Дмитро Лизогуб

Lyzogub Dmytro Andriyovych


Lyzogub Dmytro Andriyovych. Nicknamed “Dmytro”. He was born ca. 1845 р. .

He graduated from St. Petersburg State University, but did not complete his course. In early 1877, he joined the Land and Liberty company and gave it his entire fortune, estimated at 150 thousand rubles, placing it under the control of his comrades in the spring of 1878. In September 1878 he was arrested in Odesa in the case of S. F. Chubarov. On July 25-August 5, 1879, he was sentenced to death by the Odesa Military District Court. He was hanged on August 10, 1879.

“Narodnaya Volya, No. 5, 1881:

“When someone comes to me

and shall not hate his father,

and mothers and wives and children,

and brothers and sisters, and even his very life,

He cannot be my student.”

Luke, XIV, 26.

Let’s use the power of imagination to conjure up the image of the man whose life we will be reading about in this essay. Let Dmitry Andreevich Lyzogub stand before us as if he were alive at the time when we will remember him.

Imagine a tall, somewhat stooped and thin blond man, with large gray eyes, bulging, with a beard, wearing a jacket, vest and trousers of thick peasant cloth. His expression is stern and serious, and a superficial observer might say that he is a dry, unsympathetic person; but we will look more closely at this man and find in him both great passion and a kind soul.

In his eyes there is no fire that reveals a passionate, hot nature; in them burns, like the light of the winter sun, the fire of the main public passion; he does not warm the surrounding and does not draw women’s hearts to him. The man who burns with this fire has no personal feelings and is not given to them: he has only one infinitely beloved deity-the people-and his whole life is devoted to the service of this god.

The tall blond man standing before us is the living embodiment of social passion, an ascetic socialist who has denied himself for the sake of his idea, completely absorbed in it.

This austere ascetic had a soul of gold. It soon made one forget the first impression of his unsociable, concentrated character and clumsy manners and aroused sympathy in everyone who got to know Lizogub. People with callous hearts are not given the love of their comrades, but he was loved: he had a sociable heart, was always ready to do a favor, to help a friend, and, when he had no money, sold his belongings for his comrades.

Lickspittle was terribly gullible, and he was sometimes exploited for this reason. When he learned of Drigo’s betrayal, he did not believe it; his honest nature did not allow his friend to turn into a Judas.

His friendships were not necessarily conditioned by the same beliefs and association in some enterprise, but he felt a special affection for one of his friends and loved him not only as a business associate.

Lysogub loved no woman, and no woman loved him. Such a fact may not always be an indication of heart dryness, but in this case it only vividly depicts the integral nature of Lysogub, who was undividedly devoted to one passion of the highest order.

A man who was mathematically consistent in his beliefs and actions, he looked at women’s love as a serious obstacle on the road he was walking.

Lyzogub’s sympathy was not obvious; his first impression was rather negative, but as we got closer to him, his sympathy was expressed more and more clearly. It is not for nothing that a person who knew him well, giving me materials to characterize his mental side, said: “It seems to me that no matter how many good things one says about Dmitry, one cannot imagine this straightforward, kind and bright personality as he really was.”

Dmytro Andriyovych Lyzohub’s father, born in 1850, was a liberal grandfather from Chernihiv; he completed a course at the University of Geneva and was a member of the provincial committee for the liberation of the peasants; Dmytro spoke of his mother as a good woman. The parents did not particularly care about the upbringing of their children (three sons and a daughter); it was left to a French tutor, a hotheaded man who was not above beating children. Once he slapped Dmytro, but, to his extreme surprise, he received the same response, after which he stopped hitting the boy. Dmytro’s childhood was spent in the villages of Lysche and Sedniv, Chernihiv district.

