Vladimir Barmash letter, April 1933

[from Vladimir Barmash]

Yeniseysk, 18 Apr 1933

Dear friend! I had already written to you about receiving a parcel from London. It was a true holiday for us! Ham, butter, sugar and… white wheat flour! We still remember the joy that we experienced upon seeing such delikatessen! But when five dollars [underscored in pencil] came via [Yekaterina] Peshkova [Political Red Cross] and we could purchase from Torgsin [state-run hard-currency store] butter, sugar, peas and rye flour, and eat enough bread, - we considered ourselves happy. It took three weeks for the January 31 parcel from London to arrive. This is an amazing occurrence! Never before seen! But Viktor [underscored, in pencil: Vsevolod - I assume Voline] sent a parcel from France on January 21, and we are yet to receive it. But we do not lose hope to receive it with the first boat from Krasnoyarsk, in June. For the five dollars we bought from Torgsin much more than your parcel cost, and plus its shipping here. Perhaps it is needless to say how timely your aid was! Or how dear was your attention to us, pariahs in our own land! It arrived as though sharp light into darkness; so bright was your friendly care. We are working now. Scurvy and stomatitis are leaving us now. Spring, sun are coming! Another month, and [the ice on the River] Yenisey will break up, and there will be some respite from this strangling cold and darkness, isolation and loneliness. There is so much to say, so many stories to tell… and that will come! But for now… a strong handshake. Hot greeting from the cold desert of snows and taiga… Fly, o greeting, to the noise of life. To people who do not know silence…

Yours, Vladimir.

I received notice that Mikhail Ilovayskiy (Orel UChD [not sure what abbreviation means], Tsentralno-Chernozemnaya Oblast, Komsomolskaya [street] 12) had died [crossed out] is very sick, malnourished, jobless, hungry. Vl[adimir].


Mikhail Ilovayskiy AKA Ilovaysky or Iloyaysky-Kaydanov or Kaydanov was “an old-time Anarchist who for some years prior to 1917 lived abroad, but returned to Russia in that year to participate in the Revolution.” (“The Guillotine at Work” p592, quoting “Bulletin of the Relief Fund”, November-December 1929) He had been central to the organisation of the Black Guard in Moscow. (The Guillotine at Work, p406) He was arrested in Moscow in 1929, then exiled in Orenburg and after that, sentenced to exile in Orel. According to http://militants-anarchistes.info/ he killed himself in Orel 1932 or 1933.

[Letter in Folder 50, Fl├ęchine (Senya Fleshin) papers, International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam.]

Translated by: - Szarapow.