A Child’s Memory

“On the back of the slip was written ‘Read 5.25.34’ and the signature of my father. The file — indeed the whole ‘case’ — gave me a heavy sinking feeling. I kept leafing through the documents trying to understand. Shouldn’t there have been some kind of logic to these stories? Did the Chekists’ machinery really so senselessly gobble up people? Perhaps my life would have taken a different turn if been able to see my father’s file earlier. If I could have been convinced without a doubt of what ordinary, banal horror our industry, our powerful Soviet reality was steeped in.”

“My father never spoke about any of this with me. He blanked this piece of his life out of his memory as if it had never existed. It is forbidden to speak of this subject in our family.”

“I was only three years old at the time of my father’s arrest, but I remember to this day all the horror and fear. One night people came into our barracks room. I remember my mother shouting and crying. I woke up and also began to cry. I was crying not because my father was going away (I was still too young to “understand” what was happening to him). I was crying because I saw my mother and saw how frightened she was. Her fear and her tears were transferred to me. My father was taken away, and my mother threw herself at me, hugging me until I calmed down and fell asleep.” 

“Three years later, my father returned from the camps.”

If we curse the past, if we blank it out of our memory as my father did, nothing will get better. Our history is both cursed and magnificent. Just like the history of any state or people. It is fitting Russia, the tragedies; these contradictory strands of history are woven so tightly together. To this day, I have chills when I see that yellowing file, case number 5644.” —  Boris Yeltsin

The seeds of the Soviet Union’s destruction was born in its children. Mikhail GorbachevTeacher Idealist, in an effort to reform the Soviet Union opened the opportunity for Promoter Artisan, Boris Yeltsin to gut the Soviet Union.

Yeltsin, as a member of the Politburo, decided to resign by letter to a vacationing Gorbachev. When he received the letter he was stunned — nobody in Soviet history had voluntarily resigned from the ranks of the Politburo.  He asked Yeltsin to reconsider. At the plenary meeting of the Central Committee, Yeltsin, frustrated that Gorbachev had not addressed any of the issues outlined in his resignation letter asked to speak. He expressed his discontent with both the slow pace of reform in society, the servility shown to the General Secretary, and the opposition to him from a hard liner making his position untenable.

This was incredible. Besides the fact that nobody had ever quit the Politburo, no one in the party had ever had the audacity to address a leader of the party in such a manner in front of the Central Committee since Leon Trotsky in the 1920s: Yeltsin, abandoned the Communist Party.

Yeltsin, still the President of Russia, declared that Russia was no longer part of the Soviet Union. He took Russia from under the Communist Party and Soviet Union, essentially destroying Lenin and Stalin’s empire, destroying it through his audacity.  Gorbachev did not use his position as head of the Communist Party to stop Yeltsin.

On the breakup of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin embarked on a program of radical economic reform, with the aim of modernizing Russia, converting the world’s largest command-based economy into a free-market one.

Bold and daring at heart, and ever-optimistic that things will go their way, Promoters will take tremendous risks to get what they want, and seem exhilarated by walking close to the edge of disaster. Because of this, they make the very best trouble-spot administrators and negotiators, and they can be outstanding entrepreneurs, able to swing deals and kick-start enterprises in a way no other type can. Please Understand Me II, page 64

Historians can debate whether Yeltsin did a good job or bad job in that difficult transition from Communism to Capitalism, but there is no denying, that the two, Gorbachev and Yeltsin, were the two main catalysts in the relatively peaceful destruction of the Soviet Union.

Quote1.pngA man must live like a great brilliant flame and burn as brightly as he can. In the end he burns out. But this is far better than a mean little flame.Quote2.png— Boris Yeltsin

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