Cold to the ritualistic side of religion, the boy admired the evangelical ideas of equality and brotherhood and dreamed of being a missionary. He imagined the difficulties of this feat, the deprivations, the dangers; he would have to give up the comforts of a life of lordship, perhaps experience what hunger is; the pagans would not understand him at first, but he would not be discouraged by the first failures, would not lose heart, and the preaching of love would soften their stony hearts: and not only indifference and misunderstanding would meet him. A crowd of beast-like savages with predatory eyes responded to his words of love for his neighbor with angry shouts; a stone flew at him from this crowd, another, a third, a whole rain of stones… he fell like the first martyr Stephen; blood flowed down his face. A crowd of savages pounced on him, he was tortured, roasted alive on a fire and eaten with a shout of celebration. He will die, if it is so fated; fear of death will not make him give up his missionary work. This is how Lyzohub dreamed of his future as a child. His father’s illness forced the family to move to France, to Montpellier. Dmytro was then 11 years old. He was educated at the college in Montpellier and completed his course.

After his father’s death, Dmytro and his mother returned to Russia, where his mother died shortly afterward. In Yekaterinoslav, he passed the final exam of his high school course and in 1870 entered St. Petersburg University.

His upbringing in France, outside of those conditions that develop slave instincts in a Russian person that do not get eradicated for a long time, was the reason why Lizogub’s nature lacked a characteristic feature of Russian people: involuntary trepidation before his superiors. When speaking to the authorities, a Russian person involuntarily gives a special intonation to his voice, adopts a respectful posture and gaze. These reflexes of emotional stretching to the front were familiar to Lyzogub: he had no inner slave in him, as Russian people do, and he behaved with his superiors as calmly and with dignity as with anyone else.

His upbringing did not develop in Lyzogub a desire for a career. Having connections with various “persons,” he could have “gone far,” up the judicial ladder, if only he had entered a career law school; but Lyzogub, going to university, thought only of science and chose the Faculty of Mathematics. The choice to study such a precise science as mathematics characterizes Lyzohub’s mind. He had a true mathematical logic in everything. In the matter of logical conclusions, personal likes and dislikes did not matter to him. When discussing something, he only cared that the premises were not fantastic, but stemmed from facts, that dialectics and paradoxes did not obscure the substance of the matter. As soon as he recognized that the premises were established correctly, the conclusion that followed from them became a law for him, to which he immediately subordinated not only his thought but also his actions. Just as a mathematician would not regretfully renounce the belief that two times two is four if it were scientifically proven to him that two times two is five, so Lysogub renounced all beliefs, all convictions, if logical conclusion proved them wrong.

Thus, at the time when Lyzohub entered the university, he had only a thirst for knowledge, a desire to develop scientific thinking. He was still at the mercy of his bourgeois habits: he occupied a nice apartment, had a footman and a cook.

The degree of her mental development at that time can be judged by the following fact.

Lysogub was looking for a teacher for his brother, with whom he lived at the time. A suitable teacher was found, but Lysogub did not get along with him because he wanted to exclude the law of God from teaching, calling it harmful ballast for the child’s brain. Lysogub accepted another teacher only after obtaining his consent to teach the law of God.

But soon, inexorable logic shattered his mystical fantasies, and like any intelligent and scientifically minded person, Lysogub became an atheist.

Abstract science did not attract Lyzohub for long. Life pulled him to its side, to the sphere of national need. The thought of the people, of this collective sufferer, could not but touch the student of mathematics, and from this thought of the people came thoughts about how to help the people, how to apply his strength to this cause.

And so, after the first year of his studies, Lyzogub left the mathematics department and transferred to the law department, where he studied political economy, which was supposed to answer the questions that had been plaguing the young man.

But what an answer it was! Professor Gorlov praised the existing economic relations: everything is fine in the sphere of labor and capital; the poor have no reason to complain about the existence of economic inequality, because who would they work for if there were no rich people.

