My Dream of Revolution
AT DAWN I WAS WIDE AWAKE reminiscing about my past. At the sound of the hourly chimes from the near-by Cathedral of Our Saviour, I recalled the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II in 1896, one of my most vivid childhood memories.
Starakonstantinov, my Ukrainian birthplace, was about three- days' travel from Moscow, the scene of the coronation. Yet our local celebrations could bear comparison with those in the capital, for we lived in the Southwestern Military zone of the empire, only thirty miles from the Austrian frontier. The distinguishing feature of this region was its vast military camps with their grand-scale maneuvers which gave us, summer after summer, a foretaste of war. Against this background our local authorities staged a tremendous show. It began early in the morning with the roar of cannon, followed by a grand parade and a vast religious procession. I still remember the blare and drumming of bands, the clatter of cavalry racing in review with drawn swords ablaze in the sun, the marching columns of white- clad infantry interspersed with splashes of gold and purple, the massed regimental banners.
In the wake of the military came the priests clad in their goldwoven vestments. They were followed by bearers of icons hung