, the very assimilation of the main atheists of the planet to saints in those years was infinitely amusing as the pinnacle of absurdity. For example, one of the caricatures depicted Vladimir Ilyich as the husband of the Virgin Mary, the righteous Joseph, with a halo around his head (Leo Trotsky played the role of the Mother of God)…

The Bolshevik L. Sosnovsky recalled the following episode: “Once in 1918, we once went with Y. M. Sverdlov and Demyan [Poor] to Vladimir Ilyich. Demyan took with him the poem “The Promised Land” that he had just written then, where, using the biblical legend about the exit of the Jews from the country of Pharaoh’s oppression, he depicted the first steps of the proletarian October exodus from the country of capitalist slavery. Ilyich fussed around a kerosene stove (or spirit stove), on which he himself warmed up the soldiers’ cabbage soup left over from dinner for dinner (then Ilyich ate from the common cauldron of the Kremlin garrison and ate rather disgustingly), and at the same time listened attentively to the reading of the author’s poems. In some places, Ilyich laughed merrily and contagiously, captivating us. And suddenly, with a childishly naive expression, he narrowed his eyes at Demyan:

– Excuse me, it turns out that Moses is me?

And again he rolled with his silent charming laugh.

At the same time, the popular consciousness quite seriously saw in Lenin a saint, like the former Orthodox saints. Here is a curious “Conspiracy from all diseases”, composed by 24-year-old soldier Marya Nedobezhkina. It was published by The Crocodile in 1924, with obvious tacit disapproval. The red witch banished diseases with the sacred names of Trotsky and Lenin:

You do not meddle with me, pains and ailments

Head and foot,

Animals and dorsal.

Reject, retract,

Like foreign enemies.

You, my head – Lenin,

You, my blood – the red army,

Save me, save me

From every pain and illness,

From every illness and disease …

As you can see, things went even further than Lenin thought: he expected only prayers for his health, and people began to heal their own ailments with his holy name …

The press in those years caustically ridiculed cases when the veneration of revolutionaries poured out into the usual old form of veneration of icons: Red Army soldiers were admonished with their portraits, the newlyweds were blessed, etc. But gradually the mood changed. In 1925, the Searchlight magazine printed a photograph of a village hut. The caption to it said: “Our photo shows the decoration of a peasant hut, typical for many tens of thousands. In the first corner of the hut, the old still dominates the new. Icons still huddle here, while the left corner is decorated with the leaders of our great revolution.” The magazine has already come to terms with the fact that the portraits of Lenin will take the place of icons in the soul of the peasant. It is curious that the owner of the hut hung the portrait of Lenin in a fobo closest to the icons, and the image of the living Ilyich – a little further …

It is surprising that Lenin was revered even by those peasants who knew him well during his lifetime. “That peasant woman (in Shushenskoye. – A.M.), in whose apartment he lived,” said G. Krzhizhanovsky in 1924, “still keeps his portrait in the front corner, hung with towels, as is done for the icons of saints. This peasant woman, it turns out, is very unwilling to the communists, but she is forced to make an exception for V.I., because in the way of his life he was, in her opinion, a truly holy man.

An anecdote of that time:

“A peasant enters a village shop and asks:

– Sell me the reins.

– Leaders? Here, please, there is Comrade Lenin, there is Comrade Trotsky. Who do you want?

“No, I don’t want those reins that are hung, but those that are ruled …”

Another anecdote of the 20s: “A worker received an award for good work – portraits of Lenin and Trotsky. He comes to a bare, empty room with a mattress on the floor and one nail in the wall and thinks: “Lenin hang, and put Trotsky against the wall, or is it better to hang Trotsky, and Lenin against the wall?”

Sometimes home icons and portraits started a uniform “war” among themselves. In 1923, such a case was described in the press. A certain communist gave a speech against religion. “Young people reproached him for having icons at home. The organizer of the youth, angry, having returned home, threw down and broke the icons. The wife, furious, rushed to the portraits of Marx, Lenin, etc. and tore them up. The truce took place on the fact that the wife refused the icons, and the husband from the portraits of Marx, Lenin, etc.”

Here are quite typical ditties for those years (from the Red Raven magazine for 1923) – a characteristic combination of humor and praise:

I don’t need lemonade,

I don’t want marmalade:

Open, dear, a purse –

Buy Lenin’s portrait.

“Lenin was an enemy of all etiquette and decorum.”

According to Krupskaya, Lenin “hated to the depths of his soul all philistinism, conventionality.” Bolshevik Mikhail Kedrov recalled how naturally Vladimir Ilyich behaved in the Constituent Assembly of 1918: “Ilyich immediately perched on the sloping, carpeted steps, not far from the podium, and remained in this position until the end of the meeting … At the most interesting moments, especially during the speech of Chernov, elected chairman of the meeting, interrupted at almost every word by playful choral remarks from the Bolshevik pews, Ilyich laughs uncontrollably. Ilyich was an enemy of all hypocrisy, all etiquette and ostentatious decorum. The Swedish journalist Otto Grimlund wrote about the same incident: “He was sitting on the stairs that led to the podium. For half an hour he sat like that, alone, thinking about something. Nobody bothered him.” Sometimes Lenin closed his eyes and it seemed fell asleep on this red carpet. The chairman of the Constituent Assembly, the right-wing Socialist-Revolutionary Viktor Chernov, later resented his behavior – how “lying down at full length and taking on the appearance of a man asleep from boredom,” Lenin demonstrated his disrespect for the assembly.

Vladimir Ilyich made no secret of the fact that he was not interested in the meeting of the Constituent Assembly. “It’s boring,” he admitted. “Something old is hovering around here.”

However, his behavior was explained, most likely, not by disrespect, but by ordinary looseness. In any case, a similar scene was repeated in the summer of 1921 at the Third Congress of the Comintern. Listening to the speakers, Lenin also sat down in his favorite place – on the steps of the podium. On his knees, he held the papers in which he made notes, and thinking, thoughtfully biting his “eternal pen.”

“We cleaned out this manure…”.

October 1917 finally abolished in Russia not only the monarchy, but also class titles and titles. Princes, counts, barons, hereditary honorary citizens – all now became simply “citizens”. The whole magnificent bouquet of secular titles has sunk into oblivion: from “Your Honor” to “Your Grace” …

Later, Lenin wrote scathingly about right-wing socialists: “These cowards, talkers, narcissists and Hamletists waved a cardboard sword – and they didn’t even destroy the monarchy! We threw out all the monarchical scum, like no one else, like never before. We have not left stone upon stone, brick upon brick in the age-old building of estates (the most advanced countries, like England, France, Germany, still have not got rid of traces of estates!)

Moreover, ordinary people received some privileges. With cards of the “first category” they could now buy more products than the former “cream of society”. From the feuilleton by A. Volkov (in the liberal Petrograd newspaper Sovremennoye Slovo, June 1918):

“Still, it’s not bad to be a sewer. I have never envied these dull people, but now I am envious … A face of the first category after all …

– Boiler cleaners, boners and wood splitters are also not bad …

– As a child, I caught sticklebacks in the Swan Canal – is it possible to pass for a fisherman … “

The revolution completely abolished the Petrine table of ranks. All military ranks disappeared from the army, from corporal to general. From now on, there are no life-long titles in society (except for scientific and church ones) at all – only temporary positions. Lenin remarked:

“As one White Guard publication put it: 400 years they collected manure in our state institutions; and we cleaned out this manure in four years – this is our greatest merit. But what did the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries do? Nothing”.

The head of the Council of People’s Commissars always greeted the sentries at his office, shook hands with them, and sometimes treated them to tea. One day in 1920, in response to his greeting, the sentry barked valiantly:

– I wish you good health, your … stvo! ..

Vladimir Ilyich got angry:

– What kind of “yourness” is this? I don’t know such a word in Russian. There is no such word, no…

Lenin did not even like the appeal of “comrade Presovnarkom”: “What, what? Why so magnificent, my dear? Call me by my last name or by my first name. It’s much easier!”

The abolition of titles turned out to be quite strong and long-term: even in the 90s, of all secular titles, only an appeal to judges (“Your honor!”) Resurrected…

As for the abolition of military ranks, this revolutionary innovation lasted only until the mid-1930s. Then marshal and other life-long ranks appeared in the Red Army, followed by the rebirth of generals and admirals, and in 1943 the word “officers” came to life. The military uniform was adorned with gilded epaulettes, gold and silver aiguillettes, blossomed with scarlet stripes… The author of these lines was told a rather characteristic conversation of one of the “former” (professors) with a communist that took place in 1943.

“Explain,” the professor asked in surprise, “for what purpose does the government introduce shoulder straps in the Red Army?” First officer ranks, now shoulder straps – what happens, everything is like before the revolution?

– This is done to strengthen the authority of the leadership.

– So. Shouldn’t we now, in order to strengthen the authority of the leadership, introduce the position of king?

The communist was upset and indignant:

– How can you say that!

Canary controversy.

As you know, one of the main slogans of the revolution was the fight against all kinds of “parasite”. It is quite natural that outwardly useless pets – decorative dogs, cats, songbirds – have become a striking symbol of such “parasite”. Officially, however, no one banned them. But keeping them was now considered as if “indecent”, bad form, a manifestation of nobility.

In the press of the 1920s one can come across, for example, an indignant letter from readers who complain that their neighbors have brought a dog, Polkan, in a communal apartment. How not ashamed to occupy the living space with a dog in the current cramped condition! A caricature by Yu. Annenkov in the magazine “Amanita” in 1922 depicted a wealthy metropolitan young lady wrapped in furs, from whose clothes a pretty lap dog peeps out. The young lady sighs sadly: “Oh, how terrible it is … on the Volga they eat dogs.”

A characteristic joke from the press of those years – two acquaintances meet on the street, one of them walks a decorative dog:

– What are you, comrade. Piskunov is a conscientious worker, but take the dog with you—a bourgeois prejudice!

– What, what is a bourgeois prejudice? After all, he’s on my chain! ..

The surviving nobles in the 20s and 30s, in spite of everything, created clubs for dog breeding lovers, held exhibitions of greyhounds. It was one of the few permitted forms of unification of the former “noble class”.

It is no coincidence that Vladimir Mayakovsky saw a kind of apocalyptic canary and … a kitten as the main enemies that bring death to the revolution:

On the wall Marx. Ala frame.

On “Izvestia” lying, the kitten is heated.

And from under the ceiling

a rabid canary is chirping.

Marx looked and looked from the wall …

And suddenly he opened his mouth, and how he yelled:

“The philistines have entangled the revolution with threads.

More terrible than Wrangel is the philistine way of life. Hurry

up and turn the heads of the canaries so that communism is not beaten by the canaries!”

And the leader of the Smenovekhites, Nikolai Ustryalov, on the contrary, resolutely took the side of the sinister “bird of the Apocalypse”, which appeared to the poet in the form of a small yellow bird. To emphasize the sharp difference in his vision, he likened the same canary … to the Kingdom of God, which is “within us.” Ustryalov wrote in 1923 in the non-partisan magazine Rossiya: “The poet of the anti-aircraft achievements of the revolution, inspired by rebellion and chaos, Mayakovsky, with his last strength, denounces the canary that he saw in the apartment of a certain communist, one of many … Alas, it is not so easy to turn canary neck! This is not Denikin, not Kolchak, not even the Entente. For the canary – “there is inside us …”. “When … a starling and a cozy canary whistle the Internationale,” noted Smenovekhi’s publicist, “it involuntarily begins to seem that a combed storm ceases to be a storm.”

It is hard to argue that, in the final analysis, it was precisely such a seemingly harmless bird that “pecked” Bolshevism… On which side was Lenin in this great “dispute about the canary”? Judging by external signs, it seems that he is not on the side of Mayakovsky. Vladimir Ilyich was very fond of pets. “He was always drawn to play with a beautiful fluffy kitten,” Lepeshinsky remarked, “(cats, this is his weakness).” “He could not indifferently pass by a cat without stroking and playing with her,” added Olga Lepeshinskaya. “His favorites are children and kittens,” wrote Lunacharsky. “He can sometimes play with them for hours.”

While in exile, Lenin once said: “Nadezhda Konstantinovna especially loves our animals. We have almost a menagerie in our house: both kittens and puppies. They just run towards us. Once even a whole horse came to us … “

Lenin retained this attachment even after the revolution. Clara Zetkin recalled 1920, when she was visiting his house: “When Lenin came and when a little later a big cat appeared, cheerfully welcomed by the whole family, she jumped on the shoulders of the “terrible leader of terrorists” and then curled up in a comfortable position on her knees him.” “When he [Lenin] was already sick,” said M. Ulyanova, “someone got him a little puppy, an Irish setter. They got one – he fell ill with the plague and died. Then they got another. In 1922, when he was ill, he took care of him a lot.” The name of this setter was Ida.

In 1921, the American journalist Louise Bryant asked Krupskaya if the foreign press was telling the truth that Lenin kept as many as seven cats at home. Krupskaya laughed: “This is a great example of how everything about Russia is exaggerated. The truth is this: both my husband and I love animals, but now no one in Russia gets pets because of food difficulties … We have only one cat. But for a sensation, an American reporter needs at least seven of them!”

Later, this “philistine” trait of Vladimir Ilyich turned out to be very suitable for the whole spirit of the late Soviet era. Stories about Lenin’s touching love for pets were included in school anthologies. Which was not at all surprising – after all, the “canary” was now triumphantly winning on all fronts …

Krupskaya spoke of this with poorly concealed indignation: “Least of all was Ilyich … with his passionate attitude to everything, that virtuous tradesman, as he is sometimes portrayed now: an exemplary family man – wife, children, family cards on the table, a book, an oriental dressing gown , a purring kitten on her knees, and all around is a lordly “environment” in which Ilyich “rests” from public life. Each step of Vladimir Ilyich is passed through the prism of some kind of philistine sentimentality. It would be better to write less on these topics.

“Revolutions are a holiday…”

Lenin himself considered the revolution a joyful, cheerful time. He called revolutions in general “the festival of the oppressed.” Back in 1906, he wrote: “It is fun to live at a time when the popular masses begin to live political life.” And after October, new holidays were established in life – May 1, the day of the October Revolution, the day of the February Revolution, the day of the Paris Commune …

The newspaper Pravda wrote on the eve of the first anniversary of the October Revolution: “The first holiday in thousands of years is a workers’ and peasants’ holiday! The first! It should be celebrated in some special way, so that it is not at all like the way festivities used to be held. It must be done somehow so that the whole world sees, hears, is surprised, praises, and so that people in all countries want to do the same in their own country.”

On this day, more than a dozen monuments were opened in the capital, including Dostoevsky, Kalyaev, Sofya Perovskaya, Human Thought … A large painting depicting Stenka Razin was hung on one of the buildings in the center of Moscow. They solemnly burned the emblems of the old system, fired rockets, arranged fireworks. White-and-red airplanes scattered leaflets over the city. But the main events of the holiday were, of course, the parade and the people’s procession on Red Square. “Never before has Moscow seen such a huge demonstration,” Pravda noted. – Workers pass by; on the front poster they have written: “We will show the way to the earth a new one. Labor will become the ruler of the world.” Women are walking, there are many of them, their faces are cheerful, fervent, and they sing “Dubinushka” at the top of their voices, together, loudly and loudly picking up “Hey, let’s go!”. And then they laugh from excitement, pleasure, and some from embarrassment.

Lenin considered it important that celebratory demonstrations should by no means be carried out “officially”, insincerely.

V. Bonch-Bruevich recalled his conversation with Lenin on May 1, 1918: “He began to ask me what the demonstrators were saying to each other, what was the mood among the masses on the square, were they not treating the demonstration in a formal way? Are they forced to go? Is there a feeling that they are following orders? The Evening News newspaper described a funny scene at this May Day demonstration: the workers carried a portrait of Karl Marx, made like a banner. “Some God’s old woman earnestly crosses herself and says:

– What is this, my dears, what a saint, what? ..

– Miracle worker, grandmother … “

During the 1920s, along with the “days of the revolution”, the old “red days” – Christmas, Easter, and other Orthodox holidays – were kept in the official calendar… People could choose what they prefer to celebrate. The author of Birzhevye Vedomosti, Lydia Lesnaya, sarcastically remarked on this subject (in 1918):

Every day at rallies in revolutionary style

We say that we do not believe in God.

But in order, God forbid, to work for us

On the day of “St. Spirit” or “Entrance into the Temple”?! Never!

Throughout the 1920s, this peculiar “war of holidays” continued. Most of all, the Christmas tree was denounced in the press. She was not banned, but ridiculed in every possible way. Popular children’s ditty of those years:

Komsomol members, Komsomol members,

We do without a Christmas tree. In-

And Bole nothing!

And here are more lengthy “anti-Christmas tree” poems from 1923 (they are also addressed to children):

Instead of songs now – speeches.

Became a cracker for you – Colt.

Christmas tree candles are fading

Before a thousand volt lamp.

You are used to different sounds.

You have made others dream.

Not akin to October grandchildren

Old-fashioned Santa Claus.

You are not spinning to no avail

At the pace of the Poles: one and two …

So – take, brothers, a Christmas tree

And chop it for firewood!

To, laughing, incinerate in the stove

In the coniferous splashing heat

Stars, clusters, sparkles, candles –

All Christ’s tinsel!

Santa Claus got it just as hard … In the caricature of I. Malyutin, a boy in a red tie condescendingly asked Grandfather, examining the gifts he brought (a Christmas tree, a doll, perfume, white shirts, a cross, a fan): “What are you, grandfather, did you bring any unnecessary rubbish?”

And when he saw toy soldiers in a gift, the pioneer exclaimed in disappointment: “Ah, these are the White Guards! ..”

The worker portrayed by Boris Efimov kicked in the ass both Santa Claus with a Christmas tree and a naked baby – the New Year. They flew head over heels, and he admonished them: “I’m tired of looking at you every year on the pages of magazines! Enough!”

An even darker end to Father Christmas was predicted by the Drezina magazine in 1923. In the picture, Grandfather with a bag of gifts was benevolently knocking on the door, and the residents, fearing raiders, were already preparing to meet him – some with a poker, some with an umbrella, some with an ax …

In the 1920s, supporters of the Christmas tree finally “went into opposition” – many decorated it at home, but no more Christmas trees were arranged in schools or kindergartens.

Well, how did Vladimir Ilyich himself feel about the Christmas tree holiday? Apparently, he did not see anything shameful in him. In January 1919, raiders attacked his car, just as he was on his way to such a holiday at the Forest School. (This case is described above.) Despite such a nuisance, Lenin nevertheless came to the Christmas tree and had fun there from the bottom of his heart. The fact that a couple of hours earlier he had stood under the muzzles of two revolvers aimed at his temples did not in the least darken his mood.

“Vladimir Ilyich has completely delved into the matter of the children’s holiday,” wrote V. Bonch-Bruevich. Laughter and jokes filled the room. Vladimir Ilyich laughed joyfully, and it seemed that he forgot everything in the world … “

“What are we all standing for? he asked the children. “We’re wasting time for nothing! .. Now let’s dance around the Christmas tree, we’ll sing, and then cat and mouse …”

“And Vladimir Ilyich grabbed the hands of the children who were standing near him and instantly rushed around the Christmas tree, dragging absolutely everyone with him … Everyone picked up the song about the Christmas tree and whirled around it … All the kids sang, and Vladimir Ilyich also sang. Singing was followed by games. Vladimir Ilyich took the liveliest part in them and not only got carried away, but fell into a passion … and was immediately indignant if someone was out of tune in the game … How enthusiastically he plays, not letting the cat pass, protecting the mouse!

In the house of Vladimir Ilyich, Christmas trees were decorated in subsequent years, when the struggle against them was already in full swing in the press. On Christmas Day, January 7, 1924, a holiday was also arranged for children from neighboring villages – a five-meter Christmas tree was decorated. Vladimir Ilyich himself was also present at the celebration. “The Christmas tree in those days was an extraordinary phenomenon,” N. Semashko noted. “Naturally, the peasant kids, for the first time in their lives, seeing a Christmas tree shining with lights and gifts, cheered up, got naughty … They climbed on his knees, molested.” Lenin’s relatives tried to calm the overly violent fun and running around of the children, but Vladimir Ilyich showed signs that the children should not be disturbed … Journalist Mikhail Koltsov, who visited Lenin’s house immediately after his death, wrote: hoarfrost – the last fun of little friends … “

The New Year tree solemnly returned to the Land of Soviets only in 1936. Along the way, she changed the octagonal star of Bethlehem to a five-pointed red one, and the Christmas Santa finally turned into secular Santa Claus. Of course, the former participation of Lenin in the Christmas trees, as it were, blessed the revived holiday, and this was often remembered in subsequent years. In the 70s, an anecdote appeared: “Vladimir Ilyich Lenin liked to go to New Year’s matinees. But somehow the bald bearded snowflake looked ridiculous together with the dancing children!!!”…

As for the revolutionary holidays, they were canceled gradually, starting from the 30s. The main holidays – May 1 and November 7 – survived until the 21st century, when the tricolor flag began to fly over the Kremlin again. (November 7 was canceled in 2004.)

“Work should become joy.”

Each revolution needs its own, ideal image of a worker, a “common man”. He is diligently imitated by the elite born of the revolution. In the era of Caesar, this role was played by a shepherd (the famous shepherd poems of Virgil), during the years of the French Revolution, by a sans-culotte (that is, a commoner dressed in long American-style trousers), and the Russian revolution proclaimed its ideal of the proletarian, the worker.

And if in ancient Rome the emperor, in order to partake of physical labor, sometimes dragged the fragments of burnt buildings on his back, then in Russia this symbolic role was played by the May Day subbotnik of 1920. Subbotnik is a day of voluntary, free work invented by the revolution, a “labor holiday”. Lenin carried garbage and logs in the courtyard of the Kremlin with his own hands during this subbotnik. This event made an indelible impression on contemporaries…

The behavior of Vladimir Ilyich on that day, every word thrown by him is described many times in many memoirs. They tried to report to him, but he did not accept the report:

– Everyone is equal on Saturday.

And he asked:

– You tell me what to do.

– Isn’t such hard physical labor harmful to you, after all, you are after being wounded? someone asked.

– Nothing, let’s work … Physical labor is useful.

“We’ll handle it ourselves, and you have better things to do.”

“Now this is the most important thing.

Carrying rubbish and bricks, Vladimir Ilyich walked quickly, almost ran, as if setting those around him at a high pace of work. He picked up oak logs and commanded cheerfully:

– Have taken! Taken again!

He forbade taking pictures of himself at work:

– What kind of comedy? I came to work, not to act. We don’t work for show…

One poor photograph was nevertheless taken on the sly – in it, Lenin, together with five cadets, carries a large log, standing under the butt. He was persuaded to take a log for a thinner and lighter top. One of his companions said:

You are fifty years old and I am twenty-eight.

“You recognize yourself as a junior,” Lenin objected cheerfully, “that means obey your elders and move forward.

Each of the participants in the subbotnik wanted to be paired with Vladimir Ilyich, and a silent queue arose among them. Then they joked that the Lenin log in the memoirs was dragged by so many people that this log could freely reach the moon …

Having arranged a smoke break, the participants of the subbotnik sat down on logs and invited Lenin to “smoke” with them. He refused:

– I don’t find any interest in this fun … I remember when I was a schoolboy, once, together with others, I got so drunk that I felt sick. Each time smoking caused nausea. So since then I don’t smoke and I don’t advise you.

But he gladly sang a song together with everyone: “Our banner flies over the world …” – he was the first to pick it up.

“He laughed a lot that day, contagious, fun!” – recalled the Bolshevik Pyotr Zaslavsky. In total, Lenin spent four hours on the subbotnik that day. Before leaving, he asked permission from the commander.

This was not the only, but only the most famous case when the head of the Soviet government was engaged in manual labor along with everyone else. So, in the autumn of 1920, he unloaded firewood on the Moscow River. More than once and with passion he was engaged in snow removal in the Kremlin.

“I went out to get some fresh air,” he once explained, when the Kremlin cadets caught him clearing snow, “and here I see how much snow has accumulated …

– We’ll take it ourselves.

“Am I not a resident of the Kremlin?”

“Work must become joy,” said Lenin.

In the early 1920s, the veneration of the worker and the cult of labor still looked fresh and unexpected. One of the Soviet posters depicted a simple worker, raised to the height of the throne for the first time… Over the years, the cult of labor and the worker became more and more lifeless and insincere, causing malicious ridicule to finally disappear in the early 90s.

But even twenty years before that, a lot of jokes about subbotnik appeared in Soviet folklore:

“What kind of Easter are there?

“The Jewish one commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, the Christian one commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, and the Soviet one commemorates how Lenin carried the log.”

“Ilyich did not notice the beam in his own eye.” Dzerzhinsky calls Lenin:

“Vladimir Ilyich, are you going to the subbotnik tomorrow?”

– No I am busy.

“Then lend me your inflatable log.”

Lenin names.

The revolution casually overturned what looked much more durable than any royal thrones – everyday customs. It is they who always seem to people to be truly unshakable and eternal. It seems that it can be more sustainable than everyday habits and traditions?

A vivid manifestation of this “domestic revolution” was the wave of “new names” that swept the country. Of course, no one prevented people from calling children in the old fashioned way by the usual names from the Orthodox saints. Most parents did just that. But to many, these names already seemed vulgar, outdated and petty-bourgeois. The new government just ALLOWED to give children non-traditional names – and this turned out to be quite enough for the violent revelry of folk fantasy. At a party meeting in 1923, a party worker named Gordon said:

– Recently we talked and came to the conclusion that why the hell are we going to call our children by the names that are given by the saints. Each name is the name of some thing in a foreign language … Let’s make a revolution here and call other names that suit us …

These sentiments were reflected in the then caricature of Boris Efimov – on it Lenin shook upside down from the calendar sheet the saints Martyrius, Ansetalia and Markian. These saints were especially unlucky – their memory fell on the day of the revolution, October 25 … However, the question arose: if you do not call children by their former names, then how?

“They even suggested the name Crocodile,” Gordon remarked.

Another participant in the same meeting, Osipov, said:

– I know one case when it was proposed to name Ilyich. Then the father came back and asked: is it possible to add Lenin? They said it’s possible. Well, he says, let’s call it: Ilyich Lenin …

And so, regardless of the will of Vladimir Ilyich himself, his name, patronymic and party pseudonym served as rich food for folk art. Here are just some of the names of the 20s, the “ancestor” of which unwittingly turned out to be the head of the Council of People’s Commissars:

  • Vilich, Vladich – Vladimir Ilyich;
  • Viden, Wil, Wil – V. I. Lenin;
  • Vladilen, Vladilena – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin;
  • Viulen – V. I. Ulyanov-Lenin;
  • Vladlen, Vladlena – Vladimir Lenin;
  • Lenul – Lenin-Ulyanov;
  • Ninel – “Lenin”, read the other way around.

Of this galaxy of names, Vilen and Vladlen turned out to be the most long-lived. They continued to be given to children in the 21st century, when the rest of Lenin’s names had long been “turned” into patronymics or completely forgotten. True, many parents now sincerely believed that Vilen and Vladlen were ancient, primordially Slavic names. In 2004, on an Internet forum, one could read the following message: “We liked the name Vilen, but as soon as we found out that this was an abbreviation for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, it immediately disappeared!” Journalist Rostislav Bardokin described such a case: “At one time I argued with my acquaintance because of the name of his daughter. “Vilena is an old beautiful Russian name,” said a friend. “Oh, okay,” I disappointed him, “the name may be beautiful, but it’s not old at all, it’s seventy years old at the most. Vilena – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. The comrade was indignant, ran to look at dictionaries,

Gradually, the creators of new names “became bolder”, and slogans popular in the 1920s became food for their creativity. Such, for example, as:

  • Velor – the great Lenin – the organizer of the revolution;
  • Vilor – V. I. Lenin – the organizer of the revolution;
  • Vilyur – Vladimir Ilyich loves the workers;
  • Vinun – Vladimir Ilyich will never die;
  • The division – the cause of Lenin lives on;
  • Isaida – follow Ilyich, baby;
  • Isil – fulfill the precepts of Ilyich;
  • Ledrud – Lenin – a friend of children;
  • Lelyud – Lenin loves children;
  • Lengenmir – Lenin – the genius of the world;
  • Lenora – Lenin – our weapon;
  • Leundezh – Lenin died, but his work lives on;
  • Luigi – Lenin is dead, ideas are alive;
  • Lunik – Lenin is dead, but the ideas are strong;
  • Lunio – Lenin died, but the ideas remained;
  • Lyublen – love Lenin;
  • Motvil – we are from V. I. Lenin;
  • Benefit – remember Lenin’s precepts;
  • Roblin – born to be a Leninist;
  • Yaslen – I’m with Lenin;
  • Yaslenik – I’m with Lenin and Krupskaya…

Of course, epithets like “the genius of the world” would most likely make Vladimir Ilyich himself boil with indignation (“they call it a genius, just the devil knows what it is!”). But he was no longer the master of his own name… The revolution from “Thermidor” spontaneously developed into the era of the empire, with its indispensable exaltation of one person. And with all his unwillingness to play this role, Lenin could not do anything about it …

Lenin’s names were only a part of the general stream of revolutionary names. There were Trotskyist names (Ledav, Ledat – Lev Davidovich Trotsky), Stalinist (for example, Stator – Stalin triumphs) and all kinds of others: Reva and Lucia, Barricade, Grenade, Utopia, Anarchy, Terror … But even only one list of Lenin’s names ( of course, incomplete) is amazing:

  • Arvil – the army of V.I. Lenin;
  • Arlen – Lenin’s army;
  • Varlin – the great army of Lenin;
  • Vidlen – the great ideas of Lenin;
  • Vilior – V. I. Lenin and the October Revolution;
  • Viliorica – V. I. Lenin, the International, the October Revolution and the Red Army;
  • Vilan – V. I. Lenin, Academy of Sciences;
  • Vilian – V. I. Lenin and the Academy of Sciences;
  • Vilorik – V. I. Lenin – the liberator of the workers and peasants;
  • Vilord – V. I. Lenin – the organizer of the labor movement;
  • Vilork – V.I. Lenin – the organizer of the revolutionary commune;
  • Vilkim – Vladimir Ilyich – the communist ideal of youth;
  • Vilnur – “V. I. Lenin nura” (in Arabic “the light of V. I. Lenin”);
  • Vilsor – Vladimir Ilyich – the creator of the October Revolution;
  • Volen – the will of Lenin;
  • Idlen – Lenin’s ideas;
  • Ilkom – Ilyich, commune;
  • Lemir – Lenin and the world revolution;
  • Lenar – Lenin’s army;
  • Leniz – Lenin’s precepts;
  • Lenik – Lenin and communism;
  • Leninid – Lenin’s ideas;
  • Leninism – Lenin and the banner of Marxism;
  • Leninir – Lenin and the Revolution;
  • Lenior – Lenin and the October Revolution;
  • Lenmark – Lenin, Marx;
  • Tape – Lenin’s labor army;
  • Lentrosh – Lenin, Trotsky, Shaumyan;
  • Lener – Lenin era;
  • Loriks – Lenin, October Revolution, industrialization, collectivization, socialism;
  • Lorierik – Lenin, the October Revolution, industrialization, electrification, radio and communism;
  • Lary – Lenin, electrification, revolution, industrialization;
  • Marksilen – Marx and Lenin;
  • Marlene – Marx, Lenin;
  • Marceline – Marx, Engels, Lenin, the International, the people’s army;
  • Malor – Marx, Engels, Lenin, October Revolution;
  • Orletos – October Revolution, Lenin, labor – the basis of socialism;
  • Plinta – the party of Lenin and the people’s labor army;
  • Corrected – the truth of Lenin;
  • Radiel – for Lenin’s sake, Lenin’s radio;
  • Silenus – the strength of Lenin;
  • Tomil, Tormil – the triumph of Marx and Lenin;
  • Trolen – Trotsky, Lenin;
  • Helen – the era of Lenin;
  • Eric – electrification, radio, industrialization, communism;
  • Erlen – the era of Lenin …

In the 1920s, the wave of revolutionary names also spread to animals: horses in the cavalry and even … trotters on the hippodromes (although in the latter case it already looked like a mockery – and did not take root).

