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Trotsky’s 1908 tribute to Leo Tolstoy - World Socialist Web Site

 

One hundred years since the death of the great Russian novelist

Trotsky’s 1908 tribute to Leo Tolstoy

By Leon Trotsky
2 December 2010

The great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy died one hundred years ago on November 20, 1910. Although eulogized by many writers, one of the best tributes to Tolstoy came two years before his death when Leon Trotsky wrote this article on Tolstoy’s eightieth birthday. It was first published in German in Die Neue Zeit on September 18, 1908; then in a Russian translation in Volume 20 of Trotsky’s Works in 1926; and finally in an English translation by John G. Wright in the journal Fourth International in May-June 1951 under the title, “Tolstoy, Poet and Rebel.” Minor revisions have been made to the original English translation. Several of the endnotes have been adapted from the 1926 Russian edition.

Ilya Repin’s portrait of Tolstoy 

Tolstoy has passed his eightieth birthday and now stands before us like an enormous jagged cliff, moss-covered and from a different historical world.

A remarkable thing! Not only Karl Marx but―to cite a name from a field closer to Tolstoy’s―Heinrich Heine as well appear to be contemporaries of ours. But from our great contemporary of Yasnaya Polyana we are already separated by the irreversible flow of time which differentiates all things.

This man was 33 years old when serfdom was abolished in Russia. As the descendant of “ten generations untouched by labor,” he matured and was shaped in an atmosphere of the old nobility, among inherited acres, in a spacious manorial home and in the shade of linden-tree alleys, so tranquil and patrician.

The traditions of landlord rule, its romanticism, its poetry, its whole style of living were irresistibly imbibed by Tolstoy and became an organic part of his spiritual makeup. From the first years of his consciousness he was, as he remains to this very day, an aristocrat, in the deepest and most secret recesses of his creativeness; and this, despite all his subsequent spiritual crises.

In the ancestral home of the Princes Volkonsky, inherited by the Tolstoy family, the author of War and Peace occupies a simple, plainly furnished room in which there hangs a hand-saw, stands a scythe and lies an ax. But on the upper floor of this same dwelling, like stony guardians of its traditions the illustrious ancestors of a whole number of generations keep watch from the walls. In this there is a symbol. We find both of these floors also in the heart of the master of the house, only inverted in order. If on the summits of consciousness a nest has been spun for itself by the philosophy of the simple life and of self-submergence in the people, then from below, whence well up the emotions, the passions and the will, there look down upon us a long gallery of ancestors.

In the wrath of repentance Tolstoy renounced the false and worldly-vain art of the ruling classes which glorifies their artificially cultivated tastes and envelops their caste prejudices in the flattery of false beauty. But what happened? In his latest major work, Resurrection, Tolstoy still places in the center of his artistic attention the one and the same wealthy and well-born Russian landlord, surrounding him just as solicitously with the golden cobweb of aristocratic connections, habits and remembrances as if outside this “worldly-vain” and “false” universe there were nothing of importance or of beauty.

From the landlord’s manor there runs a short and narrow path straight to the hut of the peasant. Tolstoy, the poet, was accustomed to make this passage often and lovingly even before Tolstoy, the moralist, turned it into a road of salvation. Even after the abolition of serfdom, he continues to regard the peasant as “his own”―an inalienable part of his material and spiritual inventory. From behind Tolstoy’s unquestionable “physical love for the genuine toiling people” about which he himself tells us, there looks down upon us, just as unquestionably, his collective aristocratic ancestor―only illumined by an artist’s genius.

