political biography by this author, the first question that might arise is why do volume to "bring together the public and private aspects" (p. xii) of Lenin's life is. I was always aware of their warm support and, most important, I know that a biography of Lenin, written simply and with love, was needed. This was how I wrote. Lenin. Marxists Internet Archive. Lenin Archive On Literature · LENIN ON LITERATURE. State And Revolution State and Revolution. Biography Biography.
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Lenin Biography. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin (April 22, – . January 21, ) was a Russian revolutionary, and the leader of the. In spite (or maybe because) of the fall of the Soviet Union in , Lenin remains a subject of fascination. But then, why should one expect less interest. THE BIOGRAPHY. LENIN PAGES OF. View of Lenin's portrait***. ***. ***First page. Born and grew up on Volga***. ‐ Commentator: Volga is a.
Thanks for watching! Visit Website But not all of life was easy for Lenin and his family. Two situations in particular shaped his life. The first came when Lenin was a boy and his father, an inspector of schools, was threatened with early retirement by a suspicious government nervous about the influence public school had on Russian society. With his father already dead, Lenin now became the man of the family. His time there was cut short, however, when, during his first term, he was expelled for taking part in a student demonstration. In January , Lenin declared himself a Marxist.
Growing up Lenin attended school and was an excellent student. He also enjoyed the outdoors and playing chess. When Lenin was sixteen years old, his father died. A year later, Lenin's older brother Sacha joined a revolutionary group that planned to assassinate the Tsar the Russian monarch.
Sacha was caught and was executed by the government. Becoming a Revolutionary Lenin continued with his education at the Kazan University. While at university he became involved with politics and revolutionary groups. He began to study Karl Marx and became convinced that Marxism was the ideal form of government.
At one point he was arrested and kicked out of the university, but he was later allowed to return. After graduating he worked as a lawyer. Exile from Russia Lenin continued his work as a revolutionary. He moved to St. Petersburg where he quickly became a leader among the Marxists.
He constantly had to hide from the police and government officials as spies were everywhere. Eventually, Lenin created his own group of Marxists called the Bolsheviks. In , Lenin was arrested and exiled to Siberia for three years. Upon his return in he continued to foster revolution and push Marxism. However, he was banned from St. Petersburg and was under the watchful eye of the police.
He spent much of his time over the next several years in Western Europe where he wrote communist papers and planned for the coming revolution. They were sent into battle under terrible conditions. They often had little training, no food, no shoes, and sometimes were forced to fight without weapons. Millions of Russian soldiers were killed under the leadership of the Tsar. The Russian people were ready to revolt. The Tsar was overthrown and the government was run by the Provisional Government.
With Germany's help, Lenin returned to Russia. He began to speak out against the Provisional Government. He said it was no better than the Tsarist government. He wanted a government ruled by the people. Sometimes this takeover is called the October Revolution or the Bolshevik Revolution. Lenin established the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic and he was the leader of the new government.
He immediately established peace with Germany and exited World War I. He was coming to understand that the revolutionaries were the true defenders of the people. However, Volodya did not know exactly what revolutionary work consisted of. He was against the bureaucratic, unjust school rules. He did not believe in God. He thought a great deal about the injustices of life, where the rich were idle and had everything, and the poor worked themselves to death and had nothing.
And he did not like the tsar, who was a despot. But how did one fight against all this? Did Sasha ever think about these things in St. Petersburg, or was he far removed from politics, engrossed only in his studies? Volodya did not know. The events of March 1, were like a bolt out of the blue to Volodya, his mother and even to Anna, who had always been so close to Sasha.
Classes had just ended that day. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. However, there was a messenger awaiting Volodya outside the school building. He had been sent by Vera Kashkadamova, a teacher and an old family friend. It was postmarked St. The attempt had failed, and all of them had been arrested. His brother Alexander Ulyanov was one of the group. Volodya was thunderstruck.
He thought of Sasha, tall and slim, with his large, dreamy eyes. His talented, intelligent brother Sasha. And his sister Anna.
