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By Ludmilla A. Trigos (auth.)

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That hand still burns my hand now. . Rejoice then, monsters, until retribution comes. Only after the sentencing does she clearly see high society’s hypocrisy and promises vengeance. By the time she reaches Irkutsk, Trubetskaia has become politically educated. When the governor of Irkutsk suggests that she return to St. Petersburg, she refuses, pronouncing a scathing indictment of Russian society of the 1820s: И прежде был там рай земной, А ныне этот рай Своей заботливой рукой Расчистил Николай.

Iakushkin describes Pushkin’s crestfallen response: “The others laughed . . ”4 The Kamenka gathering has become immortalized in later legends of Pushkin’s esteem for the Decembrists. It also spurred speculations about Pushkin’s knowledge of the secret society’s existence. Pushchin addresses this question in his reminiscences when he posits two reasons for not telling Pushkin about the secret society. First, Pushkin’s light-mindedness deterred him: “The question unwillingly arose: why, besides me, did none of our older members who were closely acquainted with him ever think about it?

19 Iakushkin alone proclaimed Pushkin’s political radicalism in contrast to the tsarist government’s appropriation of Pushkin as a national symbol. 20 A. L. Slonimskii echoes Iakushkin’s analysis in his article “Pushkin and the Decembrist Movement” included in the distinguished scholar S. A. Vengerov’s complete edition of Pushkin’s works published in 1908. Slonimskii discusses Pushkin’s personal ties and political beliefs, The Decembrist Myth in the Nineteenth Century 11 providing the same apocrypha regarding Pushkin’s desire to join the secret society and Pushkin’s testimony to the tsar.

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