Landlord and muzhik―these are in the last analysis the only people whom Tolstoy has wholly accepted into his creative sanctuary. But neither before nor after his spiritual crisis, was he ever able, or did he strive, to free himself from the purely patrician contempt for all those figures who stand between the landlord and the peasant, or those who occupy positions beyond the sacred poles of this ancient order―the German superintendent, the merchant, the French tutor, the physician, the “intellectual”, and finally, the factory worker with his watch and chain. Tolstoy never feels a need to understand these types, to peer into their souls, or question them about their faith. And they pass before his artist’s eye like so many insignificant and largely comical silhouettes. When he does create images of revolutionists of the Seventies or Eighties, as for example in Resurrection, he simply adapts his old landlord and peasant types to a new milieu or offers us purely external and humorously painted sketches.

At the beginning of the Sixties when a flood of new European ideas and, what is more important, of new social relations swept over Russia, Tolstoy, as I said, had already left a third of a century behind him: psychologically he was already molded.

Needless to recall, Tolstoy did not become an apologist for serfdom as did his intimate friend Fet (Shenshin), landlord and subtle lyric poet, in whose heart a tender receptivity to nature and to love was coupled with adoring prostration before the salutary whiplash of feudalism. But imbued in Tolstoy was a deep hatred for the new social relations, coming in the place of the old. “Personally I fail to see any amelioration of morals,” he wrote in 1861, “nor do I propose to take anyone’s word for it. I do not find, for instance, that the relation between the factory owner and the worker is more humane than that between the landlord and the serf.”

Everywhere and in everything there came hurly-burly and turmoil, there came the decomposition of the old nobility, the disintegration of the peasantry, universal chaos, the rubbish and litter of demolition, the noise and clamor of city life, the tavern and cigarette in the village, the factory limerick in place of the folksong―and all this repelled Tolstoy, both as an aristocrat and as an artist. Psychologically he turned his back on this titanic process and forever refused it artistic recognition. He felt no inner urge to defend feudal slavery, but he did remain wholeheartedly on the side of those ties in which he saw wise simplicity and which he was able to unfold into artistically perfected forms.

There life is reproduced from generation to generation and from century to century in all its immutability. There sacred necessity rules over everything. Every single step hinges on the sun, the rain, the wind and the green grass growing. There nothing comes from one’s own reason or from an individual’s rebellious volition and, therefore, no personal responsibility exists, either. Everything is predetermined, everything justified in advance, sanctified. Responsible for nothing, thinking up nothing himself, man lives only by listening and obeying, says Uspenky, the remarkable poet of “Dominion of the Land.” And this perpetual hearing and obeying, converted into perpetual toil, is precisely what shapes the life which outwardly leads to no results whatever but which has its result in its very self ... And lo, a miracle! This arduous dependence―without reflection or choice, without errors or pangs of repentance―is what gives rise to the great moral “ease” of existence under the harsh guardianship of “the ears of rye.” Mikula Selyaninovich, peasant hero of the folk epic, says of himself: “I am the beloved of raw mother earth.”

Such is the religious myth of Russian Populism which ruled for decades over the minds of the Russian intelligentsia. Stone deaf to its radical tendencies, Tolstoy always remained personally and represented in the Populist movement its aristocratic conservative wing.

Tolstoy was repelled by the new and in order to create artistically Russian life as he knew, understood and loved it, he was compelled to withdraw into the past, back to the very beginnings of the 19th Century. War and Peace (written in 1867-69) is his best and unsurpassed work.

Life’s impersonal mass character and its sacred irresponsibility were incarnated by Tolstoy in his character Karatayev, a type least comprehensible to a European leader; at all events, furthest removed from him.

“Karatayev’s life, as he himself saw it, had no meaning as an individual life. It had meaning only as a small particle of the great whole, which Karatayev constantly felt. Of attachments, of friendship, and love as Pierre understood them, Karatayev had none. He loved and lovingly lived with everything that life brought him into contact with, and particularly with human beings ... Pierre felt that Karatayev, despite all his affectionate tenderness toward him, would not grieve for a moment over their parting.”

