5 November 1908
Newspaper Russkoye Slovo on the results of the 1908 elections in the USA, 100 years ago:
Taft was elected the president of the republic by the majority of one million voters.
The presidential campaign has ended with the victory of the republican party. Taft is elected the president. Taft is 50. He is a typical business-man who made a fast and diverse career. It's hard to name a profession where he hasn't tried his hand. He was a judge and a professor of law. He was the governor of the Philippines and the Secretary of War. Right before becoming a candidate in the presidential campaign, Taft traveled around the world. He visited Russia, too, and gained reputation of an ingenious diplomat, who was charged with the high mission of preparing the international agreements and various political combinations to mitigate probable complications on the Far East.
Taft is a "real politician" in the broadest sense of this word. He belongs to those Americans who consider practical and useful actions, trenching upon unscrupulousness.
Russkoye Slovo also reports from Tibet:
On 20 October a revolutionary movement sprang up in Tibet. 10,000 lamas totally defeated the Chinese. Amban asks the Chinese government for reinforcement and demands that dalai-lamas return to Tibet.
Vokrug sveta (Russian: Вокруг света, literally: "Around the World") is the oldest magazine in the Russian language still being published (and one of the biggest magazines in modern Russia). The first issue was printed in St. Petersburg in December 1860, almost thirty years before the establishment of the National Geographic Magazine. It is thus one of the oldest popular science magazines in the world.
The magazine was conceived by a Warsaw-born entrepreneur, Boleslaw Wolf, who defined Vokrug Sveta as a lavishly illustrated yearly publication dedicated to "physical geography, natural sciences, the most recent discoveries, inventions, and observations". Its roster of authors included Alfred Brehm, Camille Flammarion, Nikolai Przhevalsky, and Nikolay Miklukho-Maklay.
The Wolf edition was discontinued after 1868 for unclear reasons, but the project of a popular geographical journal was revived in 1885 by Ivan Sytin, a printer who directed his periodicals toward a wider audience. Sytin's Vokrug sveta was issued monthly and featured original translations of popular adventure fiction from such authors as Jules Verne, Rudyard Kipling, and Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Russian Revolution brought this period of the magazine's history to an abrupt termination. Like every other periodical of Imperial Russia, Vokrug sveta suspended publication for ten years. It was back in print under the auspices of the Young Communist League, specifically targeted toward the youth audience. Contributing editors included some of the finest Soviet science fiction authors, including Vladimir Obruchev and Ivan Yefremov. In 1938, the magazine's headquarters relocated from Leningrad to Moscow, and its publication was altogether suspended during World War II.
For Soviet readers, Vokrug sveta represented a rare source of authentic, fully-illustrated information about foreign cultural attractions. Unsurprisingly, the Komsomol bosses insisted that the magazine cover domestic tourist attractions rather than those situated outside the USSR. In the 1960s and 1970s, the magazine continued to grow in popularity and increased the circulation to 2,300,000 copies by 1971. A television subsidiary was also popular, particularly in the early 1990s. As of 2007, Vokrug sveta ranks third among Russia's popular monthlies, with a circulation hovering around 250,000. The free archives of past issues (starting from 1970) are available on their website.
I always loved this magazine, but only recently found some old issues from 1928-1933. This issue, number 13, 1933, begins with a story titled in the best Soviet traditions: The Two Worlds. Below is a translation of some excerpts.
When sixteen years ago the socialist revolution of the Russian proletariat won, the dogs and pigs of the bourgeois society (note a reference to Pink Floyd here. DM) insisted stubbornly that the proletariat is able to destroy only, but cannot build something new. When the Soviet country after the civil war set a task of creating the economic basis for the classless socialist society, the theoreticians of the bourgeois society proclaimed our plan was a delirium, a utopia.
The results of the five-year plan have demonstrated that the capitalist system is ineffective, that it is dying. The new industrial regions have changed the map of our country. From an agrarian country, Russia turned into an industrial one, and the socialist industry is the only kind of our industry. The collectivisation has made our country the country with the largest agriculture in the world. Millions of workers are now building the classless socialist society.
This is what we've got. And what have they got?
They have the mortification of industry, and we have an unprecedented industrial growth. They have the degeneration of culture, and we have the propspering new socialist culture. We read in the newspapers: "The White Sea channel. Not just an industrial victory. The victory of the man over the dirt within, the dirt brought by the repellent capitalist reality. A cast-off, a pariah, a thief today brings his dream to life: through labor – to become a man, a surgeon, an engineer, a writer.
The flight of the aerostat. The world record of altitude. Oh, the glory of science and creation! And it dances in our blood even stronger when we recall that, probably, right now Einstein in his exile is reading yet another poison-pen written by a blackguarding fascist: "We will kill you, Jew".
The distant sands of Kara-Kum desert and the march of our cars there. Ours! From our Soviet Detroit, which will never close its doors and fire the workers, but instead will increase the production, inspired by the victory of the quality!
The world conference on physics in USSR. The storm of the atomic nucleus! Solving the mysteries of the matter! New victories of the materialism that does not burn in the Hitler's fires and does not drown in blood and dirt.
But let us remember: "The class of exploiters will not give up other than after a desperate, merciless fight" (V.Lenin).
