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Literature / The Twelve

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A poem written in 1918 by well-known Russian poet Alexandr Alexandrovich Blok, called "Двенадцать" ("Dvenadsiat"). It describes the situation in post-revolutionary Saint-Petersburg and then narrates about Bolshevick soldiers going through it. They talk about their former comrade Vanka, who left them for his love for Katka. They condemn him for it, and when they meet him, they try to kill him, but kill Katka instead of him. Peter, who shot her, regrets about it, but his comrades scold them for "whining", and tell him to "be tough", because "it isn't time to coddle you". Twelve soldiers praise revolution and shout revolutionary slogans. The poem ends with a mention of Jesus Christ, which is considered one of the most controversial parts of the poem and has different interpretations.


The poem provides examples of :

  • Accidental Murder: Katka is accidentally killed in the sixth part of the poem.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Petka is ridiculed for his phrase "Oh my Savior, what a snowstorm!".
  • Bros Before Hoes: The twelve soldiers scold their former comrade Vanka for giving up military service because of his love for Katka.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: Freedom, freedom, ah-ah, without cross!.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The revolutionaries claimed to be fighting for people, but they condemn and then try to kill their former fellow Vanka, treated Katka's death as no big deal and even scolded Petka for regretting about it (saying that "there will be a harder time").
  • Hostile Weather: The poem starts with a description of a high wind. In the tenth part of the poem the twelve soldiers face severe snowstorm.
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  • Men Don't Cry: Petka is scolded for regretting for accidentally shooting Katka.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Peter admits that he loved Katya, and he regrets about her death.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilised.
  • Slut-Shaming: The fifth part of the poem is directed at Katya, who is shamed for her lifestyle.

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