On the pacifism of Russian literature

A wretched man! What he wants! .. The sky is clear,

There is much space under the sky for everyone, but incessantly

And in vain does he alone oppose – why?

M. Lermontov

With an epigraph to the composition, I took lines from Lermontov’s poem Valerik. And after the author I’m asking myself: why do people “constantly and vainly” quarrel? After all, by nature, one is called to create, not destroy, to continue life, and not to interrupt it. But the wars are… People of flesh and blood, who are already mortal, hurry the end of both their own and someone’s life.

In Russian classical literature, the idea of ​​unnatural war is most vividly and talently expressed by Leo Tolstoy in his Sevastopol tales. Admiration for the unparalleled heroism of the defenders of Sevastopol, admiration for their “silent greatness and firmness of spirit” is replaced by other reflections of the writer, caused by the terrible spectacle of people’s physical suffering. The young count, at that time an artillery officer, saw the war not with fluttering banners and drumbeats, but in blood, in tremendous suffering, in death… Thousands of bombs, cores and bullets flew from our bastions into French trenches and from trenches to bastions, thousands of people have already “calmed down in the arms of death,” and her angel did not stop hovering over the battlefield.

This is how questions that diplomats failed to solve – “representatives of reasonable creatures” – are being resolved. An alternative to fight, slaughter, war, Tolstoy sees reason, logic, humanity, the ability to agree on contentious issues.

Looking at this senseless slaughter, the writer makes a completely stunning conclusion, which would be nice to know the belligerent now:... “… or the war is insanity, or if people do this madness, they are not quite intelligent creatures, as we somehow are thought to think “.

And in this madness, people, whose religion affirms the laws of love and mercy, participate. In all religions, love for one’s neighbor is central. So why do they, asks L. Tolstoy, not embrace, like brothers? No! “… Again the instruments of death and suffering whistle, innocent blood flows again and moans and curses are heard.” Despite the examples of courage and courage seen in Sevastopol, Tolstoy did not make any of the real persons the hero of his story: “The hero of my story is the truth,” he wrote. And the truth in the war is always tragic.

In modern Russian literature, the mood of pacifism, in my opinion, was simply and genuinely expressed by E. Evtushenko in the poem “Do Russian wars want to” ?. Written during the Cold War, this poem does not give a direct answer to the question posed. The poet suggests asking whether Russian wars want to “have silence over the breadth of fields and fields,” “those soldiers who lie under the birches”, from “those who fought.” We “do not want soldiers to fall again in battle to the ground bitter their own,” the poet comes to such conclusion.

I think that in the modern world only those who, according to Tolstoy, “not quite reasonable creatures” want to fight, want to fight. In my opinion, the count, because of his aristocratic background and appropriate education, expressed himself very gently. In modern journalism and literature, those wishing to resolve disputed issues by war and robbery speak much more harshly.


On the pacifism of Russian literature