She, too, had been arrested. Their mother was still in mourning. She did not weep when she learned the news. Instead, she left them instructions for running the household in her absence and prepared to leave for St.
Petersburg that very day. He was now the eldest one at home. His youngest sister Maria was only eight. The final school examinations began in May. Both Volodya and Olya were graduating that year. They went for their exams in stony silence and waited until they were called upon. The teachers were amazed at their knowledge. Both of the Ulyanov children were at the top of their classes.
Meanwhile, the local paper had carried the news of Alexander Ulyanov, son of the recently-deceased director of the State schools, who had dared to…. Volodya was on his way to his next examination. The street was full of the wild chattering of birds, of spring bustle and joy. He noticed a group of people standing around a lamp-post. A sheet of paper had been pasted to the post. Everyone was reading it.
At the sight of Volodya the man turned and walked off quickly. The crowd melted away before him. Slowly, Volodya approached the post. He read the public notice and the world turned dark before his eyes. The five students who had taken part in the assassination attempt had been executed. Sasha had been executed. Notices of the execution had been posted all over town. A dread silence greeted Volodya as he entered the school auditorium where the examination was to be held. He was the first of his class to solve all the problems in geometry and trigonometry.
In silence he handed in his notebook and left. Volodya headed for the high bank of the Volga. The spring-flooded river was rushing its deep waters to the Caspian Sea.
A small tugboat was pulling a barge. All was still and calm. What had they done to Sasha! A week later Maria Alexandrovna returned home from St. Her hair was completely white. Nearly all of their Simbirsk acquaintances closed their doors to the Ulyanovs and tried to avoid any chance meeting.
When Maria Alexandrovna went out, people in the street would hurriedly cross over to the other side in order not to have to greet the mother of an executed man. But she walked on proudly, her head held high. She never wept, she never spoke of Sasha. How greatly Volodya admired her for her strength and pride. His teachers argued as to whether they had the right to award the brother of an executed man a gold medal.
However, he had passed all his exams with flying colours. Finally, they decided to award him the medal he had earned. Petersburg now, will they? Will sell house and orchard, grand piano and furniture. Moskovskaya Street, the Ulyanov house. Prospective buyers stamped through the rooms, knocking on the walls, inspecting the furnishings, staring openly at Maria Ulyanova and whispering to each other. She stood by the door, pale and solemn in her black dress, with a piece of black lace pinned to her white hair.
How Volodya wished he could rush up to her and shield her from those hostile, impudent stares. He tried to be as self-controlled and strong as she. His thoughts revolved constantly around his elder brother. You wanted to kill him.
You thought that would change things in the country, that it would give the people a better life. Six years ago revolutionaries assassinated Alexander II. Has anything improved since then? Not at all. Not one bit. That means your way of fighting is wrong.
There must be another road. Buyers came to look and finger, and carry away their new possessions. There was no buyer for the piano. Volodya stroked its polished top.
And so the old piano accompanied the family to their new home in the city of Kazan. He was sorely mistaken. They were on the watch to see if anyone had spoken out against the tsar, the government or Inspector Potapov. Inspector Potapov was a coarse, hulking man with leaden eyes. The supervisors would report to him on each student. Potapov compiled lists of those of whom the supervisors did not approve.
Such students were usually expelled without further ado. This was especially true in the case of the poorer students. It was becoming ever more difficult for a poor student to continue his studies, since the tuition fee had been increased several times. Life at Kazan University was as bleak and depressing as life in prison. Indeed, at the time all of Russia resembled a huge prison.
On December 4, , the Kazan papers carried the news of student riots in Moscow. Volodya Ulyanov was in the lead. They streamed into the sombre hall. We demand freedom and justice! Down with him! Potapov stalked out. Soon the Rector appeared. The noise died down. The Rector was handed a petition. The life of the students has become unbearable!
Hand in your student cards. The students were flinging down their student cards. There were ninety-nine in all. Volodya Ulyanov was one of them. That same evening he was expelled from the University. That night the police came to his house and arrested him. Several days later Vladimir Ulyanov was banished to the village of Kokushkino, where he was to be kept under constant police surveillance. The small house offered poor protection against the cold. At night the wind howled in the chimney.