It is clear that such lectures by a learned servant of the capitalists could not satisfy Lyzohub. He began to study the literature of the old socialists: Fourier, Saint-Simon, Owen, Louis Blanc, and others. The picture of the situation of the working class in Russia that unfolded before him after reading Flerovsky’s famous book impressed him. But his mind demanded an independent verification of whether the situation of the working class was as hopeless as Flerovsky had portrayed it. In order to verify this, Lyzogub traveled to villages, mainly in the Volga provinces and Little Russia, during vacations. The result of his observations was the conclusion that if inaccuracies could be found in Flerovsky’s statistics, then, in general, the picture painted by the author was quite true.

Under the influence of reading, student talks, where Lyzohub listened more than spoke, and personal familiarization with people’s needs, Lyzohub became a socialist, and the task of his life was strictly defined: to give all his material means and himself to the cause of liberating the people from the serfdom of capital.

Lyzogub’s conversion to socialism was not a sudden illumination that a meeting with a socialist and his fiery speech produces in impressionable people. It was also not the impulse of a good soul who, impressed by the picture of national disasters, is ready to seize without hesitation the first means of doing good. The good heart only pointed out Lysogub’s duty to come to the aid of the dark people with the light of an enlightened mind. It made him think about the questions: How to do it? What is the root of evil? What are the appropriate means for its destruction?

And so, as a result of studying everything that has been invented so far by the best people who have worked on the same issues, critically evaluating the means they proposed, and in the form of historical experiments that showed the inapplicability of various kinds of humane and liberal palliatives, Lyzogub came to the conviction that only socialism is the solution to the issue in essence.

It was not admiration but logic that made Lyzogub a socialist. Through rigorous thinking, he became convinced that if all roads led to Rome, only one led to the national good: through the corpse of the people’s enemy, the monster capital.

And once Lyzogub came to this conclusion, it became a law for him, according to which his whole life had to be changed. The old landlord’s notions of property disappeared, and the Prudential definition of property became an axiom for the Negro.

Lyzogub’s pure nature did not allow for any compromises. He abandoned all his landlordly habits without regret, rented a room on the St. Petersburg side, first with a friend for eight rubles a month, and then lived alone and paid five rubles for the room. Anyone can get an accurate idea of the qualities of this apartment without a description of it. The annual budget of this landlord, who received up to 4 thousand rubles of income, was limited to 150 rubles. Lunch consisted of 4 eggs and tea. Lysogub did not drink or smoke at all. He loved music, but he gave up piano lessons as an unnecessary expense and a bar pleasure. He did not think about clothes at all, as, in general, people do when they are on the occasion of some serious business. Lysogub considered attention to costume, sophistication in it (of course, if it was not caused by the need to carry out some enterprise) to be a bad recommendation for a socialist.

By the way, there is an incident to tell here. During his stay in England, Lysogub and his friend attended a labor rally on a holiday. The workers showed up in dapper suits and yellow gloves.

– “We’re more likely to have a revolution in Russia than here…” Lyzogub jokingly told his friend.

– Why?

– Where should these French think about revolution! They will endure for a long time… they will feel sorry for their gloves…”

С. M. Kravchinsky:

“He was blond, tall, pale and somewhat thin. His long beard gave him the appearance of an apostle. His face was not beautiful in the strict sense, but it is difficult to imagine anything more pleasant than the expression of his kind blue eyes, lined with long eyelashes, and his gentle childlike smile. His smooth, long voice caressed the ear, like the low, pretty notes of a song, and penetrated the very soul.

He was very poorly dressed. Although it was a real Russian winter, he was wearing a canvas jacket with large wooden buttons, which had already turned into a rag from frequent washing. A worn black vest covered his chest up to his neck; and whenever he rose to say a few words, one could see that his pantaloons were unseasonably light.

When the audience began to disperse at the end of the meeting, leaving in groups of three or four, out of caution, as is always done in Russia on such occasions, my friend and I had to leave at the same time as our stranger. Here I saw that his entire outer suit consisted of a light coat, an old red scarf, and a leather cap. He did not even wear a plaid, which is so common among nihilists, despite the fact that the temperature that evening reached twenty degrees. After saying goodbye to my friend, with whom he was apparently a little familiar, he quickly left, almost ran down the street to warm up a bit by walking briskly. After a few moments, he disappeared from view.

