Lost on the Crossroads of History
This is a story about the extraordinaire power of the negative thought forms that may create most dramatic family events through generations. Say, one such significant event happened in year 1918 near St. Petersburg when my grandmother was raped and murdered by Kronstadt navy. In two decades later, this fatal event echoed in destiny of Anna’s two sons, Victor and Erast, who perished faraway in a Siberian Gulag.
… Up to present days, speaking about Soviet mass deportations of average citizens to Gulags, Estonian call them “free trips to Siberia.” The Sirotin brothers, White Army officers, lived at that time in Estonia. And despite being Russians, they were taken tо this “free trip” on the very first day when Baltic states were occupied by The Red Army in 1940. The Stalin’s “falcons,” the spies trained to infiltrate life at West by all means, including homosexual relationships, probably, obtained the list of members in Tartu White Officers Club long before the annexation of Baltic States occurred.
In Siberia, they were sent to different Gulags, but brother’s managed to reunite only to be killed in the strangest accident thinkable. An unexperienced inmate, a Tadzhik national, who did not speak a word in Russian, and therefore, could not be instructed or stopped, started a root bulldozer and this behemoth moved both brothers who were resting nearby in high grass during their lunch break. Was this double death orchestrated by destiny, or a meaningless accident?
In 2015, about 75 years after their transition, Viktor and Erast, now in spirit, showed up in my California apartment asking for a healing and advice how to learn some English. Sensing that they were interested more in talking, we reduced healing to a shower of the golden light. In some 30 minutes the brothers reported experiencing lightness, and it meant that they were ready for a talk.
Affable Viktor asked some questions how such kind of healing works and recalled suddenly that once I asked about times, when Yudenich’s army was treacherously disarmed by Estonians, and the victorious general, according to the records of his successes in WWI battles, was arrested. “Moving toward Petrograd, we were sure of victory, but Trotsky emerged as devil out of the sniffing box, out from nowhere on our way. No one ever heard his name, and we were taken by surprise and secrecy. We were not ready to meet him. Later, we learned that Stalin murdered Trotsky somewhere abroad. Trotsky gave him a victory over the White Army under Petrograd, and claimed, as it should, the position of the leader of the nation. They called it a position of the First Secretary of their party, or some committee, I am not sure that I remember their political titles.
“Trotsky began to drive us back and we found ourselves again at Narva, the Estonian border town. A fast train covered the distance between Petrograd and Narva too soon to learn what had happened meanwhile in Estonia. When train stopped at Narva railway station, we were met by Estonians armed to the teeth. We took them for friends, and did not throw up our rifles, and instead of hugs, we were showered by bullets! Our losses were big, we had to fight embracing the enemy’s bayonets. Nevertheless, we killed and dispersed them despite the deception and betrayal. The wartime betrayal is a terrible thing.
“I cannot stand Estonians ever since, and as I heard, Estonians cannot stand us after Stalin’s betrayal, when “the father of all nations” ordered mass deportation of Estonians. to Gulags.”
The free trip to Siberia was granted to intelligentsia charged with cosmopolitism (what it is, really, who knows? I did not know what it is! — T.E.) and to farmers who were suspected in resistance to collectivization of the Estonian farming. In brief, Estonian farmers who did not want to join kolkhozes and give up their lands and horses and cows and lambs that they had taken good care of during centuries on stony shores of the Baltic Sea were doomed to deportation leaving behind whatever they had. The mass arrests were supposed to brake the nation people’s resistance. Arrested people were put in the the cattle wagons on very long trips in trains that crossed the flat part of the Russia, then entered the Asian part covered with Taiga thick forests, forests and forests that could swallow an uncountable number of prisoners and return home only very few ones. But in year 1918 Baltic people got a short break enjoying 20 years of independent existence. Victor and Erast happened to be the involuntary witnesses how this coveted independence was achieved.
“In independent Estonia, we lived in Tartu in poor conditions. Erast and I, we worked for Estonians in their construction business. We were trusted only with manual jobs, as your father was. We knew that he dug marsh near Paide for drying turf pellets. Our manual jobs did not turn us and Estonians into friends, and your father was not happy with his manual job either. They treated us like Americans treated their black slaves, it was all the same slavery everywhere. Estonians did not let us to fight Trotsky forces that would stop Bolsheviks, and Bolsheviks turned Communists paid them with mass deportation to Siberia. Such was the small tragedy that took place on the railroad between Narva and Petrograd in times, when the fate of small and large nations was decided!
I wanted you to know how it really was.”