The snowdrifts reached as high as the windows. It was sad and lonely here. Volodya spent the better part of each day reading. Chernyshevsky was his favourite author. Chernyshevsky analysed the existing social order in Russia most clearly. The tsar, the high-ranking officials, the factory owners and landlords ruled the country, while the workers and peasants led miserable lives. He revealed these social injustices and proved that struggle and revolution were the only solution.
Volodya read and reread his books, each time discovering something new. He now saw the way ahead more clearly. What was his goal in life? The revolutionary struggle. He wanted to devote his life to the struggle against the tsar and the rich, to bring freedom and happiness to the people.
Yes, his one goal now was the revolutionary struggle. But he would have to have some means of earning a living. He simply had to complete his education and acquire a profession.
That spring Volodya applied for readmission to the University. His application was refused. Late that summer his mother sent a similar request to the Minister of Education.
The minister declined. Then Volodya himself applied to the minister and was again refused. If such was the case, he would study the entire university course by himself. And so, by studying independently the expelled student Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov completed the four-year course of the Faculty of Law in a year and a half and set out for St.
Petersburg to take his bar examination. The questions he was asked were difficult, indeed. The professors of the examining board listened to his replies intently. When they saw that he had a sound and extensive knowledge of law, their decision to pass him with honours, something none of the other students were granted, was unanimous.
Volodya, who, since he had become an adult, was called Vladimir Ilyich, was in excellent spirits. He had never been in St.
Petersburg before and enjoyed spending his free time exploring the city with his sister Olya. She was also in St. His years of study had not been spent in vain. Now he would move to St. His steps were quick and light. When he entered her room Olya was lying flushed and feverish in her bed. Her lips were parched, her hair dishevelled.
Save me, Mamma! Vladimir Ilyich took his sister to the hospital and then dispatched a telegram to his mother. While Maria Alexandrovna was on her way to St. Petersburg, Olya took a turn for the worse. She died on May 8, , four years to the day after her brother Sasha had been executed. Her face was a white mask. Yet, she did not weep. Having buried Olya, Vladimir Ilyich and his mother returned to Samara, where the rest of the family now lived.
The years he had spent in Samara had been important ones. He had prepared for his bar examination there and had begun his study of the works of Karl Marx. Karl Marx, the great German scholar and revolutionary, had written a famous book called Capital.
Jointly with his comrade-in-arms, Frederick Engels, he had written the Communist Manifesto. Karl Marx showed that the working class would triumph over the capitalists, taking all power into its own hands and setting up a new, communist society on earth.
Vladimir Ilyich was stunned when he read this. And so, his road had been chosen. He would never deviate from it. Thus, Vladimir Ilyich became a Marxist. He joined a secret Marxist study group in Samara. Naturally, if his activities had become known he would have been arrested immediately.
After passing his bar examination, Vladimir Ilyich went to work as a trial lawyer in Samara. In many of his cases he defended the local peasants and poor people. He worked, continued his political studies and dreamed of leaving Samara for a large industrial city, preferably for one like St.
He would have left Samara long before if not for his mother, who grieved so for her daughter Olya. Vladimir Ilyich tried to lessen her pain by his gentle, loving care.
In the autumn of the Ulyanovs finally left Samara for good. His eldest sister Anna had married Mark Yelizarov, who had been a close friend of his brother Sasha during his student days in St. Mark and Anna had come to know each other then.
After they married they came to live with the Ulyanovs as part of the family. Now they moved to Moscow together with Maria Alexandrovna and the two younger children. Thus it was that Vladimir Ilyich, full of energy and revolutionary spirit, set out for St. Petersburg alone. The gas lamps shone dully on the streets of St. The few people in the street were hurrying to their homes.
Vladimir Ilyich was riding the horse-car. It rattled and screeched on the rails. The windows were frozen over. It was impossible to see through them. When he had boarded the horse-car a small man in dark glasses had hopped on right after him. Vladimir Ilyich had noticed him on the stop.
