November 1933... Moscow

“My days are numbered”, Osip Mandelstam, told Nadezhda, his beloved wife, while handing over a sixteen line manuscrpit, scribbled on a piece of paper - already started yellowing like his poetic life - to her.

Being a very intelligent woman and an ardent supporter to her husband's literay life, she started reciting his satirical poem named “Stalin epigram”, in a low but stern voice.

We are living, but can't feel the land where we stay,
More than ten steps away you can't hear what we say.
But, if people would talk on occasion,
They should mention the Kremlin Caucasian.*

His thick fingers are bulky and fat like live-baits,
And his accurate words are as heavy as weights.
Cucaracha’s moustaches are screaming,
And his boot-tops are shining and gleaming.

But around him a crowd of thin-necked henchmen,
And he plays with the services of these half-men.
Some are whistling, some meowing, some sniffing,
He's alone booming, poking and whiffing.

He is forging his rules and decrees like horseshoes -
Into groins, into foreheads, in eyes and eyebrows.
Every killing for him is delight,
And Ossetian* torso is wide.

"Even the walls have ears!", a dry smile appeared on her face when she had finished reading. He too had finished drinking the last drop of bitter coffee, which was less bitter than the Russian creative life. “The Kremlin Highlander... You make us remember his Caucasus Mountains origin! And Ossetian* torso! Osip, how dare you to call him a bastard?”, she laughed silently.

He tried to close his eyes. But, he couldn't sleep for months properly for he had witnessed the Great Famine* during his vacation in Crimiea.

“And, what are you going to do with this?”, Nadezhda asked.

“I will read it out to some friends”

“Osip, don't you know that the species of friends is extinct in Russia?”, cxclaimed Nadezhda.

“I know.. Party's tightening censorship of literature... They will dissolve everything, dear... they will ruin the Russian literature..."

"And the real Russian writers too... the state is going to dictate their brains... what to write... what not to write... and beyond all, the sensorship of Zhdanov* the butcher!", told Nadezhda

"You are right... dear... Writers, who surrender their self esteem to the Union of Soviet Writers and submit to its authority, can enjoy lot of prvelages! Apartment in the cities... datchas (country homes) to kindle the fire of creativity..... more and more publications... expensive clothing... they can enjoy a very special status of "worker-writer"!", his meek nose turned red.

"May be, they can provide a great living for its members.... But, the times will prove, "the most important writers in Russia are its non-members."... See Anna... Anna Axmahtova...", she planted a kiss on his feeble cheek. "Submission is nothing but death! Dear...”

"Already, everything is decided by the party central committee... They control printing, distribution, publishing, radio, film and theater... and every form of art... They have absolute power of veto... Art is only a mode of propaganda for them.... What kind of stupidity is this?”

“Terror... Red art!”

“And that's why the most militant futurist poet was also found dead with a bullet pumped into his heart! Freedom is a strange word even for the one-time propagandist!”
“You mean?”

“Vladimir Mayakovsky*.... Throw Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., etc. overboard from the Ship of Modernity... don't you remember?”

“Yes... Poor man was so by disillutoned by their impossible control... dictatorship, and taking away every form of freedoms.... and their constant surveillance... Zhdanov* was right after him...”

“Gorky! The loyal-most proleterian writer of the USSR! That one time prodigal son is back behind everything...”

“Gorky means bitter in Russian... bitter... bitter...”, he stared into the noticeably earlier autumnal night, which was growing darker and darker! 

“Its safe there in my memory”, she plunged the poem into the fireplace!

(*"Ossetian torso" refer to the rumor that Stalin was born from a person of Ossetian ethnicity rather from his official father, Besarion Jughashvili, who was a Georgean!)
April 1934 
Boris Pasternak closed his eyes listening to “Stalin epigram”, recited by the Osip Mandelstam who had abandoned poetry for several years as a protest towards the totaliterian tendencies of Joseph Stalin.

“Boris, please tell....”

But, Pasternak didn't allow him to complete. “Osip.. I didn't hear this, you didn't recite it to me, because, you know, very strange and terrible things are happening now: they've begun to pick people up. I'm afraid the walls have ears and perhaps even these benches on the boulevard here may be able to listen and tell tales. So let's make out that I heard nothing."

“Yes... You heard nothing... But, I heard them crying... children and women dying out of hunger... I saw people eating each other just to survive... Millions of Russians in Ucraine perished... not in the war-time, my friend... But through artificial hunger, organised in vast scale by Stalin against the Ucrainian population. The Holodomor... "Extermination by hunger"”
“Osip, do you want me to get shot?”

“Boris, did you not see those posters printed by the Kremlin Caucasian : "To eat your own children is a barbarian act””

“Ossetian created great famine to suppress Ucrainian Nationalism... not to exterminate the "kulaks" alone...”
Boris Psternak watched him moving away, like fire-ball, in the darkness...
“A handful of grain, meant prison for seven years... That was the law in 1932... Intolerance is the signet of power!”, he told himself.
“A bullet is reserved for every word of dissent”, Big Boss sharpened his moustache with wax...

* Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam was a Russian poet and essayist who lived in Russia during and after its revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union. He was one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school of poets. He was arrested by Joseph Stalin's government during the repression of the 1930s and sent into internal exile with his wife Nadezhda. In 1938 Mandelstam was arrested again and sentenced to a camp in Siberia. He died that year at a transit camp.

* Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (Влади́мир Влади́мирович Маяко́вский) (July 19 [O.S. July 7] 1893 – April 14, 1930) was a Russian and Soviet poet and playwright. He is among the foremost representatives of early-20th century Russian Futurism.

* On the evening of April 14, 1930, Mayakovsky shot himself. The unfinished poem[4] in his suicide note read, in part:* Zhdanov enlisted with the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolshevik) in 1915 and was promoted through the party ranks, becoming the All-Union Communist Party manager in Leningrad after the assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934. He was an endorser of Socialist Realism in art
* Boris Leonidovich Pasternak; (10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1890 – 30 May 1960) was a Russian language poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russia. By the time of his death from lung cancer in 1960, the campaign against Pasternak had severely damaged the international credibility of the U.S.S.R. He remains a major figure in Russian literature to this day. Furthermore, tactics pioneered by Pasternak were later continued, expanded, and refined by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other Soviet dissidents. 
*Great famine: The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомор, "Extermination by hunger"; 'Морити голодом', hunger-extermination[2]) was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR between 1932 and 1933. During the famine, which is also known as the "Terror-Famine in Ukraine" and "Famine-Genocide in Ukraine,"[3][4][5] millions of Ukrainians died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine. It was organized by Joseph Stalin!

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