In One Hundred Years (A New Year’s Fantasy)
On the eve of the new year of 2023, the Great Worldwide Soviet Republic communicated by radio with the nearest republic on the planet of Mars, inviting delegates from the latter to a celebration and receiving, in turn, an invitation from the Martian Republic.
Earth assigned a total of 415,000 delegates from its five parts, while Mars assigned 630,000 delegates from its seven parts. The delegates boarded airplane trains and headed to the celebration.
The airplane trains took 19 hours and 17 minutes to travel between Earth and Mars.
Earth was lit up for the occasion by the electro-sun invented in 1994 by the electro-engineer Makov, a peasant from the current Kaluga Province in the Russian District. Besides lighting Earth, Makov’s electro-sun gave off heat, but not the intolerable kind, like the real sun did. The electro-sun’s heat was considerably milder, and its light also emitted an unusual aroma that combined all the world’s fragrances.
The Martian comrades were welcomed with music by the World Orchestra via a gramophone organ that transmitted melodies over any distance at the same volume, so the music was as audible on Mars and the other planets as it was on Earth.
After the neighboring planet’s delegation was welcomed, the festivities commenced.
On New Year’s Day 2023, the inhabitants of the two planets were to be dazzled by all the beautiful, magnificent and beyond marvelous things wrought by the collective mind and millions of hands of their creators.
The celebration on Earth was kicked off by a 137-year-old citizen of Petersburg, the worker Prokhorov, a contemporary of Lenin and Trotsky, the founders of the Russian Republic and of the Worldwide Republic that succeeded it. Despite his advanced age, this last Mohican of the RSFSR looked like a young man of 18 years since in that time old age was cured, so to speak, like a garden-variety headache. Thanks to Doctor Patokin’s pills, which had vanquished aging, the residents of Earth in the aforementioned era had the appearance of splendid, strapping youngsters. Death was a quite rare phenomenon: the newspapers reported as an intolerable circumstance that should have no place in the happy Republic.
When Prokhorov took the podium, which was surrounded by mirrors that broadcast the speaker’s reflection to all corners of Earth and Mars, he spoke into a loudspeaker of his own invention. It amplified the sound of the voice such that it could be heard over any distance. (Prokhorov had also invented the gramophone organ mentioned above.)
Prokhorov spoke in detail about the emergence of the First Soviet Socialist Republic, and his account was illustrated by a movie projector whose screen was the sky.
All the events between 1917 and 2023 passed before the eyes of the spectators.
One of them, a 14-year-old citizen, pointed to the moving images and asked his father, who was standing next to him:
“Dad, how tall were people then?”
“People your age were half your size, while adults, on average, would have come up to your shoulder, if they weren’t shorter,” his father replied.
“Poor things,” said the 14-year-old citizen with sincere pity. In terms of height and build, he resembled our undefeated wrestler [Ivan] Poddubny (although he had an ordinary figure for a boy in the year 2023).
The boy grew pensive and sighed deeply.
“Why were they so tiny and weak?” he asked mournfully.
“They had begun living the right way only in 1917 and, at first, only here in Russia. And they had a bad diet — they just ate bread and meat, I think.”
“But didn’t they have life wafers?” the son continued.
“And they didn’t have strength and health extract either?”
“No, they didn’t have them either.”
The boy again felt sorry for them.
“Poor things,” he said, adding, “My school comrade Petya Kominternov told me that at the Antiquities Museum he once saw a men’s shoe from back then that he could get only three toes into, leaving half his foot uncovered. Only this one 5-year-old boy was barely able to put the shoe on. So it’s true?”
“It certainly is,” the father confirmed, adding, “But if it hadn’t been for those feeble-bodied but strong-willed tiny people, then we wouldn’t be so tall and strong, so free and happy, and you wouldn’t see the splendid things you’ll see today.”
After listening to Prokhorov’s reminiscences, the father and son headed to the fair, where an exhibition of various innovations had commenced. The unusual number of improvements and new inventions that were made each year was achieved through the free collective labor and creativity of the Great Worldwide Republic’s happy inhabitants.