– Who is this guy?” I asked my companion.

– Dmytro Lyzogub,” was the answer.

– Lickspittle? Chernihiv?

– Yes, Chernihiv.

Involuntarily, I looked again in the direction in which the man had disappeared.

Dmitry Lyzogub was a millionaire, the owner of a huge estate consisting of a manor house, lands, and forests in one of the best provinces of Russia. Despite this, he lived poorer than the last of his servants because he gave everything he had to the revolution.”

“Narodnaya Volya, No. 5, 1881:

“Lysogub was constantly looking to reduce his expenses. When traveling on business, he always took seats in 3rd class and on deck. When he moved to England, he had to get wet from the waves and rain on the deck and dry off by the steamer.

Having become a socialist, Lyzohub naturally focused on peaceful propaganda when defining his activities.

Nothing can be done without the power of the people; therefore, it is necessary to organize this power, and for this, first of all, it is necessary that socialist ideas penetrate the masses of the people and are assimilated by them.

This is how every new convert to socialism thinks, if he is in the heat of enthusiasm and does not forget the axiom that no ideas can be realized, no change in the existing system, until they become the property of the majority.

For the purpose of the above-mentioned peaceful propaganda, a youth circle was formed in 1873 in St. Petersburg, in which Lyzohub was one of the leaders. It was decided to practically study the ground on which to act: to get to know the people, to determine the degree of their receptivity to socialist ideas in different areas, more practical methods of propaganda, etc. It was suggested that such a study of the people should be done through propaganda itself, for which purpose it was decided to divide into groups and travel to villages, and to discuss the results obtained at fairs.

The library in the central city of the propaganda district was supposed to provide theoretical study of its task, familiarization with the literature of socialism. Dmitriy Andreyevich arranged for this library.

In 1874, the group dispersed to the villages. Lysogub did not pay the lecture fees and was expelled from the university-he did not need a diploma and a law degree.

He was instructed to go abroad with a friend to establish a connection between Russian socialist circles and foreign ones, mostly Serbian. Lyzogub spent about 8 months abroad; he lived in Paris, Lyon, London, and Serbia during this time, and after returning to Russia, he settled in the village of Lischeve, from where he made trips.

The group’s peaceful propaganda was short-lived. Trudnytsky’s denunciation led to numerous arrests. Lyzogub’s house was searched in the village, and although nothing suspicious was found, Dmytro was placed under police surveillance. The destruction of the circle, the harshness of court sentences for peaceful rabble-rousing, and the increasingly developed system of persecution of socialists all led to a change in Lyzohub’s views on the way to act.

The theorist, who focused on the peaceful activities of propaganda, had to face the question posed by life as to whether this method was possible under the existing Russian order. And the reality answered that in a state where unlimited monarchism overflows into despotism, where there is no freedom of person, conscience, and speech, propaganda of anything but slave ideas is unthinkable. Two or three propagandists, under exceptionally favorable conditions, might have been lucky, but their success was a drop in the bucket, and such microscopic results could not, of course, satisfy a socialist as passionately committed to the cause as Lysogub. Those who wanted to stay with the program of peaceful propaganda had to stay idle and wait by the sea for the weather, but only Russian liberals are capable of doing nothing if their favorite method of legal action is prohibited.

The unification government itself declared war on the socialists, just as it had declared war on society as a whole. Society preferred to give up the struggle and tolerate whatever was most superiorly behaved, and the socialists accepted the challenge.