The Bolsheviks also greatly simplified the change of surname, for which in the old days it was required to ask permission from the sovereign-emperor himself. True, in anticipation of the appearance of entire hordes of new “Lenins”, the surname “Lenin” in 1924 was forbidden to be accepted. Surnames and nicknames of all the other leaders (Kamenev, Stalin and others) were then allowed to be called, which many willingly used. In a humorous drawing by Ivan Malyutin, a passer-by asked:

“Citizen, do you know where Ivan Evstigneevich Zyuzyukin lives here?

– There are none now. All the Kamenevs live along our street, and all the Lev Borisychi…”

Revolutionary names were given not only in Russia, this craze swept the whole world. The Soviet doctor Oleg Zubov, who worked in the 80s on the Cape Verde Islands, recalled: “The reception is underway. José Carlos… Sidonio Peres… And suddenly – stop! LENIN Rodriguez! A five-year-old creature appears at the door, accompanied by her mother…

– I wonder, señora, why did you choose such a name for your son?

“My father called it that, he read Lenin’s books … Subsequently, I more than once met young Zeleny Mysians who, along with their names – José, Carlos, proudly bore the immortal name Lenin (Zelenomysts often have double names).”

In honor of Lenin, the Chilean communist writer Volodya Teitelboim received his name. In the 40s, when the fashion for revolutionary names was already fading in the USSR, three brothers were born in Venezuela – Vladimir, Ilyich and Lenin. Of these, Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez, who became an international terrorist of the left, became the most famous. Later, while serving a life sentence in a French prison, Ilyich converted to Islam and joined the supporters of Osama bin Laden …

It is curious to compare the situation with the new names in Russia in the 1920s (when officials meekly accepted the most bizarre creations of popular imagination) and the beginning of the 21st century. A typical case occurred when the parents of a Moscow boy tried to give their son a name they invented – BOC rVF 260602 (which meant “Biological Object Man of the Voronin-Frolov family, born on June 26, 2002”). But the employees of the registry office flatly refused to register a child with a similar name …

“We’ll take down all this rubbish.”

The Futurist Newspaper in March 1918 was indignant that the revolution had not yet completely affected the “realm of the Spirit” – that is, art. Even the appearance of city streets has not changed! “As before, the monuments of generals, princes – tsar’s mistresses and tsarina’s lovers stand with a heavy, dirty foot on the throats of young streets,” poets (V. Mayakovsky, D. Burliuk and V. Kamensky) were indignant. The third revolution after February and October is ripe – the “revolution of the Spirit”.

Around the same time, Vladimir Lenin (who was by no means a fan of the futurists) began to express similar thoughts. “Vladimir Ilyich,” wrote V. Bonch-Bruevich, “very soon proposed to think about such an adornment of our Red Capital, which would immediately give it a completely different appearance compared to other European cities.”

Why did Lenin consider this matter especially urgent and important? “Whether we will remain in power or be overthrown,” Trotsky explained his position, “cannot be foreseen … He sought to have as many revolutionary monuments erected as possible … in all cities, and if possible, in the villages: fix in the imagination of the masses is what happened; leave as deep a furrow as possible in the memory of the people.

“For a long time this idea has floated before me,” Lenin said to Lunacharsky, “which I will present to you now. Do you remember that Campanella in his “Solar State” says that frescoes are painted on the walls of his fantastic socialist city, which serve for young people as a visual lesson in natural science, history, excite civic feeling – in a word, they participate in the education, upbringing of new generations . It seems to me that this is far from naive and, with a certain change, could be assimilated and implemented by us right now … I would call what I think monumental propaganda … Our climate is unlikely to allow the frescoes that Campanella dreams of . That is why I am talking mainly about sculptors and poets. In various prominent places … brief but expressive inscriptions could be scattered … Please do not think that at the same time I imagine marble, granite and golden letters. For the time being, we must do everything modestly… I consider monuments even more important than inscriptions: busts or whole figures, maybe bas-reliefs, groups. It is necessary to compile a list of those predecessors of socialism or its theoreticians and fighters, as well as those luminaries of philosophical thought, science, art, etc., who, although they had no direct relation to socialism, were genuine heroes of culture … Particular attention should be paid to and for the opening of such monuments … Let each such discovery be an act of propaganda and a small holiday … “

Such a proposal by Lenin in the alarming spring of 1918 sounded completely unexpected. “To tell the truth,” Lunacharsky admitted, “I was completely stunned and blinded by this proposal. I liked it extremely… Implementation, however, went a little awry… In Moscow, where Vladimir Ilyich could just see the monuments, they were unsuccessful. Marx and Engels were depicted in some kind of pool and received the nickname “bearded bathers.” The sculptor Korolev surpassed everyone. For a long time, people and horses, walking and riding along Myasnitskaya Street, squinted timidly at some enraged figure, covered with boards as a precaution. It was Bakunin in the interpretation of a respected artist. If I am not mistaken, the monument was destroyed by anarchists immediately after its opening,

However, the anarchists generally did not approve of Lenin’s undertaking with monuments. On May 3, 1918, the Moscow newspaper Anarchia urged: “May all monuments disappear!.. And the idiotic figures of autocrats, and others, others: Pushkin, Fedorov, Minin, Lenin, Bakunin … What are these ridiculous bronze idols, funny dolls for? maybe the work of talented people?.. Live in the present! Worship living idols, creators, geniuses, inventors! .. Stop worshiping the dead! .. Down with monuments and all memory of death, otherwise the world will soon turn into a sea with a suffocating smell, and we are already suffocating from stinking museums! On June 1, publicist Vladimir Shokin wrote in Anarchy: “The Bolsheviks are overthrown from the squares the old idols that adorn the squares, the idols of an age that is fading in the history of the century. But they want to replace the old ones with new idols, new idols…

On the other hand, Lenin’s plan also inherited from the Mensheviks. The newspaper Vecher Moskvy, which is close to them, sarcastically wrote in November 1918: “Soviet leaders are in a hurry … The futurists and other mediocrities who have come to the maintenance of the Soviet republic are feverishly creating “proletarian art.” Mass production has been set up, and immediately, in whole bundles, monuments to the great figures of mankind are hastily opened. There is no need that these monuments are scanty, that they do not have grandeur, beauty, strength … Cheap works of cheap art … They are in a hurry to live, not relying on their tomorrow.

The sculptor Sergei Merkurov persistently sought Lenin’s approval of the extravagant project of the monument “Karl Marx standing on four elephants” … All this annoyed Lenin. “He once told me with displeasure,” Lunacharsky remarked, “that nothing came of monumental propaganda.”

Monuments were also erected to mythical characters – mainly god-fighters and freethinkers, such as Prometheus (the rebellious titan was usually depicted with fragments of chains on his arms and legs). The Danish writer Henning Keller recalled how in 1918 in the city of Sviyazhsk he watched the opening ceremony of the monument to Judas Iscariot. The local authorities argued for a long time which of the theomachists more deserved to be immortalized – Cain, Lucifer or Judas Iscariot. In the end, they decided that the monument to Lucifer would contradict the idea of ​​denying God, and Cain is too legendary a person … On the opening day, when the cover fell to the ground, the audience saw a sculpture of Judas Iscariot in full growth, brown-red color. The man, with his face turned upwards, threatened the heavens with his raised fist, convulsively plucking the noose from his neck.

Of course, in addition to the erection of new monuments, the revolution destroyed the monuments of the past. The first of them collapsed after February: in Kyiv, a sculpture of Pyotr Stolypin was thrown off its pedestal. The demolition itself was staged as a spectacular theatrical action: the figure of the tsarist prime minister was wrapped around the neck with iron chains and so lifted into the air by a crane … On one of the cartoons dedicated to this event, the spirit of Stolypin spoke from heaven, watching the “hanging” of his sculpture: “ How fortunate it was that I applied my “Stolypin” tie to others during my lifetime, but it was applied to me only a few years after my death … “

But the real mass demolition of monuments began in 1918. “Vladimir Ilyich,” wrote the commandant of the Moscow Kremlin P. Malkov, “in general could not stand monuments to tsars, grand dukes, all generals glorified under the tsar … At the suggestion of Vladimir Ilyich, in 1918, monuments to Alexander II in the Kremlin, Alexander III near the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, to General Skobelev … We will demolish all this rubbish, he said.

After the demolition of the monument, Skobelevskaya Square was renamed Sovietskaya. A comic “overheard conversation” about this demolition (from the newspaper “Baba Yaga”):

“On the Soviet square.

– This, Mityukha, what kind of building is this?

– And this, they say, is a monument to Skobelev.

Where is he, general?

“Yes, you must get off your horse.”

– Where is the horse?

– A horse … Why don’t you die.

– You should be dead. Oats, they say, are completely absent in Moscow … “

Sovetskaya Square for a long time became the place where the most obvious symbol of the current era stood. The place of the tsarist general was taken by a symbolic female figure – Freedom! She stood here throughout the 20s and 30s. In the 1940s, Svoboda was removed. Then, in 1954, an equestrian statue of Prince Yuri Dolgoruky, the founder of Moscow, appeared in the “vacated” place. Then it looked shocking and almost scandalous – a monument to the prince under Soviet rule! Moreover, in exchange for Freedom… Nevertheless, this very accurately reflected the gradual, quiet restoration of traditional values, which became apparent to the whole world in the 90s…

Lenin himself took part in the demolition of one of the monuments. Malkov recalled the May Day 1918 subbotnik in the Kremlin: “Vladimir Ilyich came out. He was cheerful, joking, laughing. When I approached, Ilyich greeted me cordially, congratulated me on the holiday, and then suddenly jokingly shook his finger.

– All right, my friend, everything is fine, but this disgrace has not been removed. It’s not good. “And he pointed to a monument erected at the site of the murder of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich.” Lenin sarcastically asked Matkov:

– Obviously, you like that in front of the Soviet building – do you hear? – One of the representatives of the Romanov dynasty is sticking out of the Soviet government?

The commandant began to make excuses that he had no workers and did not know what to do.

“Oh, you don’t know what to do?” Get the ropes over here. P. Malkov: “I immediately ran to the commandant’s office and brought ropes. Vladimir Ilyich deftly made a noose and threw it over the monument…

– Well, together! Vladimir Ilyich commanded fervently.

Lenin, Sverdlov, Avanesov, Smidovich … harnessed themselves to the ropes, leaned over, pulled, and the monument collapsed on the cobblestone.

– Get him out of sight, to the dump! Vladimir Ilyich continued to command.

Dozens of hands grabbed the ropes, and the monument rattled along the cobblestones to the Tainitsky Garden.

“In this place,” declared Vladimir Ilyich, “the revolutionary proletariat must erect a monument to the brave fighter Kalyaev, who destroyed one of the most disgusting representatives of the Romanovs.

Lenin was not embarrassed by the fact that the terrorist Ivan Kalyaev, who blew up the Grand Duke with a bomb, was a Socialist-Revolutionary – that is, a comrade in the party of Kerensky and Fanny Kaplan … The bust of Kalyaev was indeed placed near the building of the former City Duma. Also, Kalyaevskaya Street appeared in Moscow (renamed Dolgorukovskaya in the 1990s) …

Lenin especially liked to rethink old monuments, to put new meaning into them. The writer Herbert Wells, who visited Moscow in 1920, wrote: “Churches are open; crowds of worshipers diligently kiss the icons… The famous chapel of the miraculous Iberian Mother of God near the Spassky Gate is especially popular; many peasant women, unable to get inside, kiss its stone walls. Just opposite it, on the wall of the house, the now famous slogan is displayed in a frame: “Religion is the opium of the people.” This stucco inscription was made at the suggestion of Lenin… Another inscription appeared on the pediment of the former Moscow City Duma: “Revolution is a whirlwind that throws back everyone who resists it!”…

In the Kremlin, Vladimir Ilyich once asked Bonch-Bruevich:

– Where was Tolstoy excommunicated from the church? ..

– In the Assumption Cathedral …

– That’s good, the best thing to do is to remove it, – he pointed to the monument to Alexander II, – and here put a good statue of Leo Tolstoy, facing the Assumption Cathedral. This will come in handy.

“This idea of ​​Vladimir Ilyich has not been realized to this day,” wrote Bonch-Bruevich. (It was not fulfilled even later.)

The opening of the monument to “Stenka Razin with a gang” on Red Square made a special impression on society. Lenin himself opened this monument on May 1, 1919, and delivered a speech from the Execution Ground.

Monument to the robber, ataman of the homeless! And just where he was once quartered – at the Execution Ground. The place of execution turned into a place of glory. Among the Razin gang, a Persian princess was also depicted, according to legend, thrown by the ataman into the Volga. The magazine “New Satyricon” in the caricature contrasted the monuments to Razin and Karl Marx. Little Marx crouched modestly in the shadow of Razin’s huge, self-confidently akimbo colossus. Marx says: “Razin and I, it seems, are not alike, but how amazingly the good Russian people confuse us …”

And about the intention to install a monument to Marx on his grave in London with Soviet money, the magazine venomously noted: “There is a lot of common sense and true love for the deceased in this project. Namely: since Marx, by the grace of the Bolsheviks, will have to turn over in his grave more than once, in order to avoid this, a Russian monument is placed on the grave. They press down – you won’t turn over. ” The newspaper Devil’s Pepper Pot laughed in the summer of 1918: “A monument to Karl Marx has been erected in Yelabuga. The population makes sacrifices, smears their lips with honey and sings songs near the monument.

In April 1918, Lenin signed a decree according to which “monuments erected in honor of tsars and their servants” were to be demolished. However, when Vladimir Ilyich was asked from Petrograd how to deal with the numerous monuments to the tsars, he answered unexpectedly: “All the monuments must remain in place. Let the future generation see those who oppressed the people in the image that the era has given them.

Thanks to this order, even the monument to Emperor Nicholas 1, who sent the Decembrists to be executed, was not touched in the city on the Neva. However, “staying still” did not mean “remaining an object of reverence”. And very characteristically in this sense, the revolution dealt with the famous equestrian monument to Alexander III in Petrograd on Znamenskaya Square. By decision of the Petrosoviet in 1922, poems by Demyan Bedny, entitled “Scarecrow”, were carved on it. The quatrain was written as if on behalf of the late king:

My son and my father were executed during their lifetime.

And I reaped the fate of posthumous infamy: I’m sticking

around here like a cast-iron scarecrow for the country.

Forever thrown off the yoke of autocracy.

Lenin approved and welcomed this inscription. Although he spoke about Demyan Bedny in different ways: on the one hand, he appreciated him, calling him “the battering ram of our revolution.” But sometimes he spoke of his poems without much enthusiasm: “Rude. It follows the reader, but you have to be a little ahead”; “Vulgar, oh, how vulgar; and cannot live without pornography.”

“How to make the chimes play the Internationale?

During the fighting in Moscow between the Red, Black and White Guards, a cannon shell hit the Kremlin chimes, and the clock stopped. Passers-by could observe, of course, a vivid symbolic picture: the hands on the main clock of the Russian state froze in immobility … In the summer of 1918, Lenin anxiously asked: “How can we still repair the clock on the Spasskaya Tower and make the chimes play the Internationale ?. We need this watch to speak our language.”

And in September of the same year, the chimes were corrected and went again. Now, instead of “How glorious is our Lord in Zion,” they began to alternately call out other music – “Internationale” and “Funeral March” (“You fell a victim …”). Hearing these melodies for the first time, Lenin was sincerely touched… These days he somehow received Lunacharsky in his office, who at one time was very worried about the destruction in the Kremlin. (And then he objected to moving to the ancient capital.) Then the chimes began to play – the sounds of the “Internationale” came into the office. Vladimir Ilyich raised his finger and cheerfully asked: “Do you hear? The clock has gone!”

N. Ustryalov considered this one of the clearest manifestations of the rebirth of the Bolsheviks: “Nature takes its toll … It naturally seemed to us that the national flag and “Kol is Glorious” were more befitting of the style of the revived country than the red banner and the “Internationale”. But it turned out differently. Over the Winter Palace, which has regained the proud appearance of truly great-power greatness, the red banner is defiantly fluttering, and over the Spassky Gates, which still represent the deepest historical and national holiness, the ancient chimes play the “Internationale”. Let it be strange and painful for the eyes, for the ear, let it warp, but, in the end, in the depths of the soul, the question involuntarily arises:

“Does the red banner disgrace the Winter Palace, or, on the contrary, does the Winter Palace decorate the red banner with itself?” Does the “International” desecrate the Spassky Gates with unholy sounds, or does the Spassky Gates put a new meaning into the “International” with the Kremlin trend?

And in the mid-1940s, Ustryalov’s expectations came true: the ancient symbols of the Moscow Kremlin took precedence over the symbols of the revolution and began to supplant them. The revolutionary hymns sounded unbearably out of tune in the atmosphere of the new era. And the bells of the chimes were tuned anew – they now played a different, majestic and solemn melody …

“We can’t keep up with the new art.”

Lenin was not indifferent to art, but he never took it seriously. He was more interested in the connection of art with history and life. For example, showing his comrades the architecture of Paris, the huge quarters built under Napoleon III, cut through by beautiful, wide streets, Vladimir Ilyich slyly asked: “And what do you think, for what?” – And he himself answered: “For longitudinal artillery fire …”

And so it was: the width of the streets made it easier for the troops to fight against popular uprisings …

One of Lenin’s comrades recalled how in the Louvre, at the statue of Nike of Samothrace, he whispered to him: “Look … at this miracle of ancient Hellenic culture. Amazing, inhuman creation! .. “

During the years of the first Russian revolution, Lenin once spent the night in an apartment where there was a whole collection of good publications about the best artists in the world. Vladimir Ilyich became so interested in these books that he spent the whole night over them. The next morning, he remarked to Lunacharsky: “What a fascinating area – the history of art … Yesterday, until morning, I could not fall asleep, I kept looking at one book after another. And I became annoyed that I did not have and will not have time to do art.

After October, the most advanced areas of art won in the Soviet Republic: cubism, futurism … In 1922, in the Moscow almanac “Wild Rose”, art historian Abram Efros described this victory as follows: “Futurism became the official art of the new Russia … Futurism went throughout Russia as would be on the crest of Soviet decrees, stirring up the old way of life from top to bottom and filling with panic. “… By May 1, decorate the city with the forms of the new revolutionary art … the old bourgeois art has been abolished by the revolution … the proletariat does not need realistic chewing gum …” – this was approximately the speech of the local “IZO”. Plaster, diligently slanted, diligently deformed according to left canons, Marxes and Lenins rose on the squares … revolutionary inscriptions were torn into a series of pieces and shuffled like children’s cubes: left, right, up, down: in the hall of the People’s House in Penza, where I visited during these years, the slogan: “Long live the Soviet Republic” was ideally spaced two or three letters apart on all four walls and on the ceiling, so that it could not so much be read as guessed, but even these individual letters were half absorbed, half thrown out onto the surface of the colored geometric figures that covered the hall. And at the other end of the Federation, in Vitebsk, Marc Chagall (commissioner Marc Chagall!) painted all the signs with chagalls and raised a banner over the city depicting him, Chagall, on a green horse, soaring over Vitebsk and blowing a horn: “Chagall to Vitebsk.”

The independent (close to the liberal opposition) magazine Vestnik Literature in 1919 was indignant that on the first anniversary of October, “the streets of the capital were defiled with futurist posters depicting ugly, distorted bodies and green physiognomies of geometric people with dislocated legs, combined with some kind of military armor and kitchen and household items.

Vladimir Ilyich also remained in the “opposition” on this question. “Who needs these forms that don’t tell the viewer anything?” he asked rhetorically. There is a legend that even before the revolution, Dada artists reproached him in conversations:

Why aren’t you radical enough?

“I am as radical,” objected Lenin, “as much as reality itself is radical.

In 1920, Lenin spoke of his views to Clara Zetkin: “We are too great “subverters in painting.” Why is it necessary to bow before the new, as before a god, to whom one must submit only because “it is new”? Nonsense, sheer nonsense! .. But I have the courage to declare myself a “barbarian.” I am unable to consider the works of expressionism, futurism, cubism and other “isms” the highest manifestation of artistic genius. I do not understand them. I don’t feel any joy from them.”

His interlocutor agreed and noted that she did not understand why the human body was depicted as “some kind of soft, shapeless bag, placed on two stilts, with two forks, five prongs each.” “Lenin laughed heartily,” she recalled.

“Yes, dear Clara,” he said, “nothing can be done, we are both old. It is enough for us that we, at least in the revolution, remain young and are in the forefront. We will not keep up with the new art, we will hobble behind.

Instead of paints, artists now created the most unexpected materials at hand. In a cartoon in The Moscow Ringer in the summer of 1918, the painter, holding a palette, thoughtfully biting the tip of his brush, says: “I’ll paint the most expensive painting in Russia; I will draw with shoe polish and breadcrumbs in butter and depict a real French bun! .. “

In 1921, one artist showed Lenin his picture – white-painted plywood, to which he glued a plate, a fork, a knife, and to the plate – two dry fish painted in golden color. Vladimir Ilyich said, pointing to the fish:

– This is not art, but senseless waste.

The author jumped up on the table and raised the picture above his head:

“Look now, Comrade Lenin.

Vladimir Ilyich did not find any changes.

Comrade Lenin does not understand this! exclaimed the artist in disappointment.

“Perhaps I don’t understand this,” Lenin replied, “but if a fish painted on a canvas is not considered art, then glued to a plate, it cannot be art and cannot nourish either the mind or the stomach. Think about it well… Think about it…

The German communist Fritz Heckert recounted the following episode: “A small exhibition of so-called “revolutionary” artists was arranged at the Continental Hotel. There, against the background of a motley daub, were all sorts of old rags, potsherds, a piece of a chimney, etc., nailed to the canvases – and all this nonsense was supposed to represent the new art. I was simply indignant… Lenin, standing behind me and shaking his head, said to me:

“You see, Comrade Heckert, this happens with us too!”

On May 1, 1920, Lenin visited an exhibition of monument projects that were supposed to replace the deposed figure of Alexander III near the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Lenin asked, examining the sculptures:

Is this futurism?

“In all likelihood,” answered Lunacharsky.

“I don’t understand anything here,” Vladimir Ilyich said meekly, “ask Lunacharsky.

The People’s Commissar of Education said that he did not see a single worthy monument. Lenin rejoiced:

“And I thought that you would put up some kind of futuristic scarecrow.”

Vladimir Ilyich became indignant when, on May Day, futurist artists painted the age-old lindens around the Kremlin with bright colors. Their trunks and branches turned red, blue, lilac… So disfigure his favorite trees!

“Who allowed,” he was indignant, “who allowed this mockery of the trees of the Alexander Garden, which are painted in purple, red and crimson colors? ..”

Vladimir Ilyich demanded “to wash off this lousy paint from the charming trees.” Alas, it was impossible to do this: the paint had already eaten into the tree bark and gradually disappeared from the lindens for several more years.

As a rule, while maintaining his opinion, Lenin did not interfere in the struggle of trends in painting. He said: “Every artist, anyone who considers himself such, has the right to create freely, according to his ideal, regardless of anything.”

“I don’t pass myself off as a specialist in matters of art,” said Lenin. “He always recognized himself as a profane in this respect,” wrote Lunacharsky, “and since any dilettantism was always alien and hateful to him, he did not like to speak out about art.” Nevertheless, Lenin considered it possible one day to advise the architect Ivan Zholtovsky: “Do it beautifully, but just remember, without philistinism!”

Lenin’s “non-intervention” in art was also reflected in late Soviet folklore. As evidenced by one of the few positive anecdotes in relation to Lenin of the 60s: “Lenin and Lunacharsky at an exhibition of futurist artists in 1920.

– I don’t understand anything! says Lenin.

– I don’t understand anything! Lunacharsky says.

These were the last Soviet leaders who did not understand anything in art.”

Futurism remained the predominant trend in Soviet art until the mid-1930s, when a series of famous articles in Pravda—”Muddle Instead of Music,” “Cacophony in Architecture,” “On the Muddy Artists”—heralded a victorious return old, “White Guard” art – realism.

“I don’t understand any of this.”

Lenin’s tolerance for the “new art” reached the point that in May 1920 he allowed the futurist sculptor Nathan Altman to make a portrait of him. True, later, when the work had already begun, he politely asked if his head would be “futuristic”. “I explained,” Altman wrote, “that in this case my goal was to make his portrait and that this goal also dictates the approach to work. He asked to be shown “futuristic” works. When I showed him, Lenin said: “I don’t understand anything about this, this is the business of specialists.” As you might guess, Lenin did not like the shown works of Altman.

Altman continued: “The sun came through the windows and dried the clay. It had to be heavily watered. In his absence, the sculptor asked Vladimir Ilyich himself to monitor the moistening of the clay. Because of what the following funny incident occurred, described by the Bolshevik Nikolai Mshpotin. “Once I went for some reason to Lenin’s secretariat. Suddenly we hear Vladimir Ilyich’s loud, effervescent laughter from the office. A minute later, Natasha Lepeshinskaya, an employee of the secretariat, flew out like a bullet, all crimson, almost crying. After much questioning, she told what had happened in the office. The sculptor Altman at that time sculpted the head of Lenin from clay. With the consent of Vladimir Ilyich, the sculptor worked in Lenin’s office, but on the condition that he not be interrupted from his studies. During breaks, the sculpture was covered with a wet cloth to keep the clay from drying out.

Leaving, Altman asked Vladimir Ilyich to wet a rag in the evening. Vladimir Ilyich called Natasha and ordered to bring a kettle of cold water, while he himself, sitting at the table, went deep into his work. Natasha brought water. Vladimir Ilyich, without looking up from his work, said:

– Pour it over my head, please.

Confused, bewildered Natasha, with a teapot in her hands, timidly approaches Vladimir Ilyich from behind and stops in indecision: to pour or not to pour?

Vladimir Ilyich turns around, looks at Natasha with surprise, and then begins to laugh, clutching his sides:

– Yes, not on this, but on that head! Points to the sculpture and laughs.

“Pea jesters like Mayakovsky.”

M. Gorky recalled conversations with Lenin about modern poetry: “He treated Mayakovsky with distrust and even annoyance:

– He screams, invents some kind of crooked words, and everything about him is not right, in my opinion – it’s not clear at all. Everything is scattered, hard to read. Talented? Even more? Hmmm, let’s see!”

By the way, once Lenin and Mayakovsky talked in person – the head of government called the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) late in the evening:

– Who do you have?

“No one,” answered Mayakovsky, who picked up the phone.

– Is the manager here?

– Not.

– And who will disturb him?

– Nobody.

“So there’s no one?” At all?

– No one at all.

– Great!

— Who is speaking?

“Lenin,” answered the chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, hanging up the phone.

Mayakovsky could not come to his senses for a long time after this conversation …

A. Lunacharsky noted that Vladimir Ilyich definitely did not like Mayakovsky’s “One Hundred and Fifty Millions”. He found the book pretentious and artificial.” Lenin wrote about this poem: “Nonsense, stupid, terry stupidity and pretentiousness. In my opinion, to print such things only 1 out of 10 and no more than 1500 copies. for libraries and for eccentrics.

Lenin and Krupskaya confirmed this attitude: “The new art seemed to Ilyich alien, incomprehensible. Once we were invited to the Kremlin to a concert arranged for the Red Army. Ilyich was led to the front rows. The actress Grozovsky recited Mayakovsky “our god is running, our heart is our drum” and stepped right on Ilyich, and he sat, a little bewildered by surprise, perplexed, and sighed with relief when Grozovsky was replaced by some artist who read Chekhov’s “Intruder”.

One evening Ilyich wanted to see how the youth lived in the commune. We decided to pay a visit to our vkhutemasovke – Varya Armand. It was, I think, on the day of Kropotkin’s funeral, in 1921. It was a hungry year, but there was a lot of enthusiasm among the youth. They slept in the commune almost on bare boards, they had no bread, “but we have cereal!” – with a beaming face, said the member of the commune on duty – Vkhutemas. For Ilyich, they cooked good porridge from this cereal, although it was without salt. Ilyich looked at the youth, at the radiant faces of the young artists and women artists who surrounded him – their joy was reflected on his face. They showed him their naive drawings, explained their meaning, bombarded him with questions. And he laughed, evaded answers, answered questions with questions.

– What are you reading? Do you read Pushkin?

– Oh no! someone blurted out, “he was a bourgeois!” We are Mayakovsky!

Ilyich smiled:

“In my opinion, Pushkin is better.”

“I tried to read Mayakovsky several times,” Lenin admitted, “and I couldn’t do more than three lines, I keep falling asleep. Somehow I’ll get myself together, I’ll force myself to endure … And what do you think of Nekrasov?

The young artists argued among themselves, but in the end they agreed that Nekrasov was already outdated for the new time:

We now need something else.

Vladimir Ilyich began to defend Nekrasov:

– After all, a whole generation of revolutionaries studied at Nekrasov.

The students gave Lenin a look at their wall newspaper, and he deliberately slowly read the slogan from Mayakovsky: “We, the pedlars of the new faith, set the iron tone for beauty. So that the frail natures do not defile the squares, we shy reinforced concrete into the sky. He jokingly protested:

Why jump into the sky? We need reinforced concrete on earth… “We shy away” – but it’s probably not in Russian, is it? ..

“Vladimir Ilyich laughed off them,” Lunacharsky wrote, “he scoffed a little, but even here he declared that he was not taken seriously to talk about such subjects, because he felt himself insufficiently competent.” He said that he should read literature on futurism in painting and poetry, then he would come again and then he would definitely out-argue everyone.

“Well,” Lenin laughed, “now I’m directly afraid to argue with you, I won’t be able to cope with you, but I’ll read it, then we’ll see.

“We will deliver literature to you, Vladimir Ilyich,” the artist Sergei Senkin promised him. We are sure that you will be a futurist too. It cannot be that you are for the old, rotten rubbish, especially since the Futurists are so far the only group that goes along with us, all the rest have gone to Denikin.

“After that, Ilyich became a little kinder to Mayakovsky,” Krupskaya concluded her story. “With this name, he was reminded of Vkhutemas youth, full of life and joy, ready to die for the Soviet government, unable to find words in modern language to express themselves and looking for this expression in Mayakovsky’s obscure poems.”

In a speech on March 6, 1922, Lenin even praised Mayakovsky’s poem “The Sitting Ones”

: “Yesterday I accidentally read Mayakovsky’s poem on a political theme in Izvestiya. I do not belong to the admirers of his poetic talent, although I fully admit my incompetence in this area. But I have not experienced such pleasure for a long time, from the political and administrative point of view. In his poem, he makes fun of the meetings and mocks the communists that they all sit and re-sess. I don’t know about poetry, but about politics I guarantee that this is absolutely correct.”

This praise was included in almost all books about Mayakovsky – from the beginning of the 30s, when the poet received posthumous official recognition. It is less known that after the conversation at the Vkhutemas, Lenin (in a conversation with P. Krasikov) seemed to continue the dispute that had begun there: “I absolutely do not understand Mayakovsky’s enthusiasm. All his writings are gibberish, gibberish, on which the word “revolution” is pasted. In my opinion, the revolution does not need pea jesters like Mayakovsky playing with the revolution. But if they decide that she needs them, so be it. Only let people know their limits and not be arrogant, do not put jesters, even if they swear by the revolution, above the “bourgeois” Pushkin, and let us not be assured that Mayakovsky is three heads taller than Beranger.