It is that stage when the spirit, as Hegel put it, has not yet attained inner self-consciousness and therefore manifests itself only as spirit indwelling in nature. Despite his episodic appearances, Karatayev is the philosophical, if not the artistic axis, of War and Peace; and Kutuzov, whom Tolstoy turns into a national hero, is this very same Karatayev, only in the post of commander-in-chief. In contrast to Napoleon, Kutuzov has no personal plans, no personal ambition. In his semi-conscious tactics, he is not guided by reason but by that which rises above reason―by a dim instinct for physical conditions and by the promptings of the people’s spirit. Tsar Alexander, in his more lucid moments, as well as the least of Kutuzov’s soldiers, all stand equally under the dominion of the land ... In this moral unity is the pathos of Tolstoy’s book.

How miserable, in reality, is this Old Russia with its nobility disinherited by history, without any elegant past of hierarchical estates, without the Crusades, without knightly love or tournaments of knighthood, without even romantic highway robberies. How poverty-stricken so far as inner beauty is concerned; what a ruthless plunder of the peasant masses amid their general semi-zoological existence!

But what a miracle of reincarnation the genius creates! From the raw material of this drab and colorless life he extracts its secret beauty. With Homeric calm and with Homer’s love of children he endows everything and everybody with his attention: Kutuzov, the manorial household servants, the cavalry horse, the adolescent countess, the muzhik, the Tsar, the louse on a soldier, the elderly Freemason―he gives preference to none among them, deprives none of his due share. Step by step, stroke by stroke, he creates a limitless panorama whose parts are all inseparably bound together by an internal bond. In his work Tolstoy is as unhurried as the life he pictures. It is a terrifying thing to say, but he rewrote his colossal book seven times ... Perhaps what is most astounding in this titanic work is that the artist permits neither himself nor the reader to become attached to any individual character. He never puts his heroes on display, as does Turgenev whom Tolstoy disliked, amid bursts of firecrackers and the glare of magnesium flares. He does not seek out situations for them that would set them off to advantage; he hides nothing, suppresses nothing. The restless seeker of truth, Pierre Bezukhov, he shows us at the end as a smug family man and happy landlord; Natasha Rostova, so touching in her semi-childlike sensitivity, he turns, with godlike mercilessness, into a shallow breeding female, untidy diapers in hand. But from behind this seemingly indifferent attentiveness to individual parts there rises a mighty apotheosis of the whole, where everything breathes the spirit of inner necessity and harmony. It might perhaps be correct to say that this creative effort is permeated with an aesthetic pantheism for which there is neither beauty nor ugliness, neither the great nor the small, because it holds as the great and beautiful only the whole of life itself, in the perpetual circuit of its manifestations. This is an agricultural aesthetic, mercilessly conservative by nature, and it creates a kinship between Tolstoy’s epic and the Pentateuch or the Iliad.[1]

Tolstoy’s two recent attempts to find some room for psychological images and “beautiful types” to which he feels closest affinity within the framework of the historical past―in the days of Peter the First and of the Decembrists of 1825―have been shattered against the artist’s hostility to foreign influences which color both of these periods so sharply. But even where Tolstoy approaches most closely to our own times, as in Anna Karenina (1877), he remains inwardly alien to the reigning discord and inflexibly stubborn in his artistic conservatism, scaling down the sweep of his own horizons and singling out of the whole of Russian life only the surviving oases of gentility, with the old ancestral home, ancestral portraits and luxurious linden alleys in whose shade is repeated, from one generation to the next and without changing its forms, the cycle of birth, love and death.

