O. E. Mandel'shtam slanders Comrade Stalin

file added 980901
minor clerical change 001216

Osip E^mil'evich Mandel'shtam
3 Jan 1891 -- 27 Dec 1938

Enemy of the people Osip E^mil'evich Mandelshtam, an alleged poet, wrote this disgraceful slander in 1934, read it to a small group, and was promptly reported to the Competent Organs. Some even speculate that he had tired of life, and knew that his crime would be reported.

The Great Leader and Teacher is one of the world's most modest people and would never think of resenting a personal affront. Nevertheless, this foul assault on Him so outraged any ordinary Soviet people who heard of it that a prompt settling of Mandelstam's business seemed likely. Though exiled from Moscow for three years, however, he was protected from further consequences by N.I. Bukharin, who would later be unmasked in 1937-38 as a fascist spy and traitor; perhaps Bukharin envisioned this Mandelshtam as his Goebbels. After Bukharin was convicted and shot in 1938, Mandel'shtam was soon sent to follow him.


Ob"yasnenie latinskoj azbuki vospolzuemoj zdes'
Explanation of Russian transcription used here

Russkij tekstEnglish textFootnotes
My zhyvem, pod soboyu ne chuya strany, We live, not feeling the country under our feet,
Nashi rechi za desyat' shagov ne slyshny, Our speeches are not heard ten paces away,
A gde xvatit na polrazgovorca, But where it suffices for a half-conversation
Tam pripomnyat kremlevskogo gorca. There they mention the Kremlin mountain-man.1
Ego tolstye pal'cy, kak chervi,zhirny, His thick fingers are fat like worms,
A slova, kak pudovye giri, verny. and his words as certain as heavy weights.
Tarakan'i smeyutsya glazishcha, His cockroach eyes laugh,
I siyayut ego golenishcha. and the legs of his boots shine.
A vokrug nego sbrod tonkosheix vozhdej, And around him are a rabble of thin-necked bosses2
On igraet uslugami polulyudej. He plays with the services of half-men.
Kto svistit, kto myauchit, kto xnychet, One whistles, one meows, one whines,
On odin lish' babachit i tychet. He alone bangs and pokes.
Kak podkovu darit za ukazom ukaz-- Like horseshoes he hammers decree after decree--
Komu v pax, komu v lob, komu v brov', komu v glaz. To someone in the groin, to another on the forehead, to another on the brow, to another in the eye.
Chto ni kazn' u nego, to malina An execution is nothing more to him than a raspberry
I shirokaya grud' osetina. And broad is the chest of the Ossetian.3


1. "gorca" ("mountain-man"): Comrade Stalin came from Georgia, in the Caucasus mountains

2. "tonkosheix" ("thin-necked"): Supposedly V.M. Molotov had a notably thin neck.

3. "osetin" ("Ossetian"): Some anti-Soviet Georgian emigres claimed that Comrade Stalin's father was of Ossetian ancestry, though that remains unproven.

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