After Mayakovsky’s death, as you know, he was declared a “classic”. “Mayakovsky was and remains the best, most talented poet of our Soviet era,” Stalin said. This attitude generally persisted until the 1990s. But “restored in rights” and Pushkin. The centenary of the death of the poet in 1937 was celebrated on a grandiose, unprecedented scale. The intention of the futurists to “throw Pushkin off the steamboat of modernity” was finally consigned to oblivion. Although some, in the midst of this Pushkin celebration, joked gloomily: “If Pushkin had lived in our time, he would also have died in the 37th year.”

“I advise you to put all theaters in a coffin.”

Traditional theaters after October 1917 became one of the islands of noble culture that had sunk into oblivion. It is not surprising, therefore, that they were subjected to constant criticism in the press. Typical joke from the early 1920s:

“- Why is this theater called: Bolshoi State Academic?

– Well, what is incomprehensible. Big – because next to the Small, State – because it transfers state money in vain, but about the Academic – it’s just like that, to obscure … “

Lenin shared this critical attitude in many ways. Although he loved the theatre. “I loved opera more than ballet,” Krupskaya remarked about him. In 1901, Vladimir Ilyich wrote to his mother: “I was at the opera the other day, I listened with great pleasure to Zhidovka: I heard it once in Kazan (when Zakrzhevsky sang), probably 13 years ago. but some motives remained in memory. However, perhaps precisely because Lenin had a personal soft spot for opera, he now considered it his duty to press for its closure.

“Should we,” Lenin asked rhetorically in the 1920s, “serve sweet, refined biscuits to a small minority, while the masses of workers and peasants need black bread?.. While today in Moscow, let’s say, ten thousand people , and tomorrow another ten thousand people will be delighted, enjoying a brilliant performance in the theater – millions of people are striving to learn how to write their names in warehouses and counting, striving to join a culture that would teach them that the earth is spherical, and not flat and that the laws of nature govern the world, and not witches and sorcerers together with the “heavenly father”.

“Yes,” Lenin agreed, “ballet, theatre, opera, exhibitions of new and contemporary art and culture—all this serves as proof for many abroad that we Bolsheviks are not at all such terrible barbarians as they thought … But , I confess, I prefer the creation of two or three elementary schools in remote villages than the most magnificent exhibit in the exhibition.

In February 1921, when Lenin was visiting the students of Vkhutemas, he asked:

– Well, do you go to the opera?

“There is absolutely nothing of interest to us there!

– How so, – Lenin was slyly surprised, – but Comrade Lunacharsky is fighting very hard to save the opera.

The talk turned to the opera Eugene Onegin. All vehemently opposed:

We are all unanimous against Eugene Onegin. “Eugene Onegin” stuck in our teeth …

– That’s how, – laughed Lenin, – you, then, are against “Eugene Onegin”? Well, then I’ll have to be “for”, I’m an old man.

“Yes, Vladimir Ilyich, we hope that you will be with us against this whining. Now there just isn’t enough time for that.

“And I,” Lenin admitted, “is a sinful thing, I like to listen to this opera.”

It is difficult to say whether this dispute influenced Lenin, but in the summer of the same 1921, he submitted a proposal to the Politburo to close the Bolshoi Theater. He explained: “It is embarrassing to maintain such a luxurious theater for big money when we do not have enough funds to maintain the simplest schools in the village.”

“At one of the meetings,” recalled Lunacharsky, “I challenged his attacks on the Bolshoi Theater. I pointed to its undeniable cultural significance. Then Vladimir Ilyich slyly screwed up his eyes and said: “But still, this is a piece of purely landowner culture, and no one can argue against it!”… The entire courtly-pompous tone of the opera seemed to him specifically landowner.” Lunacharsky’s proposal to keep the Bolshoi Theater Lenin called “completely indecent.” “I advise you to put all the theaters in a coffin,” Vladimir Ilyich stated categorically.

And Lenin … lost, remained in the minority. This is how V. Molotov described this story: “In the summer of 1921, Lenin proposed closing the Bolshoi Theater. He says that we have a famine, such a difficult situation, and this is a noble inheritance. In order to reduce costs, we can do without it for the time being … And Lenin failed. The majority are against… I remember that I then voted among those who did not agree… The only time I voted against Lenin.

Meter, liter, gram and a new calendar.

After October, instead of the old arshins, versts and pounds, new units were established in Russia: meters, kilometers and kilograms. At one time they were introduced in revolutionary France. Of all the revolution’s changes, this one met with perhaps the least resistance. Although among the common people it was not immediately accepted. A characteristic joke from the press of that time:


– I come to the dairy, give me, I say, milk …

— A liter for you?

– Not a liter, but milk …

— Liter?

Yes, milk…

– Liter?!!!

– Well, give me at least a liter …

They gave this very liter, but, it turns out, neither give nor take – milk … “

Much greater opposition was caused in society by the introduction of the Gregorian calendar. According to the decree signed by Lenin, after January 31, 1918, it was not February 1, but the 14th. Russia, thus, caught up with Europe according to the calendar, from which it lagged behind in the 20th century by 13 days.

However, the Orthodox Church did not want to obey this decree and switch to a new style. Such was the general mood of the believers, which could not be changed. In such stubborn disobedience, the authorities saw a clear challenge and tried to break it. Some of the clergy in the 1920s nevertheless switched to the new style. Jokes of 1923 (from the magazine “Drezina”):

“They succeed.

– And how did you celebrate the Assumption, father, in the old way or in the new one?

“Yes, yes, yes, dear.

— How do you do it?!

“And for that, dear, it is the Assumption … Hehehehe.”

“It’s hard to agree on Christmas! Grandmother wants to celebrate in the old style. Mommy is new, and daddy is according to Petrotextile: he says, “when the salary is given out, then the holiday will be!” …

In the end, however, the state resigned itself to the fact that the church lives according to the old, Julian style. The sharp struggle with the church did not subside until the 40s, but it was already on other issues.

“A talented book of an embittered White Guard”.

Lenin was very fond of reading the Black Hundred and other right-wing press. He believed that she expressed the views of the enemies much more frankly, more honestly than the moderate. “It’s a pity,” he remarked, “that the Social Democrats do not catch these sparks of truth from the Black Hundred.” In 1917, fleeing from arrest, Lenin asked his comrades: “Is it possible to get the newspapers of the extreme right-wing parties?”

“I had to get it,” journalist Jukka Latukka recalled. “Ilyich especially attacked the Black Hundred newspapers.”

Lenin retained this attachment to the writings of his enemies even after October. M. Skrypnik recalled how he read the Kadet newspapers: “So he took a fresh issue of Rech … While reading … Lenin did not get annoyed, on the contrary, he laughed with a satisfied look … Looking at him at that moment, I recalled the famous Bebel’s words: “If we are vilified by our enemies, then we are doing the right thing.” One day she asked why the cadet newspapers were still being published.

“Let’s close the newspapers,” Lenin replied, “we won’t know what our enemies think of us.”

However, in August 1918, when the civil war broke out with might and main, the liberal newspapers in red Russia were nevertheless closed, and they migrated to white Russia. However, independent publications in the Soviet Republic also came out later, until the mid-1920s, and Lenin read them carefully.

In 1921, the Russian satirist and humorist Arkady Averchenko published in Paris a collection of short stories, A Dozen Knives in the Back of the Revolution. Soon Lenin published his review in Pravda, entitled “A Talented Book”. “This,” wrote Lenin, “is a book by Arkady Averchenko, an embittered White Guard almost to the point of insanity … Most of the book is devoted to topics that Arkady Averchenko perfectly knows, experienced, changed his mind, re-felt. And with amazing talent, the impressions and moods of a representative of the old, landowner and factory owner, rich, gorged and gorged Russia are depicted. Thus, this is how the revolution must appear to the representatives of the commanding classes. The blazing hatred makes Averchenko’s stories sometimes – and for the most part – vivid to the point of astonishment. There are really excellent things, for example, “Grass, trampled down with boots,” about the psychology of children,

However, the author rises to real pathos only when he talks about food. How rich people ate in old Russia, how they ate in Petrograd – no, not in Petrograd, but in St. Petersburg – for 14 and a half and 50 rubles. etc. The author describes this directly with voluptuousness: this is what he knows, this is what he experienced and felt, and here he will not make a mistake. Knowledge of the case and sincerity are out of the ordinary.

Lenin retells the content of one of the stories (“Fragments of the Shattered”), where two “former” – the plant manager and the senator – yearn for the past. “Both old men recall the old, St. Petersburg sunsets, streets, theaters, of course, food at the Medved, at Vienna and Maly Yaroslavets, etc. And the memories are interrupted by exclamations: “What did we do to them? Whom did we interfere with?”… “How did all this interfere with them?”… “Why are they doing this to Russia?”… Arkady Averchenko cannot understand why. The workers and peasants seem to understand without difficulty and do not need explanations.

In the collection of Averchenko there was also a story that ridiculed Lenin personally. He portrayed him as “Madame Lenina”, the eccentric and capricious wife of Comrade Trotsky. On this occasion, Lenin spoke as follows: “When an author devotes his stories to a topic unknown to him, it comes out unartistically. For example, a story depicting Lenin and Trotsky in domestic life. There is a lot of malice, but it just doesn’t look like it, dear citizen Averchenko! I assure you that Lenin and Trotsky have many shortcomings in every life, including, therefore, in home life. Only in order to write talentedly about them, you need to know them. And you don’t know them.” Lenin ended his review with a wish: “Some stories, in my opinion, deserve reprinting. Talent should be encouraged.” This wish was fulfilled: the stories from “A Dozen of Knives …” were included in Averchenko’s Soviet collection “Shards of the Broken to Pieces” (1926).

However, Averchenko was far from the only White Guard whose books were readily published in Soviet Russia. For example, in the 1920s the memoirs of General Anton Denikin were published. In the margins of this book, Lenin left a note: “The author approaches the class struggle like a blind puppy.” They published the memoirs of the monarchist Vasily Shulgin (Lenin also read them with interest). Shulgin conveyed his feelings in this way at the sight of the revolutionary crowd in February 1917: “God, how disgusting it was! .. So disgusting that, gritting my teeth, I felt in myself one yearning, powerless and therefore even more vicious rage … Machine guns – that’s what I wanted. For I felt that only the language of machine guns was accessible to the street crowd, and that only lead, lead, could drive back into its lair a terrible beast that had escaped to freedom… Alas, this beast was… His Majesty the Russian people…

And in the 60s, Vasily Shulgin, who retained his monarchist views and adherence to Stolypin, became a prominent public figure in the USSR. Shulgin starred in a documentary film dedicated to him, released a collection of new articles (“Letters to Russian Emigrants”), and was even invited as a guest to the XXII Congress of the CPSU … Shulgin believed that many of the “white ideas” that he dreamed of winning during the years of the civil war, became a reality in the post-war Soviet Union.

“What a monstrous philistine!”

Lenin believed that the revolutionary needed to combine realism with fantasy. “This ability [fantasy] is extremely valuable,” he said in one of his speeches. – In vain they think that only a poet needs it. This is stupid prejudice! Even in mathematics, it is needed, even the discovery of differential and integral calculus would be impossible without fantasy. “I’ll tell you a secret: we must be able to fantasize, be able to dream, while remaining arch-realists.”

In October 1920, Lenin met with the most famous science fiction writer of his time, the English writer HG Wells. In the photograph of this conversation, Vladimir Ilyich has an unusually dreamy expression on his face. He spoke with pleasure on the most remote topics from everyday life. Wells wrote in his notebook: “Lenin said that, while reading the novel The Time Machine, he realized that all human ideas were created on the scale of our planet: they are based on the assumption that the technical potential, developing, will never cross the” earthly limit “. If we can establish interplanetary communications, we will have to reconsider all our philosophical, social and moral ideas; in this case, the technical potential, becoming limitless, will put an end to violence as a means and method of progress.

In the conversation, Vladimir Ilyich, by the way, shared with Wells his plan for the electrification of Russia. It’s funny, but this plan seemed too fantastic to the British science fiction writer. Wells later wrote that Lenin “fell into a utopia, a utopia of electrification… Can a more audacious project be imagined in this vast, flat, forested country inhabited by illiterate peasants… The realization of such projects in Russia can only be imagined with the help of super-fantasy . No matter what magic mirror I look into, I cannot see this Russia of the future, but the short man in the Kremlin has such a gift. Returning to his homeland, Wells published the book “Russia in the Dark”, where he condescendingly called Lenin “the Kremlin dreamer.”

(As you know, later Lenin’s plan was implemented, and electric bulbs among the peasants were called “Ilyich’s bulbs”.)

“I remember very well the impression that Vladimir Ilyich got from his conversation with Wales,” Trotsky recalled. – “Well, the tradesman! Well, a philistine! he repeated, raising both hands above the table, laughing and sighing with that laugh and that sigh that characterized in him some inner shame for another person. “What a monstrous tradesman! Lenin repeated, shaking his head. “Ai-i-i, what a philistine!”

N. Ustryalov, in an article dedicated to the memory of Lenin, noted: “There are eras when science fiction writers rule life, and “people of real life”, discarded and crumpled, plunge into the realm of ghosts. Dreamers and science fiction writers become a real instrument of fate… Usually these epochs are later called “great” ones…

“They will lie endlessly.”

Did Lenin ever wonder how his own image would remain for centuries? One day in 1920, he had to watch an English feature film… about himself. True, he did not immediately guess about it. The film was brought from England by Leonid Krasin, especially as a surprise for Vladimir Ilyich. Bolshevik Elizaveta Drabkina described this viewing as follows:

“A certain creature was walking along the alley of the old park … It did not immediately become clear that this was a man, because he was dressed in a long caftan to the heels, decorated with Circassian gazyrs, and a high boyar hat, from under which long hair was knocked out. But thanks to the caption, he explained that this was “Rppse Lenoff”, the son of a wealthy landowner, the owner of several thousand serfs.

Entering the gazebo, Prince Lenoff took out a thick book from under the skirt of his sable caftan – and the caption said that it was “forbidden foreign books” and that Prince Lenoff reads these forbidden foreign books because he is “obsessed with the strange idea of ​​​​equality” …

He is leaving his father’s house!.. He is in St. Petersburg… He is walking along the embankment of the river. “Volga, Volga,” the caption explains. In St. Petersburg, Prince Lenoff indulges in conspiratorial activities (black glasses, black cape, black umbrellas, black wigs). In the closet, under the roof, he makes bombs. Startled, turns to the door. She falls under the pressure of heavy fists: the police! Prince Lenoff was put into a carriage and taken to prison… And at that moment Vladimir Ilyich’s merry, uncontrollable laughter rang out in the hall, for now he realized that under the name of Prince Lenoff he had been bred. The whole hall understood this – and also burst into laughter.

L. Trotsky recalled that for some reason he remarked to Lenin:

“- It would be necessary to write it down, otherwise they will distort it later.

He waved his hand in playful hopelessness.

“They will still lie endlessly.”

Источник: https://leninism-su.translate.goog/books/3599-drugoj-lenin.html?start=13&_x_tr_sl=ru&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp

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2022: Yet Another Xi Book, Personality Cult Grows

Makes me wonder that the cult of General Secretary Xi Jinping gets ever more intense. I added a list of books by or about Xi for sale on the PRC website jd.com. A remarkably large collection of texts by the leader to be studied throughout China in Party study meetings along with three books of two volumes each (with three on volumes on Xi in Fujian and another on Xi as an educated youth sent down to the countryside) on various stages of Xi Jinping’s career. Even a Xi Jinping book designed for elementary school students.

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era Student Reader — Elementary School lower grades.

Outline for Studying Xi Jinping’s Economic Thought published


June 20, 2022  Source: Xinhua News Agency

BEIJING, June 20 (Xinhua) — For the in-depth study and implementation of Xi Jinping’s socialist thought with Chinese characteristics in the new era, especially Xi Jinping’s economic thought, the Central Propaganda Department and the National Development and Reform Commission have organized the preparation of the book “Outline for Studying Xi Jinping’s Economic Thought” 《习近平经济思想学习纲要》(hereinafter referred to as “Outline”), which has been jointly published by the People’s Publishing House and the Learning Press, for immediate distribution nationwide.

Outline for the Study of Xi Jinping Thought on the Economy

Since the 18th Party Congress, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Party Central Committee visionary, overall situation, grasp the general situation, put forward a series of new ideas and new strategies to guide China’s economic development to achieve historic achievements, historic changes, in practice, the formation and development of Xi Jinping economic thought. Xi Jinping’s economic thought is a rigorous system, rich in connotation and profound in depth, which profoundly answers a series of major theoretical and practical questions such as how to see and do economic development in the new era, and is an important part of Xi Jinping’s thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. It is the latest theoretical achievement in contemporary China and the world in the 21st century, and is a scientific guide for China’s high-quality economic development and the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist country.

The Outline consists of 15 chapters, 58 items, 146 articles and 100,000 words. The book systematically explains the core meaning, spiritual essence, rich connotation and practical requirements of Xi Jinping’s economic thought, and comprehensively reflects the original contribution of Xi Jinping’s thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the economic field. Outline” is rich in content, rigorous structure, faithful to the original text, vivid and simple style, is the majority of cadres and masses profound understanding of Xi Jinping’s economic thought of important auxiliary reading.

The central propaganda department issued a notice, requiring party committees (party groups) at all levels to “Outline” into the study plan, comprehensive and systematic learning, timely follow-up learning, in-depth thinking, practical learning, unremittingly use Xi Jinping thought of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era to arm the mind, guide practice, promote work, more consciously use Xi Jinping economic thought to guide the solution of practical problems, and constantly improve the grasp of the new development stage, implement the new development concept, build a new development pattern We will continue to improve the ability and level of grasping the new development stage, implementing the new development concept and building a new development pattern, effectively transforming the learning results into vivid practice of promoting high-quality development, and making unremitting efforts to build a modern socialist country, seize the great victory of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era and realize the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

I might add: this might be interesting to compare with Premier Li Keqiang’s recent conference with Chinese officials on China’s current economic outlook: 2022 Transcript: Li Keqiang at Special Economy Stabilization Conference.

Some translations on this blog related to Xi Jinping Thought that comrades who have not put in their book order yet might find useful:

Be the first in your party branch to collect the entire series on Xi Jinping Thought and on Xi Jinping’s career!

List of Xi Jinping books offered on jd.com via Google Translate

Some titles are duplicated in deluxe editions for the more enthusiastic comrades; the last is a full-color edition for elementary school students: Study of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era
Xi Jinping on Governance Volume I + II
Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era Study Series (Boxed set of 12 volumes) Socialist theory Xi Jinping Thought Marxism in the 21st century Party and government reading materials
Study Outline of Xi Jinping’s Economic Thought
In stock 3 books together 2022 new edition Xi Jinping economic thought of vivid practice review + Xi Jinping economic thought research anthology (2021) + practice Xi Jinping economic thought research anthology (2021) study and practice comprehension Xi Jinping economic thought series of books
Genuine brand-new Xi Jinping new era of socialist thought with Chinese characteristics student reading book junior high school color version People’s Education Publishing House junior high school students patriotic education Chinese characteristics junior high school students reading book
Introduction to Xi Jinping’s Thought on the Rule of Law
Genuine new Xi Jinping socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era
Xi Jinping’s economic thought study outline
Basic Issues of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era
Xi Jinping’s historical perspective on governance in the new era Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era Study Series Party and Government Readings
Bulk purchase of books for enterprises
Xi Jinping’s Historical Perspectives on Governance in the New Era Xi Jinping’s Study Series on Socialist Thought with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era Party and Government Readings
Judicial Examination 2022 National Uniform Legal Professional Qualification Examination: a pass (Volume 1) Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law – Jurisprudence – Constitution – China
[2019 China Goodreads] Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era Study Compendium
All three volumes Xi Jinping talks about governance volume 1 + volume 2 + volume 3 all 1 + 2 + 3 volumes Chinese paperback new edition foreign language publishing house party political reading materials party building books ideas

Basic Issues of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era
New genuine Xi Jinping new era of socialist thought with Chinese characteristics student reading book elementary school students lower grade color version of elementary school students patriotic education new era of Chinese characteristics society student reading book
Pre-sale 5 books collection 2022 new edition Xi Jinping economic thought study outline + Xi Jinping economic thought vivid practice review + Xi Jinping economic thought research anthology 2021 + practice Xi Jinping economic thought research anthology 2021 + Xi Jinping on socialist economic construction excerpts
Genuine Complete set of 12 volumes Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era Study Series China Social Science Press 2019 New Books
Set of 41 volumes: Xi Jinping’s Selected Letters + Xi Jinping’s Thought on the Rule of Law + Xi Jinping’s Excerpts from the Discourse on the Strict Governance of the Party + Xi Jinping’s Excerpts from the Discourse on Adhering to and Improving the Supervision System of the Party and the State + On Grasping the New Development Stage, Implementing the New Development Concept and Building a New Development Pattern + On the Work of the Three Rural Areas
Lectures on Xi Jinping Thought on Journalism
2022 legal professional qualification exams tutorials – textbooks nine books: eight books + Xi Jinping rule of law thought (set of 9 books)
Xi Jinping News and Public Opinion Thought
So that the Masses will Live Good Lives: Xi Jinpingas a Youth Sent Down to the Countryside

Xi Jinping in Shanghai (two volumes)
Xi Jinping in Shanghai (two volumes)

Xi Jinping in Zhejiang (two volumes)
Xi Jinping in Rural Fujian (two volumes)
Calm Words, Staying Close to the People: Sayings of General Secretary Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping on Governance (3 volumes)
Strict Governance of the Communist Party Will Keep It Always on the Right Path: Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era Study Series Theoretical achievements from strict governance of the Party\

There are many more volumes that seem to be academic works applying Xi Jinping Thought on socialism in the new era to fields such as foreign relations, the environment, rural development and other issues.

Xi Jinping Studies on Diplomatic Thought of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era International Relations Foreign Policy Socialism with Chinese Characteristics Party and Government Readings


2022-06-20 12:18 来源: 新华社

【字体:大 中 小】打印

新华社北京6月20日电 为深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想特别是习近平经济思想,中央宣传部、国家发展改革委组织编写《习近平经济思想学习纲要》(以下简称《纲要》)一书,已由人民出版社、学习出版社联合出版,即日起在全国发行。




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2009: Preface to Liao Yiwu’s “Earthquake Insane Asylum”

Rescuing the Real – Preface to Liao Yiwu’s Earthquake Insane Asylum

By Kang Zhengguo 康正果

地震瘋人院 [Earthquake Insane Asylum] by Liao Yiwu with the assistance of Xiao Jin

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the United States was experiencing rapid economic growth, monopolistic industrial trusts, local judicial abuses, and a growing disparity between rich and poor, all of which caused great public discontent with social injustice and corruption. Since free speechhas been a fundamental principle upon which the United founded, the press and publishing industry have always provided a forum for criticism.  A group of journalists launched a campaign to expose scandals, denounce corruption, and call for justice and conscience in response to those social ills that needed to be eliminated. In McClure’s Magazine journalists devoted a sensational series to fraud at John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil in the City of St. Louis.  In his documentary novel The Jungle Upton Sinclair exposed the profit-oriented nature of Chicago’s food processing industry with a plethora of horrifying facts. President Theodore Roosevelt initially seemed to take offense at such outrageous statements, borrowing from a character in Bunyan’s The Pilgrims’ Progress” who never looked up to the glory of God but only collected filth, he added the sarcastic term “muckraker” to the group of journalists and writers. The muckraker is a derisive term placed on a group of journalists and writers. But the journalists and writers stood up to the President’s harsh criticisms, first accepting them gladly, and then doing a good job of winning his support in their “muckraking” business. Later, prompted by the muckraker movement, the Roosevelt administration carried out radical reforms in judicial, administrative and economic policies, enacted [sic] the (1890) “Sherman Antitrust Act” to restrict the monopoly of large consortia and enacted the (1906) “Pure Food and Drug Act” to protect the interests of consumers.

    Theodore Roosevelt obviously had much more magnanimity than Mao and other Chinese Communist leaders. I looked at his speech against journalists’ muckraking, and while he was sarcastic, in his next speech he made a clear statement to the public that he strongly supported the practice of writers and journalists in the pulpit and in the books to attack the wrongdoers and their evil deeds in politics, business and social life, as long as the crimes they expose are absolutely true, they are doing something good for society. From this, we can see that the greatest vitality of a democratic society lies in the fact that its government not only dares to face the respective social reality, but also makes timely corrections and changes to the undesirable phenomena that appear in the process of social development. We can imagine that, no matter how fierce and sensational the scavenging movement was in the United States, if the president was not enlightened and the government did not take positive actions, it would be difficult to talk about any significant results.

   Contrary to the U.S. government’s positive response to civil criticism, the Chinese Communist Party has always relied on cover-ups to maintain its unpopular rule. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party’s founding, and for six decades, the party power government has never allowed the news media to publish any reports that reveal the truth. The Chinese Communist Party’s vulnerability to the truth is the result of a false situation, and its inability to reveal the truth is the same as the devil’s fear of the sunlight that shines in the cave of darkness. In Mainland China, journalists have to do what their superiors tell them to do, and not only are they not allowed to do the slightest American-style excrement, but they are also required to produce a lot of excrement at all times in order to cover up the truth. Over the past 60 years, the Chinese media have produced so many lies that it would be difficult to add up all the computers in the world to check them all. Even in the era of reform and opening up, which is said to be a time of “great progress,” writers and journalists who dared to openly excrete were still suppressed at every turn, from imprisonment to job loss. For example, Liao Yiwu, the author of the new book Earthquake Insane Asylum  《地震疯人院》, has been suppressed by the Chinese Communist regime’s muck-making machine for 20 years because he insisted on disclosing the covered-up truth to the public and telling the truth that was not allowed to be told. The reality in China is so dirty that if you want to take out the shit of the party and the government, their dictatorship will first reduce you to shit.

   Looking at Liao Yiwu’s published works, I have always had a vague feeling that he is instinctively sensitive to sudden horrible disasters (cataclysms) and has the strength to rise up against the wind. In the context of Western literary criticism, he seems to be one of those writers with an apocalyptic temperament. In his “Three Cities” series of poems published more than twenty years ago, he prophesied an apocalyptic disaster. The protagonist of the poem, Alafawei, is described as a hero who wreaks havoc in the tide of disaster, like a white whale growing up in the abyss of sewage, and the more he is drawn into the fishy vortex, the more powerful the destruction becomes.

   Soon after the publication of his poem “Massacre” 《大屠杀》 , the Tiananmen Massacre took place in Beijing, and Liao Yiwu, who had never known anything about realpolitik and had taken no interest in

Exiled Voices of China and Tibet: Liao Yiwu Performing “Massacre”

politics, suddenly had a strong poetic reaction to the catastrophe of the People’s Liberation Army shooting at the pedestrians and the tank tracks running over masses of people. He recited and recorded it himself, and made a tape for distribution. All that happened in Sichuan, far from the scene of the killings. The real disaster soon came upon him, and he spent four years in prison for the crime of counter-revolutionary writing. After the torture of the living hell in the prison, the poet’s imagination of the disaster in his mind was like a falcon falling into a pigsty, and his hard bones were beaten, and he developed a hard stomach as a poet during his forced swallowing of filth. In the book Testimony 《证词》, which records the inhumane treatment in the detention center, Liao Yiwu said: “The pig’s hair comes out of the pig. In order to understand a thing thoroughly and accurately, you have to bite on it like a fly, the buzzing sound is annoying, and you have to be wary of being knocked around. But you were born to do this dirty work, as if you were a doctor in ancient times, who knew the persistent diseases of the times by tasting human feces.” “The stomach of the witness, sometimes not through thought, but through teeth, blood, gnawing heads to lick and chew the human taste around, fashioning the rancid taste of memory fermenting outdated memories.” This is both cruel self-indulgence and tough regurgitation. To witness how far life and humanity are spoiled by “banal evil”, one has to reach into the clan with dirty hands and wash out the truth from the filth.

   This ability of acceptance and expression is crucial to Liao Yiwu’s writing orientation since his release from prison in 1994. Similarly, to accurately understand and appreciate the characteristics of his works, one should first recognize his ability of acceptance and expression. Liao Yiwu did not have the same good fortune as the American muckrakers, whether it was digging up the scandals of the powerful class or searching for the cunning of the big shots: that never happened to him. When Howard W. French, a New York Times reporter who interviewed the little emperor of Central Africa, repeatedly asked Liao why he didn’t write about the top officials of the Communist Party or the new rich today, but always circled around the freaks, the downtrodden, the lowly, Liao Yiwu told him about his experience of falling to the bottom of the social ladder as soon as he was released from prison. The bottom and the lowly is Liao Yiwu’s own living situation, the status and position that has been given to him ironically. He had almost no choice but to bury his head in the sand and write. As a result, he had to take on the forced choice as a mission to resist. With a bitter smile, he explained to Fu Haowen, “If I had had the kind of intelligence that would have enabled me to publicly interview senior officials, I would not have been in jail, let alone unlucky for so many years.”

   What Liao Yiwu did was in fact another kind of muckraking work. To complete his series of interviews, he went deep among the beggars, vagrant artists, petitioners, the unemployed, working farmers, Falun Gong practitioners, old landlords, old rightists, and other disadvantaged groups in China today, and unearthed from their poor existence, which was kicked into the gutter like dung, the poverty, bitterness, hopelessness, and grievances that the Communist Party and government deliberately concealed and refused to admit. Naturally, these words are neither warm nor beautiful nor pleasing. From beginning to end, if one reads between the lines, these stories only make the Party and the government feel that these tales have tarnished their “glorious” image.  Thus the Party and States see them as  dirty books that tarnish the present arrangements and so publishing them is  strictly prohibited on the China Mainland.

   The good thing is that today’s Chinese society has improved – not the CCP’s own progress, of course, but with the decline of the Party’s dictatorship, the cage has developed many loopholes – and what cannot be published in China can be sent abroad. The Internet police have been tightening up, but they can’t stop the Internet from spreading ideas. The blockade of the Mao Zedong era, when dogs were beaten behind closed doors and not even a single scream could be heard, is long gone. Liao Yiwu’s books were first published in three volumes Conversations with the People at the Lower Levels in Chinese Society《中国底层访谈录》 by Taipei’s Maitian, followed by Hong Kong’s Spiegel, which published his Testimony《证词》 and China’s Petition Village 《中国上访村》, and then by the American Correctional Foundation, which published two volumes of China’s Book of Wrongdoings 《中国冤案录》and two thick volumes of The Last Landlord   《最后的地主》 . All of these interview-based documentary works barely expose to overseas Chinese readers the barren face and blackened landscape of another world on the Chinese mainland.

   In recent years, Liao Yiwu’s unique muckraking writings have been gaining attention in Europe and the United States. Translator Huang Wen selected twenty-seven of his published interviews, translated them into English, and compiled a collection under the title The Corpse Walker  (from the title of the collection, “The Corpse Witness, Luo Tianwang”)  〈赶尸目击者罗天王〉,  which was published last year by Random House’s Pantheon Books. Naturally, the book was much more popular in a country with a penchant for excrement than in the light-hearted Taiwanese book market. Liao Yiwu was able to buy a small apartment near Chengdu after receiving a royalty far greater than the total amount he had ever received in China, thus bringing his twenty years of hardship to an end. He and his partner, Ms. Jin, were happy to decorate their new house and wanted to create their own piano platform for a few days of peace and tranquility with Wenjun.

   Unfortunately, the Wenchuan earthquake suddenly occurred. The nightmare that Liao Yiwu had painted in his poems more than twenty years ago now came to reality with a loud bang, shaking the new buildings in his residential district to the east and west, scaring the residents of the building to go home and sleep for many days. As mentioned above, Liao Yiwu’s nerves and literary thoughts seem to have some kind of isomorphic connection with the elements of disaster, and the outbreak of the earthquake immediately presented a scene of “the earth having an epileptic fit” in front of his eyes. The general hysterical atmosphere of the climate and environment immediately infected his emotions and his hands and feet, and he went deep into the earthquake-stricken areas and started a new interview. From May 12 of last year, he began to keep his diary of the earthquake and kept it until July 18. During those two months of travel, he searched and photographed, and now he has a new book entitled Earthquake Insane Asylum.