And Tolstoy delineates the spiritual life of his heroes in accord with the day-to-day life of their motherland: calmly, without haste and with vision unclouded. He never runs ahead of the inner play of emotions, thoughts or dialogue. He is in no hurry to go anywhere, nor is he ever late. His hands hold the strands tying together a host of lives, but he never loses his head. Like the master of an enormous enterprise who keeps an ever-wakeful eye on all its many parts, he mentally keeps an errorless balance sheet. All he does, seemingly, is to keep watch while nature itself carries out all the work. He casts a seed upon the soil and like a good husbandman calmly permits it to put out its stalk naturally, and grow full of ears. Why, this is the genial Karatayev with his silent worship of the laws of nature! He will never seek to touch a bud in order forcibly to unfold its petals; but permits them silently to open in the warmth of the sun. He is both alien and deeply hostile to the aesthetic of the big-city culture which, in its self-devouring voracity, violates and torments nature, demanding from it only extracts and essences; and which with convulsively clutching fingers searches on the palette for colors non-existent in a sun-ray’s spectrum.

Tolstoy’s style is identical with all of his genius: calm, unhurried, frugal, without being miserly or ascetic; it is muscular, on occasion awkward, and rough. It is so simple and always incomparable in its results. (He is just as far removed from Turgenev, who is lyrical, flirtatious, scintillating and aware of the beauty of his language, as he is from Dostoyevsky’s tongue, so sharp, so choked-up and pock-marked.)

In one of his novels Dostoyevsky―the city dweller without rank or title, and the genius with an incurably pincered soul―this voluptuous poet of cruelty and commiseration, counterposes himself profoundly and pointedly, as the artist of the new and “accidental Russian families,” to Count Tolstoy, the singer of the perfected forms of the landlord past.

“If I were a Russian novelist and a talented one,” says Dostoyevsky, speaking through the lips of one of his characters, “I would unfailingly take my heroes from the well-born Russian nobility, because it is only in this type of cultured Russian people that it is possible to catch a glimpse of beautiful order and beautiful impressions ... Saying this, I am not at all joking, although I am not at all a noble myself, which besides, you yourself know ... Believe me, it is here that we have everything truly beautiful among us up till now. At any rate, here is everything among us that is in the least perfected. I do not say it because I unreservedly agree with either the correctness or the truth of this beauty; but here, for example, we have already perfected forms of honor and duty which, apart from the nobility, are not to be found not only perfected anywhere in Russia, but even started ... The position of our novelist,” continues Dostoyevsky without naming Tolstoy but unquestionably having him in mind, “in such a case would be quite definitive. He would not be able to write in any other way except historically, for the beautiful type no longer exists in our own day, and if there are remnants that do exist, then according to the prevailing consensus of opinion, they have not retained any of their beauty.”

When the “beautiful type” disappeared, not only the immediate object of artistic creativity came tumbling down, but also the foundations of Tolstoy’s moral fatalism and his aesthetic pantheism: the sanctified Karatayevism of the Tolstoyan soul was perishing. Everything that had been previously taken for granted as part of an unchallenged whole now turned into a fragment, and by this token into a problem. What was rational was becoming irrational. And, as always happens, precisely at the moment when being had lost its old meaning, Tolstoy started asking himself about the meaning of being in general. A great spiritual crisis begins (toward the latter part of the 1870s)―and not in the life of a youth, but in the life of a fifty-year-old man. Tolstoy returns to God, accepts the teachings of Christ, and rejects the division of labor, and along with it culture and the state; he becomes the preacher of agricultural labor, of the simple life and of non-resistance to evil by force.

The deeper was the internal crisis―and by his own admission the fifty-year-old artist for a long time contemplated suicide―all the more surprising must it seem that Tolstoy returned, as the end result, to what is essentially his starting point. Agricultural labor―isn’t this, after all, the basis on which the epic of War and Peace unfolds? The simple life, and immersion, at least spiritually, in the elemental people―isn’t that where Kutuzov’s strength lies? Nonresistance to evil by force―isn’t the whole of Karatayev contained in fatalistic resignation?

But if that is so, then of what does the crisis of Tolstoy consist? Of this, that what had previously been secret and subterranean breaks through its crust and passes over into the sphere of consciousness. Inasmuch as the spirituality indwelling in nature disappeared along with that “nature” which incarnated it, the spirit begins striving toward inner self-consciousness. That automatic harmony against which the automatism of life itself had risen must henceforth be preserved by the conscious power of the idea. In this conservative struggle (for his moral and aesthetic self-preservation), the artist summons to his aid the philosopher-moralist.