“You ask, how did happen that the sons of a Russian priest attended the school of cadets, designed for nobility’s posterity to become officers. Our father was a soldier who became officer for his military merits. When we grow up to go to school, father wrote a letter to the Excellency Nikolai the Second, and we were accepted into the cadet’s school for our father’s military achievements, as he distinguished himself in the Caucasus. No one knows if his stories contained exaggerations or not. Maybe he spoke the truth after all, because if he would lie, no one would accept us as the cadets. You are right, in his soul, our father was a warrior, not a priest, a smart man who was left without any education whatsoever, so, growing up in monastery, the only thing he learned was to play a role of a priest and make it a source of his income. Warrior and priest can hardly become friends, and this conflict, I think, was the root of his alcoholism. He was a reveler and alcoholic and at the same time a lost clever man. We became Cadets, and after school, we were sent straight to the front line of WW I.”
“You also asked about our life in the Siberian labor camp. I tell you one thing. After my Estonian experience, for me and Erast, there were no difference between our Estonian life with being doomed to the manual jobs, similar to manual jobs in the Gulag! We understand that getting a better job in future, we have to learn English, but how?”
What could I tell them? Many and many generation of immigrants has proven that the most prolific way of learning a spoken language is casting himself or herself into the environment where no one speaks a single word of your mother tongue, and the miracle happens, the foreign language will open up to you, it will embrace you and, suddenly, you start understand it. Thinking about Victor’s story how Yudenich was betrayed, I found оn Internet an article “Nikolai Yudenich” written by a professional historians. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Yudenich
It contained the listing of Yudenich’s victorious battles on the WWI fronts, the base of his reputation as a distinguished war commander. The same article included the description of the disarmament of the North West Army and arrest of Yudenich by Estonians when was time to fight Bolshevik’s upheaval in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) This article confirmed the “ghost story” told by Viktor and Erast, the testimony of the participants of the Yudenich’s army last battle during the Russian Civil War. Estonians fought for their independence by all means, and it included the betrayal of Yudenich’s White North Western army. It helped considerably Trotsky to take the power from The Provisional Government and turning it to Bolsheviks.
Estonian independence, received in 1919 for switching sides, would last, as already mentioned, two decades and in year 1940, all three Baltic states would be annexed by Stalin, in other words, swallowed back into merciless and always hungry guts of the Stalinist Russia. Estonia independence will be restored as part of collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Wikipeda had also another article “North Western Army” about the same Russian Civil War episode written from the Estonian point of view. According to this article, the Estonian “switch of mind” from supporters of the White Army to supporters of the Trotsky came from the political views of Alexander Kolchak, the leader of Russia at a time. Kolchak refused to consider autonomy for ethnic minorities. In other words, Trotsky was more flexible than Kolchak, and he recognized the autonomy of ethnic minority that sought freedom from tsarist Russia considered to be the Imperial prison for multitude of nations all around the skirt of that giant country.
For explanation of the disarmament of the North Western Army at the most critical moment of the fight against Bolshevism, this article said only a couple of words: Yudenich’s army “was finally disbanded.” For more details, the academic authors of this article send readers to Trotsky’s archive, pointing at the real force that granted them their swift independence!
Soon we, Viktor and Erast met again, and I asked how it happened that the Sirotin’s family left their mother Anna behind, fleeing to Estonia when the Reds terrorized the Russian Church? Of course, no one could foresee the size and cruelty of Bolsheviks war against their own church. Probably father Mikhail wanted to shield his already elderly and fragile wife from dangers of the boat trip across the stormy lake Peipus to Estonia where no one was waiting them with open arms. Viktor told that at first, he did not get what was happening.
“Father said that we will return in three days and our mother will wait for us at home with the hot samovar, and we will have tea together, and mother will bring jam preserves from the storeroom… We believed him, we sailed in boat crossing Chudskoye or Peipus, in Estonian, the natural border between the Russia and Estonia. I was with the fisherman Vasya on the oars. I was already strong and agile, and by the today’s standards, I would fit to be a member of some hockey team. Thank God, today I’m not attracted to football or hockey, but to something else, like healing animals. I’ll try to find out what is wrong with your cat’s kidneys.”
“Thank you! I will be grateful! When did you realize that there was no return home, and your mother was left alone home, and she could be exposed to mortal danger.”
“I understood it soon. I can see when my father was telling a lie. I began to jerk him, asking when we go for our mother back to Russia? He did not answer, and then, suddenly, he shouted ‘Let it go, it’s not your business!’ I wanted to sail back alone. But I did not have the spirit to act, and I still cannot forgive myself for it.”
“How did you learn the truth?”
“As a member of the White Officers’ Club I visited it quite often. Over there, a person whispered in my ear the terrible truth and introduced me to his friend who had arrived from Russia shortly. We met in the same officers’ club, and he shared everything he knew — the names of many murdered people, including the names of our mother and the widow of neighboring priest’s, whom my mother was friends with, and whom she had visited the day, when they both were murdered.