   Although Liao Yiwu, who admires Ryszard Kapuscinski, does not have the historical awareness and global vision of the Polish official journalist, he has the appetite to eat rotten meat and the perseverance to go through the garbage pile – which reminds me of the English word scavenger scavenger. His diary and photographs preserve for us the closed despair and death from Yingxiu to Beichuan (see Camus’ The Plague), the naked fear and anxiety of Márquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera, and outside the widely publicized Chinese Central Television footage of Premier Wen Jiabao shedding tears and Secretary Hu Jintao sending condolences, Liao Yiwu’s book does salvage for us a story that has been officially falsified, disguised, and performed throughout. Liao Yiwu’s book does rescue the earth’s devastation and human ulcers that have been buried alive by official falsifications, falsifications and various disaster relief performances.

   There are two aspects of disaster relief: the obligation of the government and the volunteers in the civil society to do their best to save the lives of the people in the disaster area, to stop the expansion and spread of the disaster, and to minimize and restore the damage caused by the disaster. However, the news media has another rescue mission. In today’s global information technology, journalists always have to be the first to announce the situation at the disaster site to the outside world through audio, video and text overviews. From the Southeast Asian Tsunami to the hurricane in New Orleans, journalists have the responsibility to report the real situation to the world, no matter which part of the earth has been chosen by the horrible disaster. Truthful, detailed, timely, everything is the purpose itself. What is the extent of the casualty damage? How well is the government and society doing in response to the disaster? Are the vulnerable being attended to? Is it a natural disaster or a man-made disaster? How much of the natural disaster was a man-made disaster? The reporting of all these situations will facilitate the relief efforts and enlist help from the outside world, and at the same time, it will also serve to monitor the actions of the government in the disaster area from the side, so that all the activities happening in the disaster area will be focused on the attention of the whole world.

   But in Communist China, these international norms have never worked. In 1976, the world knew about the massive earthquake in Tangshan, China, but it was not until decades later that the world learned of the 240,000 people who died in the disaster. From 1959 to 1961, as the Great Leap Forward and communalization caused famine throughout China’s countryside, the Chinese were told only lightly that there had been three years of “natural disasters”. It was only decades later that word gradually spread that more than 30 million people had died of starvation in those three years. Many, many more natural disasters caused by man-made disasters or man-made disasters added to natural disasters have been covered up for 60 years, and not only are the media not allowed to report the truth, but they also create big lies, and even turn every disaster suffered by the people into the government’s merit of disaster relief. What does Chairman Mao always mean by “turning bad things into good things”? It is to smelt the people’s disaster into the glory of the party.

   After the Sichuan earthquake, the government of Party General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao government continued to do its usual tricks, trying to monopolize disaster relief single-handedly. This is because the earthquake itself had a serious human-caused component. Whether or not the local government suppressed or concealed warnings, it is clear that the decision makers in the party and government institutions were responsible for triggering the earthquake, just by knowing the existence of the Longshan Fault and carrying out the construction of the Third Front (三線建設) of China’s defense industry in China’s interior and building dams there. Not to mention the death and injury of the schoolchildren crushed under the collapsed school building, while the government office building is more robust and designed to be more earthquake resistant than other civilian buildings. Portaying the natural disaster a sudden blow, bad governance could not withstand public scrutiny. Frightened officials are naturally worried about the influx of reporters into the disaster area to report the real situation. They worried even more about strangers who were lying bare their bottoms and pulling out their shit. Therefore, they promptly deployed personnel to set up defensive lines facing all unofficial relief organizations and individual spontaneous relief actions. These relief efforts ran up against obstacles everywhere. Thus the fragile nerves of the Communist Party thus foolishly doing a series of things that weakened the effectiveness of disaster relief.

 Liao Yiwu’s chronicle of the earthquake leads our reading to the adventure of sneaking into the disaster area several times to take live pictures and the tense journey of how to muddle through along the way. In order to save the blocked reality, he had to take the risk of going into the enemy-occupied area for intelligence. Therefore, he brought along capable assistants, and all kinds of equipment.  Combining improvisation and skills at making contacts he documented everything he saw,  every encounter to trouble, and had him stand up for. His assistants helped him bluff their way through official roadblocks, something they were much better at doing than Liao Yiwu who personified the marginalized.  Liao himself was quick as a bird, his hand cupped mini-recorder, shoulder digital camera, under the scenario, moving to “click, click” taking pictures and recording people’s voice. This, coupled with the long drive in a private car with a pass, added a dramatic touch to their very suspicious trip to the disaster area. This is the wedge that today’s marketization and high technology have driven into this society all tied into knots loosened strict controls. When the authorities stiffened up,  private forces slowly pushed through using lubrication. What the legitimate journalists can’t do, the fringe figures  slip in and take care of business.

   This is indeed an absolutely necessary alternative way to rescue. Look: the sobbing mother kept crying “my daughter” for hours; there was a woman named Gong Tianxiu, who sawed off her own leg,

Prayer at Beichuan Three Months After the Earthquake

which was crushed under a broken wall, and crawled out of the rubble in order to survive; there was a despicable party official named Tan Li, who pretended to greet the victims, and the crowd shouted to him at him in unison: “Give out mother f’n hammers!” …… Another was old man Zheng, he was the first to enter Beichuan, he said to Liao Yiwu: “In the rubble just a few steps, the legs will be held by the hands reaching out from the ground, uncle save me! Uncle help me! Uncle save me! Brother help me! There was nothing we could do. All they could do was him a bottle of water, take off a piece of clothing, all they could do were to give a few words of comfort. They are really painful anxiously, and said no to let go of the hand, it gritted his teeth, whether I get of here alive or not, it makes no difference whether I hold the hand of the executioner!”. Originally, I had been holding the camera, but after only a few minutes, I could not take any pictures.” All these scenes and facts belong to the reporter’s camera, photography, recording, transcript to try to salvage the object, but without Liao Yiwu and his two companions to intervene in the spontaneous salvage work of the people, the cries, the bloody scenes, the embarrassment of those damned officials being spit on by the public all this would have been lost forever in the oblivion as if no one had paid them any attention.  The truth about the Great Chinese Famine and the Tangshan Earthquake were not rescued from oblivion.  Countless truths were officially concealed forever like so many buried corpses. A death toll of 30 million or 240,000 is, after all, only a number.  The lack of a live and factual record naturally weakens the witnessing to the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party. But during last year’s Sichuan earthquake relief effort, the Communist authorities’ blockade and cover-up were clearly stretched to the limit. People from all sides went into the disaster area and started their own rescue efforts.  Many, many dedicated people did what Liao Yiwu and his companions did. If you read this new book by Liao Yiwu, you can get a glimpse of the whole picture and complete the real rescue of the truth as you gain in your personal understanding of just what happened there. 

   February 25, 2009

(Rescuing the Truth – Preface to Liao Yiwu’s Earthquake Madhouse Full Text Ends Blog



   这一接受能力和表达能力的练就,对廖亦武自一九九四年出狱至今的写作取向至关重要,同样,要准确地理解和欣赏他那些作品的特征,也应对他接受和表达的能力先有所认识。廖亦武没有碰上美国掏粪者那样的好机运,无论是挖权势阶层的丑闻,还是搜罗大人物的猫腻,从来都与他无缘。当采访过中非洲小皇帝的《纽约时报》记者傅好文(Howard W. French)一再追问廖何以不写中共高官或当今的新富,而始终在畸零人、落魄者、卑贱的一群中兜圈子时,廖亦武向傅讲了他一出狱即堕入社会底层的经历。底层和卑贱就是廖亦武本人的生存境况,是业已铁定给他的身份和地位,他一直在挣扎摆脱,但他的处境一如他书中所写的那些人物,不管干什么事都像踩进泥坑,且大有越陷越深之势。除了埋头苦写,他几乎别无选择。结果,他只好把被迫的选择作为抗拒的使命承担下来。他苦笑着向傅好文解释说:“如果我有公开采访高官的智力,就不会坐牢,更不会倒霉这么多年了。”
   近年来,廖亦武独特的掏粪文字在欧美也逐渐引起重视,翻译家黄文便从他已出版的访谈录中选出二十七篇,译成英文,汇编一集,以The Corpse Walker(取自该集所收的篇名〈赶尸目击者罗天王〉)为名,在去年由兰登书屋的Pantheon Books出版。书出在具有掏粪爱好的国家,自然比在轻松文字泛滥的台湾书市上要受欢迎多了。廖亦武得了一笔远比他以往所得中文稿酬的总数还要丰厚的版税,因此才得以在成都附近买到一套小小的公寓,至此,二十年累累若丧家之犬的颠沛生活总算可告一段落。他与他再次找回的伴侣小金女士欢快地装修起新屋,很想营造个他们自己的琴台,好过几天相如伴文君的安宁日子。

   这的确是绝对必要的另一种抢救。你看:那个泣血的母亲不断哭嚎着“我的么女哦”,已连续哭嚎了几个小时;还有一个名叫龚天秀的妇女,为了活命,她自己锯断了被压在断壁下的残腿,血淋淋爬出了废墟;有一个可鄙的党官名叫谭力,他装模作样地向灾民问好,群众向他齐声大吼:“好你妈个锤子” ……另有一位老郑,他第一时间进入北川,他对廖亦武如是说: “在废墟里随便走几步,腿就会被地底伸出的手给抱住,叔叔救我!伯伯救我!哥哥救我!没得法哟。只能递瓶水,脱件衣裳,安慰两句话而已。也有实在痛急了,好说歹说都不松手的,就咬咬牙,活生生地掰开,跟刽子手没差别。本来嘛,我还扛着摄像机,可是才几分钟,我就拍不下去了。”所有这些现场和实情都属于记者的摄像、拍照、录音、笔录要尽力抢救的对象,但若无廖亦武与他的两个同伴介入民间自发的抢救工作,那哭嚎的声音,那血淋淋的场景,那狗官被民众唾弃的尴尬,就永远地消失在无人关注的遗忘中了。三年大饥荒和唐山大地震被禁绝了这样的抢救,因而无数的真实都被官方像埋掉尸首一样永远地隐瞒灭迹了。三千万或二十四万的死亡数字毕竟只是数字,缺少了现场和实情的记录,自然就削弱了对中共罪行的见证。但在去年的四川地震救灾过程中,中共当局的封锁与掩盖已明显地捉襟见肘了。四面八方的人员都进入了灾区,都展开了各自抢救实况的工作,有很多很多有心人,都做了类似廖亦武和他的同伴所做的事情。你读了廖亦武这部新书,即可窥一斑而知全豹,以你个人的知晓完成了对真实的抢救。

(抢救真实——序廖亦武《地震疯人院》 全文完博讯ww

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2022: PRC Researcher on Next Generation U.S. Early Warning Satellites

This Chinese article published in the PRC open journal Modern Defense Technology [ 现代防御技术], evaluates U.S. progress in developing next generation early warning satellites illustrates open source collection, provides an overview of military space high tech field and gives some indication of what PRC defense scholars may be thinking.

Reading through the reference is interesting. The third reference is an evaluation of Russian satellite early warning systems; unfortunately that one isn’t online! Sources include U.S. aerospace company announcements of contracts, articles by other PRC scholars on U.S. military space systems, a student paper from the U.S. Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, Gunter Kreb’s remarkable Gunther’s Space Page, and a U.S. Air Force soliciation for sensor algorithm development.

Study the footnotes and endnotes of a book or article can be enlightening. I remember twenty-some years ago when I read the PRC book Unrestricted Warfare by two PRC writer-senior colonels (the PLA has some interesting specialties, even (until a few years ago) generals whose military occupational speciality was singing, Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping’s wife Peng Liyuan had the rank equivalent of major general in the PLA Arts Troupe.). The book discussed many kinds of unconventional warfare and stirred up considerable attention and even worry on the part of some people in Washington. I went through the book thoroughly and end up doing a four-part summary translation which I drafted and were sent back from Embassy Beijing where I worked in the Environment, Science and Technology Section.

My most interesting discovery reading the book cover-to-cover was that about 60% of the footnotes were U.S. Department of Defense publications. This seemed to be multiple mirroring — some Chinese people worry about the US, write a book about that and then some people in the USA read the book and worry “what are the Chinese up to!”. Other countries worry about their defense and the USA worrying about its defense can lead to the other side’s concerns being misinterpreted as offensive intent, intent being so hard to figure out that countries often will focus on potential adversary military capabilities rather than intent. Just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you. On the other hand, the worst assumption can become the default and can move from being thought of as a hedge against the worst case to being thought of as the really real.

At the time were were releasing unclassified versions of some of our U.S. Embassy Beijing reporting cables and putting them on the U.S. Embassy Beijng website (still available on the Internet Archive). The summary translation is also available on the Federation of American Scientists website under Chinese Doctrine/Conventional Forces.

Government Accountability Office Report on Next Generation Missile Warning Development

The September 2021 Government Accountability Office report “MISSILE WARNING SATELLITES:
Comprehensive Cost and Schedule Information Would Enhance Congressional Oversight”
cautions on the technical, managerial and cost-containment challenges of the next-generation U.S. missile warning system project.

What GAO Found :The U.S. defense and intelligence communities depend on data from overhead
persistent infrared sensors. These sensors provide early warning of ballistic missile launches and contribute to other defense and intelligence missions. The planned Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next Gen OPIR) system is intended to replace the Space Based Infrared System, which began in the mid1990s. The Space Force plans to launch the first of five Next Gen OPIR satellites
in 2025. The figure below presents a notional depiction of current and planned
OPIR systems.

Despite early steps to speed up development, the Next Gen OPIR program faces significant technical and managerial challenges—such as developing a new mission payload and serving as the lead system integrator for the first time in this area—that are likely to delay the initial launch. Significant schedule delays typically result in cost increases. Although officials are aware of schedule risks, they continue to present an on-track timeline and stable cost estimates in reports to congressional committees. More transparency in schedules and costs would contribute to better Department of Defense (DOD) and congressional oversight and decision-making.

The first Next Gen OPIR satellites are intended to provide missile warning capabilities and support other mission partners. DOD has initiated multi-agency efforts to determine how to meet future needs. However, coordination mechanisms are not formalized. Without documenting roles, responsibilities, and
plans, DOD risks ineffective collaboration and unsynchronized delivery of warfighter capabilities.

Modern Defense Technology [ 现代防御技术], 2022, 50(2): 18-25 doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1009-086x.2022.02.003 is a Chinese online defense journal. Article URL: https://www.xdfyjs.cn/article/2022/1009-086X/1009-086X-2022-50-2-18.shtml

From Advice for potential contributors   投稿须知  to Modern Defense Technology:

Submission Instructions

In order to improve the efficiency of your submission, please read the following requirements carefully.

  1. Modern Defense Technology only publishes original manuscripts, and rejects multiple submissions and manuscripts involving confidentiality.
  2. The manuscript must be provided with a certificate of confidentiality review with the official seal of the organization, otherwise it will not be published. The official seal of the confidentiality review certificate should be the official seal of the confidentiality committee or the confidentiality department of the institution or research institute where the first author is located, and the official seal of secondary institutions (faculties, departments) and research laboratories will not be recognized. In case of confidentiality problems, all consequences will be borne by the authors themselves and the editorial office will not be responsible for them.
  3. This journal mainly publishes domestic and foreign defense technology, including air and space defense system, strategy and tactics, air defense missile weapon system in general (including weapon system in general, missile technology, navigation, guidance and control, command and control and communication, detection and tracking technology, military electronic information system, simulation technology, target characteristics, launch technology, test technology, launch control technology, reliability technology, weapon equipment and combat use, etc.), and scientific and technical papers on precise guidance technology, etc.
  4. The columns of Modern Defense Technology are as follows: air and space defense systems and weapons; missile technology; navigation, guidance and control; command and control and communication; detection and tracking technology; integrated security technology; test and launch control technology; military electronic information system; simulation technology. The authors are requested to give their suggestions on which section of the article is suitable for publication in the following and write them on the top left corner of the first page of the article.
  5. The article is required to have clear arguments, reliable data, clear organization, concise text, and initially meet the requirements for publication.
    Research paper: A complete discussion of a major or important scientific or engineering research result in the field of defense technology that is innovative and groundbreaking and that contributes to the development of the academic field.
    Review: To review and comment on the latest research results in the frontier issues, interdisciplinary and high technology innovation in defense technology research, discuss the remaining problems, and propose ideas for future development.

In the translation I have added some links to article that may help undertand the technologies being discussed.

Progress on the Next Generation of Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) Warning Satellites

Jiu-Long Wang, Xiao-Yi Wang, Hai-Fei Hu, Sheng Cai

Changchun Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130033, Jilin, China

Research Progress of the US “Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared” (OPIR) Early Warning Satellite


WANG Jiu-long, WANG Xiao-yi, HU Hai-fei, CAI Sheng

Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Jiling Changchun 130033, China


The U.S. space-based early warning satellite system is an important component of the missile defense system, and the study of its development status and capability is of great significance. In order to support the basic research and engineering development of China’s space-based optical early warning related fields, the development history, system composition and main problems of the U.S. defense support program (DSP) and space-based infrared system (SBIRS) two generations of space-based early warning satellites are analyzed. On the basis of the research progress and achievements of the U.S. “overhead persistent infrared” (OPIR) early warning satellites, a detailed summary of their research progress in the areas of constellation planning, sensor payload development, ground data processing system and data standard specification is presented. The research progress and achievements of OPIR satellites are summarized in detail.

Keywords: early warning satellite ; space-based infrared system ; overhead continuous infrared ; sensor payload ; ground-based system ; data standard

doi:10.3969/j.issn.1009-086x.2022.02.003 . Chinese library classification number:V474. 2;TJ01  Document Classification code:A Document serial number:1009-086X(2022)-02 -0018-08

Abstract [in English in the original text]

The U.S. space-based early warning satellite system is an important part of the missile defense system, and the research on its development status and capabilities is of great significance. The U.S. space-based early warning satellite system is an important part of the missile defense system, and the research on its development status and capabilities is of great significance. In order to support China’s fundamental research and engineering development on space-based optical early warning, the research progress and achievements of the US “next generation overhead persistent infrared” (OPIR) early warning satellite are reviewed based on the analysis of the development history, system composition and main issues of the two generations of space-based early warning satellites of the US defense support program (DSP) and space-based infrared system (SBIRS). The research status of constellation planning, sensor payloads development, ground data processing system, OPIR data standardization is summarized in detail. It is suggested that the research should focus on building the target infrared image data set, developing wide-field of view (WFOV) data processing algorithms, developing search and tracking It is suggested that the research should focus on building the target infrared image data set, developing wide-field of view (WFOV) data processing algorithms, developing search and tracking integrated large area array payload technology, strengthening satellite near-field The first step is to develop an integrated search and tracking large area array payload technology, strengthening satellite near-field perception and defense.

Keywords: early warning satellite ; space-based infrared system ; overhead persistent infrared ; sensor payloads ; ground system ; data standard

[Chinese text continues]

Research progress on the next generation of U.S. Overhead Continuous Infrared (OPIR) early warning satellite

By WANG Jiulong, WANG Xiaoyi, HU Haifei, CAI Sheng:

Modern Defense Technology[J], 2022, 50(2): 18-25 doi:10.3969/j.issn.1009-086x.2022.02.003

WANG Jiu-long. research progress of the US “Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared” (OPIR) Early Warning Satellite. modERN DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY[ J], 2022, 50(2): 18-25 doi:10.3969/j.issn.1009-086x.2022.02.003

0 Introduction

Space-based early warning platforms consisting of geostationary, large elliptical high-orbit, and low-orbit satellites as well as composed of space-based early warning platforms represent a new generation of early warning technology which the United States, Russia, and China are competing to develop because of their theoretical ability provide global coverage for target detection.  [1-3]. Early warning satellites play an important role in strategic defense systems since they provide important means for surveillance, detection, discovery and tracking of enemy strategic missiles [4]. The development of the U.S. early warning satellite system began in the 1950s to detect Soviet ballistic missile launches. The United States developed and deployed the defense support program (DSP) early warning satellite [5] – the first generation of U.S. space-based early warning satellites to be deployed in geosynchronous orbit. By 2007, DSP satellites have undergone five development phases, with 23 satellites launched and two still in service in orbit.The main shortcoming of DSP include: ① inability to track mid-flight missiles; ② the dependence of satellite data processing on foreign stations; ③ its low scan rate, low frequency band and high false alarm rate of infrared detectors on board; ④ its slow scan speed results in an inability to effectively warn of missiles in war zones; ⑤ detector sensitivity and resolution are low; ⑥ DSP lacks a  staring camera, which could track the ballistic missile target with high accuracy. To overcome DSP inadequacies, the United States in 1992 began the development of the space-based infrared system (Space-Based InfraRed System, SBIRS) [6]. SBIRS system problems include: (1) system resilience and anti-destruction capability is insufficient, it lacks the ability to defend itself against a variety of hard and soft kill means; (2) it cannot adapt to the development of new air and space threat targets and can not meet the needs of future missile defense operations; (3) SBIRS is expensive, time-consuming to build; (4) the technology of “line scan + tracking with phased array antenna that are too small” [Translator’s note: for comparison, see specifications for ground-based phased antenna array for missile tracking.]  cannot effectively adapt to the realization of multi-domain multi-target early warning tracking.

To target future space operations in response to emerging and anticipated threats, the U.S. Air Force proposed the “Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared” (NG-OPIR) early warning satellite program, through “using a mature satellite platform + focus on sensor technology” to effectively reduce the operational target value of missile warning satellites and thus obtain a higher probability of survival [8]. Moreover, “relatively simple and inexpensive” early warning satellites can be manufactured in large numbers and rapidly deployed in wartime to complement and sustain space-based missile warning capabilities and enhance the system resilience of missile early warning satellites.

1 Overview of OPIR

1.1 Constellation Composition

The U.S. Air Force launched the Next Generation Overhead sustained InfraRed (OPIR) early warning satellite program in 2018, which is a new generation of high-orbiting early warning satellite system planned by the U.S. after DSP and SBIRS, jointly operated by the U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense. OPIR consists of space-based sensors and ground-based data processing stations that work in a cooperative network to continuously or nearly continuously collect visible, near-infrared, short-wave infrared, and mid-wave infrared energy from space and process it to produce infrared images that support missile warning , missile defense, technical intelligence, and battlefield space awareness, among other domain missions [9].

The FY 2019 budget proposal calls for the cancellation of the SBIRS-GEO7 and GEO8 development programs and the dedication of related funds to the construction of the OPIR constellation, which is planned to have five satellites, three in geosynchronous orbit and two in polar orbit, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Composition of OPIR constellation

        Satellite number              Year      Orbit

  • OPIR-GEO 1 (NGG 1) 2025 Geosynchronous orbit (GEO)
  • OPIR-GEO 2 (NGG 2) 202x Geosynchronous orbit (GEO)
  • OPIR-GEO 3 (NGG 3) 20xx Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO)
  • OPIR-Polar 4 (NGP 4) 2027 High Elliptical Orbit (HEO)
  • OPIR-Polar 5 (NGP 5) 20xx High Elliptical Orbit (HEO)

1.2 Research and Development Program

In 2018 the U.S. Air Force selected Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman as the prime contractors for the OPIR program [10]. Among them, Lockheed Martin was awarded a sole-source contract of more than $3 billion for the development and production of three GEO satellites, with the first satellite expected to be launched in 2025; Northrop Grumman was awarded a $2.3 billion contract for the development and production of two HEO satellites, with the first satellite expected to be launched in 2027. five satellites will be completed in 2029 to complement the active SBIRS The OPIR early warning system consists of HEO satellites, polar-orbiting satellites, and ground-based systems, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Fig. 1 Schematic diagram of Flexible OPIR Ground Architecture

[in orange] EGS/FORGE/S2E2  All-weather/continuous/monitoring

[violet upward pointing arrow] Joint Space Combat Center, National Space Defense Center

In the Block-1 phase of OPIR, the U.S. is actively seeking to build a new system based on innovative technologies, aiming to enhance the system’s destructive capability and strive to complete the deployment of operational satellites by 2030. Once OPIR is deployed and operational (as shown in Figure 2), it will directly support anti-missile warfare at the strategic and tactical levels, and will have a significant impact on “missile-centric warfare.

Figure 2

Fig.2 OPIR complete system architecture

2 Payload development

2.1 Overall Progress

OPIR uses a very large surface array multi-band infrared array focal plane detector that can detect and track not only large ballistic missile launches, but also small surface-to-air missiles, boosted glide and aspirated hypersonic weapons, and even air-to-air missile launches. The U.S. Air Force has asked Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to competitively develop a next-generation OPIR satellite sensor payload to mitigate the schedule issues facing the first launch of a GEO satellite in 2025. Payload development for the NGG satellites in Block 0 phase was contracted to 2 companies, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Northrop Grumman-Ball Aerospace [11], to design, build, assemble, integrate, and deliver one mission payload each for the first two GEO early warning satellites. As of May 2020, the two candidate payloads have completed preliminary design reviews and met Air Force metrics requirements, with development expected to be completed in 2023. in May 2021, the U.S. Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and Raytheon with [Boeing] Millennium Space Systems) contracted for a digital model of the Missile Tracking Hosted Prototype (MTCP) design, enabling the government to automate the integration and linking of multiple contractors’ models in a digital environment so that the digital model can be used to test whether the sensor payload design meets missile warning requirements before building the next generation of OPIR warning satellites [12].

2.2 The WFOV project

To secure the OPIR early warning satellite constellation, the Space and Missile Systems Center initiated the development of the WFOV (wide-field of view) [13] satellite. WFOV is only a test satellite, not part of the missile early warning satellite constellation, and its main mission is to evaluate the technical status of the OPIR wide-field 6° gaze sensor for Air Force Space Command to reduce the next generation missile warning satellite development risk. The sensor payload, developed by L3 Harris (L3 Harris technologies) under a separate contract and mounted on a satellite bus provided by Millennium Space Systems, has a WFOV system that weighs approximately 1,000 kg, about one-quarter the size of the SBIRS satellite, and was originally planned for launch into geosynchronous orbit in 2021 via the U.S. Air Force USSF-12 mission, but according to latest information, the Atlas-5 launch vehicle for the USSF-12 mission will be launched in the 1st quarter of 2022.

2.3 SBIR Project

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense released the WFOV mission data processing algorithm development project [14] on the SBIR website to develop and test a WFOV mission data processing algorithm for “next-generation overhead sustained infrared” to process large-format 4 k × 4 k data from GEO orbit at frame rates below 10 Hz in real time. The project is being implemented in three phases: Phase 1 completes the prototype algorithm design with algorithm tiling and windowing, noise suppression, jitter suppression, spurious suppression, thresholding and buffering; Phase 2 tests the algorithm based on real-time WFOV data from the payload and changes and adjustments to the algorithm based on the results; and Phase 3 completes the algorithm certification in 2021 and converts it to the WFOV mission control system. In the meantime, the first commercial payload for over-the-top sustained IR [15-16] was launched into geosynchronous orbit as early as 2011 with a demonstration to validate the ability to build and integrate large field-of-view sensors based on commercial payloads and to understand the WFOV staring payload IR principle and quantify the WFOV performance level.

3 Ground-based Data Processing System

The SBIRS team and Raytheon have proposed different solutions for the construction of the OPIR ground data processing system.

3.1 SBIRS Team Solution

In order to adapt to the challenges of rapidly changing battlefield spatial situational awareness, in 2016, the SBIRS team proposed a modular, hierarchical, and adaptive OPIR ground application development framework based on open system architecture (OSA) [17] to support multi-mission, multi-sensor battlefield situational awareness missions.SBIRS team believes that the expanding mission domain of OPIR, the growing demand for OPIR data, and the dynamic nature of the battlefield spatial situational awareness mission are driving significant changes in the ground processing system, and Figure 3 illustrates the missile warning and evolving mission domain supported by OPIR.

Figure 3

Fig. 3 OPIR mission area [captions left to right: Guided Missile Early Warning, Real Time Data Exchange, Battlespace Situation, New Types of Tasks

Under the traditional framework, specific interfaces need to be designed between different components, which are developed, tested and then integrated into the larger system; whereas the OSA framework uses an open, standard unified programming interface, which does not require the development of component-specific interfaces and has portability and tailorability features that can facilitate rapid deployment of new operations. The OSA-based framework not only enhances missile defense and early warning, but also enables rapid response to changes in operational requirements and allows efficient deployment of operational systems for data processing.

3.2 Raytheon Solution

On January 28, 2020, Raytheon was awarded a 5-year, $197 million contract by the U.S. Air Force to design the OPIR ground data processing system, a program known as Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution (FORGE) [18]. FORGE is essentially an open architecture that is scalable, extensible, and flexible, allowing for the development of specific applications based on a platform whose primary mission is to issue missile warnings to the Pentagon and national command agencies but it also supports civilian application development, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4

Fig. 4 FORGE open task data processing system  [100% open, government-owned, four automatic security sweep layers, 100% standard applications program interface (API), 55 enterprise design patterns, 44 free open source (FOSS) packages, FORGE/MDPAF task data processing systems.]

FORGE is divided into 3 parts: command and control, mission data processing, and relay ground station. The prototype system includes unclassified data processing platform, classified data processing platform, and scalability test platform. The U.S. Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) said it will use an “agile approach” to develop the FORGE ground system, tracking progress in an iterative, step-by-step manner that allows for adjustments and treatment of mission issues that arise during development, reducing the risk of project failure and ensuring that FORGE becomes the best solution for future and next-generation SMC is using two open framework architectures to improve DoD’s OPIR data processing: the system architecture and the mission framework. (ii) integrate new capabilities quickly and inexpensively; and (iii) support the changing needs of the warfighter and ensure continuity of operations. Figure 5 shows the FORGE prototype system architecture.

Figure 5

Fig. 5 FORGE prototype system architecture

4 Data standard specification

To develop a standard specification for early warning satellite data, the U.S. Strategic Command, the Joint Force Space Component Commander, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency jointly established the Overhead Sustained Infrared Specialty Group to develop an open OPIR data standard [20] to support missile warning, missile defense, operational environment awareness, technical intelligence, and civil/environmental missions. OPIR data processing levels are divided into five levels, with level 0 representing raw sensor data and level 5 representing technical intelligence products. Of these, level 3 data (Figure 6) indicates that raw OPIR data is partially processed but is not a final intelligence product or a re-useable product. The Level 3 data typical return value (rep return) contains conceptual data model, logical data model, and associated data dictionary definitions. The logical data model has a number of entities that describe the OPIR platform and sensor attributes, including field of view, axis of view, and data collected and processed from the sensor. The data dictionary describes the attributes and units of values contained in each entity.

Figure 6

Fig. 6 OPIR conceptual data model

Figure 6 depicts the conceptual model of OPIR Level 3 data, and Figure 7 depicts the logical model of OPIR Level 3 data, including entities, attributes, and relationships, for a complete description of the standard specification of typical return values, which is being extended to support Level 1 and Level 4 data, called the federated OPIR data model.

Fig.7 OPIR logical data model

5 Summary and Recommendations

The U.S. Next Generation Overhead Continuous Infrared (NGOIR) early warning satellite enhances high-orbit infrared detection capabilities, extending missile warning to a full range of “from start to finish” detection, tracking, and assessment of threat such as missiles, and hypersonic weapons.  This enables rapid response to new threats emerging around the world. The mission is to detect, track, and assess threats from life to death, including missiles and hypersonic weapons. Orbit from the initial geostationary orbit to the combination of large elliptical orbit to the direction of high and low orbit network cooperation; detection method also from a single “line array scan” to “scanning + staring” and the future “multi-faceted phased array staring” direction; development method also from the initial high cost, long development cycle of a single large satellite way to low-cost, modular development of small satellite way development.