He had opened his newspaper and appeared to be reading, but Vladimir Ilyich noticed he was watching him. Vladimir Ilyich found a seat by the door. He raised his collar and began thinking of a way to shake off his shadow. He pretended to sleep, while actually he was blowing on the frozen pane, melting a little circle of ice to look out and not miss a certain stop. It was the only one at which he could escape from the police spy. Out of the corner of his eye he watched for it.
It was the next one. They pulled up. No one replied. The horses started up again. At that very moment Vladimir Ilyich got up and jumped off, running as fast as he could towards a courtyard that gave off onto another street. He could hear the loud clanging of the bell. It was the conductor signalling the driver to stop. By the time the horse-car pulled to a stop Vladimir Ilyich had reached the courtyard.
He darted inside and turned to look out. The police spy had also jumped off and was looking up and down. However, the street was deserted. Vladimir Ilyich emerged in an adjoining street and continued on his way to the study circle which was meeting at the home of Ivan Babushkin, a fitter at a mechanical plant. There were many factories and plants in that part of town. The factory whistles blew at dawn.
In the darkness the workers started out for their jobs. It was dark night again when they finally returned home. They led a hard and cheerless life. But people could not go on like that forever!
They had to gather in secret to make sure the police did not find out about their meetings. That evening they had assembled again. They were expecting a lecturer named Nikolai Petrovich.
Actually, this was Vladimir Ilyich. He wanted them to realise that they were the force that could change society. If the workers rose up against the factory owners and the tsar, no one would be able to put them down.
But that meant they would have to organise. They would have to set themselves a goal and work towards it.
There could only be one goal, that of taking all power into their own hands and setting up a state ruled by the working people. It would be a wonderful state, a truly just society. Marx had called this society of the future a communist society. The first thing Vladimir Ilyich had done upon his arrival in St.
Petersburg had been to establish contact with the revolutionary Marxists there. We must unite with the workers and begin preparing for the revolution.
Its central group was located in St. Soon there were similar groups in other cities. Vladimir Ilyich did more than direct the work of the study circles. He spent much time, often working late into the night, writing. The book he was working on taught the workers how best to fight against the power of the capitalists and how best to organise their struggle.
It was late at night. The lights were out in the house opposite. He laid down his pen and rose. Three steps took him to the far corner of the small room. Pacing was a habit of his. The Russian worker will take this straight road of open political struggle to the victorious communist revolution.
His book called the Russian workers onwards to a communist revolution. No one had ever spoken out so boldly to the Russian workers before. At the time Vladimir Ilyich was only twenty-four years old. He was still a very young man, but his knowledge was already great.
And he firmly believed that the Russian workers would be victorious in their struggle. Gendarmes were searching the homes of the rioters and arresting them. They were handcuffed and taken to police stations.
Late that night there was a tap at the door. It was Vladimir Ilyich. He was covered with snow. There were even icicles on his eyebrows. He took off his coat and began pacing up and down the room, rubbing his hands together to warm them. Now the police were arresting workers by the dozens. It would tell the workers that the time of struggle had come. No one could free them from their slavery if they did not do it themselves.
But they had to organise, not fight with their bare hands. It was very late. He sat up with a start. You have to go to work at dawn. Vladimir Ilyich began copying out the leaflet in large block letters, so that it would be legible to all. He made a second copy, then a third and a fourth. Suddenly the factory whistle blew. The piercing sound made the frozen panes rattle. The working-class district of Nevskaya Zastava had begun another day. Babushkin opened his eyes.
Was that Vladimir Ilyich sitting at the table? He looked at the four sheets of paper covered with block letters and instantly came to his feet. The cold stars were still shining. White columns of smoke rose from the chimneys. The street was filled with a moving black mass of working people. The two men melted into the crowd. Babushkin fingered the leaflets in his pocket. He would soon pass them on to his friends, who would read them and in turn pass them on.
Good luck, Babushkin! She was an attractive young woman in a short fur lined coat and a fur pillbox that sat jauntily on her head.