“This officer who brought this terrible news took my word that I would not say anything to my sisters. I gave my word. I learned the whole truth from him, to the last details. And he said that everything is being recorded… and our tears will be avenged. Were they avenged? I knew what had happened to Kronstadt sailors and how they fled after their failed uprising. Estonians did not take in a single man of them. Finland did, they sent them to North to do timber, where these bastards were fed and paid for their work.
“Za upokoj dushi, a burial sermon “for soul’s peace” was ordered in a local Russian church in Estonia. I asked my father to cross the lake one more time and bury our mother according to our custom. But he doubted that we, or someone else would find her body in that mess? I think that at that time he was right. How would we find her there? We raised the cross in the cemetery near the place where we lived in Estonia. Of course, father was right, who would know where the rapist threw her body? People were shaking from terror.”
“All this horror was returning to me in my nightmares,” Victor continued. “I hated myself for obeying the fool and failing to go for my mother’s body alone. I did not have money, fishermen of the Old Believers in Estonia were the ones who crossed in boats that sometimes stormy Peipus, and, of course, they asked a pay for this two-way trip and I did not have any money at a time.
“We arrived as beggars, my father fled in terror. At home, in Russia, he has told us such wonderful tales of his courage, but when it got to the point, he turned to be a coward. Now I see that he is not a spiritual person, all his priesthood thing was a sham only!
“You know that in year 1940, the Reds arrested us immediately after their arrival to Estonia. They had to have the list of the members of the White Guard Club handy. Traitors were everywhere. Our Club’s charter recognized the Russian Tsar, the authority of his government, and everything that Reds fight to change. The Reds sent to Gulags all white officers to the last member of Tartu White Officers Club. The Reds had to have the membership list long before occupation of Estonia, they knew where to find us, they get us where Erast and I were painting a new apartment… The Reds get us at the very first hour of marching into Tartu in 1940. Instead of going home to change our working clothing, we were guided straight to the Tartu Railway station where a train was waiting us and our “free trip” to Siberia began.
“How you got in your psychic vision how we died?” – Viktor asked me. “You saw that we were laying in the tall grass to rest during our brief lunchtime. The sun was shining straight into the eyes of the motorist who was moving the bulldozer, sun was blindingly bright, and he did not see us.
“I even smelled that thick grass, but it can be my imagination.” – I added. “The grass was high, straight and very thick.”
“Yes, once, the grain seed bags were hidden there probably by farmers in the War Communism time, when all the wheat was appropriated by government in the name to “feed the hungry.” The seeds were sprouting every year making their way to the light. Finally, wheat grew wild and then it was overgrown with wood, and we sat there during the lunch breaks. On that fatal day we fell asleep and did not feel a thing.
“Only suddenly I woke up screaming, “Erast, Erast,” and his face was cold, and the next instant I was gone as well.
“We met later, already in disembodied state, in the astral bodies. We got used to the fact that sometimes you fly and swim and you can move around in space, and your thoughts, and imagination create things, happenings and situations. Talk to Erast, he does not know you, but he can tell a lot.”
Erast’s voice was softer and quieter. “This is true. In Gulags, we found each other and reunited as the saying goes, only to die together! But in astral world, we began to look for each other, because, at first, it was very lonely here. You do not understand at once what is going on and, like on earth, maybe more openly, some strangers try to take advantage of your hesitations. Good that we were immediately dragged to the Palace of Justice, and as you did, they questioned me about life in Gulag. They asked humorously, whether we liked that life and laughed… Yes, I forgot to say that I found Viktor, and they let us through the judges on the same day.
“The judgement court passed quickly, because what demands they could make on us? We judged ourselves for leaving our mother in Russia alone to meet her terrible destiny. Was the unwilling murderer an Uzbek or Georgian, or some other national? At a time, we did not distinguish them, we had never heard about, say, Tajikistan. But there we were, all in the same Siberian camp, created by Bolsheviks and their brainchild, the Communist Party, and Felix Dzerzhinsky, the executioner of the Red Terror, the red hell to us all. Here, on the Astral Plane, on the contrary, we learned that each nation has its own “heaven,” in other words, here we have right to be different from others.
“As you also asked about our life in the Siberian labor camp, I would like to confirm that after our Estonian experience of manual jobs, we were well prepared to face Taiga logging operations. But it was not logging that killed us in Gulag, it was our consciousness regarding our mother’s destiny. It was our painful sense of guilt that did us in.
“Finally, we met our mother in our Russian heaven. We kind of made up, but I know she did not forgive neither me, nor Viktor. I know, we’ll still ask for her forgiveness, because we loved her very much. I know, she will forgive us, because we purged our souls to the extent that we went through the same thing, we died the same way, as she did being raped and murdered by Kronstadt matrosnya — navy! It had bonded us, maybe for eons!”