For the future development and planning of China’s missile early warning satellite, first of all, we must build a flexible and decentralized space architecture, using a combination of high and low orbit deployment, in geostationary and high earth orbit deployment of large satellites, in low earth orbit make full use of commercial satellite development results, build a large-scale, low-cost small satellite constellation; secondly, focus on the development of search and tracking integrated large surface array payload technology. We need to research wide field of view mission data high-performance processing algorithms, build high-quality, scalable target infrared image data sets, improve the timeliness of satellite onboard data processing under hostile conditions, to achieve discovery and tracking, and to deal with new threats. Finally, in order to enhance the wartime survivability of high-orbit early warning satellites, we should actively develop satellite near-field sensing and maneuver evasion and other defense technologies. In short, the construction of early warning systems should focus on specific needs, and strive to build a space-based early warning system that takes into account strategic and tactical requirements, with tactical applications as the main focus.


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2008 Liu Yawei: A John Leighton Stuart to Whom We Can’t Say Farewell

Liu Yawei: A John Leighton Stuart to Whom We Can’t Say Farewell

by Liu Yawei June 8, 2022

[Editor’s Note] This article was written in December 2008. In early September 2016, the G20 Summit was held in Hangzhou. In his speech at the welcome dinner on September 4, Xi Jinping said, “140 years ago, in June of 1876, Mr. John Leighton Stuart who had been the U.S. ambassador to China, was born in Hangzhou and lived in China for more than 50 years, and his ashes were laid to rest in the Anxian Cemetery in Banshan District, Hangzhou 杭州半山安贤园 .” At a time when U.S.-China relations are on the decline, it may be meaningful to revisit Stanton’s relationship with China to refresh the past and learn from the new. This article is accompanied by Mao Zedong’s editorial “Farewell, Leighton Stuart” published on August 18, 1949, Hao Ping’s December 12, 2008 article “The Soul Returns Home: How Leighton Stuart’s Ashes Came to be Buried in Hangzhou and Aftermath” and Xinhua News Agency’s published on September 9, 2016, “Hangzhou Give Leighton Stuart’s the Warmth of a Hometown”.

History cannot be rewritten, but one can think about what might have been.


John Leighton Stuart interred at the Anxian Cemetery “司徒雷登,1876—1962,燕京大学首任校长 the tombstone is inscribed John Leighton Stuart 1876 – 1962, first president of Yenching University” from the welll-illustrated 2017 Sohu.com article “In Hangzhou Visiting the Old Home and Tombstone of John Leighton Stuart” 在杭州,寻觅司徒雷登先生的故居和墓地.

Interesting to look at John Leighton Stuart’s strong criticism of the China White Paper 1949 and what he saw as defeatism at the U.S. State Department. In his memoirs, John Leighton Stuart strongly criticized Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s Letter of Transmittal of the White Paper

From the “Letter of Transmittal”:

We gave “aid to Nationalist China in the form of grants and credits”; we “sold the Chinese Government large quantities of military and civilian war surplus property. Of the military supplies, a “large proportion” has “fallen into the hands of the Chinese Communists through the military ineptitude of the Nationalist leaders, their defections and surrenders, and the absence among their forces of the will to fight. “A realistic appraisal of conditions in China, past and present, leads to the conclusion that the only alternative open to the United States was full-scale intervention on behalf of a Government which had lost the confidence of its own troops and its own people. Such intervention would have required the expenditure of even greater sums than have been fruitlessly spent thus far, the command of Nationalist armies by American officers, and the probable participation of American armed forces-land, sea and air-in the resulting war. Intervention of such a scope and magnitude would have been resented by the mass of the Chinese people, and would have been condemned by the American people.

“The heart of China is in Communist hands. The Communist leaders have publicly announced their subservience to a foreign power, Russia, In this case, the foreign domination has been masked behind the façade of a vast crusading movement which apparently has seemed to many Chinese to be wholly indigenous and national. Under these circumstances, our aid has been unavailing “The unfortunate but inescapable fact is that the ominous result of the 

civil war in China was beyond the control of the government of the United States. Nothing that this country did or could have done within the reasonable limits of its capabilities could have changed that result, nothing that was left undone by this country has contributed to it.

“We continue to believe that, however tragic may be the immediate future of China and however ruthlessly a major portion of this people may be exploited by a party in the interest of a foreign imperialism, ultimately the profound civilization and the democratic individualism of China will reassert themselves and she will throw off the foreign yoke. I consider that we should encourage all developments in China which now and in the future work toward this end.

from Letter of Transmittal, China White Paper

John Leighton Stuart on the “Letter of Transmittal” of the 1949 China White Paper

From John Leighton Stuart’s Fifty Years in China – The Memoirs of John Leighton Stuart, Missionary and Ambassador available in full text on the Internet Archive.

The contents of the "Letter of Transmittal" had astonished 
and alarmed me. The contents of the report, with this laying 
bare of confidential materials, shocked me. I thought with con- 
standy growing apprehension: what effect will all this have in 
and upon the United States, in and upon China, in and upon 
American-Chinese relations? Soon, too, I asked myself: how will 
this affect various Chinese whose names are given and whose 
statements are quoted; how will it affect various Americans 
myself among them whose observations and estimates and 
advice are reproduced verbatim-, how will it affect the future 
reporting of United States diplomatic and consular officials? 

Another disturbing feature of the "White Paper ' was the in- 
consistency of its conclusions with previously stated policies and 
later stated policies of the United States Government. Two 
months after its publication the Department of State declared 
that the United States still recognized the National Government 
as the legal government of China. In January, 1950, the United 
States Government declared that no assistance would be given 
to the National Government of China (by then moved to For- 
mosa), and this policy prevailed until the Communist attack 
upon the Republic of Korea in June, 1950, when it was sud- 
denly changed. 

I was, in fact, merely one of many persons who were per- 
plexed and filled with apprehension by what they found in this 
extraordinary book. Among other things, I learned soon that the 
Department of State had sent copies of the book in considerable 
numbers to all United States diplomatic missions abroad and had 
instructed that it be given wide distribution and effective 

The book has been both highly praised and severely criti- 
cized. I know of nothing with which to compare it, and I shall 
not attempt to assess its merits or its demerits. On one point, 
however, I feel disposed to go on record: it seems to me to have 

Fifty Years in China 270 

given an accurate display of the materials on which the United 
States Government relied in the making of its decisions of policy 
regarding China. It is clear that the purpose was not to produce 
a "historian's history 1 ' but to select materials which had been 
used in making the policy in effect at the moment. What had 
been omitted were materials rejected in the making of policy, 
materials which had not been relied upon. 

The "White Paper" served to inform the world that the Nation- 
alists, in the opinion of the United States Government, had 
lost the "civil war." Without admitting any mistakes in United 
States policy, it tried to place all the blame upon the National 
Government of China. United States policy, it claimed, had been 
in no way responsible for the "ominous result." By implication 
it announced that the United States support of the National 
Government and the efforts of the United States toward survival 
of that government were at an end. 

Such was the officially declared position of my government in 
the summer of 1949. And such I found to be the position of the 
officials whom I met in Washington after my arrival there. 

In Washington my principal conversations were with the 
Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs, Mr. Walton Butter- 
worth. I found him fully committed to the position which our 
government had adopted and to the idea that I should think and 
should express myself accordingly. It was he who suggested that 
I avoid contact with the press and with the public, and attempt 
to "calm down" certain editors. 

When it came to the question of public utterances I was 
authorized to give an address before the Hartford Seminary 
Foundation on the basis of a text which I prepared with great 
care and which was censored and then approved by the Depart- 
ment of State. I delivered that address, and I repeated it, with 
the same text, before the Central Presbyterian Church in Rah- 
way, New Jersey. 

To Washington and in Washington 271 


In September, 1949, the Communist victors in China or- 
ganized in Peiping (whose name they now changed back to 
Peking) a new government, with Mao Tse-tung as Chairman. 
That government was modeled upon the government of the Soviet 
Union in its formative stages. 

In October the Department of State convened a conference 
of "experts" on the Far East. The attendants were persons from 
various walks of life, assembled upon invitations issued by the 
Department, together with officials assigned by the Department. 
Accounts of what transpired, together with the names of the per- 
sons present by invitation and of several, but not all of the 
officials present by assignment, together with a full text of the 
verbatim recording of the discussions, have since been made 

The conference was "briefed" by several officials on subjects 
relating to the Far Eastern situation especially in China and 
on matters of policy. Discussion was held in accordance with an 
agenda circulated in advance of the conference. As the meeting 
went on it became clear that the majority of participants, among 
whom several educators were the most vocal, assumed that the 
National Government of China was "finished." They were no 
longer interested in the fate of that government. The chairman, 
Mr. Philip Jessup, proposed that the question of recognizing the 
Communist regime be discussed; thereupon several participants 
strongly urged recognition of and assistance to the new regime. 
A smaller number opposed this view and urged that action be 
not hastily taken. 

I was present during the whole period of that conference, and 
the effect of what I heard was disconcerting and discouraging. 
Notwithstanding the weaknesses and shortcomings of the Na- 
tional Government which I have freely affirmed in my story 
that government had after all been brought into existence 

Fifty Years in CMna 272 

through a revolutionary enthusiasm inspired by American demo- 
cratic ideas. Throughout the years, it had been under attack 
from dissident elements in China, especially the Communists, 
and had been under the pressure of diplomatic and armed 
assaults from without, especially from Japan. There had been 
no period in which it could devote itself under circumstances 
of peace and security to problems of reform and the "people's 
livelihood." No wonder that when, after eight years of defensive 
struggle against the Japanese invaders, it was subjected to an 
all-out attack by the armed forces of the Communist party in 
China, which in turn were given encouragement and material 
aid by the Soviet Union, it had been unable to rally to an effec- 
tive resistance a war-weary people. It had been forced to retreat 
from one position to another and finally to withdraw to Formosa. 
Yet in this conference relatively little was said about China's 
difficulties within and without, and all the onus for the National 
Government's collapse was placed upon that government itself. 

The National Government had counted on assistance from 
the United States greater in amount and different in kind from 
that which it received. Some of the aid promised was so long in 
reaching China that it did no good. The National Government 
had not envisioned a Yalta Agreement turning over vital rights 
in Manchuria to the Soviet Union and thus also to the Chinese 
Communists and paving the way for Communist victory in 
China. Nor did that government or others expect that the 
Soviet Government would so soon repudiate its agreement of 
August 15, 1945, promising material and moral aid to the Na- 
tional Government only. The aberrant and contradictory policies 
of the United States Government during the period between the 
end of World War II and the beginning of the Communist 
attack in Korea in 1950 served to weaken rather than to 
strengthen the National Government at a time when it des- 
perately needed sympathetic understanding and assistance. 

When General Cheng Chieh-min, a confidential representa- 

To Washington and in Washington 273 

tive of Generalissimo Chiang, arrived in Washington on October 
n, 1949, I was able to say to him only that, as the situation 
appeared to me, the National Government would receive no 
further assistance from the United States. 

On October i, 1949, the "Central People's Government of the 
People's Republic of China" was formally inaugurated, and it 
at once sought recognition by other governments. On the next 
day, October 2, the Soviet Union announced its recognition. 
On October 3 the National Government of China announced 
severance of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. 

On October 4, as already stated, the United States Department 
of State reaffirmed United States' recognition of the National 
Government as the legal government of China. 

Although I gained no impression at that time or later that my 
government intended to recognize the Communist "People's 
Government" in China, I found the attitude of the Department 
of State on the whole subject of China essentially one of 
frustrated, unsympathetic defeatism. Viewing matters in retro- 
spect, it seems to me that the low point was reached in October 
1949, when, although the National Government was still recog- 
nized, the American Government discontinued assistance to it. 
This attitude persisted until the Communist aggression eight 
months later in Korea, when it was decided that the Communist 
advance in the Far East was dangerous to the peace of the world 
and must be resisted by the United States and the United 

As the Communist armies advanced southward in the fall of 
1949, the National Government decided that evacuation of 
Canton was necessary. On October 12, Acting President Li 
Tsung-jen announced that the government would move to 
Chungking. Seven weeks later, however, Chungking fell to the 
Communists. Finally, the National Government, under the 

Fifty Years in China 274 

direction o Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, removed to Formosa, 
and on December 9 the Executive Yuan began to function in 
Taipeh, Formosa's capital city. Li Tsung-jen went to the United 
States and, on December 7, entered a hospital in New York for 
medical treatment. 

On December 30, the Government of India accorded recog- 
nition to the Communist regime at Peiping. One week later, on 
January 6, the British Government announced recognition of 
that regime by the United Kingdom. This involved, of course, 
withdrawal of recognition from the National Government. There 
ensued, during the first six months of 1950, a series of such 
transfers of recognition, some by Asiatic and some by European 
governments. In all, some twenty-five governments thus com- 
mitted themselves. Had the United States Government followed 
the example of the British Government, that number would 
probably have been increased, for many would presumably have 
followed the example of the United States. 

The United States Government was apparently in a quandary. 
It seems to have been unfavorably disposed toward the National 
Government and favorably disposed toward the Communist 
regime. But abuse by the Communists of American officials and 
seizure by the Communists of property of the United States in 
Peiping produced in the United States such waves of popular 
resentment that official action affirmatively favorable to the 
Communists was precluded. The government did, however, 
take negative action against the Nationalists. President Truman 
announced on January 5, 1950, that the United States would 
give no military assistance, directly or indirectly, neither materials 
nor advisers, to the Nationalists in Formosa. On January 12, 
Secretary of State Acheson, in a speech at the Press Club in 
Washington, repeated and elaborated this statement. 

After that, for several months the question of recognizing the 
Communist regime at Peiping was debated, in the press and on 
many platforms, throughout the United States and also at the 

To Washington and in Washington 275 

United Nations. In May, 1950, some thirty-five United States 
senators signed jointly and sent to President Truman letters 
asking for a clear assurance that the United States Government 
did not intend to recognize the Communist regime in China 
or to give support to the movement to admit that regime as 
representative of China in the United Nations. In reply Mr. 
Acheson gave an assurance that the administration would not 
accord recognition to the Communist regime without first having 
consulted with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 

Meanwhile, Chiang Kai-shek had on March i resumed office 
in Taipeh as President of the National Government; General 
Chen Cheng had been named Premier on March 8; Dr. K. C. 
Wu, former Mayor of Shanghai, had been appointed Governor 
of Taiwan; and General Sun Li-jen, Chief of Ground Forces. 


This may be an appropriate place for me to give my final 
estimate of Chiang Kai-shek. During the six months of my asso- 
ciation with the Marshall mission, the Generalissimo was always 
the dominant figure. It was he who made all decisions for the 
government or party, and it was he who was most feared or 
denounced by the Communist delegates. It was always interest- 
ing to watch how quickly he understood what was being said to 
him, how incisively he grasped its essence, and how tenaciously 
he held to that first reaction. He is a man of strong will power 
and indomitable courage. But as so often happens his failings 
are due to the excess of his best qualities. Any judgment of him 
should be formed against the background of his cultural heritage 
and of the precarious circumstances amid which he has carried 
his terrific responsibilities. With this in mind, and by comparison 
not only with the history of Oriental despotism but also with 
contemporary dictators, Chiang Kai-shek deserves credit for the 
restraint with which he has generally acted. 

I never had any question as to the moral character of the 

Fifty Years in China 

Generalissimo despite some of the political measures he took 
which might seem wrong according to our contemporary Eu- 
ropean and American standards. I am convinced that he has 
faithfully acted for what he believed to be the best interests of 
his country. It has not always been easy for him to distinguish 
between his personal and his country's advantages. But in con- 
trast with the venality, avarice, indolence and cowardice of many 
of the traditional "Mandarins," his nobility of character stands 
out as exceptional. 

When Chiang Kai-shek burst into prominence after the death 
of Sun Yat-sen, he was a popular hero. The new movement 
under its youthful leader had vigor and high idealism. But as he 
successfully pursued his efforts to unify the nation the shadow of 
the Japanese policy of continental expansion grew darker. Chiang 
seemed to be doing nothing effectual about it. Was he in sym- 
pathy with the Japanese militarists? Was he so much preoccu- 
pied with the nascent Communist uprising that he failed to 
sense the imminent Japanese threat? No, he knew that there 
must first be political and military preparedness. He had the 
sense to exercise restraint in order to avoid inviting and pos- 
sibly warranting a Japanese attack. 

For more on this period, the U.S. State Department Office of the Historian website has some documents: FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1949, THE FAR EAST: CHINA, VOLUME IX.

End Interlude, translation continues below.

Mao Zedong Too “Told Lies”

On August 18, 1949, Mao Zedong published an article entitled “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!”. In the article, Mao wrote that

When the People’s Liberation Army crossed the Yangtse River, the U.S. colonial government at Nanking fled helter-skelter. Yet His Excellency Ambassador Stuart sat tight, watching wide-eyed, hoping to set up shop under a new signboard and to reap some profit. But what did he see? Apart from the People’s Liberation Army marching past, column after column, and the workers, peasants and students rising in hosts, he saw something else — the Chinese liberals or democratic individualists turning out in force, shouting slogans and talking revolution together with the workers, peasants, soldiers and students. In short, he was left out in the cold, “standing all alone, body and shadow comforting each other”. [12] There was nothing more for him to do, and he had to take to the road, his briefcase under his arm.

Mao Zedong, “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!

What Mao did not tell the Chinese people, who welcomed the PLA to the city and the Communist Party to power, was that before the PLA crossed the river, all the envoys to China, including the Soviet ambassador, retreated south to Guangzhou with the Kuomintang government while Leighton Stuart, who insisted on staying in Nanjing and tried to meet Mao in Beijing.

If Leighton Stuart had gone to Beijing, it cannot be known whether the Chinese government would have followed Moscow and been drawn into the Korean War as it pursued its policy of “leaning to one side”.

John Leightton Stuart’s Last Wish

In his “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!” Mao also wrote that

“Stanton was an American born in China, had quite extensive social ties in China, ran a church school in China for many years, served in a Japanese prison during the anti-Japanese period, and always pretended to love America and China, quite able to confuse some Chinese people, so he was seen by Marshall, became ambassador to China, and became one of the popular figures in Marshall’s system. “

What Mao did not tell his superstitious readers was that Stanton did not “pretend to love both America and China”.

Upon his return to the United States in 1949, he was ordered by the State Department, then under the shadow of McCarthy’s anti-communist campaign, not to speak and not to attend any official functions. He died in the United States in 1962, leaving a will that he be buried on the campus of Yanjing University. His wife, who died in 1926, is buried there.

Leighton Stuart founded Yenching University in 1919 and served as its provost from 1919 to 1946, and many people who became pillars of the society of New China came from this school.

But, naturally, no one in China dared stand up for Leighton Stuart when Mao Zedong, spoke about him. If McCarthyism ran rampant in the United States for less than 10 years, China’s “McCarthyism” has never stopped before the reform and opening up. Stanton has been dead and buried.

In 2006, Xi Jinping heard about Stuart’s wishes during his visit to the United States, and after much mediation, finally buried Stuart’s ashes in Hangzhou on November 17, 2008.

When John Leighton Stuart, a fluent speaker of the Hangzhou topolect went to university in the United States, his classmates ridiculed him, saying that he was more Chinese than he was a devout Christian or an American. Leighton Stuart was an outstanding cultural envoy, talented educator, but out of his depth as a diplomat. He was the Chinese people’s old friend, the United States and China’s friendship and witness to the crossfire. Finally his soul returned to China to be buried along the West Lake in Hangzhou.

In the words of Wang Xuejin, “This time, the Hangzhou government completed the ceremony for the interment of Mr. Stanton’s ashes with solemn and thoughtful courtesy. This not only reflected a noble humanitarian spirit and fulfilled the last wish of his soul to return to China, but also greatly corrected the image of Mr. Leighton Stuart in China’s mind and completed an exorcism. This has significance for deepening Sino-American friendship as well as clarifying history. “

A group of gray-haired old Yanjing people attended the burial ceremony of Leighton Stuart’s ashes.

Without official permission, they played “Amazing Grace” and the “American National Anthem” on the CD player they brought with them after the burial ceremony. Perhaps the spirit of the old Mr. Leighton Stuart was relieved. Perhaps the new president of Peking University will repeat the words of the father of its forerunner Yenching University, “Our purpose is to cultivate a spirit of cooperation, construction, and service to the people in order to serve the community and the nation. …… We do not want to become the most famous school in the world, nor the most famous school in history, but the most famous school in ‘China today’ and to become the school that is making the greatest contributions to ‘China today.”

Had it not been for Xi Jinping’s efforts, could Mr. Leighton Stuart’s ashes have made it all the way back to Hangzhou across the Pacific Ocean?

The Values “Don’t Leave Leighton Stuart” Represents

Leighton Stuart was no Norman Bethune, but he was indeed “a noble man, a pure man, a moral man, a man free from low taste, a man dedicated to the welfare of the people.”

The values he represents may well be the values we Chinese need to embrace.

However, in China in 2008, the “great red sun” of Mao Zedong was still shining, and his spirit, his style, and his “wisdom” are still formative for many Chinese scholars and elites. In recent months alone, articles such as Chen Kuiyuan’s “Western Values Cannot be Honored as so-called Universal Values”, Feng Yuzhang’s “How to Understand So-called “Universal Values””, Xu Tianliang’s “To Do Good Ideological Work Keeping a Clear Head is Essential“, Quyi’s “The Separation of Powers cannot be Universal Value”, and Li Biesheng’s “A Significant Political Signal”.

However, no matter how much we see that every value in the world has a class nature, no matter how much we accuse the Western countries, especially the United States, of constantly planning to subvert China, to tear China apart, and to destroy China, China is already part of the world, and the world is also part of China.

In his speech at Yale University on April 22, 2006, Hu Jintao said

“Today, China is endeavoring to build a harmonious society. It is a society of democracy and rule of law, fairness and justice, integrity, fraternity, vitality, stability, order and harmony between man and nature. It is a society where there is unity between the material and the spirit, democracy and rule of law, fairness and efficiency, and vitality and order…… “

“China and the United States are both countries of vast territory where many ethnic groups co-exist and different cultures intermingle. Both our two peoples are hard-working and talented. Due to different historical backgrounds and national conditions, there are differences between China and the United States. But this enables us to learn from each other and draw on each other’s strength. Closer China-US cooperation serves the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples and is also of far-reaching significance for peace and development of the whole world…..”

“A composer cannot write enchanting melody with one note, and a painter cannot paint landscape with only one color. The world is a treasure house where the unique cultural achievement created by people of all countries are displayed. The culture of a nation tells a lot about the evolution of the nation’s understanding of the world and life, both past and present. Culture thus embodies a nation’s fundamental pursuit of mind and dictates its norms of behavior. The historical process of human development is one in which different civilizations interact with and enrich each other and all civilizations in human history have contributed to human progress in their own unique way.

“Cultural diversity is a basic feature of both human society and today’s world and an important driving force for human progress. As history has shown, in the course of interactions between civilizations, we not only need to remove natural barriers and overcome physical isolation, we also need to remove obstacle and obstruction of the mind and overcome various prejudices and misunderstanding. Differences in ideology, social system and development model should not stand in the way of exchanges among civilizations, still less should they become excuses for mutual confrontation. We should uphold the diversity of the world, enhance dialogue and interaction between civilizations, and draw on each other’s strength instead of practicing mutual exclusion. When this is done, mankind will enjoy greater harmony and happiness and the world will become a more colorful place to live in.”

Hu Jintao’s words are actually the best summary of the spirit of Leighton Stuart.

John Leighton Stuart was born in Hangzhou in 1876; founded Yenching University in 1919; was imprisoned by the Japanese during the war; became U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of China’s ambassador in 1946, returned to the United States in 1949; died in 1962; and finally “returned” to China in 2008.

Over the course of 132 years [since the Opium War], China has gone from weak to strong. Every step forward has been difficult, and every step has involved interference, swayed and influenced by domestic and foreign forces.

It was only 46 years after Leighton Stuart’s death before he could return to the land he loved so much.

China’s reforms are about to celebrate their 30th birthday.

It may not be too long before China has another wave of reforms.

If members of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee had not raised their hands in late 1978 to approve reform and opening up, the most dramatic, bloodless, nonviolent change in Chinese history would not have even gotten off the ground.

Chinese understanding in the United States would have remained as it was in Mao’s time: “The United States does have science and technology, but unfortunately it is in the hands of the capitalists and not in the hands of the people, and its use is to exploit and oppress internally and to invade and kill externally. The United States also has “democratic politics”, but unfortunately it is only an alias for the dictatorship of one class of the bourgeoisie. The United States has a lot of money, but unfortunately it is only willing to give it to the extremely corrupt Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries. Now and in the future it is said to be quite willing to support its subversive Fifth Column in China, but not willing to support the average bookish uneducated liberal, or democratic individualist, and certainly even less to give any support to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Our own mentality would be as Mao Zedong portrayed it then, “What is the fear of more or less a little difficulty. Let’s blockade, blockade for ten or eight years, and all the problems of China will be solved. The Chinese people are not afraid of death, so why should they be afraid of difficulties? Lao Tzu said, “The people do not fear death, so how can we fear it?”

China’s intellectual elite would also still carry the burden that they may be the lackeys of U.S. imperialism, “There are still some intellectuals and others in China who are confused and have illusions about the United States, so they should be persuaded, fought for, educated and united so that they will come to the people’s side and not fall for the imperialist trick. But the whole prestige of U.S. imperialism among the Chinese people is bankrupt, and the U.S. White Paper is a record of that bankruptcy. The advanced people should make good use of the White Paper in their educational work with the Chinese people. It is good that Leighton Stuart is gone and the White Paper is here. Both of these things are cause for celebration.”

If the “progressive forces” within China had not arisen, Leighton Stuart would not have been able to return to China.

China’s reforms have come to a point where China cannot, and will not say “Farewell Leighton Stuart”.

Reform to this day, China can not, and will not say, “Farewell, John Leighton Stuart”

Don’t leave, Leighton Stuart! [Translator’s Note: Following the first section of the article is a copy of the Chinese text of Mao Zedong’s essay. I have copied the translation on the marxists.org website but omitted the notes on the translation you can find there. ]

Mao’s front-page article in August 18, 1949 People’s Daily “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!”

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


August 18, 1949

It is understandable that the date chosen for the publication of the U.S. White Paper was August 5, a time when Leighton Stuart [1] had departed from Nanking for Washington but had not yet arrived there, since Leighton Stuart is a symbol of the complete defeat of the U.S. policy of aggression. Leighton Stuart is an American born in China; he has fairly wide social connections and spent many years running missionary schools in China, he once sat in a Japanese gaol during the War of Resistance; he used to pretend to love both the United States and China and was able to deceive quite a number of Chinese. Hence, he was picked out by George C. Marshall, was made U.S. ambassador to China and became a celebrity in the Marshall group. In the eyes of the Marshall group he had only one fault, namely, that the whole period when he was ambassador to China as an exponent of their policy was the very period in which that policy was utterly defeated by the Chinese people; that was no small responsibility. It is only natural that the White Paper, which is designed to evade this responsibility, should have been published at a time when Leighton Stuart was on his way to Washington but had not yet arrived.

The war to turn China into a U.S. colony, a war in which the United States of America supplies the money and guns and Chiang Kai-shek the men to fight for the United States and slaughter the Chinese people, has been an important component of the U.S. imperialist policy of world-wide aggression since World War II. The U.S. policy of aggression has several targets. The three main targets are Europe, Asia and the Americas. China, the centre of gravity in Asia, is a large country with a population of 475 million; by seizing China, the United States would possess all of Asia. With its Asian front consolidated, U.S. imperialism could concentrate its forces on attacking Europe. U.S. imperialism considers its front in the Americas relatively secure. These are the smug over-all calculations of the U.S. aggressors.

But in the first place, the American people and the peoples of the world do not want war. Secondly, the attention of the United States has largely been absorbed by the awakening of the peoples of Europe, by the rise of the People’s Democracies in Eastern Europe, and particularly by the towering presence of the Soviet Union, this unprecedentedly powerful bulwark of peace bestriding Europe and Asia, and by its strong resistance to the U.S. policy of aggression. Thirdly, and this is most important, the Chinese people have awakened, and the armed forces and the organized strength of the people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China have become more powerful than ever before. Consequently, the ruling clique of U.S. imperialism has been prevented from adopting a policy of direct, large-scale armed attacks on China and instead has adopted a policy of helping Chiang Kai-shek fight the civil war.

U.S. naval, ground and air forces did participate in the war in China. There were U.S. naval bases in Tsingtao, Shanghai and Taiwan. U.S. troops were stationed in Peiping, Tientsin, Tangshan, Chinwangtao, Tsingtao, Shanghai and Nanking. The U.S. air force controlled all of China’s air space and took aerial photographs of all China’s strategic areas for military maps. At the town of Anping near Peiping, at Chiutai near Changchun, at Tangshan and in the Eastern Shantung Peninsula, U.S. troops and other military personnel clashed with the People’s Liberation Army and on several occasions were captured.[2] Chennault’s air fleet took an extensive part in the civil war.[3] Besides transporting troops for Chiang Kai-shek, the U.S. air force bombed and sank the cruiser Chungking, which had mutinied against the Kuomintang.[4]All these were acts of direct participation in the war, although they fell short of an open declaration of war and were not large in scale, and although the principal method of U.S. aggression was the large-scale supply of money, munitions and advisers to help Chiang Kai-shek fight the civil war.

The use of this method by the United States was determined by the objective situation in China and the rest of the world, and not by any lack of desire on the part of the Truman-Marshall group, the ruling clique of U.S. imperialism, to launch direct aggression against China. Moreover, at the outset of its help to Chiang Kai-shek in fighting the civil war, a crude farce was staged in which the United States appeared as mediator in the conflict between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party; this was an attempt to soften up the Communist Party of China, deceive the Chinese people and thus gain control of all China without fighting. The peace negotiations failed, the deception fell through and the curtain rose on the war.

Liberals or “democratic individualists” who cherish illusions about the United States and have short memories! Please look at Acheson’s own words:

When peace came the United States was confronted with three possible alternatives in China: (1) it could have pulled out lock, stock and barrel; (2) it could have intervened militarily on a major scale to assist the Nationalists to destroy the Communists, (3) it could, while assisting the Nationalists to assert their authority over as much of China as possible, endeavor to avoid a civil war by working for a compromise between the two sides.

Why didn’t the United States adopt the first of these policies? Acheson says:

The first alternative would, and I believe American public opinion at the time so felt, have represented an abandonment of our international responsibilities and of our traditional policy of friendship for China before we had made a determined effort to be of assistance.

So that’s how things stand: the “international responsibilities” of the United States and its “traditional policy of friendship for China” are nothing but intervention against China. Intervention is called assuming international responsibilities and showing friendship for China; as to non-intervention, it simply won’t do. Here Acheson defiles U.S. public opinion; his is the “public opinion” of Wall Street, not the public opinion of the American people.

Why didn’t the United States adopt the second of these policies? Acheson says:

The second alternative policy, while it may look attractive theoretically and in retrospect, was wholly impracticable. The Nationalists had been unable to destroy the Communists during the 10 years before the war. Now after the war the Nationalists were, as indicated above, weakened, demoralized, and unpopular. They had quickly dissipated their popular support and prestige in the areas liberated from the Japanese by the conduct of their civil and military officials. The Communists on the other hand were much stronger than they had ever been and were in control of most of North China. Because of the ineffectiveness of the Nationalist forces which was later to be tragically demonstrated, the Communists probably could have been dislodged only by American arms. It is obvious that the American people would not have sanctioned such a colossal commitment of our armies in 1945 or later. We therefore came to the third alternative policy. . . .

What a splendid idea! The United States supplies the money and guns and Chiang Kai-shek the men to fight for the United States and slaughter the Chinese people, to “destroy the Communists” and turn China into a U.S. colony, so that the United States may fulfil its “international responsibilities” and carry out its “traditional policy of friendship for China”.