She was clenching a rolled-up notebook in her small muff. The notebook was filled with facts and figures about the hard conditions of the working people. Nadezhda Konstantinovna was employed in an office. She was also a teacher at an evening school for workers at Nevskaya Zastava. A factory worker who was one of her pupils had brought her the notebook. It contained much useful information for a leaflet. A year had passed since that night Vladimir Ilyich and Ivan Babushkin had worked over the first leaflet.
Now the St. Petersburg group of the League of Struggle was issuing hundreds of leaflets that were printed in secret on hectograph machines and circulated throughout the city. And here was Vladimir Ilyich at last!
He appeared in the doorway of the Public Library. Having spotted him, Nadezhda Konstantinovna hurried towards Nevsky Prospekt. They met there and walked down towards the Neva River. Vladimir Ilyich took her arm. Her cheeks were rosy from the cold, her eyes shone. Vladimir Ilyich enjoyed her company.
She was both sincere and serious. They had become acquainted soon after his arrival in St. Had it been as recently as that? Somehow, he felt he had known her all his life. Vladimir Ilyich liked to share his thoughts and plans with her.
Besides, she was a real help to him in his work. They shared the same views and goals, they were both working for the same cause. Suddenly, Nadezhda Konstantinovna felt him press her arm in warning. A man was following them.
He had his collar up and looked very unpleasant. Vladimir Ilyich began speaking in a louder voice, telling her that he had heard there was a shop on Ligovka that sold fur hats at very reasonable prices.
The police spy was close behind them. They said goodbye and he turned off into the very first side street. For several minutes Vladimir Ilyich kept up a fast pace, then suddenly turned down a little lane.
The police spy had not counted on this manoeuvre and continued on for a few moments. Vladimir Ilyich found himself outside a stately mansion.
He darted inside, sat down in the chair and opened a newspaper lying nearby just as the police spy appeared. The man gazed up and down the street in perplexity. His quarry had simply vanished into thin air. Vladimir Ilyich chuckled to himself as he watched the man trudge off. But he would have to hurry, lest the doorman returned and found him there. He felt the notebook nestling comfortably in his sleeve. The danger had passed. He had to get home and down to work as quickly as possible.
They had now gathered to discuss the articles for the first issue. Vladimir Ilyich had written the bold and militant editorial and the lead articles. The paper would be printed in an underground print shop on the outskirts of the city, near the Gulf of Finland. The articles were entrusted to Anatoly Vaneyev, a student of twenty-three who was dedicated to the revolutionary cause. Vladimir Ilyich always assigned him the most important tasks.
Vaneyev was to take the articles to the print shop the following day. Soon the workers would be reading their first newspaper. It was late when the League members left the house. Vladimir Ilyich stayed on for a while. He and Nadezhda Konstantinovna never had enough time to talk. They spoke of their comrades. Vladimir Ilyich was a very sociable person. He always found a good word for every comrade. There was Babushkin, for instance, an interesting, intelligent and talented man.
Here and there a street lamp gleamed dully. Vladimir Ilyich took a horse-car as far as the Public Library. The gardens, too, were deserted. The lindens were bent under the weight of the snow. A twig snapped, sending down a shower of powdered snow. Vladimir Ilyich was in excellent spirits. He returned to the furnished room which he had recently rented. He had to keep changing his lodgings, because the police spies were constantly after him.
Vladimir Ilyich tiptoed in so as not to wake his landlady. He did not feel like sleeping and decided to do some research for his new book. He became immediately engrossed in the articles he was reading. When he looked at his watch it was nearly two a.
Vladimir Ilyich wondered who it could be at such an unearthly hour. Two men in civilian clothes entered. Bringing up the rear was a gendarme. The two men in civilian clothes began searching the room. They leafed through the books, turned over the bedding, looked up the chimney and into the stove. Vladimir Ilyich stood silently by the wall. He was thinking of his comrades. Had anything happened to them?
Was he the only one to be arrested? And what about Nadya? Would this be the end of the battle? Hundreds of thousands of workers have joined our ranks.
