December 18th, 1944
Every day I dream of my friends Sasha and Kalya. How I miss them. I received many letters from the girls (from Karshinov, Borovik, Rumyantsev). All send their love to me. One named Vanyushenke wrote a good letter from the heart. Nice guy, Staff Sergeant. Got one from the girls I studied with, congratulating me on my success.
Kali, Roza, and Sasha
Just got out of the cinema seeing the film “Lermontov.”1 What a great effect it had on me. The character of Lermontov is me. I decided to follow his example and do as I like. It is not necessary to have someone else. His silhouette on the iron bridge, that image will remain with me; I also want to be somewhere first. Now, I can not convince anyone, and it may be bad, but I can also solve the problem in a minute, for I don’t want his life, but just to exist. So, let’s give a light, not only to some, but to many. Oh, how I like the character Lermontov.
December 19th, 1944
In the army rest home. Yes, I want something, not to distinguish myself, but to meet their expectations; it torments me. I’m always stuck in the same mood. Drove in a Jeep – well, rode, a Major did some driving. The driver, it turns out, lived near me in Arkhangelsk. He promised to give me a sniper badge, which he was given by mistake. He’s a tanker.
Here, my portrait from the magazine “Frontline Humor” on November 7th, 1944. Oh, God, so dull. Settling in OK. Now will read the book Sister Carrie.2
The picture used in “Frontline Humor”
1 Watch it on YouTube. Lermontov was a 19th century Russian Romantic poet and artist.
2 Available on Project Gutenberg. By Theodore Dreiser. Not well remembered these days, but used to be very popular in the US. His books were often critical of American society, and he was a member of the Communist Party. This made him extremely popular in the Soviet Union, and I’d wager he is currently more widely read in Russia than the US.