Although the Kuomintang was corrupt and incompetent, “demoralized and unpopular”, the United States nevertheless supplied it with money and guns and made it fight. Direct armed intervention was all right, “theoretically”. It also seems all right “in retrospect” to the rulers of the United States. For direct armed intervention would really have been interesting and it might “look attractive”. But it would not have worked in practice, for “it is obvious that the American people would not have sanctioned” it. Not that the imperialist group of Truman, Marshall, Acheson and their like did not desire it — they very much desired it — but the situation in China, in the United States and in the world as a whole (a point Acheson does not mention) did not permit it; they had to give up their preference and take the third way.

Let those Chinese who believe that “victory is possible even without international help” listen. Acheson is giving you a lesson. Acheson is a good teacher, giving lessons free of charge, and he is telling the whole truth with tireless zeal and great candour. The United States refrained from dispatching large forces to attack China, not because the U.S. government didn’t want to, but because it had worries. First worry: the Chinese people would oppose it, and the U.S. government was afraid of getting hopelessly bogged down in a quagmire. Second worry: the American people would oppose it, and so the U.S. government dared not order mobilization. Third worry: the people of the Soviet Union, of Europe and of the rest of the world would oppose it, and the U.S. government would face universal condemnation. Acheson’s charming candour has its limits and he is unwilling to mention the third worry. The reason is he is afraid of losing face before the Soviet Union, he is afraid that the Marshall Plan in Europe, [5] which is already a failure despite pretences to the contrary, may end dismally in total collapse.

Let those Chinese who are short-sighted, muddle-headed liberals or democratic individualists listen. Acheson is giving you a lesson; he is a good teacher for you. He has made a clean sweep of your fancied U.S. humanity, justice and virtue. Isn’t that so? Can you find a trace of humanity, justice or virtue in the White Paper or in Acheson’s Letter of Transmittal?

True, the United States has science and technology. But unfortunately they are in the grip of the capitalists, not in the hands of the people, and are used to exploit and oppress the people at home and to perpetrate aggression and to slaughter people abroad. There is also “democracy” in the United States. But unfortunately it is only another name for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie by itself. The United States has plenty of money. But unfortunately it is willing to give money only to the Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries, who are rotten to the core. The United States, it is said, is and will be quite willing to give money to its fifth column in China, but is unwilling to give it to the ordinary run of liberals or democratic individualists, who are much too bookish and do not know how to appreciate favours, and naturally it is even more unwilling to give money to the Communists. Money may be given, but only conditionally. What is the condition? Follow the United States. The Americans have sprinkled some relief flour in Peiping, Tientsin and Shanghai to see who will stoop to pick it up. Like Chiang Tai Kung fishing, [6] they have cast the line for the fish who want to be caught. But he who swallows food handed out in contempt [7] will get a bellyache.

We Chinese have backbone. Many who were once liberals or democratic individualists have stood up to the U.S. imperialists and their running dogs, the Kuomintang reactionaries. Wen Yi-to rose to his full height and smote the table, angrily faced the Kuomintang pistols and died rather than submit.[8] Chu Tse-ching, though seriously ill, starved to death rather than accept U.S. “relief food”.[9] Han Yu of the Tang Dynasty wrote a “Eulogy of Po Yi”, [10] praising a man with quite a few “democratic individualist” ideas, who shirked his duty towards the people of his own country, deserted his post and opposed the people’s war of liberation of that time, led by King Wu. He lauded the wrong man. We should write eulogies of Wen Yi-to and Chu Tse-ching who demonstrated the heroic spirit of our nation.

What matter if we have to face some difficulties? Let them blockade us! Let them blockade us for eight or ten years! By that time all of China’s problems will have been solved. Will the Chinese cower before difficulties when they are not afraid even of death? Lao Tzu said, “The people fear not death, why threaten them with it?” [11] U.S. imperialism and its running dogs, the Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries, have not only “threatened” us with death but actually put many of us to death. Besides people like Wen Yi-to, they have killed millions of Chinese in the last three years with U.S. carbines, machine-guns, mortars, bazookas, howitzers, tanks and bombs dropped from aeroplanes. This situation is now coming to an end. They have been defeated. It is we who are going in to attack them, not they who are coming out to attack us. They will soon be finished. True, the few problems left to us, such as blockade, unemployment, famine, inflation and rising prices, are difficulties, but we have already begun to breathe more easily than in the past three years. We have come triumphantly through the ordeal of the last three years, why can’t we overcome these few difficulties of today? Why can’t we live without the United States?

When the People’s Liberation Army crossed the Yangtse River, the U.S. colonial government at Nanking fled helter-skelter. Yet His Excellency Ambassador Stuart sat tight, watching wide-eyed, hoping to set up shop under a new signboard and to reap some profit. But what did he see? Apart from the People’s Liberation Army marching past, column after column, and the workers, peasants and students rising in hosts, he saw something else — the Chinese liberals or democratic individualists turning out in force, shouting slogans and talking revolution together with the workers, peasants, soldiers and students. In short, he was left out in the cold, “standing all alone, body and shadow comforting each other”. [12] There was nothing more for him to do, and he had to take to the road, his briefcase under his arm.

There are still some intellectuals and other people in China who have muddled ideas and illusions about the United States. Therefore we should explain things to them, win them over, educate them and unite with them, so they will come over to the side of the people and not fall into the snares set by imperialism. But the prestige of U.S. imperialism among the Chinese people is completely bankrupt, and the White Paper is a record of its bankruptcy. Progressives should make good use of the White Paper to educate the Chinese people.

Leighton Stuart has departed and the White Paper has arrived. Very good. Very good. Both events are worth celebrating.

The Soul Returns Home: How Leighton Stuart’s Ashes Came to be Buried in Hangzhou and Aftermath


Hao Ping

China Reader [Zhongguo Dushubao]

December 12, 2008

[Editor’s Note] On November 17, 2008, exactly 46 years after his death, Stanton’s ashes were moved from Washington, D.C., to the Anxian Garden in Banshan District, Hangzhou. I believe most people know of Stanton because of Mao Zedong’s “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!”, which was included in the middle school language textbook, in which Stuart was used as a symbol of the “total failure of the American policy of aggression” and was made fun of. This name has become synonymous with infamy and failure in China.

John Leighton Stuart was born in Hangzhou and served as president and provost of Yenching University before becoming U.S. ambassador to China. This relocation is said to be the return of his soul to his hometown.

Stanton has always been a controversial figure in China, especially after Mao Zedong wrote a commentary for the Xinhua News Agency on August 18, 1949, “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!” and until the reform and opening up, Stuart was used as a symbol of American imperialism. After the reform and opening up, academics conducted some factual research on Leighton Stuart and gradually restored the real Leighton Stuart.

The burial of Leighton Suart’s ashes in Hangzhou can be called a return to his hometown. Hangzhou, the scene of Leighton Stuart’s birth, his childhood and his youth. Leighton Stuart’s parents and two brothers are also buried there.

Both of Leighton Stuart’s parents were American missionaries who had opened a school in Hangzhou. They had four sons in Hangzhou, with Stanton being the eldest. From 1876 to 1887, Stanton spent his childhood on the shores of beautiful West Lake. In his memoirs written in later years, Stanton wrote: “I remember that we used to go on excursions and wander around the beautiful lake and mountains of Hangzhou. In spring, the hills were full of azaleas. We had picnics and picked strawberries. In the summer, we took refuge in the shady old temples in the mountains, which were extremely tempting adventures for us kids.” At age 11, Stanton was sent back to the United States by his parents to study, and at 28, he returned to Hangzhou as a missionary with his new wife until four years later when he served at the Jinling Theological Seminary in Nanjing, and has since become involved with China’s education and its political situation.

Stanton’s life was complex and multifaceted. He had a close relationship with top KMT figures such as Chiang Kai-shek, Soong Tzu-wen, Kung Hsiang-hsi, Chang Hsueh-liang, and Li Tsung-jen, and was a guest of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. From his birth in Hangzhou on June 24, 1876, to his return to the United States in August 1949, excluding 17 years of study in the United States, Stanton lived in China for a total of 56 years, so he claimed to be “more of a Chinese than an American. I think Stuart’s life has six major achievements and two major faults.

At the outbreak of the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, Stanton was a missionary in China and a special correspondent for the Associated Press, and he became the first person to report abroad on China’s Xinhai Revolution, which he hailed as “China’s War of Independence”.

As the first president of Yenching University, Stanton made outstanding contributions to building the university into a first-class university on par with Peking University and Tsinghua University, and trained a large number of outstanding talents in various fields such as politics, economics, diplomacy, science and technology for China in the 20th century.

Stanton was an anti-fascist warrior. After the outbreak of the war, while Peking University, Tsinghua University, Nankai University and other universities moved south to the mainland and formed the Southwest United University, Yenching University has been holding on in Beiping. He was imprisoned by Japanese gendarmes for three years and eight months for supporting the anti-Japanese activities of Yenching University’s teachers and students. During his imprisonment, he translated all the Chinese idioms he had memorized into English pamphlets.

In his old age, he became U.S. ambassador to China as someone already well-known and respected by public opinion in the United States as well as in China among people in both the Nationalist Party and the Communist Party.  He deeply abhorred the corrupt practices of the Kuomintang government.  When in 1949, the Kuomintang was defeated, he refused to accompany the Kuomintang government when it retreated south to Guangzhou.  Stuart urged the U.S. government to take the lead in recognizing the Communist regime. Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai had secretly invited him to come north, but due to the opposition of the U.S. government, high-level contacts between the Communist Party and the United States were short-lived, and he had to leave China with deep regret and helplessness.

Stuart returned to the United States, although he suffered from McCarthyism’s cruel persecution, but still firmly opposed to the right-wing splittist Two China —  “one China, one Taiwan” — rhetoric.

Stuart had a life-long love for Chinese culture, and he made his own contributions to the cause of Chinese culture.

Of course, Stanton also had his own limitations. As a missionary, Stanton had a deep ideological bias against Marxism-Leninism and made many statements critical of socialism and communism. During his tenure as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of China, Stanton represented the U.S. government’s position on China policy and took a biased attitude toward the Kuomintang reactionary faction in waging the civil war. It was for this reason that Chairman Mao, in his article “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!,” severely criticized the role that Stuart had played representing U.S. policy toward China.

Only three months after his return to the United States, Stuart fell ill and spent the last 13 years of his life in a wheelchair and on a hospital bed, suffering from the consequences of a severe stroke. At that time, Stanton had no family around him, his wife had died in Beijing when he was 50, and his only son was not with him. On November 28, 1952, Stanton submitted his resignation to the outgoing President Harry S. Truman, saying that he wished to resign from his post as Ambassador to China for health reasons. On October 15, 1954, Stuart’s memoirs, Fifty Years in China–The Memoirs of John Leighton Stuart, Missionary and Ambassador, were published by Random House in New York. Random House, New York, USA. In 1955 and 1982, Chinese translations of Stuart’s memoirs were also published in Hong Kong and China. This illustrates the extent of Stuart’s influence in China.

On September 19, 1962, Stanton died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C., at the age of 86.

In 1973 and 1974, at the secret invitation of Premier Zhou, Mr. Fu Jingbo returned to China twice, and twice proposed to the relevant authorities to bury Stanton’s ashes in the Yanching Garden, but did not receive a clear answer. In January 1986, Fu Jingbo personally wrote a letter to Deng Xiaoping again to raise the issue of burial of Stanton’s ashes back in China. At the end of June of the same year, the Central Secretariat of the Chinese Communist Party approved that suggestion, and agreed that Leighton Stuart’s ashes as the former president of Yanjing University be buried in his former residence Linhuxuan  at Yanching University. After Mr. Fu Jingbo for health reasons was not able to return, the burial of Leighton Stuart’s ashes was put on hold. After the death of Mr. Fu Jingbo in 1988, Leighton Stuart’s ashes were at the home  of Mr. Fu’s daughter Ms. Fu Hailan, until the morning of November 17 this year, 46 years after his death, when they were buried in the Anxian Cemetery in the Banshan District of Hangzhou.

While writing my book 《无奈的结局——司徒雷登与中国》”An Ending that Could Not Be Helped – Leighton Stuart and China”, I was in charge of foreign affairs work at Peking University. Preparing for the burial of Leighton Stuart’s ashes, I enquired into their whereabouts.  According to Stuart’s memoirs, his wife died in 1926, and was buried in the cemetery of Zhongguanyuan. For this reason, I went to the field to find out. Before the Cultural Revolution, Peking University built a dormitory in Zhonguangyuan, the original cemetery was moved. Since no written records were left at that time, no one knows now where these burials were actually moved. At that time, I supposed that they might be moved to Wan’an Cemetery at the foot of Xiangshan Mountain, and twice went to check the files of Wan’an Cemetery, but I still found nothing. I heard from the director of Wan’an Cemetery that there is a special cemetery for foreigners in Beijing, and he will keep an eye on it for me and continue to search for it. I hope that one day I will be able to find Mrs. Stuart’s ashes and move them back to Hangzhou, so that the couple can be together forever on the shores of West Lake.

At the burial ceremony of Mr. Leighton Stuart’s ashes, the U.S. Ambassador to China,Clark T. Randt Jr., said: “China is the country that John Leighton Stuart loved. He was born in Hangzhou and returns here today to complete his life’s journey. He believed that education is one of the most important ways to deepen the relationship between our two countries, and he would be very happy if he could see the changes that have taken place today.” I deeply share this sentiment.

(The author is the president of Beijing Foreign Studies University)

[Note: See also the November 19, 2008 David Barboza New York Times “John Leighton Stuart, China Expert, Is Buried There at Last”]

Hangzhou Gave Leighton Stuart the Warmth of a Hometown 


Ding Yongxun

Xinhua Daily Telegraph

September 09, 2016.

At the welcome dinner of the G20 Hangzhou Summit on Sept. 4, President Xi Jinping said in his speech, “140 years ago, in June 1876, Mr. John Leighton Stuart, who was once the U.S. ambassador to China, was born in Hangzhou and lived in China for more than 50 years. His ashes were laid to rest in Anxian Garden in the Banshan District of Hangzhou.”

John Leighton Stuart, a name both familiar to and held at a distance from the Chinese people, is today a representative of the friendship between China and the United States. Words like this have appeared in the speeches of China’s top leaders.

By descent, John Leighton Stuart is purely American, his parents having been missionaries who came to China in the late Qing Dynasty. But Stuart himself said he was “more of a Chinese than an American. Stanton’s “Chinese” identity began and ended in Hangzhou because his ashes are now buried there.

In June 1876, Stanton was born in Hangzhou in the parsonage of the Tianshitang Church (now known as Jesus Church Lane in Xiacheng District, Hangzhou). Until he returned to the United States at the age of 11 to study, he lived in Hangzhou, spent a full childhood in Hangzhou, learned a pure Hangzhou language, and recognized Hangzhou as his second hometown.

In 1904, after his marriage, Stanton returned to China with his wife, and his first stop was Hangzhou. In 1908, he became a professor of Greek at the Jinling Theological Seminary in Nanjing, and in 1910, he became chairman of the Nanjing Church Business Committee. In Hangzhou, he participated in the founding of Yuying College, later known as Zhejiang University, of which his brother later became president.

The most brilliant achievement of Stanton’s life was due to his founding and long presidency of Yenching University. In the minds of the older generation of Chinese intellectuals, Stuart was first and foremost an educator and an excellent university president.

At the end of the Qing Dynasty, the Boxer Rebellion burned down the buildings of Huiwen University, the North China Union Women’s University and Tongzhou Union University, founded by the American and British churches, which the founders later planned to rebuild and merge into one university. The founders later planned to merge them into one university.  Disagreements about what the new university should be named and the choice of the president were great until a compromise was reached: an “outsider” was chosen to be the president. John Leighton Stuart, who knew China well and had a reputation for excellence and scholarship, was the popular choice of the Americans in China.

Stanton took over the “unmanageable mess”. He rode around on a donkey to choose a site for the new school, to raise funds for the school around, with missionary piety and perseverance, in the western suburbs of Beijing to build a beautiful university like a garden. Today, Yenching University has long since ceased to exist, but the campus that Stuart left behind has become the campus of Peking University. The lakes and towers of today’s Yenching Garden, the Chinese-style president’s office building, and the student dormitories have largely remained the same as they were designed under Stuart’s auspices.

Although Yenching University was a church school, Leighton Stuart proposed the principle of “making Yenching University completely Chinese. He said: “Yenching University must be a university in the true sense of the word that can withstand any test, and what it believes in is an entirely personal matter”. As an educator, he knew that “a university should not only have a building, but also a master”, and hired the most famous Chinese scholars at that time to teach at the university, enjoying the same status and compensation as foreign teachers. Within a short period of time, Yenching University was filled with famous teachers, almost all of whom were heard: Hong Ye, Yu Pingbo, Zhou Zuoren, Zheng Zhenduo, Chen Yuan, Gu Jie Gang, Zhang Dongsun, Feng Youlan ……

At the same time, he actively promoted exchanges and cooperation between Yenching University and leading universities. The Harvard-Yenching Institute, established in cooperation between Yenching University and Harvard University, is still highly respected today as an academic program and is regarded as a guarantee of academic quality.

Stuart’s outstanding construction and management has enabled Yenching University to rapidly increase its popularity and academic standards, and in just over a decade, it has become the best academic church university in China, ranking among the top universities in the world more than 80 years ago.

Yenching University existed for 33 years and taught less than 10,000 registered students.  Over 100 went on to become renowned scholars and leaders in their disciplines, including 42 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and eleven members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Yenching University was also the earliest pioneer of journalism and sociology education in China, producing famous alumni such as Bing Xin, Fei Xiaotong, Hou Renzhi, Yang Jiang, etc. Huang Hua, who later served as PRC  foreign minister, was also a student of John Leighton Stuart.

As president, Stuart sympathized with the student movement, and after the September 18 Incident, he personally led hundreds of Yenching University students and faculty in a street march to protest the Japanese invasion of China. When the Pacific War broke out in 1941, he was imprisoned in an internment camp for refusing to cooperate with the Japanese army. He was held there until Japan surrendered. During the Japanese invasion of North China, a large number of students from Yenching University fled the areas that had fallen to the Japanese and  went to the liberated areas held by the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army.  Leighton Stuart personally saw them off.

For the rest of his life, Stanton carried the label of “symbol of America’s total failure in China” from his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of China in 1946. During his tenure as ambassador, he was invited to Hangzhou to attend an event and visit the graves of his parents, and was awarded the title of “Honorary Citizen of Hangzhou”. He was described by the Chinese at the time as “both a politician and a scholar, a cunning adversary and a warm friend”.

In 1949, on the eve of the decisive battle that would determine China’s fate, Stuart chose to stay in Guangzhou, hoping to act as a mediator in the Chinese civil war, but eventually had to return quietly to the United States because of the dramatic change in circumstances, and then retired until his death.

Because of his performance as ambassador to China, Leighton Stuart who had “no enemies in the world,” became an unpopular person in the eyes of all parties. In China’s particular context, he became synonymous with being an agent of aggression against China and a notorious loser because of his famous essay, which was selected for inclusion in a high school textbook; back in the United States, he was “banned” by the pro-KMT and McCarthyist authorities, harassed and attacked by some, and left poor, sick and alone. Had it not been for the loving care of his personal secretary, Fu Jingbo and his family, he would have been even more miserable in his old age.

In September 1962, after years of illness, Leighton Stuart died in Washington, D.C.. His last wish was to have his ashes sent back to China and buried on the campus of Yenching University. But for complicated reasons, this wish was never realized. The buildings left behind by Stanton are still in use on the Yenching University campus, which has long since become the campus of Peking University. There is not a single statue of Stanton on the campus to date, and the whereabouts of the grave of his wife, who was buried there earlier, is also unknown.

On November 17, 2008, Mr. Leighton Stuart’s ashes were placed in the Anxian Garden in the Banshan District of Hangzhou. Although this was not entirely according to his wishes, Hangzhou was his second home where he was born and raised, and where his parents and brother have lain at rest for many years. To be born and buried in Hangzhou is a fulfillment of his wish to return to his roots.

Hangzhou, this beautiful and inclusive city, gave Leighton Stuart, a “familiar stranger” to the Chinese the warmth of his hometown but also a monument to the friendship between the two great countries beyond the vagaries of history.


by 刘亚伟 

June 8, 2022June 8, 2022



















他们未经官方许可,在下葬仪式开始后用自己带的光盘设备播放了“Amazing Grace”和“美国国歌”。也许,司徒老人的在天之灵会感到欣慰。也许刚刚换了校长的北大会重温燕京之父当年的训导,“我们的目的,是以养成一种合作、建设、服务人群的精神以服务社会国家……我们不要变成世界上最有名的学校,也不要成为有史以来最有名的学校,而是要成为‘现在中国’最有用的学校。”





不过,在2008年的中国,毛泽东的“阳光”还普照着,他的精神,他的风格、他的“英明”还滋润着许多中国的学者和精英,与毛泽东当年讽刺、挖苦和攻击司徒雷登的经典异曲同工的文章还层出不穷,仅仅最近几个月就有陈奎元的《不能将西方的价值观念尊奉为所谓的普世价值》、冯虞章的《怎样认识所谓“普世价值”》、徐天亮的《做好意识形态工作贵在保持清醒头脑》、求是的《三权分立是不可能普世的》和李必胜的《一个重大的政治信号 》。
















中国的知识精英也还会背着他们可能是美帝国主义的走狗的包袱,“中国还有一部分知识分子和其他人等存有糊涂思想,对美国存有幻想,因此应当对他们进行说服、争取、教育和团结的工作,使他们站到人民方面来,不上帝国主义的当。但是整个美帝国主义在中国人民中的威信已经破产了,美国的白皮书,就是一部破产的记录。先进的人们,应当很好地利用白皮书对中国人民进行教育工作。 司徒雷登走了,白皮书来了,很好,很好。这两件事都是值得庆祝的。”











































回到美国仅3个月,司徒雷登一病不起,严重的中风后遗症使他在轮椅和病榻上度过了最后的13个春秋。那时,司徒雷登身边没有亲人相伴,他的妻子在他50岁时病逝于北京,唯一的儿子也不在身边。他的生活起居完全依赖从年青时便追随在他身边的私人秘书傅泾波及其家人照料。1952年11月28日,司徒雷登向即将离任的美国总统杜鲁门递上辞呈,提出因健康原因,希望辞去驻华大使的职务。3天后,杜鲁门在给他的回信中,对他在中国期间为增进中美关系所做的努力给予极高的评价。1954年10月15日,司徒雷登的回忆录《在华五十年(Fifty Years in China——The Memoirs of John Leighton Stuart, Missionary and Ambassador)》由美国纽约兰登出版社正式出版。次日,台湾《大华晚报》即开始一边请人翻译,一边予以连载,并于同年12月1日出版了中译本。1955年和1982年,香港和中国大陆也分别出版了司徒雷登回忆录的中译本。可见司徒雷登在中国的影响力之大。





























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1000 BCE:Book of Poetry #12: The Magpie’s Nest

How times have changed! When I started studying Chinese, in the last days of the Mao Dynasty (Mao’s son Mao Anying was killed during the Korean War supposedly when, against advice, he left shelter to go out and cook egg fried rice for breakfast: some Chinese even thank egg fried rice 蛋炒飯 dàn chǎofàn for China never achieving a full-fledged communist dynastic succession as North Korea has. So it was a short-lived dynasty) scholars used concordances, index books of Chinese classics, to look up how words were used in context. One of my English language students at Tunghai University in the early 80s got a summer job compiling one of those concordances in Taipei — perhaps it was with the Southern Materials Center which published a number of concordances.

Today’s computer database technology and the Internet have made possible amazing websites like the Chinese Text Project. The Internet itself is a great concordance of the Chinese and other languages that are widely ‘spoken’ online. When in doing a translation I found a puzzling use of a word that seems to go beyond what my dictionaries might advise, I do a search online to see how that word is used by Chinese people today. Fortunately, when my dictionaries are at their (and my) wit’s end about a certain word, so too are many Chinese people. So between their useages I can find online answers to qustions by puzzled Chinese about that same word on some Chinese websites such as Baidu Knows 百度知道 . Sometimes the Internet will tell me that word is a local useage say from some corner of Hunan Province.

Many fine tools not available in those ancient times now just several decades past. I wonder how Confucius got by without the Internet? Everybody just memorized a much smaller corpus of books I guess… so I get the sense that when Confucius asked his students about the Book of Poetry and asked them if they have read this or that, I think what he means is not have you read it (that is to be assumed), but have you mastered it so that you understand it fully and make it part of your life. If intrigued, you might want to look at my blog article Tools for Building Specialized and Technical Vocabulary for Chinese Language Learners.

Some thoughts on another poem from the Shijing/Odes/Book of Songs. Here is the first poem, #12 in the Shijing from the chapter South of Shao entitled “The Magpie’s Nest” 鵲巢.

First is James Legge’s translation from the vast Chinese text collections of the Chinese Text Project.

鵲巢 – Que ChaoEnglish translation: James Legge [?]Books referencing 《鵲巢》 Library Resources
Que Chao:The nest is the magpie’s;
The dove dwells in it.
This young lady is going to her future home;
A hundred carriages are meeting her.
Que Chao:The nest is the magpie’s;
The dove possesses it.
This young lady is going to her future home;
A hundred carriages are escorting her.
Que Chao:The nest is the magpie’s;
The dove fills it.
This young lady is going to her future home;
These hundreds of carriages complete her array.

Now Arthur Waley’s translation:

Magpie’s Nest

Now the magpie has a nest,
But the cuckoo lived in it.
Here comes the girl to be married;
With a hundred coaches we’ll meet her.

Now the magpie had a nest,
But the cuckoo made a home in it.
Here comes the girl to be married;
With a hundred carriages we’ll escort her.

Now the magpie had a nest,
But the cuckoo filled it.
Here comes a girl to be married;
With a hundred coaches we’ll gird her.

James Legge’s discussion of the poem and various commentaries

From The Chinese Classics Volume IV The She King edited by James Legge reprinted by SMC Pubishing Taipei from the last Oxford University Press edition. Avaiable online.

I’d suggest this translation which although it goes against three millenia of increasingly complicated commentaries, has the advantage of simplicity and having the poem make sense. The poor magpie being cuckolded from the get go might be a bit too much to be a hit parade poem for supposedly straight-laced ancient China, especially after King Wen staightened out society circa 1000 BCE. Many poems in the Book of Poetry and other ancient classics need to be excavated from under the weight of millenia of commentaries that often disagreed with each other.

Dictionaries sometimes aren’t a great help either since it seems that a famous commentary seems to take hold with dictionary compliers as if the fix is in.

Sometimes I wonder with all the back-and-forth of authoritative (at least for a time) commentaries over the centuries whether the Chinese cultural zone had the same problem as the Western one as far as the pitfalls of expertise goes. Sometimes experts prefer complicated explanations over simpler ones so that they can show off their expertise. Makes me think back to Louis Menand’s 2005 New Yorker article Everybody’S an Expert: Putting predictions to the test.

That being said, I am probably wrong. Maybe I am just a mere troublesome pest a 幺蛾子 yāo é zi foolishly questioning the wisdom of the commentators.

Magpie’s Nest (my stab at a translation)

Now the affianced magpie has a nest,
And his fiancée
dove dwells there.
Here comes the girl to be married;
With a hundred coaches we’ll meet her.

The affianced magpie had a nest,
And now the fiancée
dove has made it a home.
Here comes the girl to be married;
With a hundred carriages we’ll escort her home.

Now the affianced magpie has a nest,
And the fiancée
dove fills it.
Here comes a girl to be married;
With a hundred coaches we’ll escort her home.

Legge in his discussion says that the character 維 wéi is meaningless here and was only inserted for the sake of euphony. When I looked up that character in my dictionaries (Pleco makes it easy to call up an entry in many dictionaries simultaneously) I wondered it meaninglessness might be an exaggeration. I would rather understand 維 wéi as referring to the marital bond between the two lovebirds. The Book of Poetry is written in an extremely concise style that one need interpolate meaning into (that has kept millenia of commentators fed) yet given the core meaning of linking and ties that show up in other classical texts my translation seems plausible. There are so many meanings — clouds of meaning — for the words in the very concise texts of the classics that there are many rabbit holes one can go down trying to figure things out with reference to approximately contemporary texts. Or what we might imagine to be contemporary…

Herer is what Pleco gave me for 維 wéi

Pleco look up of 維 wéi in Grand Ricci GR, 現代漢語規範詞典【Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian】GF ,

Continued, entry in the Hanyu Da Cidian 漢語大辭典 HDC

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A Wolf Warrior Refrain: Friends Get Wine, Wolves Faced with a Gun

 When friends come, there is wine; when wolves come, there are met with a hunting rifle.


Péngyǒu láile yǒu měijiǔ, cháiláng láile shì lièqiāng

A wolf warrior refrain: the PRC ambassador to the ROK Xing Haiming used this phrase in a 2020 interview as did former Chinese ambassador to Sweden Gui Congyou 桂从友. Maybe it has appeared in the Wolf Warrior Reference News!  战狼参考消息. It goes along well with General Secretary’s overarching themes of Make China Great Again and leading the Chinese nation into a great national renaissance with the Xi Jinping Thought revision of Deng Xiaoping Theory.

For more on China’s wolf warrior diplomats and recent Chinese reflections on U.S. – China bilateral relations see also:

The phrase  “When friends come, there is wine; when wolves come, there are met with a hunting rifle.” comes from a song My Motherland 我的祖国 (translation of the lyrics below with italics added) from the 1956 movie of the same name..

The song was revived by Central Television when they colorized “using AI” an old film about Chinese volunteers in the War to Oppose American and Help (North) Korea. 

On YouTube song starts just after 3:33 in this video clip.Guo Lanying is wearing a uniform of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army.

Original lyrics of My Motherland are available in Chinese from Baidu Zhidao. English translation below:

My Motherland
Singer : Guo Lanying
Album: Hundred Years of Classics 3: My Motherland

My Motherland – Guo Lanying

A big river with wide waves
The wind blows the rice flowers on both sides
My family lives on the shore
I’m used to hearing the boatman’s trumpet
I’m used to seeing the white sails on the boat
A big river with wide waves
The wind blows rice blossoms on both sides of the river
My family lives on the shore
I’m used to hearing the boatman’s trumpet
I’m used to seeing the white sails on the boat
This is my beautiful country
The place I grew up
In this vast land
There are bright scenery everywhere
The girls are like flowers
The boy is so broad-minded
To open up a new world
He awakens the sleeping mountains
The rivers have changed their appearance
This is the homeland of heroes
This is the place I grew up
In this ancient land
There is the power of youth everywhere
Good mountains, good water, good places
All the roads are wide and smooth
There is good wine when friends come
If the wolf comes
A hunting rifle will greet it

This is the mighty motherland
This is the place where I grew up
In this warm land
The sunshine of peace is everywhere

A Fine tradition of Chinese Diplomacy Reappears: “When a friend comes, we have wine; when a wolf comes, a hunting rifle will greet it!”


by Tian Shichen

Author: Tian Shichen, a retired PLA Navy Captain, is the founder of Eastside Intelligence and director of the Center for the Study of International Military Operations Law

Source: Straight News

The U.S.-China High-Level Strategic Dialogue was held in Anchorage, Alaska, March 18-19. There was no more eye-catching aspect of the dialogue than the intense, white-hot exchange of dislike between the U.S. and China during the opening remarks set aside for the media before the formal talks began.

Much has been made in commentaries in the world press of this exchange of angry words between the U.S. and China in front of the media. Here I share something that isn’t mentioned so often: this diplomatic high profile encounter marked a major turn in China’s diplomatic culture.

Having served for many years with the PRC state system as director of the media division, I am familiar with the practice of setting aside time for filming opening remarks for the television media during high-level meetings. According to the usual practice:

  1. The opening remarks reserved for the TV media of both sides will not be filmed for too long, in order to allow the representatives of both sides to appear on camera in their roles for the TV media coverage;
  2. During this period, the representatives of both sides will usually make some polite “New Year’s Eve talk”, and will not discuss much on the substantive issues. It is rare for them to directly attack one another.

