03 December 2007

The Revolution Devours Its Own Children

Die Revolution ist wie Saturn, sie frißt ihre eignen Kinder. -- Georg Büchner, Dantons Tod

Among the ca. 70 000 Latvians killed in the Soviet Union seventy years ago were many fervent and prominent Bolsheviks, ranging from the creator of Dalstroy, Eduards Bērziņš, to the "perpetual dissident" Linards Laicens. The author of remarkable love lyrics like Ho-Tai, Laicens, "who could only be in eternal opposition," became a diehard Red in independent Latvia, departing for the Soviet Union after various stints in prison. Uldis Ģērmanis describes his sorry fate with style (and error) in Zili stikli, zaļi ledi (Blue Glass, Green Ice, an account of Ģērmanis' visit to occupied Latvia to research the Riflemen) -- Laicens' ashes were scattered in the unclaimed remains section of the Don cemetery in Moscow. Ģērmanis wonders whether he thought of his earlier "bourgeois" convictions (the author of what may be the first detailed demand for the Republic, Laicens repudiates his "errors" in an essay that can be found in his 1959 collected works -- collected minus his nationalistic writings, of course, though the poet had been "rehabilitated" during the Thaw).

Another victim was Gustavs Klucis, a pioneer of political photo montage and a leader of the Constructivist avant-garde. More of his work can be seen here; additional biographical information in English can be found here. The director Pēteris Krilovs is about to release a film entitled Nepareizais latvietis (The Wrong Latvian). A trailer for the film -- in English -- can be viewed here.

In Latvian, here is a text entitled "Latvieši - Staļina upuri un bendes" -- "Latvians -- Stalin's victims and executioners."

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Anonymous Ints said...

Thanks for the Klucis links, I'll definitely look those over!
Just a heads up on this, "Zili stikli, zaļi ledi (Green Glass, Blue Ice," looks to be a slight mixup between colors and materials here.


03 December, 2007 18:48  
Blogger Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Oops -- liels paldies, fixed that!


03 December, 2007 19:31  
Blogger Pierre said...

Not your run-of-the-mill, hollywood-style, trailer. You have piqued my interest, once again.


03 December, 2007 19:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello, I was just wondering what the date and title were on the image you provided--the Lenin with a speakerphone photomontage.

I'm writing a paper so this would be really helpful! thanks,

11 May, 2008 03:13  

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