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582 10 2013 , 29 2014 . 785

University news
Lecture by historian Nikolai Kotrelyov on Vyacheslav Ivanov and the Russian Revolution

On December 8, 2017, in Saint Vladimirs Hall of the Main Building of Saint Tikhons Orthodox University of the Humanities (the former Moscow Eparchy House), as part of the ongoing lecture series on the events of 1917, the poet, linguist, and Italian translator Nikolai Vsevolodovitch Kotrelyov gave a lecture on Vyacheslav Ivanov and the Russian Revolution of 1917

Mr. Kotrelyov called Vyacheslav Ivanov the most important poet of 20th century Russia, since there is not a single poet from that time who passed him by in his creative life. His influence can be seen in the poetry of Zinaida Gippius, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Valery Briusov, and Constantin Balmont. Ivanov was simultaneously also a philosopher and friend of Pavel Florensky and Vladimir Ern. He was the favorite poet of Alexei Losev, the last Russian religious philosopher.

The background of Ivanovs stance on the Revolution is complicated. He did not believe in the social structure of Russia at the time. He belonged to the first generation of emigrants and was prepared to return should the Church cease to be under attack. Ivanov perceived the first February Revolution as a tragedy.

When, later, in May 1917, a competition to write an anthem for the Temporary Government was announced, it was Vyacheslav Ivanov who wrote it. His poem Onwards, free people! is reminiscent of the Marseillaise. However, as early as late May 1917, the poet saw the situation developing in Russia as apocalyptic.

The election of Patriarch Tikhon was an important event for Ivanov and filled him with hope. However, as early as November he began work on the cycle Songs from the Time of Troubles. The Russian people became for him at once a God-bearing people and Cain, a refugee from paradise.

In his article on The Revolution and National Consciousness, Ivanov asserted that a revolution in spirit could only ever be religious, that it must establish a link between man and God, but that the Russian revolution was areligious. In his article, he also raises the question of the historic responsibility of the Intelligentsia for the Revolution.

In 1920, Vyacheslav Ivanov left Moscow for Baku and then Italy. To use the lecturers words, Ivanov was fleeing from Russia because it had become a world in which he could no longer live.

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