[OPE-L] David Riazanov, editor y disidente

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Thu Sep 14 2006 - 16:48:55 EDT

For those readers who don't follow the Spanish text, the final anecdote is
worth rendering:

"[Shortly after Riazanov's show-trial and execution in 1938], agents of the
NKVD arrived at his humble dacha to fulfill the last part of the sentence:
confiscation of his personal belongings, and destruction of useless objects.
They loaded all his books on the back of a truck. Riazanov's papers and
remaining notes were dumped on the ground to feed the bonfire, including
everything that was placed on the writing desk in his study. Among the items
ransacked was a picture of Frederick Engels as a young man, with a
hand-written dedication by Marx's daughter Laura. "Who is this?", one of the
NKVD men sporting a blue-red cap asked his granddaughter. "It is Engels",
she replied. "And who is Engels?", the agent retorted, throwing the
daguerreotype into the flames."

Riazanov was no more, his scholarly erudition did not fit in the schemes of
Stalin's ruthless realpolitik. Yet it proved impossible to expunge even this
memory of injustice from the historical record...

One day I imagine somebody will tell the story of what happened to the
academic consultant who, as Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko reports in his laconic
memoir, gave comrade Stalin private lessons in "Hegelian dialectics" in the
1920s. The academic mysteriously "disappeared" some time after the lessons
finished, while the world subsequently got to read the dictator's "genial"
pamphlet on "Dialectical and Historical Materialism" (September 1938).

Who believes that Stalinist crap now, apart from a few thugs? One might say,
Riazanov's spirit was the winner in the end. Or is it that we only evaluate
history objectively after it has ceased to be of any practical consequence?


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