“Everything - forward, everything - into the distance! If you walk, don’t fall; if you fall, get up; if you hurt yourself, don’t whine. That's it - go ahead! Everything - into the distance!“With these words, the artist, who had lost both hands, gave little Sasha Vygodskaya his drawing. Since then, the painting entitled “The Road Goes into the Distance.“was always with her and became the motto of her life.
Alexandra Brushtein was born into the family of a Jewish doctor and spent her childhood on the border of the Russian Empire - in provincial, multinational, colorful Vilnius. Her parents were truly progressive people with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances from different social strata. Father treated everyone who needed it - poor and rich, socialists and monarchists - everyone, even those who could not pay. He didn’t sleep for days, was up for calls in the middle of the night, and at the same time devoted every free minute to his wife and children and had a huge influence on the development and worldview of his daughter. Sasha grew up in an intellectual atmosphere, surrounded by her parents' friends - doctors, artists, teachers, students and revolutionaries. She began to be interested in politics and social structure early; from childhood she learned several foreign languages and read voraciously. I studied at the Institute for Noble Maidens, where the teachers clearly hinted on the first day that there were first-class people, and Jewish girls from poor families were not one of them. I studied there for several long years and every day I learned how much a pound was worth.
"The road goes into the distance. At dawn. Spring" is like "Childhood. Adolescence. Tolstoy's Youth only through the eyes of a girl and 60 years later - at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A fascinating autobiography, closely intertwined with historical events and, yes, permeated with socialist and communist views.
And in conclusion I would like to give a short excerpt from the book. Doesn't remind you of anything?
" - In Russia, hunger is getting worse every year. But there is no such disaster that cannot be helped. If you want to help. And our government – that’s it, exactly! – does not want to help the starving and does not want anyone else to help them. What an abomination! Newspapers are even forbidden to write about hunger, the very word “hunger” is prohibited: instead they are ordered to say and write “famine”, it doesn’t sound so rude!
“Why,” asks mom, “why do we have to wait for the government to allow us to help the hungry?” We all need to come together and help, that’s all!
– Yes, yes, yes! - Dad responds ironically. – It’s interesting, very interesting, how you will help if it is forbidden! Sure sure! Zemstvos are prohibited, the Pirogov Society of Doctors is prohibited, the Free Economic Society is prohibited! No one is allowed!
– Who can?
– Governors and their entire horde of officials are at the head of the fight against hunger. Now the whole matter of helping the starving is in their hands... And this,” here dad explodes again, “these are the most vile and most thieving hands!” The lion's share of what is donated throughout Russia to help the starving, the lion's share sticks to the hands of tsarist officials!Dad would have raged for a long time, but he needed to see a sick person."