The entire working class of Russia will soon rise up. There was a pile of books on the floor. Reading was not prohibited. His sisters and Nadya had brought Vladimir Ilyich the many books he had requested. Nadya had not been arrested that night. His mother and sisters had arrived from Moscow as soon as they had learned of his arrest. Today was Thursday, visiting day. Vladimir Ilyich put down his book and stood up with his back to the door.
The warden kept peering through the peephole in the door. Now, with his back to the peephole, Vladimir Ilyich rolled a piece of bread into a hard, doughy lump. Then he made a hollow in it with his thumb. This was his inkwell. He filled it with milk and began writing between the lines of one of the books. As soon as the milk dried the words became invisible. He would return the book to his visitors today.
Then Nadya or his sisters would hold the page over a lamp and the heat of the flame would make the writing appear, like a photograph being developed. Vladimir Ilyich was composing the text of a leaflet. During the night of December 8th one hundred and sixty other members of the League of Struggle had been arrested. Still, the League carried on. The strikes and walkouts continued, led by League members. Vladimir Ilyich sent the strikers leaflets from his prison cell.
Keys jangled outside the door. The lock turned and the warden entered. Vladimir Ilyich picked up his inkwell and swallowed it. The warden came up to him, but could find nothing suspicious and so left, locking the cell door behind him. Vladimir Ilyich quickly made another inkwell of bread and continued writing. An hour later the cell door was unlocked again.
Nadezhda Konstantinovna was waiting for him on the far side of the double iron mesh screen. He could not take her hand. He could only nod. She smiled at him, though it was so depressing to see him in prison. However, he seemed to be in good spirits and that was what really counted.
Everyone sent their love and wanted to know how he was. Then she got down to business, for they had to discuss their revolutionary affairs with the warden walking up and down in the aisle between the metal screens, listening to their every word. Meanwhile, he continued talking in riddles. Yes, that would probably be the page on which to look. The warden could listen all he wanted to. It would do him no good.
He glanced at the clock on the wall. How quickly the hour had passed! Neither of them wanted to say goodbye. Take care of yourself. He turned to look back at her. She stood there until he had disappeared behind the door. The key turned in the lock. He was back in his cell, but still under the spell of their meeting. Nadya would be leaving the prison now. Perhaps she would be heading towards the Alexandrinsky Gardens.
Vladimir Ilyich paced on in the gloomy cell, thinking fondly of her. His term of exile would not be up for nearly another two years. That day, May 7, , Vladimir Ilyich did not follow his usual routine and did not proceed to work on his current book, The Development of Capitalism in Russia.
This was a book about how the capitalists and rich peasants called kulaks were becoming more and more rich and powerful in Russia, while the workers and peasants were becoming poorer and more oppressed. He was a thin, spry man in a worn fur hat and a threadbare coat. A shotgun was slung over his shoulder. Vladimir Ilyich was restless. Nadezhda Konstantinovna was to have arrived from St. Petersburg, but there was still no word of her. She, too, had been arrested for her revolutionary work and had been imprisoned in St.
She was on her way now. What could have delayed her so? In order to dispel his restlessness, Vladimir Ilyich picked up his shotgun and went off with Sosipatych. Indeed, they were perfect for tramping through the woods and marshes. The men were off to Lake Perovo, some ten miles from the village. There were so many ducks on the lake that the banks were white with feathers.
It was a glorious day. The sun was just right, with each leaf and blade of grass a fresh, transparent green. The meadows, too, were a velvety green. On the far horizon, rising white and pure, were the far-off Sayan Mountains, clearly etched against the light-blue sky.
So you take care now! It was a fine feeling to be standing there, listening to the sounds of the woods, to the birds singing and the woodpeckers drilling. There was a rush of wings overhead as a large brown duck rose from the reeds and flew off, not ten paces away. Vladimir Ilyich pulled the trigger. He missed. Then they made a fire and brewed some tea in a soot-blackened kettle. Sosipatych was now in a better mood and tried to coax Vladimir Ilyich into spending the night by the lake.
