“one dollar a month”

 

 

See above-mentioned report of Lounatcharsky depicting the terrible condition of teachers and schools. Here are a few official statements. “The situation of the village schools is most dreadful. There is no kerosene, no light, no newspapers, no books. The schools are empty. No teachers. Cultural activity has died.” Isvestia, November 17, 1922. “I could torture you with terrible descriptions,” said Lounatcharsky himself : “among the teachers there are dreadful conditions, beggarliness and pauperism, awful mortality and disease, suicide and prostitution. The teachers have only twelve per cent. of the minimum income necessary to live” (about one dollar a month). Isvestia, No. 293, 1922. “Economic situation of the students is very bad,” said Bukharin in his report to the last Conference of the Russian Communistic Party in May of 1924: “The picture is terrible, the students are starving and could be called as the beggar-students, who do not have any shelter or room or income and how they are living nobody knows.” Isvestia, May 31, 1924. “According to the appearance of the present students you can not say who are before you: whether a student or hobo or beggar. Their clothes are nothing but rags. Their faces are emaciated and pale. Such poverty and starvation influence the health of the students very much. You can scarcely find a student without catarrh of the stomach. Such life favours to the terrible increase of tuberculosis and typhus. Greater part of the students have had them. Anemia, malaria and eye-sight illnesses are quite usual phenomena among them. After three years of such a life the state will receive only the invalids good for nothing who are the burden for the country and for themselves.” Such is the characteristic of the students given by [Martin Ivanovich] Latzis–one of the cruellest red terrorists in Pravda, June 4, 1924. See also Isvestia, No. 260, 1922. Iakovleff: The Village As It Is, 1923, and other Bolshevist publications in which they state their complete failure and complete disorganization of the instruction and education in Russia. The description of the University­-life see in my Leaves from a Russian Diary.

 

— Pitirim A Sorokin, The Sociology of Revolution (J. B. Lippincott Company, 1925), footnote, pg. 345

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

May 2020

 

 

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See also my post:
“Darkness, Despair, Death Grip Russian Educators” (Sorokin on Russian universities, post-Revolution)

 

https://pitirimsorokin.com/2019/03/24/darkness-despair-death-grip-russian-educators-sorokin-on-russian-univerities-post-revolution/

Sorokin and Defoe (and Winston Churchill)

 

 

 

 

imageedit_1_2520341161.jpg

 

 

Daniel Defoe’s customary skill as a writer was to speak in the voices of others. His novels are only the most famous examples of the first-person accounts, memoirs, and polemics that he fabricated throughout his career. Memoirs of a Cavalier is a special example because it took the pursuit of authenticity–which is the standard of all Defoe’s novels–to its limits. So successfully did it mimic the voice of the seventeenth-century soldier of fortune who is its narrator, that for over half a century the memoirs were considered to be genuine. The struggle of this narrator to turn his observations into facts, to make a certain history of his uncertain experiences, was so well caught that, as one of its eighteenth-century editors declared, “tis a Romance the likest to Truth that I ever read’. It is this struggle, as much as the battles and adventures which comprise the Cavalier’s story, that gives this narrative its dramatic qualities.

 

— back cover copy; Daniel Defoe, Memoirs of a Cavalier, or a Military Journal of the Wars in Germany, and The Wars in England; From the Year 1632, to the Year 1648 (World’s Classics Edition; Oxford University Press 1991)

 

 

 

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In my post

 

“Sorokin” (“Сорокин”)

 

https://pitirimsorokin.com/2018/02/03/sorokin%d1%81%d0%be%d1%80%d0%be%d0%ba%d0%b8%d0%bd/

 

 

I wrote:

“Leaves from A Russian Diary,” which details Sorokin’s experiences as a revolutionary opponent of the Czarist government, an official in the short lived Kerensky government, and an anti-Bolshevik, was a work that I could not put down. It has a cogency and dramatic interest, being written at white heat, so to speak, that make it compelling. It reads live a novel, a sort of “Les Misérables” minus about a thousand pages. l feel that it is an underrated book and could never understand why it never achieved a wide readership. For me, it is the best book on the Russian Revolution, the only one I practically ever read about it, in fact. It made me feel what the revolution must have been like. I regard it as a classic, and I felt it was very well written, much more so than when Sorokin was writing as a scholar.

The analogy to Defoe, applied to Sorokin’s reminiscences of the February Revolution and it’s immediate aftermath, is very apt. I am happy to say that I have just recently interested a literarily minded friend in reading Leaves from a Russian Diary, a book I couldn’t put down.

 

 

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In his preface to The Second World War: The Gathering Storm (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948), Winston S. Churchill wrote:

I have followed, as in previous volumes, as far as I am able, the method of Defoe’s Memoirs of a Cavalier, in which the author hangs the chronicle and discussion of great military and political events upon the thread of the personal experiences of an individual. I am perhaps the only man who has passed through both the two supreme cataclysms of recorded history in high Cabinet office. Whereas, however, in the First World War I filled responsible but subordinate posts, I was for more than five years in this second struggle with Germany the Head of His Majesty’s Government. I write, therefore, from a different standpoint and with more authority than was possible in my earlier books.

Precisely the same as Leaves from a Russian Diary. Both Sorokin and Churchill were participant-observers.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   February 2019

Pitirim A. Sorokin, foreword to “Leaves from a Russian Diary,” 1950 edition

 

 

 

foreword to Leaves from a Russian Diary

 

 

Pitirim A. Sorokin, foreword to Leaves from a Russian Diary, and Thirty Years After (Boston: Beacon Press, 1950)

 

downloadable PDF file attached

 

 

posted by Roger W. Smith