For a birthday

S. M. Karpov (1890-1929): The Soviet Union – the friendship of peoples

I have just noticed, as I went on my usual evening walk on the Russian net, that I have forgotten about a birthday again. On 30 December 1922 the Soviet Union was born. But I already have some experience in the matter, and I always have a reserve gift for such unexpected occasions, so I do not stand empty-handed in the middle of the general celebration.

On the Russian net they recall nostalgic memories with the coat of arms, flag and photos of the Soviet Union, which I do understand. I, however, reach back straight to the Soviet Union’s founding fathers. This little book was published in 1926, and it presents each member of the Council of People’s Commissars (Sovnarkom) with an icon-like portrait and a short poem to the Soviet children. Although each image is the portrait of a specific individual, his name is not disclosed to the child. It is me who add it to the prosaic translation of each poem, complemented with the duration of his office, as well as with the date and cause of his death. This latter makes the document much less nostalgic than the bulk of the festive posts, but in turn this makes it a faithful birth certificate of the fêted one, which also includes its hereditary and childhood diseases, thus suggesting why it deceased so young, albeit still much beyond the country’s male life expectancy which by then fell under 50 years of age.

Your people’s commissars are at home with you

Moscow: Oktyabrenok, 1926 (it had two editions, in 1925 and 1926; this is the latter, as the narkomtorg is Kamenev instead of Krasin, since November 1925)
Poems: N. Y. Agnivtsev. Illustrations: K. Yeliseev and K. Rotov

The book was banned from the 1930s until 1987.

Narkompros (нарком просвещения, people’s commissar for enlightenment)

He makes efforts so you do not stay stupid.

Anatoly Vasilevich Lunacharsky (1917-1929; after Stalin comes to power, he loses all his government positions, and dies in 1933 in France)

Narkomzdrav (нарком здравоохранения, people’s commissar for public health)

He is watching you at home and on the street so that you become healthy and no milksop

Nikolai Alexandrovich Semashko (11 July 1918 - 25 January 1930, dies in 1949 for natural causes)

Narkomzem (нарком земледелия, people’s commissar for agriculture)

He’s always fixed on one thought concerning your native land: to give your slice of bread to you every day.

Alexandr Petrovich Smirnov (July 1923 - 1928; executed on 9 February 1938)

Narkomtrud (нарком труда, people’s commissar for labor)

He is watching all the way lest any time, wherever and whenever you have any disadvantage at work!

Vasily Vladimirovich Shmidt (1918-1928; executed on 29 July 1938)

Narkompochtel (нарком почт и телеграфа, people’s commissar for post and telegraphs)

From Egypt to Siberia, whatever happens in any corner of the earth, wherever in the world, he tells you about everything!

Ivan Nikitich Smirnov (6 July 1923 - 12 November 1927; executed on 25 August 1936)

Narkomput (народный комиссар путей сообщения, people’s commissar for public transport)

He feels sorry for your feet, so he prefers to take you without effort and hurry on train or ship, wherever necessary!

Jan Ernestovich Rudzutak (2 February 1924 - 11 June 1930; executed on 29 July 1938)

Narkomindel (народный комиссар иностранных дел, people’s commissar for foreign affairs)

He talks non-stop from Moscow with all the world, so every country lives in peace with you.

Georgy Vasilevich Chicherin (1918-1930s; dies in 1936 for natural causes)

Narkomtorg (нарком внешней и внутренней торговли, people’s commissar for domestic and foreign trade)

Day and night he thinks about how to prevent your being cheated!

Lev Borisovich Kamenev (1926; executed on 25 August 1936)

Zamnarkomtorg (заместитель наркома внешней и внутренней торговли, deputy people’s commissar for domestic and foreign trade)

Until day is off, he strenuously buys you in foreign countries whatever you don’t have in the Soyuz.

Leonid Borisovich Krasin (6 July 1923 - 18 November 1925; dies in 1926 for natural causes in London)

Narkomvoen (нарком по военным и морским делам, people’s commissar for military and naval affairs)

Armed to the teeth, he’s watching very much so no enemy kills you on mountain or in valley, on land or on sea, or even from the clouds!

Mikhail Vasilevich Frunze (26 January 1925 - 31 October 1925; dies in 1925, probably poisoned)

Narkomfin (нарком финансов, people’s commissar for finances)

He is good friends with the ruble and with each kopeek, so you can fill your pockets with silver.

Grigory Yakovlevich Sokolnikov (6 July 1923 - 16 January 1926; dies in 1939, according to the official version killed by his cellmates)

Narkomyust (нарком юстиции, people’s commissar for justice)

In the wide country he looks everybody in the eye so nobody hurts you and of course you don’t hurt anybody.

Dmitry Ivanovich Kursky (1918-1928; suicide in 1932)

Predsovnarkom (председатель Совета Народных Комиссаров, vice president of the Council of People’s Commissars)

He’s here and heʻs there, he has much to do, he moves everyone so you can live better!

Alexei Ivanovich Rykov (2 February 1924 - 19 December 1930; executed on 15 March 1938)

Vsesoyuzny starosta (All-Soviet President, Chairman of the Central Executive Committee)

If you are concerned of something, do not give much thought, go to Kalinin at once and ask for an advice! That’s why heʻs the “head”!

Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin (30 December 1922 - 12 January 1938; dies in 1946 for natural causes)

3 comentarios:

Rupert Neil Bumfrey dijo...

I am delighted to have stumbled across this in 2011, truly a masterpiece of blogging.

languagehat dijo...

Yes, "masterpiece" is le mot juste; many thanks, Studiolum, for all the pleasure you've given us. И с наступающим Новым годом!

Studiolum dijo...

Большое человеческое спасибо. И чтоб тебе жилось-бы весело и карман серебром звякал в новом году! :)