The outbreak of the October Revolution and the post-war growth
of proletarian revolutionary movements in almost every economically
developed nation, enthused many poets who attempted to express that
new sense of optimism about the coming world order in their work.
Among them was a group of Esperanto-language writers within the
former Tsarist empire who came to be known as the Soviet and Proletarian
School. The list of names includes Nekrasov, Grigorov, Khrima, Matkowski,
Burger and Mikhalsky. The greatest of these was undoubtedly the
latter - the Russian teacher Yevgeny Mikhalsky (1897 - 1937), who
learned Esperanto in 1911 and in 1917 founded a literary review
in Saratov: Libera Torento (Free Torrent).
Mikhalsky's original poems appeared in:
- L'Unua Ondo (The First Wave) 1918
- Du poemoj (Two Poems) 1922
- Prologo (Prologue) 1929
- Fajro kuracas (Fire heals) 1932 and
- Kantoj de l'amo kaj sopiro (Songs of Love and Yearning) 1934.
L'Unua Ondo immediately showed an extraordinary technical
and linguistic maturity. From the opening stanza the firebrand was
revealed, ardent and impulsive. Throughout his verse, he underscored
the development of his inspiration, through bold changes in rhythm.
Prologo was considered by most critics to be his chef d'oeuvre.
However it was largely ignored for some time. Work on Fajro kuracas
was hampered by the political situation within the Soviet Union
in the thirties. In spite of this, in his last published collection,
he turned to themes of class warfare, extending an already vast
gamut of themes. Unfortunately, several important original manuscripts
were lost. For example, only a few fragments remain of the poem
Reforgho de l'Homo (The Reforging of Man), which consisted
of 5000 verses and was finished around 1935.
In 1931, Mikhalsky founded IAREV (The International Association
of Revolutionary Esperanto Writers), together with the German writer
Ludwig Renn. The journal of IAREV - La Nova Etapo (The New
Stage), quickly began to reflect the regression on several fronts
in the Esperanto movement within the Soviet Union. In 1932 La
Nova Etapo was still full of interesting contributions about
the relationship between Marxism and international language. In
1933 there appeared only one drab issue which consisted almost exclusively
of translations of articles on the current five-year plan.
There has never been official confirmation that Esperanto was suppressed
in the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, it is clear that the sense of
hopelessness that pervaded the movement towards the middle of the
decade, turned to terror in the years 1937-38. Many Esperanto speakers
fell victim to the Stalinist purges. Ulrich Lins in his detailed
study of the persecution of the adherents of the International Language
movement - La Danghera Lingvo (The Dangerous Language), writes:
"We know without further details... that Mikhalsky... died tragically