“Kolya, it’s another telegram from Lenin.”
“I don’t care, I don’t want to read another one of his blasted telegrams! I already know he’s given up on the revolution. You know it as well as I do!”
“But, Kolya, we have a following, we can stop him if we try. We can stop this peace armistice from happening!” Kolya looked pensively at Ivan. The revolution in Russia was over, but the rest of Europe had failed to follow suit, and now the Bolsheviks were left with an impoverished country pushed to the brink of collapse by the most costly war the world had ever known.
“Lenin has always been a naïve candidate for peace. He honestly thinks Capitalism will just fall into our hands peacefully, and it’s a downright ridiculous notion that has only been reinforced by the revolution in Petrograd. Here it was different, if only he had been here…”
“But he wasn’t, Kolya, you know he can never experience what we experienced out there. He didn’t feel the beating heart of the proletariat casting off the yoke of centuries of captivity. It was here in Moscow that men bled and died for the revolution, and we fought for it, Kolya, it was us, not him! People are willing to follow that. They’re willing to follow us.” Silence accompanied his words as Kolya looked out over the ominously dark, snowy river in front of the two of them. It was a cold night, and the black river pulled his gaze into the gaping chasm, stealing away his heat.
“Ivan, you know what you’re asking for?” Ivan looked away before looking back and nodding apprehensively, but Bukharin continued. “You’re calling for us to take control of the Bolshevik party, and you’re right, we do have a large part of the populace behind us. Few want to see the war end where so many lives have been lost, and if it ends now, it will end in vain. But I fear you ask too much.”
“Why? Because you’re afraid of old man Lenin?”
“Haha, you know better than that. Lenin and I have always had our differences, but we have also seen many things eye-to-eye. And we have seen them because we have shared a vision. The vision that one day the worker would be free, that the tragic inequality that encompassed the existence of our ancestors would not control the lives of our seed. We see a world of equality. It’s a world of hope, Ivan. And I know you see it too.”
“But you see a world of hope, not just a country, and there cannot be hope if we are isolated from the world. You know this.” Kolya nodded dejectedly.
“Yes, Ivan, you are right. It saddens me, if Lenin wins, perhaps my dream will always remain that, it will remain just a dream.”
“Then why don’t we challenge him, take control?”
“Because with Lenin the dream has hope, it has a possibility. If the February Revolution taught us anything, it should have taught us that Russia is fragmented, it’s anarchic, but the people bonded to join us. Yes, we are the opposition, but should we raise too strong of an opposition this bond will crack and eventually break, and with it breaks any dream of proletarian rule in Russia or the world. I agree with you, we should not sign an armistice, but we cannot split the party now, to do so would destroy us all. We must convince Lenin or not at all. We are the leaders of the left, of Moscow. Lenin is the leader of the right and Petrograd. With him, the dream has a hope of realization, perhaps not now, but there is still a dream. Without him, even if we take command, the party fractures and disintegrates, and Russia will be snatched up by bickering capitalist powers. And that proletariat, those who were on the verge of freedom, will be enslaved, forgotten, and plunged back into the drab inhumane factory, from which he will never return.”
Ivan looked sadly at his friend. “I’m sorry you feel that way, Kolya but think on it. If we are to win, we need you.”
“Yes, I know my friend.” And he looked down at his watch. “It’s time to begin.” And with that they turned and walked into the large gaping doors, into the lair of the Bolsheviks.
© A River Runs Through It Photography