Among my more esoteric possessions is an English-language translation of a forgotten volume, People and Portraits: A Tragic Cycle, published in 1966. It was authored by artist Georges (Yuri) Annenkov, innovator of grand scale settings for gargantuan Soviet parades and street extravaganzas. In 1921 he painted Lenin’s official portrait. Three years later, after Lenin had been dispatched to the great politburo in the sky, Annenkov was put to work illustrating books about the departed communist icon and was given access to his papers at Moscow’s Lenin Institute.
Annenkov claimed he had copied some of Lenin’s handwritten notes, including the following gem: “To speak the truth is a petit-bourgeois habit. To lie, on the contrary, is often justified by the lie’s aim. The whole world’s capitalists and their governments, as they pant to win the Soviet market, will close their eyes to the above-mentioned reality and will thus transform themselves into men who are deaf, dumb and blind … They will toil to prepare their own suicide.” Continue reading