Lyzogub’s strictly logical mind could not but recognize that the theory of peaceful propaganda in Russia was inapplicable to reality; that socialists had to win the possibility of any activity among the people first and foremost. Indeed, one would have to be an extreme idealist and a weak thinker not to see the logical necessity of uniting all factions of Russian socialists into one party of active struggle against the government. The logic of events led Lyzogub to believe that war with the government had become inevitable for Russian socialists, that without the destruction of this Plevna, it was impossible to move towards the ultimate goal. And as a person who never backed down from logical conclusions, he became a terrorist. Guerrilla warfare replaced peaceful propaganda. He had to rescue his comrades, and the tasks of releasing people from prisons, destroying the world’s most vile vermin – spies, etc. appeared. With Lyzohub’s active participation, the organization of central and local circles with a terrorist focus began; the idea of a local party office in Odesa emerged; it was necessary to think about the formation of a day fund. Dmytro Andriyovych began to realize his capital, which consisted of estates in Chernihiv and Poltava provinces, but to sell them in the usual way would mean taking a risk and failing to achieve the goal: he was being watched. He had to come up with various combinations, and he managed to get and deposit only about 50,000 roubles into the central circle. Given his residence in the village, Dmytro traveled incognito to St. Petersburg and other cities on business. During one of these trips, he was arrested in Kharkiv, but 5 rubles given to the police officer returned him to freedom. After Kovalskyi, that is, in the late summer of 1878, Dmytro came to Odesa, where he was taken to Duryana’s beer house on Khersonska Street, along with Popko and Koltanovskyi. He was imprisoned for about a year. On July 25, 1879, the trial of the 28 began in the Odesa Military District Court. Lysogub refused to defend himself, explaining that the indictment contained no incriminating facts. “The system of accusation,” he said in his last speech, “puts me in the position of having to fight assumptions, and in this state of affairs you will involuntarily lay down your arms and say that the defense is unthinkable.

Lyzogub’s accusation was so groundless that not only a jury but also a former formal court would have found it unproven. But that’s why military courts exist: to execute people who are harmful to the government under the guise of justice. These courts do not need evidence, they only need an order from their superiors. The conscience of these judges is bought for a salary, and if they talk about honor, it is only about the honor of the uniform of a king’s servant, not the honor of a person.

On August 5, Lyzohub, Chubarov, Davydenko, Wittenberg and Logovenko were sentenced to death by hanging.

Even the Odesa prosecutor’s office was outraged by the verdict against Dmytro Andriyovych; it is said that the prosecutor of the judicial chamber, Yevreinov, petitioned for the death penalty to be revoked, but Totleben approved the proposed sentence, and the execution was scheduled for August 10 at the Race Course. The author of the summary of the executions published in the Odesa City Administration’s Gazette added “near the slaughterhouse.” Kholop probably hoped to receive a reward for these two words.

The morning of August 10 was clear. Behind the carre of troops surrounding the scaffold was a mass of people; in front of the people were carriages of Odesa’s rich, and ladies with binoculars and lornets sat on goats. Soulless females came as if to a circus, to a performance.

Stupid indifference and curiosity prevailed in the crowd. Rarely did a kindly soul’s remarks come out, a person at the sight of the gallows. Spies were scurrying everywhere, and the mass of the slaughtered people did not dare to express human feelings. Only animal instincts could express themselves without fear. A cart appeared on the road; Lyzogub, Davydenko, and Chubarov were sitting on it. As they drove into the parted front of the carriage, Dmitry Andreevich looked at the gallows, then at the crowd, smiled, and said something to Davydenko.

The drums were thundering, and one could not hear his words. But this smile in the face of death was the smile of a man with a strong soul, who realized that a dear cause would not die with his death. Perhaps he was encouraging his comrade with this thought.

The drumbeat subsided to fulfill the inhuman formality of Asian justice: death is delayed by 2-3 minutes, incredibly painful minutes, minutes of reading the sentence already known to both the convicted and the crowd, waiting for a terrible spectacle.

The guns rang and the drums began to beat again, and a priest approached, but Dmitry Andreevich refused to kiss the cross offered by the priest, a royal servant who dared to speak of God’s love and mercy at such a moment.