The opening segment of the Anchorage China-US High-Level Strategic Dialogue for the television media broke these rules, surprising everyone. The author argues that, by chance, this was a direct reaction by the Chinese side to the U.S. side’s first break with diplomatic conventions and practices, as it was the U.S. side that first went over its agreed upon speaking time and had used the opening remarks to make unwarranted accusations against the Chinese side.

The U.S. side has been aiming to put on a show in order to look good to the U.S. domestic audience and to the Republican Party. Thus the U.S. side sets its agenda according to its own selfish domestic political needs. The U.S. side certainly expects that China would play the U.S.’s game and take the loss. However, things didn’t work out as the U.S. expected.

Inevitably, this also marks the transformation and improvements in China’s diplomatic culture after adjustments made in recent years. Now Chinese diplomacy tends to be more pragmatic, efficient and result-oriented, especially after the transition from the former stress on creating a diplomatic atmosphere with traditional Chinese cultural hospitality to pragmatic diplomacy with different objectives: switching away from focusing on form and “face” to paying more attention to “content” and “substance and from seeing and reacting passively to taking the initiative to putting our interests first and shaping the situation proactively.

This transformation is the result of lessons learned over the years. This is to some extent a correction. Under the influence of traditional Chinese culture, we used to think that when both sides had high-level contacts or political and diplomatic agendas such as major commemorative events, we should create a good atmosphere for this purpose and show some goodwill in the economic, military and diplomatic fields, such as reducing or suspending some military operations, or even suspending military operations for major diplomatic agendas without making an objective assessment of the situation.

One aspect of traditional Chinese culture also includes the love of “face. The undesirable consequence of placing too much emphasis on “face” is that the Chinese side is always willing to listen to good words from the foreign side, or to lead the foreign side to say good things, and foreign correspondents will look for opportunities and set up questions to get others to say good things during interviews. This orientation on the part of the Chinese has given rise to a group of foreigners who benefit materially from their relationship with China to specialize in saying good things about China, while other foreign friends who say good things about China from genuine conviction are afraid to say good things about China for fear of being labeled ‘China sympathizers‘.

I do not know, due to the objective cultural differences between the two sides, in many cases the Chinese side expressed goodwill is only a unilateral “gentleman’s heart to the belly of a small man”, the foreign side does not fully understand the goodwill expressed by the Chinese side is still my own way. On the one hand, some foreign parties never stop their military actions against China during high-level diplomatic activities between China and foreign countries. This time we also “thought too well of the U.S.”: just before the high-level strategic dialogue between China and the U.S. the U.S. announced another round of sanctions against China. On the other hand, the Chinese approach also gives foreign parties the opportunity to take advantage of these Chinese psychological and cultural characteristics — the Chinese need to shape the atmosphere for a major political and diplomatic agenda — in other words extortion by taking advantage of the other party’s weaknesses or opportunistically seizing upon opportunities. Some of China’s neighbors are deceitful pests who in fact use the occasion of high-level diplomatic exchanges to “make something out of nothing” or “nothing out of something”. [Translator’s note: last phrase is 幺蛾子 yāo é zi originally a reference to agricultural pests explained on Baidu (Google Translate gives a flavor of the expression.) Here is use deceitful pest to carry some sense of the term. Apparently the US is not the only pest in China’s various bilateral relations. The translation might be a little over the top. Yet since it does have the flavor of a wolf warrior speaking about relations with pesky lesser states on a day when his fangs have grown long, I decided to go with it.]

Secondly, this change is also Chinese side’s response to the U.S. side’s strategy of “opposing China at every encounter”. In recent years, the U.S. Trump Administration has consistently disregarded the facts and the truth, blackening China’s name and attacking China through officially manipulated information deception (disinformation). They have purposefully and consciously ideologized the relationship between China and the United States. No matter what China does, the U.S. side will use its own dark-tinted glasses to make out shortcomings in China, attack China just for the sake of attacking China, and impose upon our bilaeral relations this hostile competitive relationship with China. As a result China is rethinking the bilateral relationship and coming up with its own response.

Finally, the cultural turn in Chinese diplomacy is both a subjective inheritance of good traditions and an objective reflection of the changing power contrast between China and the United States. During the War to Oppose America and Assist Korea [Translator’s note: old customary Chinese name for the Korean War; in more recent years sometimes called the Korean War in Chinese media but now the old term is back with patriotic war movies and stories in the Chinese press about the Korean War.] , despite the huge disparity between the U.S. and China in material strength, China nonetheless resolutely defended its national dignity in diplomacy and did not give in, relying on the pride and spirit inherited from traditional Chinese culture. Now we have returned to this fine tradition. This return is also inseparable from the development and growth of China’s comprehensive national power in recent years.

The transformation of China’s diplomatic culture is the result of adjustments and corrections that China is making in response to the changing external security environment. This transformation is not intended to manifest any desire to act from a position of strength or to impose Chinese hegemony upon the outside world. Instead, it aims to bring China’s diplomacy back to basics, back to firmly safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. At the same time, China is determined to create a positive external environment for peaceful development by maintaining friendly relations with various countries. China will continue to move along the path of peaceful development and pursue a defensive national defense policy.

(May 2020)

The Huangqiu Shibao 【Global Times】 in Chinese interview with the PRC ambassador to the ROK.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea on Chinese Diplomacy: When friends come, there is wine; when wolves come, they are met with a hunting rifle


Source: Chinese Embassy in South Korea

May 25, 2020

According to the official WeChat public acount of the Chinese Embassy in South Korea, on May 24, Ambassador Xing Haiming was a guest of CCTV News’ two sessions special program “Meeting Online”, answering questions from CCTV reporters on Chinese diplomacy in the new era.

Xing Haiming said that diplomacy is to implement the country’s policy, tell its own story, seek each other’s understanding, strengthen mutual cooperation and promote the building of a community of human destiny. Inadequate understanding or even misunderstandings are addressed through more contacts and communication aimed at objectively and accurately introduce China’s own situation and policies, and not by trying to impose itself upon others. The epidemic has affected the international political and economic landscape, and international governance and multilateral cooperation are facing serious challenges. China is starting from cooperation with China, Korea and China-Japan-Korea, taking these relationships in China’s own neighborhood as fundamental, strengthening regional economic integration, upholding multilateralism and globalization, and promoting a more just and reasonable global governance system.

Chinese Central Television’s “Meeting Online” program interviewing the PRC ambassadors to the UK, Russia, and South Korea.

Xing Haiming said that China has more and more friends around the world, especially on China’s periphery, who are increasingly understanding of and respectful of China and actively support it in the process of fighting the epidemic. We will never forget this. There are also individuals with ulterior motives and malicious attacks, we can not be polite when we face them. We must engage them tit-for-tat and resolute struggle. Simply put, there is wine when friends come, and wine for strangers passing by, but the wolves we certainly greet with guns.

Xing Haiming said that the key for China is to maintain its determination and insist on focusing on doing its own work to make its own people’s lives happier and its own society more harmonious. As long as we treat people with sincerity and insist on sincerity and tolerance, we will have more and more friends and deeper friendships.















作者:田士臣  退役海军上校,经士智库创始人兼国际军事行动法研究中心主任



2020-05-25 13:32





Posted in Bilateral Relations, Foreign Relations 外交, Ideology 思想 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019: HK Writer Hon Lai-chu — “Today’s Is Not the Only Reality”

Years of passionate protest for legality and citizen rights in Hong Kong by great numbers of people came to an end with what now seems to be the now seemingly definitive subjugation of the Hong Kong rights movement. Only a short time ago but history moves faster at some times than others and so 2019 can seem to be a long time ago. The legality and rights movement was a demand for legality and an assertion of local identity necessarily opposed to the Communist Party insistently (particularly in thse Secretary Xi latter days) defined national ‘patriotic Chinese’ identity that was being imposed upon them.

Hon Lai-chu Translation on the Leeds Centre for Chinese Writing Website

A translation of the novella Hon Lai-chun 韓麗珠 mentioned in the interview with Deutsche Welle, the German state broadcaster, below “Notes on an Epidemic” 《感冒志》is available in English translation on the website of the The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing at the University of Leeds as well as in Chinese: 《感冒志》. Students studying Chinese language or culture will find many articles in both English and Chinese about writing, literature and culture in China today.

Wikipedia has a biographical article about Hon Lai-chu.

Interview: What We Have Today Is Not the Only Reality

During the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019, Hong Kong author Han Lai-chu was invited to participate in several author discussion panels, including “Literature and Politics in the Asia-Pacific Region” and “Women and Literature in the Asia-Pacific Region”. She brought the voice of Hong Kong to the book fair. Deutsche Welle interviewed her.

Hong Kong writer Hon Lai-chu 韓麗珠

(Deutsche Welle): Why are participating in this book fair event?

Hon Lai-chu: The Frankfurt Book Fair wanted to invite writers from Hong Kong to participate in a discussion on “Literature and Politics” and so they approached me. The invitation came at the beginning of July, which coincided with the “March Against Extradition to China” on June 9. The movement had already reached a fever pitch in July, so this was the right topic for me. I wanted to express what a Hong Kong writer would think and struggle with when faced with such an event, and I wanted to bring out my thoughts.

Why does this incident affect people who write so much? Because it will have a direct impact on freedom of expression. And as a cultural and artistic worker, a writer, freedom of speech is very important, freedom from fear. Although the extradition ordinance has now been completely removed, other issues, some of the more important issues, a range of abuses that give us anxiety, including the issue of police brutality, police violence and their abuse of arrest authority. The Umbrella movement of 2014 was a failed civil disobedience movement. After the Umbrella Movement, we felt helpless for many years: many people were prosecuted for their actions during the protests, many legislators were DQ’d (disqualified), and we felt ever more helpless and angry. And through this anti-extradition movement is awakening society to consider what kind of a people we want to be, and I want to bring this voice outside of Hong Kong.

Deutsche Welle: As a writer, how do you think this movement to oppose the extradition of criminal suspects to China has affected you?

Han Lizhu: First of all, literature is all about life, and politics is everywhere in life. For more than four months, my mind could not detach itself from what was going on, and I believe many Hong Kong people did too, because we all felt deeply emotional about it. The situation in Hong Kong, every day, became ever more ridiculous than before. Every day is different. Every day I wake up, I look at my phone, I look at the news, and all this news scares me because it’s not the Hong Kong we are familiar with. It’s becoming fast, and it is arguably degenerating fast.

But as someone who writes, I don’t look at the reality we see now as the only reality. Many of my friends around me say that they feel desperate about the social upheaval caused by this politics, but I don’t see it as completely desperate. Of course, there are a lot of very horrible and cruel things going on around me, but as someone who writes, I know that this reality is not the only reality. There are many aspects to reality. There is another aspect, we have created the reality we have today because it is created by the common mind of many of us in Hong Kong. What is in the mind is reflected in the world. Why has society become like this today? I think it is “karma”, the karma of karma. It is because we have done a lot before, so now we are bearing the fruit, and now we have to face the result together.

Deutsche Welle: It sounds very Buddhist and very metaphysical.

Han Lizhu: It seems that you can only find a way out for yourself from this perspective. Because if we don’t think of a way out for ourselves, then we will be buried by that hatred and anger. Every day there are very tragic things happening, such as protesters being beaten and bleeding, some forced into exile in other countries, three people lost their eyes, one of them was a journalist in Indonesia, many female protesters were sexually assaulted, sexually assaulted in police stations, many people suffered a lot, many people committed suicide, many mysterious deaths, not knowing whether it was suicide or homicide, but the police don’t go to investigate. The state of our society is horrible every day. So, I can only see this reality not as the only reality and thus I can see it more clearly.

Deutsche Welle: What was your writing status like during these months of the oppose extradition of accused people to China movement?

Han Lizhu: I wrote a lot of articles, mainly columns and poems. I have a column in the daily newspaper, which is updated three times a week; a column in the weekly magazine, which is updated once every two weeks; and a column in the literary website, which is updated once a month. Besides that, I also write about the struggle every week. Actually, my job is to write novels, but my writing is very fragmented at the moment, and I haven’t been able to finish one yet. Writing a novel requires some distance, a lot of calmness, and not letting a lot of emotions overshadow you. But there have been a lot of emotions these past few months, and the reality is very unsettling, so I can’t be in a very settled state to write a novel either.

So it’s mostly experience. A person who writes is not actually writing twenty-four hours a day. Part of the time, one needs to experience life. So sometimes I go to the street, to the scene of action. I know I can’t do much because it’s hard for me to take a place on the front lines; but because I am a writer, I need to see and witness how events happen. After seeing it, I may not be able to write about it right away, but I need to feel the emotions of all people, the energy of all people, how the event develops; I need to put myself in it.

Deutsche Welle: At the event of the Book Fair, you mentioned that language stimulates your imagination, can you elaborate on that?

Han Lizhu: In Hong Kong there are three languages: two written languages and three spoken languages. The spoken languages are Mandarin, Cantonese and English, and we communicate in Cantonese in our lives. We don’t use English or Mandarin unless we are with outsiders. The written language is the written language, but the language used is not Cantonese. And when I think about things, I don’t always think in Cantonese. Probably also because of the influence of the colonial period, when we write emails we usually use English, and we live with a lot of English intermingled with the language.

A language that carries with it a full set of cultural values, values and emotions behind it, and the relationships between people are implied in the language. So I think that totally affects what Hong Kong people write about.

Language directly affects my writing. When I write, I don’t write from my heart. But because of this, every time I put pen to paper, I have to create a new language for the world of fiction, so the world of fiction and the world of reality are not the same world.

Because language is so far away from my daily life, the world of fiction is like a hole in which I can hide. In the world of fiction, anything can happen. Of course, it is not completely detached from the real world, but it enters reality from another portal. Fiction is not a true story of course, but fiction is meant also to be a kind of truth that cuts through the many of the lies in real life. In real life, people get along with each other based on politeness, based on social norms. In fact we keep telling many lies and hide our true feelings. Otherwise our interpersonal relationships would be simply horrible. And what that world of fiction is all about is bringing back the truth, through fiction and imagination.

Deutsche Welle: It was also mentioned at the Book Fair event that your imagination also comes from the role of women in the family, can you explain that?

Han Lizhu: I would like to talk about the book “The Kite Family”, which contains six short stories that are interconnected.

One of the short stories of the same name, called “The Kite Family,” is about three women: a mother, an aunt and a daughter. This family has a disease in which the women in the family become more and more obese as they grow older, their bodies even grow to the size of a house, and nothing can be done to stop it. And when the body grows to a certain level, they will be obese to death. The protagonist of the story, the daughter of the family, but her body is surprisingly thin, so thin that she can fly away. Auntie was very good-looking when she was young, so she got a lot of career benefits and was with a lot of men. However, in middle age, she became fatter and fatter until she got to the point where she lost all that she had gained in the first half of her life. The whole story is told around the change in women’s bodies.

There is also a short story called “Notes on an Epidemic” 《感冒志》 . The story takes place in a fictional city in which people have a bad cold. When they wake up in the hospital, the government lets them out, but instead of being allowed to return to their old families, they are assigned new family members: fake brothers, fake parents, fake husbands, all strangers. In the new family, they had to readjust. Why were the new family members assigned? The government’s explanation was that this severe cold started precisely because people refused to enter family life. Solitude tends to cause disease, so you are not allowed to be alone anymore. Solitude is germ-bearing, so everyone must enter the family.

Hong Kong Writer Hon Lai-chu at a panel at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

When writing this novel, the question I pondered was, why do we all have to enter the system of family? Why don’t we have the freedom to be alone? The reason is that society controls the individual, and one of the means is through the structure of the family. When everyone has an identity, such as father, son, mother, when you need to use a lot of energy to build your family, you no longer have the energy to think about who you really are, you don’t think about your own identity anymore. When you don’t have the space to think about your own identity, you don’t fight it either. It’s good for society and it’s safe. This is a novel I wrote ten years ago.

My latest full-length novel is called “Empty Faces”. In the story everyone in a city is forced to undergo plastic surgery to get a face that conforms to social norms in order to get an ID card and continue living. This story is also about changes in the human body and how those in power demand that your body be changed to conform.

Deutsche Welle: The latter two seem quite political.

Han Lizhu: Yes, but I wouldn’t actually say it’s political. Because literature and fiction are very much about life, and our lives are full of politics of all kinds, for example, that we can be manipulated, or that we can manipulate others without realizing it. I think my novel is more about the relationship between people, and human relationships involve a lot of wrestling. In a family, as long as there are three or more people in that family, then there is also political wrestling within that family.

Deutsche Welle: No wonder you are called the “Kafka of Hong Kong”.

Han Lizhu: I don’t really like this name because I am me and not someone else. Being imaginative is not being Kafka. I think everyone who writes is different. We sometimes need to categorize an author because we are not familiar with him, so we feel that we can understand him more easily after categorizing him. But actually this categorization can cut down on his imagination or his ability to understand other people, because in fact everyone is very unique. Also, there is something very important in literature, and that is some very subtle distinctions, which is the most important thing.

Interviewer: Guang Yang



2019年法兰克福书展期间,香港作家韩丽珠受邀参加了“亚太地区文学与政治” 及 “亚太地区女性与文学”等几场作家讨论活动,将香港的声音带到了书展现场。德国之声对她进行了专访。





这次的事件为什么对写作的人影响这么大?因为这将直接影响到言论自由。而作为一个文化艺术工作者、一个作家,言论自由非常重要,免于恐惧的自由。虽然反送中的条例现在已经完全取消了,但其他问题,一些更重要的问题,还是会让我们落入那种恐惧之中,包括警察滥暴的问题,滥用暴力和滥用拘捕的问题。2014年的雨伞运动是一次失败的公民抗命。雨伞运动后,我们积压了许多年无助的情绪:很多人被秋后算账,很多立法会议员被DQ(disqualification, 褫夺资格),我们积聚了许多无助、愤怒的情绪。而藉着这次反送中,其实这是一次社会的觉醒,意识到原来我们想做什么样的人,而我想将这种声音带到香港以外的地方。



















采访记者: Guang Yang

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The Book of Poetry’s Wandering Goddess of Wuhan: Mortal or Goddess or Both?

In reading ancient Chinese texts, be they medical texts like the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon of Medicine Huangdi Neijing 皇帝内经 or ancient philosophical or literary texts like the Book of Odes aka Book of Poetry aka Book of Songs Shijing 诗经 I am always impressed by the commentaries on them. The commentaries are archaeological layers of interpretation and sometimes, by our latter-day lights, misinterpretation.

While we look at China today and perhaps rightfully imagine that much of its public discussion lacks diversity of views (with opinon insofar as it can be determined breaking 80 – 20 or even 99 – 1 whereas in some other countries inclined to allow organized political opposition to the ruling party, on many issues it breaks 60 – 40 or perhaps close to 50 – 50 on some issues) and light because of fear and repression, that was also true for many times in the various Chinese states that occupied the Chinese cultural sphere in succession (or at times in parallel with other Chinese states) over those fabled five millenia of Chinese history. This was mitigated at times with the existence of other Chinese states where dissidents could move when things got hot at home. Conformity on the world of educated people was effectively imposed through control of the narrow pathways to professional advancement such as the imperial examination system.

The conformities enforced by totalitarian regimes (the more recent ones perhaps even more efficient — I tend to see the authoritarian – totalitarian divide as one of lack of capacity rather than lack of desire to impose the will of the great leader) can be exaggerated or caricatured. A sense of this is conveyed in Ran Yunfei’s 2008 essay 2008: Ran Yunfei: “Where Will the Fear End? A Talk that Could Not Be Delivered” . Of course the forces of conformity, social as well as political, exist in all societies and many rules and convention are there for good reason — perhaps even the fruit of years of evolution in society. See for example Nathan Nunn’s 2022 Distinguished Lecture to the American Economics Association: ON THE DYNAMICS OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR:
. Yet still….

Thus when we read ancient texts in translation without commentaries, we miss a great deal of information about their changing understandings across generations. Some translators do indeed go into great details about the commentaries, sometimes translating them as well or characterizing the more important ones. James Legge translations of the Chinese classics and Annping Chin’s Confucius: The Analects are examples.

Here I discuss the translation and understaning of the poem Han Guang set in what is now Wuhan where the Han River and the Yangzte join.

漢廣 – Han Guang
English translation: James Legge

In the south rise the trees without branches,
Affording no shelter.
By the Han are girls rambling about,
But it is vain to solicit them.
The breadth of the Han
Cannot be dived across;
The length of the Jiang
Cannot be navigated with a raft.

Legge’s 1876 London edition of this poem in a freer translation.

From 1876 Legge translation of the “Book of Poetry” online at yumpu.com

漢廣 – Han Guang
English translation: Arthur Waley

In the south is an upturning tree;
One cannot shelter under it. .
Beyond the Han a lady walks,
One cannot seek her.
Oh, the Han it is so broad,
One cannot swim it,
And the Jiang, it is so rough
One cannot boat it.


漢廣 – Han Guang
English translation: me

In the South tall trees give little shade,
On the Han River far bank stands a goddess,
But you cannot hope to reach her.
Forbidden is swimming across the broad Han River
Forbiden is crossing turbulent Yangze by raft.

When I read the poem I wondered that buke could be understood as ”forbidden to do” rather than “unable to do”. People in ancient times could swim and build rafts so this makes more sense.

Legge’s note on the Zhou Dynasty King Wen’s moral uplift in what is now the Wuhan region:


Through the influence of [King Wen], the dissolute manners of the people, and especially the women, in the regions south of Zhou had undergone a great transformation. The praise of the ladies in this piece, therefore, is praice of King Wen.

The Chinese Classics by James Legge, IV The She King, Oxford University Press reprinted by Southern Materials Center, Taipei. Online see Internet Archive Legge The Chinese Classics, and Google Scholar, various editions.

From the Wikipedia article on King Wen :

King Wen of Zhou himself (via Wikipedia) and early Chinese cultural hero — how he came to be called King Culture perhaps?

King Wen of Zhou (Chinese: 周文王; pinyinZhōu Wén Wáng; 1152–1050 BC, the Cultured King) was Count of Zhou during the late Shang dynasty in ancient China. Although frequently confused with his fourth son Duke of Zhou, also known as “Lord Zhou”, they are different historical persons. Although it was his son Wu who conquered the Shang following the Battle of Muye, Count Wen was posthumously honored as the founder of the Zhou dynasty and posthumously titled King. Many of the hymns of the Classic of Poetry are praises to the legacy of King Wen. Some consider him the first epic hero of Chinese history.[1]

Over the millenia, layer upon layer of political interpretation often gets imposed on Shijing poems in commentaries by various scholarly writers. James Legge in his translations sometimes sets time aside to discuss with good humor some of that seem very wacky in our own less enlightened times. Chinese sages including Confucius saw themselves living in an age of severe and steady decline compared to the many centuries past era of sage kings and their virtuous subjects. Confucius lived nearly a millenium after those days; one can imagine how depraved we are living nearly 3000 years after that golden age.

The “goddess” younu is understood as a wandering woman. Would a woman about to be married of the higher ranges of society represented in these poems be ‘wandering about”? Legge and Waley chastely understood this to mean women rather the women (singular and plural are often assumed in context in literary Chinese). Liu Qun in a 2017 Guangming Daily [Guangming Ribao] article about the ‘wandering woman’ younu aka ‘goddess’ argued that the ‘wandering woman’ came to be understood as a goddess of the Han River many centuries later during the Western Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 9 CE) and that there were only very few water goddesses recorded prior to the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BCE).

Women are not infrequently characterized as goddesses as they are worshipped by their suitors in these latter days so I translated word goddess in my own translation. Nice when some ambiguity can bridge the gap. The can/may ambiguity of kě 可 may be another example. Legge and Waley follow tradition in translating it as can/able to; I suspect translating it as may/has permission to works better. Yet the days I live in are even less enlightened than those of the commentators of centuries past. So I must be wrong.

Liu Qun’s Guangming Ribao article on the Goddess of the Han River in the Shijing Poem “The Han River is Broad”:

The Evolution of the “Goddess of the Han River” 

by Liu Qun (Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Hubei University of Arts and Sciences)

June 12, 2017

Author: Liu Qun (Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Hubei University of Arts and Sciences)

The Han River, also known as Hanshui, changes its name depending on the region it flows through: it is called Shinshui when it flows through Shin County, Hanshui when it flows east to Hanzhong, Canglangshui when it flows from Ankang to Danjiangkou, and Xiangyang when it is customarily called Xiangjiang or Xiangshui. The legend of the “Han River Goddess” was originally related to the poem “by the Han River there is  a wandering woman” in “The Book of Poetry [Shijing] – Zhou Nan – Han Guang”, and was later interpreted as the story of the “Han woman untying her pendant” and the resulting “Han River Goddess”. The legend of the “Han River Goddess” and the resulting “Han River Goddess” mainly occurred at the foot of Wanshan Mountain in Xiangyang.

“Book of Songs·Zhounan·Hanguang” artist’s conception

From a linguistic point of view, the semantic connotation of the “Han River Goddess” has undergone a complex process of change. Initially, it was recorded in the Book of Poetry – Zhou Nan – Han Guang as simply saying, “In the South trees provide little rest, there is a wandering woman who cannot be sought after. This “wandering girl” should be a real-life character, not a myth. During the pre-Qin period, this mythological story had not yet taken shape. Although Huangfu quiet “emperor century” and Wang Jia “collection of records” will “Han River goddess” and Zhou Zhao Wang two concubines linked, but this story was written late, and with the “poetry” “wandering girl” no direct relationship, can not prove that the “poetry” in the This story was written later and is not directly related to the “traveling maiden” in the Book of Poetry.

By the start of the Han Dynasty, the situation had changed. There were four most famous transmitters of the “Book of Poetry” in the Han Dynasty, namely Qi, Lu, Han and Mao. Among them, Mao’s “Poem” is correct, and the “wandering girl” is still a real-life character; however, the other three commentaries have changed, and the “wandering girl” in the “Poem” has become the “divine girl” on the Han River. ” For example, Li Shan’s note in Wenxuan quoted Han’s poem as saying, “There is a wandering woman in Han, who cannot be sought after.” And also quoted Xue Jun chapter line said, “wandering girl means a water divinity in the Han River that is sometimes seen but cannot be sought and reached” This so-called “Han River godss”, which deity is it? Li Shan note also quoted Liu Xiang “the biography of the female” said: “wandering woman refers to Han River goddess. Zheng Dafu Jiaofu saw her at Hangao and sought her oranges and pomelo.” The detailed plot of this story is found in Wen Xuan (文选), Li Shan Note, quoting Han Shi Nei Zhuan (韓詩内傳): “Zheng Jiaofu complied with his Hangao Terrace and met two daughters, and said with them, “I would like to ask for my son’s pendant.” The two women and Zheng Jiaofu, Zheng Jiaofu received and embraced it, and went beyond, ten steps to follow the probe, that is, died.” This story is also recorded in Liu Xiang’s “Biographies of Exemplary Women (列女传)”, but the text is slightly different. Here, “the wandering girl” becomes two “wandering girls”, but there is no exact name yet. This indicates that the “wandering girls” in the Shijing have been added to the period (Zhou Dynasty), the place (Hangao), the event (see Zheng Jiaofu), and the characters (the two girls and Zheng Jiaofu). The intervention of “Zheng Jiaofu” has become a key figure in witnessing the divinity of the “Yuyu women”. Hangao, today’s Wanshan, is five kilometers west of the ancient city of Xiangyang.

According to Wang Xianqian’s “The Three Poets of Poetry: A Collection of Righteousness”, Zheng Jiaofu was already involved in the “Hangao goddess of the wandering woman” according to Lu’s “Poetry” and Qi’s “Poetry”. This shows that in the early period of the Western Han Dynasty, the “wandering woman” in the Book of Poetry had already become the “goddess of the Han River” and was associated with the story of Zheng Jiaofu. Jiao Gan’s “Jiao’s Yi Lin” from the Han Dynasty proves this point: “There is no rest at the tree, and the Han woman is hard to reach. Pray to the gods to ask for pearls, backhand away from you.” “The two daughters, Baozhu, mistook Zheng Dafu. The gentleman’s father is rude and makes himself a laughing stock.” This shows that the legend of the “Goddess of the Han River” circulating in Xiangyang was already produced and circulated in the early Western Han Dynasty, and became the documentary basis for the interpretation of the Poem by those reciting the Poem.

However, this does not mean that this is how Qi, Lu, and Han interpreted the poems. Let’s look at the chapter Han’s Commentary on the Book of Poetry:  “Confucius traveled south to Chu, and when he arrived at the tunnel of Agu, there was a virgin wearing jewelry and washing”, and the chapter of “The Book of Psalms”, “There are trees in the south, but there is no rest there. There is a wandering girl in the Han River, who is not to be sought after”, this “wandering girl” is a real-life character. The term “wandering girl” here is just a generic term, and is not the same person as the “wandering girl” in the Book of Poetry. In this regard, the “Han River Goddess” of the Han Dynasty has both divine and human characteristics.

According to the literary works of the two Han dynasties, the “wandering woman” in the Book of Poetry was often called “Han woman” or “wandering woman” and was widely recognized as the “water goddess” of the Han River. The “water goddesses” in the Book of Poetry are often referred to as “Han maidens” and widely recognized as “water goddesses” of the Han River, such as Yang Xiong’s “Fugue of the Feathered Hunt”, Zhang Heng’s “Nandu Fugue”, and Wang Yi’s “Chu Shi – Jiushi”, “Zhou wanders around Hanzhu, seeking the water goddesses and so on. Wei, Jin and Northern and Southern Dynasties, “Han River Goddess” and “Chu” in the Lady Xiang linked together, which probably originated from Cao Zhi “Luo Shen Fu” “from the two concubines of Southern Hunan, with the Han Bin of the wandering girl. Huang fu Mi of the Jin Dynasty’s “Century of the Emperor” saw the two women as concubines of the Zhou Emperor Zhao Wang, and proposed its exact name for Yan Yuan and Yan Yu. This shows that, during the Wei and Jin dynasties, the “goddess of the Han River” has entered the history books and more precise descriptions of their name and era had been added. It is likely that at this time, “Han River Goddess” has become worshiped by the people of that time, so Li Daoyuan “Water Classic” recorded that there is “Han Shrine”, and that “in the past, the Han woman swam by a fishing platform and later a shrine was erected on the platform. Later as people saw it crumbling, it came to be called the tumbledown Han shrine. This place is roughly under today’s Wanshan Mountain, so in the “Annotated Classic of the Waters” also said “beneath the mountain water curve of the kuma, the cloud Han woman used to swim there. This “under the mountain” means beneath Mount Wan.

From the above semantic changes of “Han River Goddess”, we can see that this myth and legend actually reflect the basic idea of “cultural unity” in ancient China. The poem of the “wandering woman” in “The Book of Poetry – Zhou Nan – Han Guang” clearly belongs to a “southern story”. However, Qi, Lu, and Han, all of whom were northern scholars, attached great importance to the story of the “wandering woman” that took place in the south, not only by giving her a divine character, but also by linking her to the “Zheng Jiaofu” who lived in the north. The creation of the story of the “Goddess of the Han River” is probably the result of a blend of northern and southern cultures.

