Kolya stood silently heaving in the vast room. He was used to getting lost in the vastness of the room; its tidy, tattered desks seemed to create space, absolving those in it into their own worlds. But today was different. The room appeared strangely small to Kolya. Still immaculately tidy, it carried a charged pulse. Fiery eyes bore down on him as though he were a piece of hot metal heated and placed on the cold anvil waiting for the strike.
“But his thesis is insane. He is literally calling for all of us to abandon our fellow workers. He wants us to completely part ways with the Provisional Government.” Kolya peered back at the elderly set of eyes steaming at him from afar.
“He’s not calling for us to abandon our fellow workers. Instead, he calls on us to be strong and resist the temptation to join a weak Provisional Government that has failed to do anything of value. You want to talk about literals? It is literally political suicide for the party to join the Provisional Government!” Ivan standing off in the distance smiled as his friend hit his stride like a horse finding the right lead, stomping quickly but firmly. “We already missed our opportunity to join the government, why? Because those most willing to take the reins of the new government were still in exile. And now that they have returned, we’ve realized that we were the luckiest of any of the socialist parties. We avoided becoming part of the watchdog that tries to limit the bourgeois from gaining complete control, but has limited control itself. Don’t you see? The Provisional Government is paralyzed, and people are beginning to realize it! And who will they look to when their government fails them? They’ll look to us-to the Bolsheviks!” There were many nods and general murmurs of approval from the onlookers, but another of the older Bolsheviks raised his voice.
“But how are we supposed to take power? The people aren’t just going to give it to us. We’ve all seen what’s happening in the countryside. The peasants are seizing land of their own accord; the government has failed to decree anything, and as such, the country is slowly descending into mass anarchy, a country like that cannot be ruled. They won’t democratically elect us. And eventually those in power will just have to use their power, and we, the Bolsheviks will be left out. Why? Because we were too afraid to join them, and because we were too weak to seize power from them.” The men fell silent again at the old man’s wisdom, and all eyes returned to Kolya.
He looked over at Ivan and beckoned him to come next to him. “Comrades, they say we are too weak. They say we are too few in numbers to hold this revolution that Lenin wants. And they are sadly right. At the moment, we are too weak.” He lifted Ivan’s arm revealing the beggarly holes in his suit coat, and he did the same with his own. “For years we have struggled, we have patiently waited, and it seemed like we waited in vain for this great revolution Marx promised us. And just when we thought the capitalist camps were going to win, the world changed, and like the Phoenix we rose from the ashes of exile and imprisonment.
They say we are weak, pfff! We are few! But that does not imply weakness! Nay, the government is weak! And it is weak because it is too moderate. Russia is changing, people are ready for change, the revolution is coming, and radicalization is the norm. Radicalization will draw Russians to us like nothing else could. Yes, now we are few. But men will flock to us like sheep seeking shelter from the storm of Capitalism. Mark my words; and Comrade Lenin’s truth, no compromise, no participation. We will be our own beacon of hope, and Russians will follow.”
Ivan embraced Kolya tightly as a loud storm of approval followed the speech. He knew Kolya was right. The world had changed, and it would be radicals, not conservatives, who would lead this new glorious revolution. The people were ready for an upending of the roots. Moscow needed their young patriots.
© A River Runs Through It Photography