Ghezzi’s commune in Yalta

Pierre Pascale introduces the house in Yalta:

“In Yalta down in the Crimea there was a house with a pretty extensive garden, abandoned since the revolution and some Italian comrades who had escaped from fascism and who at the time were still hanging around Moscow were to move in there. Nicolas [Lazarévitch] and I were the only occupants of the place in the summer of 1922.”

The house had been abandoned by the previous owner, a Bulgarian.

“In the spring of 1924 he [Nicolas] did what most miners do, went back to the land. In his case, the commune in Yalta.”

The commune lay some distance outside the city and from the sea, out towards the Utchan-Sou (in Tatar this means “leaping waters”) hills and waterfalls. It was made up of one once elegant house now reduced to basics and with room for ten or twelve people. There was a pond fed by a mountain stream from which the garden could be watered. Ghezzi and Tito Scarselli were in charge of the place and the garden. Lena and her mother Anna Aranovna were house guests on a semi-permanent basis. Others would visit for shorter periods, a few weeks’ holiday. 

“Also there, together, once or for a number of times, there was Boris Souvarine from the Comintern Executive Committee; Yvon Guiheneuf, a Breton syndicalist who had settled in Russia and who was to pen a series of articles on the life of the soviet worker, issued as a book; the learned ex-Bolshevik Bazarov [aka Rudniev, economist and philosopher and translator of Das Kapital, a former collaborator with Gorky]; a decent collaborator of the Cheka, Milgram [who belonged to the Workers’ Opposition and was killed during the purges]; a young intellectual, all poetry and freedom, Sobolov; an absolutely apolitical secretary from the Comintern, Evgenia Russakova [future wife of Pierre Pascale]; myself [Pierre Pascale] and some others, plus, somewhat later on Pierre Lazarévitch [Nicolas’s brother].”

Another visitor was “Digott, formerly a leading Comintern agent in Italy and France.”

Despite a rota arrangement virtually all of the household chores fell to Anna Aranovna (a well-educated elderly Menshevik).

From Pages d’amitie 1921-1928 by Pierre Pascale (essentially a biography of Nicolas Lazarevitch)

Translated by: Paul Sharkey.