In this timeless traveling journal, the Russian Revolution unfolds in all its grandeur and idealism. Nikos Kazantzakis observed, contemplated and experienced the fiery and icy expanses of this magnificent land and chronicled his three journeys between 1925 and 1930.
This book is a traveling journal which illuminates one of the most decisive social upheaval of history, the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath in the political and intellectual evolutionof human thought. Nikos Kazantzakis was not only a passing traveler through Russia; he lived among its people long enough to experience their dreams, agonies and fears, and to chronicle the anatomy of the heart of “Mother Russia” and her three sons: Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin.
You saw the little children of Russia, the October or Lenin Children. You saw the Pioneers and the Leninist Young Communist League, the Komsomol– the flame, the life, the faith – when they parade in the streets, when they play or work, and when and how they respond to your questions. This entire new generation prosseses a flame that surely must fill the bourgeoisie with fear. And not only a flame, but it also knows, and this is the most important thing, where to direct its flame, and what to burn!
An Eastern wind struck and burned my temples. And I heard, passing like the march of the Red Army, the heavy cadence of Alexander Blok’s terrifying words:
“You are millions; we are the innumerable children of the steppes. Try to march against us! Yes, we are the Scythians. Yes, we are the Asians with open, insatiable, slant-cut eyes. To us belong the centuries, to us this hour! Ah, old Europe! Rack your brain and seek like a new Oedipus to solve the riddle of the Sphinx! Russia is the Sphinx; tortured, dripping with blood, she charges, filled with blood and hate, against the aged world!” (transl. Michael Antonakes and Thanasis Maskaleris, 1989)