II

It would not be easy to determine which of these two Tolstoys―the poet, or the moralist―has won greater popularity in Europe. In any case, it is unquestionable that behind the condescending smirk of the bourgeois public at the genius innocence of the Yasnaya Polyana elder, there lurks a peculiar sort of moral satisfaction: a famous poet, a millionaire, one of “our own milieu,” and an aristocrat to boot, wears out of moral conviction a peasant shirt, walks in bast-shoes, chops wood. It is as if here was a certain redemption of the sins of a whole class, of a whole culture. This does not, of course, prevent every bourgeois ninny from looking down his nose on Tolstoy and even lightly casting doubts about his complete sanity. A case in point is the not unknown Max Nordau,[2] one of the gentlemen who take the philosophy of old and honest Samuel Smiles,[3] spiced with cynicism, and dress it up in clown’s costume for columns on Sunday. With his reference text from Lombroso[4] in hand, Nordau discovers in Tolstoy all the symptoms of degeneration. For all these petty shopkeepers, insanity begins at the point where profit ceases.

But whether his bourgeois devotees regard Tolstoy suspiciously, ironically or with favor, he remains for all of them a psychological enigma. Aside from a couple of his worthless disciples and propagandists―one of them, Menshikov,[5] is now playing the role of a Russian Hammerstein[6]―one would have to say that for the last thirty years of his life, Tolstoy, the moralist, has stood completely alone.

Truly his was the tragic position of a prophet crying in the wilderness. Completely under the dominion of his conservative agricultural sympathies, Tolstoy has unceasingly, tirelessly and triumphantly defended his spiritual world against the dangers threatening it from all sides. He has dug, once and for all, a deep moat between himself and every variety of bourgeois liberalism, and, in the first instance, has cast aside “the superstition of progress universally prevalent in our times.”

“It’s all very well,” he cries, “to have electricity, telephones, exhibitions and all the gardens of Arcadia with their concerts and performances, along with all the cigars and match boxes, suspenders and motors; but I wish them all at the bottom of the sea. And not only them but also the railroads and all the manufactured cotton and wool cloth in the world. Because to produce them 99 out of every 100 people must be in slavery and perish by the thousands in factories where these items are manufactured.”

Aren’t our lives adorned and enriched, by the division of labor? But the division of labor maims the living human soul. Let division of labor rot! Art? But genuine art must unite all the people in the idea of God and not disunite them. Our art serves only the elite, it sunders people apart and therefore it is a lie. Tolstoy courageously rejects as “false” the art of―Shakespeare, Goethe, himself, Wagner, and Böcklin.[7]

He divests himself of all material cares connected with business and enrichment and dons peasant clothing, as if performing a symbolic rite, renouncing culture. But what lurks behind this symbolic act? What does it oppose to the “lie,” that is, to the historical process?

On the basis of his works, we could present Tolstoy’s social philosophy―thereby doing some violence to ourselves―in the form of the following “programmatic” theses:

1. It is not some kind of iron sociological laws that produce the enslavement of peoples, but legal codes.

2. Modern slavery rests on three statutes: those on land, taxes and property.

3. Not only the Russian state but every state is an institution for committing, by violence and with impunity the most horrible crimes.

4. True social progress is attained only through the religious and moral self-perfection of individuals.

5. “To get rid of states it is not necessary to fight against them with external means. All that is needed is not to take part in them and not to support them.” That is to say:

a. not to assume the calling of either soldier or field marshal, minister or village elder, juryman or member of parliament;

b. not to pay taxes, direct or indirect, to the state voluntarily;

c. not to utilize state institutions or government funds whether for salaries or pensions; and

d. not to safeguard one’s property by measures of state violence.

