Monday, 27 September 2010
Today I got the local train to Dmitrov, where Kropotkin spent his last years back in post-revolution Russia. Due to his prestige, he wasn't arrested or killed or even interfered with when the other anarchists were being rounded up in 1918. So he wrote his book on ethics, criticised the dictatorial methods of the Bolsheviks, but urged workers around the world to support the Russian people as best they can. Because "all armed intervention necessarily strengthens the dictatorial tendencies of the government".
In May 1919 he met Lenin to discuss their differences, and kept it up in letters: from 1920 "Russia has become a Revolutionary Republic only in name ... it is ruled not by soviets but by party committees". And Lenin ran the party committees, so he wasn't about to give up his control for the sake of a revolution....
I got lost trying to find the wooden house Kropotkin lived in at this time, but did find the usual anarchy sign.
Apparently there used to be a cat sitting next to Kropotkin on the bench. At some point it disappeared (which is good, because it means a passing stream of locals can now sit next to him and, beaming, get their photos taken). But I think I found the cat.
Dmitrov is full of odd statues. Here are some bears about to eat Kropotkin.
I left a note.