The following is the second of Comrade Danski’s affectionate letters to his sweetheart in distant Petrograd. I found this one particularly moving in all honesty, and after putting it down, had to stiffen my upper lip somewhat with a rather large vodka and tonic.
My most darlingest of darlings
I am thinking of you constantly at the tractor factory my beloved Loyby. This morning I was stripped and beaten quite severely by Comrade Foreman for writing your initials with spoon handle in gruel during glorious lunch break.
I am hoping things are well for you at bomb factory and that projected 5 Year Plan targets are being exceeded, my most darlingest of darlings. Comrade Production Manager told workforce last night that if we put in an extra 20 hours per week we will be allowed a small piece of haddock on Fridays, and a free bar of abrasive soap will be given to entire workforce, to be shared equally on alternate Wednesdays. Once again our heroic leaders lavish their beloved proletarian comrades with previously undreamed-of bounty. How the capitalist hyenas and their painted jezebels must envy our lives of hedonistic ease.
Still no sign of Comrade Cat my darlingest darling. Last night I am putting out saucer of beetroot scrapings but still he doesn’t come home. Comrade Wife says he is dead from exposure, but with the night time temperature still not dropping below -80 Celcius I am knowing this is rubbish. I notice too that Comrade Wife is gaining weight. She is saying it is bloating from starvation but I’m not sure. To be on safe side I will report her to secret police in morning in case she is exceeding heroic cabbage ration.
How I long to tear off your boiler suit and daub political slogans over your heaving, proletarian bosoms!
Apt Bloc #27
A few months ago I bought an old and battered, 1963, East German, Trabant motor vehicle at auction for a few pounds with a view to restoring it to its former glory.
Beneath the spare wheel I found a small cache of letters, bound with hemp gardening twine and bearing the post mark of the former Soviet Union.
I spent the next few hours reading them, and in the course of doing so, discovered that they were written by a Russian man from Vladivostok to his lover in the city of Petrograd in 1965.
How they came to be secreted beneath the spare wheel of the old, rusting wreck is a mystery to me. Perhaps she returned them to him after their love died, or maybe they were never delivered at all due to the chaotic nature of the postal service at that time. Whatever the facts of the matter, I found them rather uplifting and full of a kind of myopic hope for happier times and for an eventual fulfilment of their passion.
I should therefore, with your permission, like to reproduce them here for you throughout this week. Here is the first I read, dated December 24 1968:
My Most Darlingest Lyobochka
I am hoping most earnestly that you are well and that production is up in the glorious bomb factory. The weather here is being very kind for time of year. Last night was being just minus 30 deg Celsius, with periodic snow flurries, so Comrade Wife and I went for stroll to shops for new toilet brush and to collect Christmas ration of beetroot vodka. On way we bumped into Comrade Armski from Apartment Block #29. He told us toilet brush consignment was due in Spring but that we could borrow his. This is typical of the glorious and most noble spirit of our heroic neighbours. I will however report him to local party official in morning in case he is stealing brush from glorious communal toilet bloc.
It is with great sadness that I must be telling you that Comrade Cat is missing and has not been seen since last Tuesday. Despite the unseasonably mild weather I am most concerned. I am leaving saucer of turnip water outside door each night but it is remaining untouched.
How I long to rub industrial tractor grease onto your Soviet buttocks my most darlingest darling.
Apt. Bloc #27