If from this schema we were to remove the fourth point―which clearly stands by itself and which concerns religious and moral self-perfection―then we would get a rather rounded anarchist program. First, there is a purely mechanical conception of society as the product of evil legislation. Next, a formal denial of the state and politics generally. And finally, as the method of struggle―a passive general strike and universal boycott. But by removing the religious-moral thesis, we actually remove the single nerve which connects this whole rationalistic structure with its architect: the soul of Lev Tolstoy. For him, owing to all the conditions of his evolution and position, the task does not at all consist in establishing “communist” anarchy in place of the capitalist order. The task is to safeguard the communal-agricultural order against destructive influences “from without.”

As in his Populism, so, too, in his “anarchism,” Tolstoy represents conservative agricultural interests. Like the early freemasons who sought by ideological means to restore and strengthen in society the caste-guild morality of mutual aid which was falling apart naturally under the blows of economic development, Tolstoy seeks to revive―by dint of a religious-moral idea―life under a purely natural economy.

Along this road he becomes a conservative anarchist, because what he requires, first and foremost, is that the state with its whips of militarism and its scorpions of the federal treasury let live in peace the all-saving Karatayev commune. Tolstoy has no inkling whatever of the globe-encompassing struggle between the two worlds―that of the bourgeoisie and that of socialism―on the outcome of which hinges the destiny of mankind. In his eyes socialism always remained a variety of liberalism, of little interest to him. In his eyes Karl Marx as well as Frédéric Bastiat[8] were representatives of one and the same “false principle” of capitalist culture, of landless workers, of state coercion. In general, once mankind has ventured onto a false road, it really matters little how near or how far this road has been travelled. Salvation can come only by turning back.

Tolstoy is at a loss for words contemptuous enough to hurl against that science which maintains that, while we shall continue for a very long time to live badly “according to the laws of historical, sociological and other forms of progress,” our life shall nevertheless become very good by itself ultimately.

It is necessary to put an end to evil right now and for this it is enough to understand that evil is evil. All the moral feelings which have historically held the people together and all the moral-religious fictions arising from these ties are reduced by Tolstoy to the most abstract commandments of love, of temperance and of passive resistance. And since these commandments lack any historical content, and are therefore without any content whatever, they seem to him to be applicable at all times and to all peoples.

Tolstoy does not acknowledge history; and this provides the basis for all his thinking. Upon this rests the metaphysical freedom of his denial as well as the practical impotence of all his preachings. The human life which he accepts―the former life of Ural-Cossack farmers in the sparsely populated steppes of Samara province―took place outside of history: it constantly reproduced itself like the life of a beehive or ant-heap. What people call history is the product of senselessness, delusions and cruelties which deformed the true soul of humanity. Fearlessly consistent, Tolstoy throws his inheritance out the window along with history.

Newspapers and magazines are abhorrent to him as documents of current history. With his breast he would beat back all the waves of the global ocean. His historical blindness renders him childishly helpless in the world of social problems. Tolstoy’s philosophy resembles Chinese painting. Ideas of entirely different epochs are placed not in perspective but arranged on one and the same plane. Against war he launches arguments of pure logic and, to reinforce them, adduces the opinions of Epictetus[9] as well as those of Molinari;[10] of Lao Tse[11] as well as Friedrich II;[12] of the prophet Isaiah as well as the columnist Hardouin, oracle of the Parisian grocers. In his eyes writers, philosophers and prophets represent not their own epochs, but rather eternal moral categories.

With him, Confucius strolls shoulder to shoulder with Harpagus;[13] and Schopenhauer finds himself keeping company not only with Jesus but also Moses. In his tragic single-combat against the dialectic of history, to which he opposes his yes-yes or no-no, Tolstoy falls at every step into hopeless self-contradictions. And from this he draws a conclusion―wholly worthy of the stubbornness of this genius: “The incongruity between man’s position and man’s moral activity,” he says, “is the surest sign of truth.” But this idealistic pride bears within it its own punishment. It would be hard to name another writer whom history has used so cruelly as she has Tolstoy, against his own will.

