Interviews with Rykov and Trotsky
SOME TIME AFTER LENIN'S FUneral the old gypsy cabaret Podval was reopened. There, one night, I saw a Russian raise his glass of vodka and exclaim: "To Alexei Ivanovich Rykov--we toast him in his favorite drink-- Rykovka! At last we have a true Russian in the Kremlin!"
The toast drew spontaneous applause. From every corner of the room came cheers: "Hurrah!" "Bravo!" A Russian at a neighboring table explained to me the meaning of "rykovka."
"It's a new name for vodka," he said. " Rykov loves vodka. He is one of us. With him at the Kremlin we have little to fear."
The incident at the Podval was characteristic of a prevailing mood. Before the winter was over, there were many signs of a vast change in the making. In a few months the government succeeded in stabilizing the Soviet currency. It was the first of many reforms aimed at alleviating the effects of Stalin's recent venture in terror. There was a sudden abatement in mass arrests. The screaming Black Marias vanished from the streets of the capital. Prisoners, long unheard from, returned home. Trotsky was back at the War Commissariat. His return marked an end to all rumors of revolt.