You name it, it was there. In full view of the public, truck farmers grew various unusually delicious vegetables in five minutes using a newly developed fertilizer, while flower gardeners, as if they were fairytale wizards, cultivated tropical plants on the Square of the Victims of the Revolution in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. The unceasing sounds of the Petersburger Prokhorov’s gramophone organ complemented an endless, dazzling New Year’s fireworks display, which depicted the events of 1917–1923 — congresses of Soviets, wars, and revolutions — in a series of fiery tableaux. The expositions of technological and mechanical marvels alternated with works of art. A women’s, men’s and children’s beauty pageant provoked merry laughter among participants and spectators alike, for there were no homely people and there was thus no one on whom the prize could be bestowed — all of them were extraordinarily beautiful.
But the highlight of the festivities was an experiment carried out by a group of scientists from Earth and Mars that consisted in mutually attracting the said planets by means of devices that the said scientists had invented. The devices released the appropriate gas from each of the planets, causing them to alter their orbits (their motion through the void of space) and bringing them quite close to each other.
The audience’s delight knew no bounds.
The 14-year-old citizen sat up pensively for a long while after going to bed that night.
“Why aren’t you sleeping, dear?” his father asked tenderly.
“Dad,” the boy said thoughtfully, “how good it would be if Comrade Lenin were alive now.”
“My dear son,” said the father, his voice trembling with tearful, tender emotion, “Lenin is alive. Lenin is immortal. He is part of everything you saw today. Sleep, my boy. Lenin is alive and will never die. Can dynamics or electrification die? No, they can’t. Isn’t Lenin the sum of all of those things? He is everything.”
The starry night quietly descended on January 2, 2023.
The 14-year-old citizen sleeps. He dreams of the Progenitor of worldwide happiness and freedom, the short, stout man in suit and cap, with intelligent, penetrating eyes and the good-natured, sly smile on his lips known to the entire universe.
The boy smiles in his sleep.
“Dear comrade Lenin. Dear Ilyich. Good Ilyich, kind… dear Ilyich…”
Source: Krasnaya Zvezda 254 (299), 31 December 1922–1 January 1923, p. 3. Thanks to Szarapow for unearthing and sharing this gem. Translated by the Russian Reader
Vasily Mikhailovich Andreyev (December 28 (January 9), 1889—October 1, 1942) was a Russian Soviet prose writer, playwright, journalist, and exponent of “ornamental” prose in literature. In the 1940s he was repressed.
He was born in St. Petersburg to the family of a bank teller. His mother was a homemaker. He graduated from a four-grade municipal school. In his youth, he was involved in the revolutionary movement. In 1910, he was convicted of murdering a gendarme (according to the writer’s daughter: “he was covering someone handing out revolutionary leaflets”). From 1910 to 1913 he was exiled in the Turukhansk Region, whence he fled. According to some reports, he helped arrange Stalin’s escape. He was amnestied in connection with the celebration of House of Romanov’s 300th anniversary.
He began publishing in 1916 in newspapers under the pseudonyms Andrei Sunny, Vaska the Newspaperman, Vaska the Editor, etc. Until 1917, he mainly lived in Ligovo, but after the October Revolution he returned to Petrograd and became a professional writer. In the late 1920s, in a letter to S.N. Sergeyev-Tsensky, Maxim Gorky spoke of Andreyev as a writer who was “not susceptible to Americanization.”
A talented writer on social themes who suffered from binge drinking and dearly loved his sickly daughter, there was nothing but a cot and an office desk in his room, and he carried in his empty, beat-up wallet a certificate stating that he had shot a policeman in such-and-such pre-revolutionary year.
On August 27, 1941, Andreyev left his house and did not return. As transpired later, in response to a query sent to the KGB by the literary critic Vladimir Bakhtin, Andreyev had been arrested by the Leningrad Regional NKVD. He was charged under Article 58-10 of the RSFSR Criminal Code (“anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”). He was later transferred to the city of Mariinsk, Novosibirsk Region, where he died on October 1, 1942, of “cardiac arrest due to beriberi.”
He was exonerated on January 23, 2001.
Source: Wikipedia. Translated by TRR