|…Once upon a time there was a town
where a lot of various people lived. Some of them, who were rich and powerful,
lived in luxurious and splendid palaces, while some others were rather poor
and were cooped up in small old, ramshackle houses or basements. Anyway,
they lived somehow in this town.
And there were some people there who declared that
it was too bad and improper to see such wealth and such poverty at
once in one place – so they decided that a town with such "extra
happiness" for some people and distress for others had to be completely
destroyed, especially its ample and costly palaces and temples – in order
to build only one new
beautiful giant, imposingand, majestic building instead of the whole old
and diverse town. They decided to make all
the people happy.
It was their
And the great construction was begun. The people worked hard day and night for their future building, living in tents or miserable houses and suffering much trouble. But they wanted to work. They considered themselves the happiest people in the whole world because they could build a future for the next generations. Their building was rising higher and higher. They worked very hard but sang songs when working. They tried to make their life gayer – they even managed a club in a temple with many slogans about their future on the walls instead of its olden frescos, and they also built a playground with seesaw and swings for their children on the site of an old cemetery. They denied old art and literature. They wrote new poems and painted their new pictures and were full of faith in their rightness. They abolished all old traditional holidays and celebrated their own ones. They were convinced that throughout its entire history mankind dreamed to build such a building. And they were really happy despite their many troubles! They believe that some day the all mankind would be as happy as they were.
But meanwhile their newspapers wrote alarmingly
that there were many enemies in the world around
But the great work continued. Many a small and big victories were won on the glorious way as well as many an initiative and enthusiastic beginning was displayed through many labors. Many a new poem about their future and present happiness were written. People glorified their leaders’ wisdom and prophecies, and carried their huge portraits in their hands in celebrations, demonstrations and parades, and the leaders looked at the laughing people down from their rostrom and smiled paternally and waved their hands; and they all were happy. They believed sincerely they wrote their new history with their own hands and it seemed to them that the great building would be finished very soon.
But a big war began suddenly. Many people were
called to the army to defend the town and never returned home from the
fields of that terrible war. The women, elders and children suffered cruelly
again but all people were sure of the future victory. They all worked
hard again to make it closer. Bombs or fires destroyed many parts of the
building; there was dark and cold inside, but the people tried to help
each other with their last food, and comforted, each other and brought
up their children together. And the defenders not only stood up for their
native town but also protected many other towns and countries from the
…After the great leader’s death, there was another one whose politics was different. He did not seem to be as great as the dead one. His appearance was even a little comical – he was bald and fat. But he was a leader anyway. He proclaimed that the happy future they worked for for so many years was very close by that time and the next generation would surely live in it, and that the town had to be the best place in the world and would always win a victory over all its enemies and could use its weapons to frighten them; and he brandished his...boot and banged it on the tribune at an important international meeting. But even though he was such a comical person he not only released many innocent people from prisons and exile, but he was the first one who told the others about their innocence as well as about the previous leader and his circle’s crimes against other people.
But some strange things continued to occur in that strange house. Suddenly, that leader was replaced by the next one – with a solid (and not comical at first) figure, thick hair and thick eyebrows. He governed for almost twenty years until he died "on duty" after he came more and more to look like a farce. He liked to be spoken of as of victorious and triumphant; he liked honor, admiration, worship and honorary titles, as well as being decorated with many orders. He liked to meet with other places’ leaders with friendly hugs and warm kisses and to see his huge portraits in the streets and roads as well as many slogans about the same happy future. He even wrote three very small books of memoirs that some famous writers proclaimed as works of genius to flatter him. Year by year he became more and more ridiculous and laughable. His speeches, whose texts students had to study at school or institutes, were more and more mumbled by him, and there were a lot of anecdotes about such a person that people told to each other in small kitchens of the huge house. But the newspapers went on writing that he was a great peacemaker for the entire world, and he waved his hand at the parades as many of his predecessors did. And after one of the parades that took place on a cold November day, he became sick and died very soon, and the entire town mourned under flags with black lace and didn’t know who would be the next one to govern the huge building.
The next two governors died just swiftly after they were assigned, and it was difficult to tell anything about them but that they were both sick and one of them was also very old and for sure represented perfectly nothing as a political leader.
The most interesting changes began in this strange building after the assignment of a new governor who was neither old nor sick like his predecessors. All those people who saw much untruthfulness in politics but had to accommodate themselves to the life in their strange building in order to save themselves from prison or lunatic asylum, could feel relief and some hope that it would be possible to change their future life. After many years of untruthful, flattering and glorifying articles in newspapers and magazines, freedom of speech and meetings were proclaimed and the people could learn a lot of secret and terrible mysteries about the building where they went on livlng. They were able to learn that there was so much blood and deaths of thousands people under its foundation, and that so many innocent victims had been killed "for the future happiness of mankind". They learned about their real history with so many betrayals and crimes around the leader (and with his great role), whom their parents had loved with their whole hearts and who was the "best friend of children" as well as the best, the best, the best one in all respects. There were found so many unknown rooms and mysterious hiding-places in that building, with secret documents and files, as well as ashes of other secret documents that were burned and destroyed in order to hide information of thousands of terrible crimes against people of the building. There were many victims whose corpses were just secretly buried in the woods around the town but nobody counted the hearts that were broken and lives that were cut short. There were many people who had to die from famine, while other people glorified the government, and it was the government’s usual politics. It was a real genocide that was unknown for many people for many years.
But how about the building itself?
Then, with their eyes wide opened, people looked
at it carefully. They saw a huge, ill-proportioned, grotesque strange
construction with a great amount of giant leaders’ sculptures on the roof
and around the house that stood on a dirty dull field with garbage and
broken things on it. Its walls were dusty and pale-grayish, cracked and
with paint peeled off; the slogans looked shabby and crooked, and the
giant sculptures on the roof were really dangerous because they seemed
to be going to fall down on the people’s heads. The people realized that
it was impossible and even shameful to live in such an awful house any
more and they decided to re-build it to something more good-looking
and comfortable for living. And they decided to call this process PERESTROYKA
(that means re-construction, re-building). But even though many of them
were full of enthusiasm, sincere willing and hope to do it as well as
possible, nobody knew how to do it properly. They tried hard, but each
of them did what he himself thought to do best and first, so their
attempts didn’t bring any good results. Moreover, the wall cracks became
wider and deeper and whole pieces of the walls were going to fall down.
It became very dangerous to live in the house. At the same time it appeared
that the building couldn’t be re-constructed and had to be built a-new.
But there were neither materials nor place nor time for such work, so
they tried to use all they had there. Each tried to grab as much as he
could to built his own small place to live in. Some people succeeded in
that and were able to build something rather ugly but looked like a shelter,
while the others, especially the elders, were not as quick and were left
under the open sky without any roof above. After that the house looked
even more strange and terrible than before, with its empty windows, and
broken doors, and without even its walls somewhere. It reminded some fantastic
nightmare and it seemed to be ready to collapse any moment and to bury
its tenants under its wreckage.
And even now it’s just difficult to know what could be done with such a construction. It’s surely very huge and awful and, no doubt, dangerous. But there is no faith for the happy future of that house in the people’s hearts any more and , for sure, that is the most serious problem with that building.
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