It is very difficult to see the “wandering woman” in the north, while Zheng Jiaofu and the water god belong mainly to the northern cultural elements. In the pre-Qin Dynasty, there were very few water gods among the objects of worship, such as “Hanshu – suburban rituals” recorded that the first emperor of Qin “shrine to the famous mountains and rivers and eight gods”, that is, no water gods. However, it cannot be said that the existence of water gods did not exist in the northern culture of the pre-Qin Dynasty. Du Yu [Western Jin Dynasty counselor to Wu Di]  annotated the  “Zuo Zhuan” “two odd spirits of the mountains and rivers”, thought “odd two” that the water god, although the water god is still mainly a fictional non-realistic deity. After the southern “wandering woman” entered the northern mythological system, it not only made the image of “water goddess” very concrete yet also had a close relationship with real life and appeared as a female deity. This was easily understood and accepted by people. In this way, the mother story of the South was linked with the characters and deities of the North, resulting in the legend of the “Goddess of the Han River” that blends the cultures of the North and the South. For the southern people, the “Han River Goddess” was not only a real presence, but also a benefit to the southern people. “The beauty, gentleness, elegance, and divinity of the Han River Goddess also gave the people of the north an infinite amount of beautiful imagination. The frequent floods and floods in the north also made them long for the blessing of the “Goddess of the Han River”. Even the fortune and misfortune in love, and the pleasure and displeasure in life made them happy to take the “Goddess of the Han River” as the object of their confession. That’s why we can see that Yang Xiong, Zhang Heng, Wang Yi, Cao Zhi, Chen Lin, Ruan Ji, and others have all depicted the “goddess” in their poems. For example, Cao Zhi’s “Fugue of the Goddess of Luo” says, “I feel the abandonment of the words of the fellowship, and I hesitate and doubt.” Chen Lin’s “Fugue of the Goddess” says: “Praising the south of the Emperor’s teacher, praising the clear stream of the Han River. I feel the poet’s sigh, and think of the divine maiden’s visit.” Ruan Ji’s poem “A Poem of Chanting” says: “The two concubines swim along the riverside and soaring freely with the wind. In their works, the “goddesses” are either melancholy and happy, or ethereal and elegant, or free and spontaneous, not only expanding the imagination of poets and readers, but also shaping a charming image of “goddesses” in Chinese literature.

Guangming Daily (June 12, 2017, page 13)

Chinese website 5000yan.com on the Shijing Poem “The Han River is Broad”:

A recent commentary on this poem from the Chinese literature website 5000yan.com from an article discussing the text and meaning of the poem 汉广 所属分类:国风·周南

“Han Guang” is one of the best poems in the Book of Poetry, and one of the only poems in the Book of Poetry that “portrays the landscape”. Wang Shizhen of the Qing Dynasty, in his “Poetic Discourse on the Hall of the Book of Poetry”, praised this poem highly, and even considered it to be the genesis of Chinese landscape literature.

Regarding the main theme of the poem “Han Guang”, there are mainly the “De Guang’s reach” theory in the “Preface to Mao’s poem”, the “Goddess’ legacy” theory in the three poems, the “woodcutter’s song” theory in the Qing Dynasty by Fang Yurun, and the “love poem” theory held by many people today. The “love poem” theory. In view of the fact that the Book of Poetry is an encyclopedia that truly and comprehensively reflects all aspects of Zhou dynasty society, and that realism is its main creative feature, it is most appropriate to consider this poem as reflecting the marriage and love and rituals of ordinary people in the Zhou dynasty.

The poem is structured in three chapters, with the first one being independent and the second two chapters overlapping. The opening lines of the three chapters revolve around the imagery of “wood”, “salary”, “Chu” and “piper”, suggesting that the main character of the poem is a young woodcutter. The main character is a young woodcutter, and the word “mow” directly indicates the labor process of woodcutting. The first eight lines of the poem, four of which are “cannot”, express the woodcutter’s frustration and helplessness as he is unable to pursue the “wandering girl”. In the second and third chapters, the author builds a beautiful vision of the “wandering girl” getting married and cutting grass to feed the horses, so that the main character’s long-cherished wish is finally fulfilled. However, the dream bubble will eventually break, and when the eyes of reality are opened, the vast Han River and the Yangtze River are still uncrossable, and the other side of the dream of the “wandering girl” is still unreachable.

Chen Qiyuan of the Qing Dynasty summarized the poetic situation of this poem as “visible but unattainable”, similar to what Western Romanticism calls “the situation of admiration”. The protagonist’s journey from hope to disappointment, from fantasy to disillusionment, accompanied by the superimposed singing of three sighs to the Yangtze River and the Han River, leaves us with a woman on the other side of the river who is unattainable, a poetic realm that is beautiful, though fragmented.

From the Chinese Text Project: full text the Shijing poem Han Guang “The Han River is Broad” with James Legge Translation

《漢廣 – Han Guang》English translation: James Legge [?]Books referencing 《漢廣》 Library Resources
1 Jump to dictionaryShow parallel passagesRelated discussion漢廣:南有喬木、不可休息。
Han Guang:In the south rise the trees without branches,
Affording no shelter.
By the Han are girls rambling about,
But it is vain to solicit them.
The breadth of the Han
Cannot be dived across;
The length of the Jiang
Cannot be navigated with a raft.
2 Jump to dictionaryShow parallel passages漢廣:翹翹錯薪、言刈其楚。
Han Guang:Many are the bundles of firewood;
I would cut down the thorns [to form more].
Those girls that are going to their future home, –
I would feed their horses.
The breadth of the Han
Cannot be dived across;
The length of the Jiang,
Cannot be navigated with a raft.
3 Jump to dictionaryShow parallel passages漢廣:翹翹錯薪、言刈其蔞 。
之子于歸、言秣其駒 。
漢之廣矣、不可泳思 。
江之永矣、不可方思 。
Han Guang:Many are the bundles of firewood;
I would cut down the southern wood [to form more].
Those girls that are going to their future home, –
I would feed their colts.
The breadth of the Han
Cannot be dived across;
The length of the Jiang
Cannot be navigated with a raft.

Legge’s discussion of the poem “The Han River is Broad” illustrates how he incorporates views of the various commentators. Available online via the Internet Archive.


2017-06-12 04:43 来源:光明网-《光明日报》 










  《光明日报》( 2017年06月12日 13版)






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PRC Media Opinion Monitor Weekly: What Right Does the USA Have to Criticize China?

I just heard about this weekly analysis of PRC views on U.S. – China relations and made a translation.  Discouraging stuff but that is the way things are going these days. The other guy is always to blame and with the US media taking more seriously “criticism and self-criticism” more thoroughly and in depth than Chinese media it is easy to get a one-sided view of things. Still, it is good to see what others are saying about you.  Like all good propaganda, it hurts to the extent that there is some truth to it.   To further promote one-sided news — and to protect China from ideological contamination perhaps —  mostly likely Chinese  红客 hongke (apparently from hong heike  红黑客)  patriotic hackers regularly down the Chinese language side of the U.S. – China Perceptions monitor website.  I substituted via Google Translate links to the original links to Chinese press and social media items to render them into machine-translated English that carries the idea albeit awkward or plain wrong in places. 

The Carter Center’s review of Chinese news media and social media opinion is part of the U.S. – China Perception Monitor‘s effort to build bridges for understanding. The translation I made below from the June 14, 2022 issue of their regular newsletter published on Chinese 美中故事汇 website. The main website 美中故事汇 [US – China Report]. Reading this website US-China Report through the somewhat-distorting lens of Google Translate’s machine translation is enlightening but should be done cautiously. Read for the gist. For example, the title that came up today through GT is “This American university president is not good” the correct translation would be something like “Being President of this U.S. University is a Tough Job”. the same goes for the other links through GT that I put to the links provided in the original Chinese text.

U.S media opinion is diverse and often highly critical of the government and leading politicians. China it can be said is somewhat different. The Carter Center’s U.S – China Perception Monitor has web sites in both English and Chinese so that people from both countries could understand opinion in the other’s country. The Chinese language page is regularly attacked, no doubt by Chinese official or unofficial patriotic hackers.

Good background for understanding PRC press opinion is He Qinglian’s The Fog of Censorship: Media Control in China which paints a detailed portrait of the workings of the Chinese censorship system.  Available as a free PDF format book download from the publisher, Human Rights in China . Download the book at http://www.hrichina.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/Reports/HRIC-Fog-of-Censorship.pdf

While media control is strict, Chinese opinion is not monolithic. Some Chinese scholars occasionally do manage to publish their personal sometimes unorthodox views. These are sometimes speedily erased from the Internet within China. Preventing ideological contagion is a top priority of the Chinese Communist Party. Still while Party and public discipline has intensified considerably under General Secretary Xi Jinping, maintaining ideological discipline while building an ever-modernizing state in the old spirit of “reform and opening” is a difficult task even for Xi Jinping’s re-interpretation of Deng Xiaoping Theory for the New Era.

What Right Has the USA to Criticize China – and What’s Wrong with the USA? (II)

Weekly Compilation (June 6-12)

by 仝馨 June 14, 2022

[Editor’s Note] On May 26, Secretary of State Blinken released a speech on U.S. policy toward China, and on June 12, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Security Dialogue. During this period, the U.S.-China relationship itself, as well as on sensitive issues such as Taiwan, the South China Sea, and regional security in the Asia-Pacific region, which all underlie the dynamics of U.S.-China relationship, The U.S. and China are each hold firmly to their own views and are at odds with each other. This is making the U.S.-China relationship increasingly tense and the way forward unclear. Where is the U.S.-China relationship headed? In the Chinese context, “relationship” is a form of interpersonal interaction that is influenced by perceptions and perceptions can influence decision-making. Therefore, as the U.S. and China “go head-to-head,” it is especially important to sort out and organize the perceptions of each country from top to bottom. Starting on May 29, the U.S.-China Storytellers will compile a brief weekly compilation of Chinese reports and commentaries on the United States from the Chinese government, official media, think tanks and private media, with the aim of exploring their perceptions of the “U.S.-China relationship” from the Chinese perspective. The purpose of this compilation is to explore the Chinese side’s perception of “U.S.-China relations” in order to better understand China’s relevant diplomatic statements and policies and to provide an entry point for improving U.S.-China relations. The overall title of this compilation is “What’s Up with America?” . This issue covers the period from June 6 to June 12 Eastern Time.

Government (Foreign Ministry)

At a regular press conference on June 6, Zhao Lijian criticized Anthony Blinken’s remarks in his China policy speech in which he accused China of engaging in “coercive diplomacy. Zhao said, “China has never engaged in any coercion, and is firmly opposed to coercion by other countries. One of the traditions of Chinese diplomacy is the equality of all nations, large and small. When China’s national sovereignty and national dignity are coerced and infringed upon, the measures taken by China are reasonable and legitimate countermeasures, defending the legitimate rights and interests of the country and upholding international justice and equity.” At the same time, Zhao Lijian also pointed out that the United States is the originator of coercive diplomacy, which is mainly manifested by the threat of force, political isolation, economic sanctions and technological blockade. In response to a reporter’s question about religious freedom in China, Zhao Lijian pointed out that “respecting and protecting religious freedom is the basic policy of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government in dealing with religion,” and that “the so-called ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is an outright lie. This is an outright lie. Zhao pointed out that the U.S. has a long-standing problem of “racial discrimination” and a “policy of genocide against Indians,” and that the U.S. use of this as a pretext to interfere in China’s internal affairs “exposes its own hypocrisy and double standards. The U.S. has used this excuse to interfere in China’s internal affairs to “expose its hypocrisy and double standards. At the same time, Zhao Lijian said, “The U.S. side has repeatedly speculated on lies related to Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, just to create excuses for smearing and suppressing China, as a tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs and split China.”

On June 7, in response to the Washington Post’s report that “China is secretly building a dedicated naval facility at Cambodia’s Yunyang naval base,” Zhao Lijian said that “the Yunyang base renovation aims to strengthen the Cambodian Navy’s ability to maintain maritime territorial integrity and combat maritime crime.” Zhao Lijian pointed out that “the U.S. side has ignored the position of the Cambodian side, repeatedly speculated maliciously, attacked and discredited, and even threatened and pressured Cambodia. This is typical of U.S. typical bullying.” Meanwhile, in response to a reporter’s question about gun violence in the United States, Zhao Lijian said, “The U.S. government should face up to its own poor human rights situation and governance deficit, instead of using human rights as an excuse to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.”

On June 8, Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference that “the U.S. government itself is the world’s largest purveyor of disinformation” and described the U.S. side as an “empire of lies” and “diplomacy of lies. He described the U.S. side as an “empire of lies” and “diplomacy of lies.

On June 9, in response to a reporter’s question, Zhao Lijian once again pointed out the “systematic human rights violations by the United States” and said “the U.S. side should face up to and effectively address its own violations of child labor rights and protect the legitimate rights and interests of its children.” Meanwhile, Zhao Lijian responded to the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, saying, “The U.S. arms sales to Taiwan seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, and seriously damage Sino-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. side should abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three U.S.-China joint communiqués and stop arms sales to Taiwan and U.S.-Taiwan military ties. China will continue to take resolute and strong measures to firmly defend its sovereignty and security interests.”

On June 10, Zhao Lijian commented on the Capitol Hill riot at a regular press conference, saying that this shocking event once again exposed the nature of the U.S. side’s political maneuvering pushing its own double standard of democracy. The attack on the Capitol is an “attempted coup” in the United States while they would call it a “color revolution” if it occurred in other countries. Zhao Lijian said, “The U.S. side should deeply reflect on its own ‘democratic deficit. Labeling, politicizing and weaponizing democracy will only harm people and themselves.” Meanwhile, in response to recent Russian revelations about U.S. biomilitary activities in Ukraine, Zhao Lijian said “the United States is the country with the most biomilitary activities in the world” and urged the U.S. side to clarify its compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention.

Official Media

China Military Website

China Military Net is the only news portal of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), approved by the Central Military Commission of China, and is the online version of the PLA Daily, the organ of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China.

On June 10, China Military Net released an article titled “Playing ‘arms sales to Taiwan’ card frequently, US is determined to be a ‘clown’ without principles”, which stated “The United States, for its own selfish interests, does one thing to one’s face and another behind the scenes. On the one hand, U.S. dignitaries swear not to support Taiwan independence and have no intention of clashing with China; on the other hand, they continue to sell arms to Taiwan. They are sending wrong signals to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence, and frequently create trouble in order to contain China’s progress toward reunification, power and The Chinese government has been selling weapons to Taiwan and has been making frequent misleading signals to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. All of this is the result of extreme selfishness and Cold War thinking.”

China Daily

On June 6, China Daily Bilingual News published a report entitled “Ideological Infiltration Standard Operating Procedure Exposed! What has this American organization done?” The article. The article alleged that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) finances separatist forces, instigates color revolutions, and colludes with political groups with the aim of “subverting regimes in target countries in order to foster pro-U.S. regimes and transplant ‘American-style’ democratic systems to those countries. At the same time, the article says, “the National Endowment for Democracy concocts false information and ‘packages’ it as a so-called ‘academic authority’. It tries to hoodwink the world with a false face of ‘objectivity and impartiality’ in order to hype anti-government rhetoric.” As of June 12, the article had been read by 45,000 people, with 320 likes and 182 retweets. Only 1 selected message had passed the web censorship: the comment was “[The National Endowment for Democracy] does everything but good things.”

Xinhua News Agency

On June 8, Xinhua News Agency published an article titled “‘The USA is in a Bad Mood’! Poll shows 80% of Americans pessimistic about economic outlook,” the report said. According to the report, “The survey found that Americans are now in a bad mood and their dissatisfaction with the economy has reached its highest level in recent years. This pessimism is not only about the current economy, but also includes doubts about the U.S. political system, its global leadership position and its ability to help most people achieve the American dream. Some 83 percent of respondents believe the economy is in poor or not-too-good shape. This is the highest level of dissatisfaction in a poll conducted by the National Opinion Research Center since 1972.”

On June 9, Xinhua News Agency published an international commentary titled “The U.S. is the Dangerous One in China-U.S. Relations – One of a Series of Comments on U.S. Policy Toward China.” According to the commentary, “The recent U.S. speech on China policy spreads false information and discredits China’s domestic and foreign policies. It also blamed China for the problems in Sino-U.S. relations, and made great efforts to exaggerate the so-called “China threat”. This “tall tale” is a complete reversal of black and white. The U.S. is the one who caused the difficulties in Sino-U.S. relations, both in terms of history and the truth.” The commentary also said, “The United States has wrongly positioned China as a “strategic competitor. In fact, “competition” is just a synonym for “containment.” “The U.S. is smearing, blocking and suppressing China, seriously damaging China’s legitimate interests. From attacking the leadership of the Communist Party of China to smearing the human rights situation in China…the U.S. has engaged in an ideological struggle that has challenged China’s political system, undermined China’s territorial and sovereign integrity, and harmed China’s development interests, which has greatly damaged the atmosphere of U.S.-China relations and created huge obstacles to the development of U.S.-China relations. The commentary noted that “in Sino-U.S. relations, the United States has been destroying the foundations of the relationship, attacking China and injecting negative energy. In contrast, in the face of the U.S. aggressiveness, the Chinese side has been exercising restraint and trying to manage differences from the perspective of maintaining the overall situation of China-U.S. relations, conveying positive energy and playing a constructive role”. The commentary concluded, “Great power competition is not in keeping with the spirit of the times, seeing everything as a zero-sum game is not the right choice. Sino-US relations cannot get any worse. The U.S. side must correct its strategic perceptions, escape the logic of competition, put an end to its bad ways that jeopardize the relationship between the two countries, and soon come to the right choice for the benefit of China and the U.S..”

Image source: Xinhua. The text in the picture reads “China-US cooperation.”

On June 12, Xinhua News Agency published an international commentary titled “Bleak End to Summit of the Americas Highlights Waning U.S. influence“. The article said, “The U.S. hegemonic performance at the summit was widely criticized by countries in Latin America, and the meeting became the least attended summit since its creation. More and more Latin American countries are saying “no” to the U.S., highlighting the diminishing influence of the U.S. in Latin America and globally, and the unpopularity of hegemony.” The commentary repeatedly describes “the hypocritical nature of American-style democracy,” “the double standards of American-style human rights,” and “the hegemonic nature of the United States,” and points out that “cooperation and win-win cooperation are the trend of the times. Cooperation and win-win situations is the trend of the times, but the U.S. is going against the path and is doomed to end up with no help.”

On the same day, Xinhua News Agency published another international commentary entitled “The U.S. is the Destroyer of the International Order – the fourth in a series of commentaries on U.S. policy toward China,” saying, “Some U.S. politicians are suffering from a ‘cognitive disorder’ called ‘projection effect’. The U.S. recently said in a speech on China policy that China poses the ‘most serious long-term challenge’ to the international order and that the U.S. must defend and reform the ‘rules-based international order’. These remarks are typical of the self-serving nature of the so-called ‘most serious challenge to the international order’, which is not another country, but the United States itself.” According to the commentary, “the United States is the biggest source of chaos in the world today,” “the United States is the biggest destructive force of international rules,” “the United States is engaged in ‘coercive diplomacy’ ‘professional'” “the United States has been reduced to a ‘rogue superpower'” “the international community has suffered for a long time “.

The four “series of comments on U.S. policy toward China” released by Xinhua News Agency are as follows.

1) The U.S. is the one endangering Sino-U.S. relations – one of a series of comments on U.S. policy toward China (June 9)

2) The U.S. is the Destroyer of Peace in the Taiwan Strait – Second in a series of commentaries on U.S. policy toward China (June 10)

3) The U.S. is the Trampler of Democracy and Human Rights – Commentary No. 3 in the Series on U.S. Policy Toward China (June 11)

4) The U.S. is the Destroyer of International Order – Commentary No. 4 in the Series on U.S. Policy Toward China (June 12)

Guangming Daily

On June 6, Guangming Daily published an article titled “The Appearance and True Face of Contemporary American Human Rights Culture“. The article said, “From the perspective of human rights, the secular-oriented Democratic Party advocates a left-wing liberal view of human rights, while the religiously devout Republican Party promotes a right-wing liberal view of human rights, making the protection of human rights in the United States increasingly fragmented and divided. From the perspective of human rights practice, the U.S. is experiencing serious human rights problems such as out-of-control epidemics, political disorder, racial conflicts and social tearing at home; externally, it adopts policy arrangements such as trade protection, power politics, cultural erasure and xenophobia, insists on instrumentalizing and strategizing human rights issues, and intensifies its ideological attacks on China, making human rights a pretext for maintaining U.S. hegemony, interfering in other countries’ domestic affairs and undermining international order and excuse.” The article outlines the “truth about the U.S. view of human rights” with four “isms,” namely “extreme individualism,” “hypocritical egalitarianism “unilateral universalism,” and “paranoid messianism.

People’s Daily

On June 8, People’s Daily International published an article titled “Counting U.S. Human Rights Deficit, People’s Daily Published Eight Articles to Awaken the Oblivious From Their Slumber”. The article briefly reviewed the main contents of the series of “wakeup bell” articles launched by People’s Daily from May 16 to June 7, “The U.S. should deeply review its own human rights deficit”, and counted the “failure to fight epidemics” and “gun violence” in the U.S. “, “gun violence”, “social injustice exacerbated by the rich-poor divide”, “rough treatment of illegal immigrants”, and “racism”. The “eight major crimes” such as “collusion between power and capital in private prisons,” “forced labor,” and “torture in ‘secret prisons’ overseas “It also says that the report “profoundly exposes the human rights violations left by the United States at home and abroad, and profoundly reveals that American-style democracy cannot protect the human rights of the American people. The American hegemony has made the U.S. a negative example of human rights abuses in the world.” The article stresses that on the issue of human rights, what the U.S. needs to do is to “correct the wrongs that lie in its own heart, meditate upon its faults and change its own behavior” instead of “politicizing human rights issues and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries at every turn on the pretext of human rights.”

The eight articles:

(1) More than a million deaths from COVID-19, a “national tragedy” that should not have happened (May 16)

(2) Impotent to control guns, a decline hard to reverse as the sound of gunfire shatters the illusion of human rights in the United States (May 17)

(3) The polarization between the rich and the poor aggravates social injustice, and the human rights deficit can only grow (May 20)

(4) Rough treatment of illegal immigrants exposes the hypocrisy of the “defenders of human rights” (May 24)

(5) Minorities “can’t breathe” and racism permeates the U.S. political system (May 25)

(6) Private prisons breed human rights tragedy as power and capital are allowed to collude (May 31)

(7) Failure to act in the face of “modern slavery” highlights the lack of government responsibility (June 2)

(8) “Black prisons” torture indiscriminately, and the U.S. tramples on human rights by wreaking havoc with the rule of law (June 7)

Global Times

On June 7, the Global Times published a commentary entitled “Wu Xinbo: What Happens to the International System in the Wake of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict?” According to the commentary, one of the main goals of Russia’s special military operation against Ukraine is to end U.S. hegemony in Europe, end the U.S.-dominated world order, and promote the emergence of an equal international society.

On June 12, the Global Times published an editorial titled “Maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait’, the U.S. has No Right to Say That it is Doing This“. According to the editorial, “The United States, the real destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, is trying to intervene more deeply in Taiwan Strait affairs under the guise of “maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” The editorial added, “The historical trend of cross-strait reunification is unstoppable, and the one-China principle is the needle of the sea that maintains peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. In fact, if the United States had not played the “Taiwan card” and attempted to hollow out the one-China principle, where would the DPP authorities have found the courage to refuse to recognize the 1992 Consensus?” Finally, the editorial said, “The U.S. side should understand that the Chinese people are not to be messed with, and if they are messed with, it is not a good thing to do! If you want to “control China with Taiwan”, you are playing with fire, and those who play with fire will burn themselves.”

Think Tanks

Chongyang Institute

On June 10, Wang Wen, executive director of the Chongyang Institute of Finance at Renmin University of China, published an English article in the South China Morning Post titled “The US is so Bent on Containing China’s Rise, that it has Ignored its own Decline.” On June 11, NPC Chongyang translated the article into Chinese and posted it on its official WeChat public page, titled “South China Morning Post denounces US ‘foolishness’: curbing China but ignoring its own decline”. The article said, “There is a serious and misplaced political correctness in both the US and China. It is now almost taboo in both countries to say nice things about each other. Complementing each other’s strengths and making progress together will certainly go a long way toward easing tensions between the two countries.” The article refuted the “U.S. perceived ‘China threat theory'”, saying it runs “counter to empirical evidence and the U.S. side is deeply trapped in rigid ideological thinking”, and said “China will not accept the self-righteous accusations made by the United States against Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. At the same time, the article calls on the U.S. side to “look internally” and address its own gun violence and urban violence problems.

Non-government Media

Today’s Headlines

On June 7, Today’s Headlines published a story titled “Liu Qingbin: Renowned Chinese economist Chen Wenling recently declared that he must unify Taiwan and seize TSMC”. Another major Chinese Internet portal also published a report titled “Economist Chen Wenling: We must get TSMC back, can’t let it run away to the U.S.”. On the same day, Singapore’s Chinese-language media, the Lianhe Zaobao, cited a Chinese media report and published a report titled “Mainland Chinese economist: Must get TSMC back“. According to the report, “According to the Observer, Chen Wenling, chief economist of the Center for International Economic Exchanges, a Chinese think tank, spoke about the current relationship between China and the U.S. at the China-U.S. Forum hosted by the NPC’s Chongyang Research Institute on May 30. In Chen Wenling’s view, China must get TSMC out of its hands as the U.S. and the West impose destructive sanctions on China like they did on Russia.” Chen Wenling added that “China must support Russia openly, reasonably and in every way possible.” As of June 12, related reports were taken down in Chinese media.

WeChat social media

On June 10, WeChat’s China-U.S. Focus reprinted an article by Huazhi Global Watch titled “The Crux of China-U.S. Relations” According to the article, the U.S. side has fallen into a “Thucydidesque” conjecture in Sino-U.S. relations, that is, “if China has the ability, it must challenge the existing international order, and if the U.S. wants to remain ‘number one’ in the world, it must make China its primary strategic opponent. If it can do that on its own, it will in the name of ‘competition’, the tactics of joint assault, and the narrative of ‘demonization’ to completely encircle and contain China until it is brought down, and the United States will be able to sit firmly as the world leader. The article suggests that the most urgent task in breaking the impasse in U.S.-China relations is to “follow President Xi Jinping’s approach of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, and to put President Biden’s ‘four no’s and one no intention’ statement into practice. At the same time, under the directional control of the two heads of state, explore and promote concrete cooperation projects of common interest, and support and encourage civil and local exchanges and pragmatic exchanges.”

On June 11, the WeChat public website “Deep Sea Zone” published an article titled “His Words Don’t Match his Actions: Immediately After Meeting with the Chinese defense minister, U.S. Defense Secretary Austin played the ‘Taiwan card'”. The article said that on the one hand, the U.S. side once again made clear at the Shangri-La Dialogue that it “adheres to the ‘One China’ policy, does not support Taiwan independence, and does not seek conflict with China,” but on the other hand, it “tends to take a negative position” on the Taiwan issue. The U.S. State Department website once removed the phrases “Taiwan is part of China” and “the United States does not support Taiwan’s independence,” and approved a $120 million arms sales program to Taiwan on June 8 before the opening of the Shangri-La meeting. The article said that Lloyd Austin’s comments on the China issue were not in line with the U.S. policy. According to the article, Austin “glossed over” questions from China expert Ge Laiei about Biden’s Taiwan-related statements and what the U.S. would do about them, saying “Biden’s earlier slip of the tongue that he “will defend Taiwan militarily” may reflect the White House’s current preference. the White House’s current inclination.”

On June 12, WeChat’s “Powerful New View” published an article titled “Chinese experts: Don’t have illusions about the U.S., we must regain Taiwan! TSMC must be in China’s hands”. According to the commentary, “the West is strengthening the construction of a ‘technology alliance’ for the semiconductor supply chain, with the goal of forming a small circle of semiconductor technology in favor of the Western group” “Since 2020, the White House wants to control of the global semiconductor industry is clear”. According to the commentary, the U.S. “technology alliance” is a strategic alliance whose strategic goals include “establishing the leadership of the U.S. semiconductor manufacturing industry” and “escalating the joint blockade of semiconductor exports to China. “. The commentary said, “Since the head-to-head competition with China has already made the heads in Washington feel ‘stressed’, it is also part of the Anglo-Saxon ‘tradition’ to “if the straightforward way does not work, then do things the evil under-handed way’.”

A Short Overview

First, from June 6 to June 12, Chinese reports and comments on the United States continued to be “indiscriminate” on all fronts and from multiple angles. “double standards,” “hypocrisy,” “double standards,” “undermining the international order,” “interfering in the internal affairs of other countries,” and “interfering in the internal affairs of other countries,” all of which are negative terms. In addition, Chinese media, while criticizing “U.S. ‘criticism’ of China,” mention the nastiness and corruption of U.S. domestic society. “The central government media, including Xinhua, CCTV, and People’s Daily, have written or republished current affairs commentaries and satirical articles exposing the “dark side” of the United States. Current affairs commentaries and satirical pictures have been written or republished to expose the “dark side” of the United States, criticizing topics such as the ineffective fight against epidemics, economic crisis, social injustice, gun violence, and war tendencies. In the past week, the official media devoted to negative social news in the U.S., such as How to End the tragedy of “epidemic orphans” in the U.S., Shooting incident in Maryland killed three people and injured one, As Inflation “fever” the U.S. Increases, the Fed “Walks the Tightrope” . However on Chinese media, there is very little news about society in other countries and no coverage of negative news.

Second, Chinese media prefer to use Chinese cultural imagery, jargon and popular Internet words to explain in large text the complex “conspiracy” and “wolf’s ambition” of the U.S. against China at this stage. For example, “pseudo-Daoist”, “projection effect“, “empire of lies“, and “blaming others for its problems“. The catchy and easy-to-understand words allow the Chinese public to form a simple general understanding of U.S. behavior, while the twisted and vivid “plots” can increase reader interest and so help further disseminate the text.

Third, scholars continue to have a negative view of the U.S., mostly discussing the current state of deterioration in U.S.-China relations and tracing the root causes, while few give constructive advice on improving U.S.-China relations. Just as the U.S. believes that China has demonstrated its ambition to change the existing international order and establish a regional hegemony centered on China, destroying the original “balance” of U.S.-China relations, China blames the deterioration of U.S.-China relations on the U.S. Cold War mentality and the shattering of its illusion of unipolarism. China says that the U.S. is trying to suppress China’s rise and develop the ability to oppose it. China’s view of U.S.-China relations is characterized by a distinct realism. Many articles speak of possible cooperation, but only if the U.S. “recognizes and corrects its mistakes” and makes a “cease-fire decision”, such as not interfering in border-related, Hong Kong-related, or Taiwan-related issues. However, at this stage, both the U.S. and China have made saber-rattling statements on and made initiatives related to the Taiwan Strait issue, and the road to cooperation is obviously still full of obstacles to “making a cease-fire” and shake hands.




by 仝馨 

June 14, 2022June 14, 2022




















1)美国才是中美关系的危害者——美对华政策系列评论之一 (6月9日)

2)美国才是台海和平的破坏者——美对华政策系列评论之二 (6月10日)

3)美国才是民主人权的践踏者——美对华政策系列评论之三 (6月11日)

4)美国才是国际秩序的破坏者——美对华政策系列评论之四 (6月12日)


























一、6月6日至6月12日,中国对美国的报道和评论依旧是全方位、多角度的“狂轰滥炸”,关于美国、美中关系的文字,中国媒体的高频关键词包括“霸权”、“双标”、“虚伪”、“双重标准”、“破坏国际秩序”、“干涉他国内政”等,均为负面词汇。此外,中国媒体在批判“美国对中国的‘批评’”之余,均会提到美国国内社会的龌龊和腐败。“新华网”“央视”“人民日报”等中央官媒均有撰写或转发揭露美国“黑暗面”的时事评论和讽刺图片,批判美国的话题包括抗疫不力、经济危机、社会不公、枪支暴力、战争倾向等。过去一周,官媒专门报道了美国国内的负面社会新闻,如美国“疫情孤儿”悲剧如何不再上演美国马里兰州发生枪击事件致31美国通胀“高烧不退” 美联储“走钢丝”风险渐增。但对于其他国家社会新闻的报道寥寥无几,而负面新闻则未有涉及。



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