July 01, 2018

The August Curse

All around the world, August is a time for vacations, travel, and resorts, a time of school breaks, picnics, and swimming.

But somehow, in Russia, August has seen more than its fair share of mayhem and disaster over the past hundred years.

In 1918, it was on August 30 that the young poet Leonid Kannegisser shot the brutal sadist Moisei Uritsky, the chief of the Petrograd Cheka who had presided over a program of arrests and executions. The writer Mark Aldanov, who claimed to have possession of Kannegisser’s diary and considered him to be a man of outstanding ability and exemplary moral qualities, produced an essay titled “The Murder of Uritsky” that included the following:

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