Dermo!: the real Russian Tolstoy never used by Edward Topol

By Edward Topol

For an individual trying to speak successfully and impressively in Russian, Dermo! presents the basic vocabulary and anecdotes on such matters as intercourse, politics, enterprise, and literature. A funny consultant to daily Russian, Dermo! is replete with phrases, idioms, and words, together with vulgarisms, by no means utilized in literary classics yet regularly heard on Russia's streets.

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His behaviour seemed to me inadmissible, terrible, shocking. Yet at the same time it was politically correct and therefore indispensable from the point of view of organization " (L. Trotsky, Moya Zhizn (Berlin, 1930), i, 187-188). 6 G. V. Plekhanov, Sochineniya, xiii, 317. 1 2 34 THE MAN AND THE INSTRUMENT PT. I Neue Zeit an article from Lenin defending the Bolshevik standpoint, but sent to the Menshevik Iskra for publication a copy of a letter roundly condemning Lenin's attitude. 1 The most substantial attack on Lenin was an article in Neue Zeit in July 1904 by Rosa Luxemburg, who denounced his policy of " ultracentralism " as bureaucratic and not democratic.

The Mensheviks, clinging to the original Marxist sequence of bourgeois-democratic and proletarian-socialist revolutions, never really accepted Lenin's hypothesis, thrown out as early as 1898, of an indissoluble link between them. The bourgeois revolution had to come first ; for it was only through the bourgeois revolution that capitalism could receive its full development in Russia, and, until that development occurred, the Russian proletariat could not become strong enough to initiate and carry out the socialist revolution.

I the system of party discipline which he advocated " democratic centralism " ; and the quip was easy that it was more remarkable for " centralism " in the form of control by the leaders than for " democracy " in the sense of control by the rank and file. But there is some danger in regarding these centralizing tendencies as peculiar to the Russian party or, within that party, peculiar to Lenin. It was everywhere a period of the rapid extension of large-scale organization ; everywhere the interests of efficiency and power appeared more and more to demand a concentration of authority.

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