2008/03/25

March 25 in Russian history. Gogol, Andropov and Khrushchev

On the photos there are two monuments to the Nose in St.Petersburg and in Kiev.

18**

On 25 March an unusually strange event occurred in St. Petersburg...

Monument to the Nose in St.Petersburg

Collegiate Assessor Kovalev also awoke early that morning. And when he had done so he made the “B-r-rh!” with his lips which he always did when he had been asleep — he himself could not have said why. Then he stretched, reached for a small mirror on the table near by, and set himself to inspect a pimple which had broken out on his nose the night before. But, to his unbounded astonishment, there was only a flat patch on his face where the nose should have been! Greatly alarmed, he got some water, washed, and rubbed his eyes hard with the towel. Yes, the nose indeed was gone! He prodded the spot with a hand — pinched himself to make sure that he was not still asleep. But no; he was not still sleeping. Then he leapt from the bed, and shook himself. No nose! Finally, he got his clothes on, and hurried to the office of the Police Commissioner...

Monument to the Nose in Kiev

Then he halted as though riveted to earth. For in front of the doors of a mansion he saw occur a phenomenon of which, simply, no explanation was possible. Before that mansion there stopped a carriage. And then a door of the carriage opened, and there leapt thence, huddling himself up, a uniformed gentleman, and that uniformed gentleman ran headlong up the mansion's entrance-steps, and disappeared within. And oh, Kovalev's horror and astonishment to perceive that the gentleman was none other than — his own nose! The unlooked-for spectacle made everything swim before his eyes. Scarcely, for a moment, could he even stand. Then, deciding that at all costs he must await the gentleman's return to the carriage, he remained where he was, shaking as though with fever. Sure enough, the Nose did return, two minutes later. It was clad in a gold-braided, high-collared uniform, buckskin breeches, and cockaded hat. And slung beside it there was a sword, and from the cockade on the hat it could be inferred that the Nose was purporting to pass for a State Councilor. It seemed now to be going to pay another visit somewhere. At all events it glanced about it, and then, shouting to the coachman, “Drive up here,” reentered the vehicle, and set forth.

The Nose by Nikolay Gogol.

1970

Chairman of KGB Yu. Andropov wrote a memo addressed to the Central Committee of the Communist Party:

In the last time, N.S.Khrushchev works more actively on his memoirs about the period of his life when he held high posts in the party and the state. The dictated parts of the recollections contain the information classified as exclusive secret of the party and the state on questions related to the defense of the Soviet state, industry, agriculture, economy as a whole, scientific and technical achievements, activity of the state security organs, foreign policy, relationships between the CPSU and the fraternal parties of socialist and capitalist countries, and others. He discloses the practices accepted on the discussions during the closed sittings of the Politbureau of the CPSU.

Andropov concluded the memo with the proposal:

It is necessary to take urgent measures to control the work of N.S.Khrushchev and to prevent the probable leakage of the party and state secrets.

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