Kolya stood at the edge of the waterfront like a frozen sentinel. He was lost in his thoughts today. So much had happened and so much was about to happen. Far off in the distance he could see the monstrous capitalistic skyline of New York. The very sight of it filled him with wonder and distaste.
When he had first arrived in the States, he had been surprised and filled with marvel at the immensities of New York. But over time that had changed. He had seen the rampant poverty of other immigrants like himself. New York was a city of contradictions. A city of the rich and the poor, but then again, so was nearly every city Bukharin had lived in. Everywhere people were mistreated for the simple reason of having no money. But the world was changing, and Kolya remembered with bitterness that he had once been in the thick of it.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the fog horn of a large passenger ship leaving the harbor. Kolya looked up and gave a short wave of his hand towards the ship. High up on the deck, a small figure in black returned his wave. It was Trotsky, his friend he had made in the USA. Both of them had been émigrés and had taken over a small Russian newspaper called the Noviy Mir in New York. But they longed for home, and they both longed for a chance to give a larger contribution to the cause of the Bolsheviks.
Kolya, for his part, had played it well, but too well it seemed. Lenin had overreacted to some of his criticisms, and had shut down his newspaper Kommunist in Stockholm after only one edition. He had refused to publish some of his articles because they supposedly took Marx and Engel’s quotations out of context. And Lenin also had the audacity to accuse him of being an anarchist with his anti-statist stance, an accusation, which Bukharin couldn’t understand. Lenin believed that because Bukharin’s articles defended the Marxist ideal of anti-statism rather vehemently, that he did not believe in the ideas of a transitional period between revolution and the time when Communism would be born in full in Russia. This transitional state included capitalism, which led to socialism or the so called dictatorship of the proletariat, which would eventually lead to communism with no state. But while Bukharin focused more on the anti-statist approach to eventual utopian communism, he never spoke against a transitive phase. The problem, it seemed, was not that he spoke wrongly, but that he spoke, unwittingly, correctly, and that made him a threat.
But he was a threat no more. The news had arrived in New York like a bombshell. The Tsar had abdicated. A new government was forming, and it was forming without the Bolsheviks. Finally, after months of mistreatment by authorities and alienation within his own party he had been called back to Russia.
It was time to go home.