Behind the white hood, the brightly shining sky and the field covered with slaves disappeared.

Indescribably horrible minutes passed while waiting for the moment of death of a young healthy body. Dmytro Andriyovych stood waiting for his turn…

He could feel, or perhaps even see through the fabric of his hood, how his comrades were being killed, and he could not rush to their aid.

The executioner awkwardly put the noose around his neck… a few more seconds passed while he adjusted it, and the crowd heard the impatience of a humanoid animal: “Hurry up and dance…” “Shut up, they’re not hanging a dog…” someone replied.

And suddenly the light that penetrated through the shroud faded in Dmitry Andreevich’s kind eyes… the eternal night of nothingness enveloped him. And the sun was still pouring streams of rays on the mass of unfortunate people, who did not know what they were doing, allowing the death of their selfless friends.”

С. M. Kravchinsky:

“It would not be enough to call Lyzogub the purest person I have ever met. I can safely say that there was not and could not be a person in the entire party equal to him in terms of absolutely perfect moral beauty.

Renouncing his huge fortune in favor of the cause was far from the highest manifestation of his asceticism. Many revolutionaries gave their property to the cause, but there was no other Dmytro Lyzohub among them. Under his appearance, calm and clear as a cloudless sky, he hid a soul full of fire and enthusiasm. For him, his beliefs were a religion to which he devoted not only his entire life, but, much more importantly, his every thought: he thought of nothing but serving the cause. He had no family. He had never experienced love for a woman in his life. His frugality went so far that his friends had to take care that he did not get sick from excessive losses. He answered all their remarks on this matter as usual, as if anticipating his untimely death: “I don’t have long to live anyway.”

And he was right.

His determination not to spend a penny of money that could be useful for the cause went so far as to never allow himself to be ridden by a horse, let alone a carriage. I remember once when he showed us two items that were part of his ceremonial suit-a folding top hat and gloves. He bought them during the war, when, due to his position, he had to pay a visit to the governor of Chernihiv or someone like that. The gloves were a delicate ash color and appeared to be brand new. He told us, however, that he had had them for three years, and, smiling, explained a little trick he had resorted to to keep them in that condition: he put them on only at the threshold of reception rooms or offices where he had to go occasionally. As for the cylinder, the situation was more complicated, since the spring had broken a year ago, and he could not get around to having it repaired, each time he found that the forty he needed for this could be used more productively. However, to maintain his dignity, he always entered the living room with this very hat under his arm, while in his pocket was the unchanged leather cap he wore summer and winter. When he went outside at the end of a visit, he would usually take a few steps with his head uncovered, smoothing his hair for appearance, and then, after retreating some distance, take his notorious leather cap out of his pocket.

Merciless towards himself, like a harsh judge who does not want to hear any explanations and sees nothing but the bare fact of a crime, he looked at his truly selfless inaction as something shameful. And this man who, at the cost of such a huge sacrifice, supported almost the entire Russian revolutionary movement for a year and a half; a man whose moral virtues inspired boundless respect from everyone who knew him; a man whose mere presence in the ranks of the party increased its strength and authority-this man looked at himself as the last of the last.

Hence the deep sadness that never left him and was reflected in his every word, despite the light, joking tone he had learned to hide it.

And he patiently carried his sometimes unbearably heavy cross all his life, with sad resignation to fate.

This man was deeply unhappy.

Those who saw him during his transfer from prison to the scaffold say that not only was he calm and steady all the way, but even a gentle smile played on his face as he addressed his friends with words of encouragement. At last his burning desire to sacrifice himself for the cause of the revolution was being fulfilled. Perhaps it was the happiest moment in his difficult life.

In our party, Stefanovych was an organizer; Clements was a thinker; Osynsky was a warrior; Kropotkin was an agitator; and Dmytro Lyzohub was a saint.”