Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bukharin's Dream

12. April 1938: Internal NKVD Prison: A Beautiful Dream

Bukharin slept fitfully in his small prison cell in the Internal Prison of the NKVD, in the bowels of the Lubyanka, a half mile from the Kremlin. His nocturnal writing was interrupted by fitful sleep, often indistinguishable from hallucinations. In his dreams, Bukharin would see Stalin and Nadezhda [Stalin’s wife who committed suicide]. In one, Nadezhda came to him and asked “What are they doing with you? I’ll tell Iosif [Stalin] that he should come for you. The dream was so real that Bukharin wanted to awake and immediately write to Stalin to come to take him from this place. He knew that Nadezhda would never believe that he would do something bad against Stalin. Bukharin’s dream continued. He talked with Stalin more than a hour. His wish was that Stalin could see how devoted he was to him. In another more pastoral dream, he found himself playing with his own and Stalin’s daughter, both Svetlanas, in the wooded dacha compound shared by prominent Bolshevik leaders outside of Moscow. Svetlana’s mother was still alive, and she ran the household with discipline. He dreamed of the animals he raised there and the children’s delight as they played with them. He dreamed how, in the evenings, they would gather outside and sing with even Stalin chiming in with his soft but pleasant voice accompanied by the balalaika.As he waked to the harsh reality of his prison cell, he remembered an exchange in the summer of 1928 in which Stalin said to him: “You know why I treasure you…. You are not capable to intrigue? He remembered his answer. “Yes, but at that very time I ran to Kamenev. Whether you believe it or not, this fact stands out in my mind as the original sin stands out for the Jews. My god, was I a child and a fool.”

Excerpt from The Leper and the Bolshevik's Daughter: Nikolai and Anna Bukharin

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