Though this sounded very tempting, something told Vladimir Ilyich to hurry back to the village.
Twilight had fallen. The herd had been driven home from the meadow. The cows were now being milked. One could hear the sound of streams of milk hitting the pails. Vladimir Ilyich had also noticed it.
The two windows of his room in the corner house glowed green. A wave of happiness rose to his heart. There on the porch was Nadezhda Konstantinovna, slim and graceful in her dark dress. She was leaning against the railing. Vladimir Ilyich ran up the steps. Shooting ducks, if you please! And she had brought it to Shushenskoye in one piece!
Vladimir Ilyich had a study there with a large bookcase and a high lectern. The green lamp was placed on the lectern. He liked to write standing at the lectern. That is how he wrote The Development of Capitalism in Russia. Vladimir Ilyich was working on his book and simultaneously writing articles and doing translations from the English.
Nadezhda Konstantinovna was a great help to him in his work. Besides, she had her own work to do, for she was writing a pamphlet about working women. She, for one, knew much about the life of the working people.
They liked to work together, he at the lectern and she at the table. They spent all their free time together, too, walking in the woods or along the bank of the Shusha, or going as far as the great Yenisei River. They were young and in love. They had a caller. Vladimir Ilyich was very busy and did not want to interrupt his work on his manuscript. But since a poor peasant had come to him for advice, everything else had to be put aside.
Yelizaveta Vasiliyevna asked the man to come in. Everything about him, his clothes, his very appearance, seemed faded, although he was not an old man. The man sat down. He placed a jug tied up in a red kerchief at his feet. It took him quite a while to explain who he was and where he was from.
Finally, he got down to the reason for his visit. Theirs was a very poor family, and that was why his eldest daughter had hired out as a field hand to a rich peasant. After she had worked there for eleven months her mother had fallen ill.
There were so many younger children in the family that she had had to give up her job and come home to care for them.
But her master had refused to pay her, saying that she had broken her contract and had not worked a full year. Should we just leave it at that? He took out a sheet of paper and had soon drawn up a complaint.
It was very convincing.
Vladimir Ilyich then told the peasant where to go, whom to see and what to say. Never forget that for a moment. The peasant could not understand why they did not want to be paid. Strange people, these city folk. Just for nothing? The man left, carrying away a kind word in his heart for Vladimir Ulyanov, a political exile. Vladimir Ilyich left many fond memories in the hearts of the local peasants in his years of exile in Shushenskoye.
This year Nadezhda Konstantinovna was with him. The exiles of Shushenskoye decided to celebrate May Day in the traditional revolutionary manner. After breakfast that morning they put on their best clothes. Ivan Prominski, an exiled Pole, came calling. He, too, was dressed in his best: white collar, tie and all.
Together the three of them set out to call on Oskar Engberg, an exiled Finn. It was a late spring that year. There were still ice floes on the Shusha, crashing and piling up in their haste to reach the Yenisei. The sound of crunching ice hung over the river. Though the day was chilly, it had a holiday air.
Everyone was in a festive mood. In the merry month of May, Grief, be banished from our way! Freedom songs our joy convey. Weshall go on strike today!
Then they sang another. After a while they set out for the meadow. There, out of earshot of the village and with nothing but the blue sky above them, they sang the old revolutionary songs. The stirring words filled the meadow that May Day.
It was a happy day. Vladimir Ilyich and Nadezhda Konstantinovna sat up late into the night talking, dreaming of the future. Would the time ever come when, in a free Russia, the workers and all the people would be able to openly celebrate May Day with red flags?
The next day a column of dust rose on the road as a mounted police patrol thundered into Shushenskoye. Two gendarmes armed with sabres were escorting a police inspector who rode in a carriage. There was illegal revolutionary literature as well as letters from revolutionaries and chemicals for invisible writing on the bottom shelf.
Perhaps by many, many years. The short inspector was helped up by his men. He began looking through the books on the top shelf. There were hundreds of them and the inspector was going through every one.