Moralist and mystic, foe of politics and revolution, for many years he has been nourishing with his criticism the confused revolutionary consciousness of many Populist sects.

Denier of all capitalist culture, he meets with benevolent acceptance by the European and American bourgeoisies, who find in his preachments both a delineation of their own purposeless humanism and a psychological shield against the philosophy of the revolutionary overturn.

Conservative anarchist, mortal enemy of liberalism, Tolstoy finds himself on his eightieth birthday a banner and a weapon for the noisy and tendentious political manifestation of Russian liberalism.

History has gained a victory over him, but failed to break him. Even now, in his declining years, he has preserved intact his priceless talent for moral indignation.

In the heat of the vilest and most criminal counter-revolution on record,[14] which seeks with its hempen web of gallows to eclipse forever our country’s sun; amid the stifling atmosphere of degraded and cowardly official public opinion, this last apostle of Christian forgiveness, in whom the Old Testament prophet of wrath has not died, has flung his pamphlet I Cannot Keep Silent as a curse upon the heads of those who serve as hangmen and a condemnation upon those who stand by in silence.

And though he refuses a sympathetic hearing to our revolutionary objectives, we know it is because history has refused him personally an understanding of her revolutionary pathways. We shall not condemn him. And we shall always value in him not only his great genius, which shall never die so long as human art lives on, but also his unbending moral courage which did not permit him tranquilly to remain in the ranks of their hypocritical church, their society and their state, but doomed him to remain in solitude among his countless admirers.

Leon Trotsky
September 1908

Endnotes:

1. The Iliad. Ancient Greek poem about the siege of Troy. By tradition the author has long been considered the blind poet Homer, who is also credited with creating a second major Greek epic The Odyssey.

2. Max Nordau (1849-1923). Hungarian writer, social critic and founder, with Theodor Herzl, of the World Zionist Congress. Author of The Conventional Lies of Our Civilization (1883), Degeneration(1892) and Paradoxes (1896).

3. Samuel Smiles (1812-1904): Scottish author of books devoted to self-improvement, the most famous of which was Self-Help.

4. Cesare Lombroso (1836-1909). Famous Italian psychiatrist and criminologist who founded a discipline of criminal anthropology. Believed that there exists a special criminal type with characteristic physical traits.

5. Mikhail Osipovich Menshikov (1859-1918). Russian journalist. Began writing idealist articles on morality, but became increasingly reactionary in the 1890s and ended as an advocate of Russian nationalism and anti-Semitism. Shot by the Cheka in September 1918.

6. Baron Wilhelm Hammerstein (1838-1904), German politician, conservative member of the Reichstag, and editor of the reactionary, anti-Semitic newspaper Kreuzzeitung.

7. Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901). Swiss symbolist painter.

8. Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850). French economist, representative of the Manchester school, apologist for capitalism and enemy of socialism.

9. Epictetus (AD 55-AD 135). Greek Stoic philosopher.

10. Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912). Belgian economist associated with the Manchester school andFrédéric Bastiat.

11. Lao Tse ([Laozi], Chinese philosopher of the pre-Confucian era.

12. Friedrich II (1712-1786). Prussian King and one of the main representatives of “enlightened absolutism.” In practice, an example of Hohenzollern despotism. In one of his articles against war (“Think it Over!”, 1904), Tolstoy cited one of Friedrich’s statements: “If my soldiers began to think, not one of them would remain in the military.”

13. Harpagus. A minister of the Median King Astyages, 6th Century B.C. According to Herodotus, when Harpagus refused to carry out an order to kill Cyrus, Astyages killed his only son and served his flesh to Harpagus at a banquet.

14. Trotsky here refers to the reign of terror in Russia after the defeated 1905 revolution.