“When he was released, Dudko was finally given his own church. His message changed. Where he had preached harmony and hope, he now preached rabid nationalism and anti-Semitism. He died lonely and bitter and mad. In Oliver Bullough’s bleak, beautiful The Last Man in Russia, a mix of biography and reportage, Dudko’s journey from defiance to submission to self-destruction becomes the archetypal Russian story: a broken man representing a broken nation.”
I’d like to read this book. I am immensely curious about people like Dudko. I think of Wilde, who quipped about how great strength is needed to fall into certain temptations. And I think of an old Jimmy Croce song from a Brad Solomon novel, “The Gone Man”, he sang–do you ha’ tha feelin’ tha you wanted to go/ An’ yet ha’ tha feelin’ tha you wanted to stay? And I think again of the Fourth Tempter from Eliot’s play “Murder. . .”, who offered what was inevitable to a proud man–to accept martyrdom for the wrong reasons.
I am curious about people like Dudko, like the man in the Californero’s song, people like Archbishop Becket, because I think of myself and question my immorality. I think I admire these tales of tempted men because I am not sure if it is true that there are no temptations for me, if it is true that all there is for me is choice, then will, then ability.
What are the things so similar to our true natures as that they are likely to break us were they offered by an enemy?