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I did not then know what an irreparable loss this was. There is one compensation: my resolve to tell his story unvarished might not have survived a friendship with him. Even his closest friends admit that he gave little away. ”2 He lived and died a conspirator, whose real gift eluded the literati who recorded his failures. One can fail to be a “Great Man’’ but still be a great human being. To many, Alexander Kerensky was an irresistibly lovable person. Those who accepted their affection for him could never escape the web of loyalty he wove.

Boris Pasternak. Bent over the map, unsleeping, There stoops a man. A Bonaparte breath goes sweeping Across my land. For someone the thunder rages: —come, bridegroom, come! Hot hurricane, young dictator, He tears along. —Marina Tsvetaeva, trans. * *Reprinted with permission of Ardis Publishers from The Demesne of the Swans/Lebedinnyi stan, Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1980. 1 The name is a hybrid, a Russified form of the old Mordva name of the river Vad, which passes through it. When Ivan the Terrible conquered the Islamic Khan of Kazan in 1552, he acquired his pagan Mordva subjects.

Of course both men wanted to assimilate the natives to Russian culture, but they differed over the means. Ostroumov could see little virtue in progressive language-teaching methods, while Kerensky found Ostroumov too ready to ride roughshod over local sensibilities. These differences were sharpened in 1898, when a local mullah declared a jihad against the Russians. It was soon suppressed and six of its leaders hanged, but the Governor-General, Baron Vrevsky, was accused of laxity and removed. Ostroumov now argued for Russian control of the Muslim schools attached to the Islamic medresas, while Kerensky's attempts at a more flexible and tolerant approach ran into greater official disapproval.

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