Of all the industries of the capitalism only one is not in crisis – the military industry. The shares of the military enterprises started growing after Germany quitted the League of Nations. Of all the arts only the art of square-bashing and nationalist chauvinism keeps clanking its armor.
The fascism is the most concentrated representation of the attempt of the exploiters to solve the controversies of the capitalism by a new war, directed against the conquering socialism.
"We will die under Verdun, but we will never give up!" – with these words in prose and in verses, in movies and in songs, the German militarists brain-wash the German people.
Elevators with wheat burn in Chicago! The trader at the exchange nervously clutches the phone receiver, then relaxes and orders: "Do not extinguish the fire! Glory to the all-destroying fire! Perhaps, it will help to keep the prices higher." Oh, how many thousands of the working families could live on this wheat! Have you got money? No? Go away, then.
The salt waves of the Atlantic are licking fresh cream. Thousands of tanks with good milk are standing on the ocean shore. A milk trader is disposing of the surplus of milk, as it is appropriate in the times of a crisis. "This baby needs milk. Go buy some at the market" says an equanimous doctor, looking at dying baby in rags. You've got no money? Then you'll die, you little scion of the miners. Alas, babe, the ocean has drunk you portion of milk.
What strong, healthy, beautiful sportsmen live in the sunny California! The umpire gives a signal and the strong hands throw white balls and the skittles fall, hit by... the eggs! Hundred after hundred, thousand after thousand. At least, the eggs market can sleep well, the surplus has been eliminated.
All these are not our fantasies, these are the stories from the bourgeois press. This is the reality of the devastating world economic crisis, the strongest and deepest ever.
The fable about the capitalist "prosperity" has burst like a bubble. Industry and agriculture are intertwined in the crisis. All the controversies of the rotting capitalist system are layed bare. The bourgeoisie has developed the productive forces so strong that it cannot control them anymore. Ford has cut the production in Detroit. The English bourgeois economist Bowker is terrified by the lamentable situation in Liverpool, Mahchester and the surrounding regions. The export of fabrics, the key part of the English export, has dropped. The sea port in Hamburg looks like a huge cemetary. "From electricity we are moving back, to the civilization of dried gudgeons," writes the Warsaw newspaper Rabotnik. "The railroads are displaced by buses, the buses are displaced by horses, boats and human feet. In rich Poland the peasants of Polesye light their houses with the candles made of dried gudgeons."
Only recently, the bourgeois enterpreneurs dreamed of building an electric "Pan-Europe", interlinked by the copper wires. But the private monopolies fought for the markets and "spheres of influence" and now – the gudgeons.
The capitalist world is moving back, to the Middle Ages, under the strokes of crisis. The prophecies of the Marx's Das Kapital come true: "The monopoly of the capital becomes the fetters of the mode of production it has fostered and brought to the peak. The centralization of the means of production becomes incompatible with the capitalism. The end of the capitalist private property is nigh!"
The world economic crisis gave birth to the crisis of the culture. The technics and science are not worshipped anymore. A French writer Georges Duhamel offered to ban all inventions for some time. In Michigan, USA, the city authorities prohibited all machines in the road construction. A hoe and a pickaxe. American statisticians wave the figures, arguing that the potters and shoemakers in the Nero's Rome were happier than the modern people.
Science has fallen out of fashion. There are 8,000 unemployed teachers in New York alone. In New Jersey the people with higher education dig ditches. People with PhD degree sell goods in supermarkets: "Would you allow me to show this cloth to you, lady?"
Terrible must be the streets of the European small towns where the people whose brain is accustomed to the treasures of the culture are touting the clients into buying cigarettes.
The school year in America was shortened to three months. And 8.5 million American boys and girls simply have no way to receive education.
Great physicist Dittorf has to build the equipment for himself, because his job is not payed for.
The theaters are closing. The painters from Monmartre do not sell their new paintings, they trade them for food.
But the fall of the real science is accompanied by the rise of obscurantism, occultism and spiritism and other pseudoscience. Only in Germany there are 50,000 officially registered wizards, clairvoyants and prophets. "I am bored by all things intellectual. The printed words make me throw up", writes famous Goebbels, the minister of propaganda in the Hitler's government. But he lies! The anti-semitic leaflets make him feel quite well!
It seemed that the damned past of the saint inquisition with its gloomy fires will never return. But Hitler came to power and burned the new fires. "Heil Hitler!", and the degenerate youngsters assaulted the masterpieces of art, culture and science. "Burn them!" – and one of them threw the works of Marx and Lenin to the fire, and the second one burned the books of great Heinrich Mann, Heine, Maxim Gorky.
The "Brown Book", book about the atrocities of the fascists, is bleeding. Hundreds of the most outstanding people in Germany are exiled or sent to concentration camps. The Middle Ages are coming back, but in the even more disgusting form.
But not for long! The crisis of capitalism joins the army of the socialist revolution, which represents the interests of the humanity. And they join even closer, because "near with the capitalist system there is the socialist system, which grows, prospers and withstands the capitalism and demonstrates the putridity of capitalism and shatters its foundation." (J.Stalin).
Now, hundreds of millions of people can see who is killing the life and who is reviving it, making it flourish.