Russian history: myth or reality

In 1927, the famous Soviet poet D. Bedny wrote a poem in which he easily crossed the thousand-year history of Russia, arguing that she “justified her lot by what she gave the world to Lenin!”.

The proletarian poet was sure that he was trying to comprehend the history of his country from the heights of the only correct world view, the Bolshevik conception that saw in the past of mankind only the prehistory of the emergence of Marxism.

But if we turn to Russian literature before D. Bedny, we will see that he was not the pioneer of this idea. It arose long before Marxism, and before D. Poor. The poem of the proletarian poet absorbed all the former poetic formulas in which the attitude of the most diverse Russian poets to their homeland was expressed.

Recall that M. Lermontov called Russia an unwashed country of slaves, a land of gentlemen, and A. Khomiakov said that she was “black in black lies… and every abomination is full.”


less frankly talked about his dislike for the Fatherland, V. Pecherin, arguing “how sweet is the Fatherland to hate and greedily wait for its destruction.”

But in the famous lines of N. Nekrasov, not only bitterness for Russia is heard, but also pride in Russia, because it is miserable, abundant, and downtrodden, but also all-powerful.

F. Tyutchev called not only the Russian villages poor, but even the nature itself seemed to him meager.

A. Block with bitterness and anguish exclaimed:

Russia, poor Russia…

Probably, such a feeling was felt by A. Bely:

Century of poverty and lack of will!
Let me, O Motherland,
In raw, in empty expanse,
In your expanse to sob…

As can be seen from the examples given, in their attitude to Russia there were so many different Slavophiles and Westerners, nobles and raznochintsy, atheists and believers, convinced monarchists and fiery people’s lovers, so different and even hostile to each other. So D. Poor does not retreat a single step from the historical truth, when he says: “Your poets

cursed you…”.

Why did the Russian people so angry their poets? Was he really what he is represented in the quoted excerpts from the poems?

It is worth turning to P. Chaadayev’s “Philosophical Letters” to understand: the misfortune of the Russian people lies in the fact that it fell out of history. In the first of eight of his “Philosophical Letters” P. Chaadaev says that, unlike other peoples, the Russian has not experienced a period of violent excitement. He had only “savage barbarism, gross ignorance, humiliating alien domination, whose spirit was later inherited by the national power.” The world was recreated, and Russia was vegetating in log huts and clay.

Did D. Poor get his inspiration from these reflections? After all, they correspond to the mentality of the proletariat – the young hegemonic class, on whose behalf D. Bedny spoke. Did they see the meaning of the national history in them – the fall of the Russian people from world history?

However, this does not mean that Russian history is a myth. In my deep conviction, Russian history is as real as we are. And it will remain a reality. Because Russian history lives in us, and we in it.

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Russian history: myth or reality