In her fascinating book Forgotten Lives: The Role of Lenin’s Sisters in the Russian Revolution , Katy Turton complains of what she calls “the solar system myth,” characterizing many accounts (by Lenin worshippers and haters alike), picturing Lenin as “the sun in the planetary system in the Ulyanovs,” around which the others orbited in awe and adoration. In focusing on Anna, Olga (to whom Lenin was closest, and who died in 1890), and Maria Ulyanov, she portrays distinct personalities and independent lives. Highly educated and cultured, on their own terms they became—like so many of their generation—part of “the revolutionary community, in which women and men worked together, formed friendships and families, and campaigned to bring about the transformation of Russian society.” Anna was the older sister and became deeply involved in revolutionary activity in the mid-1880s (well in advance of the teenage Volodya, the future Lenin). Olga Ulyanova, a few years later when she and Volodya were in close contact and still getting their political bearings, wrote that “the aspiration towards truth and to the ideal is in people’s souls,” adding: “One must always believe in people, in the possibility of something better on earth, despite personal disappointment. . If one doesn’t believe in people, doesn’t love them, then what is one living for?” When she died, a classmate wrote to her own brother:
O’Brien: Most of what the Trump Organization does, anyways, is domestic—overseas is primarily licensing deals and three golf courses. So the idea that they’re walking away from something significant by declining to do overseas deals is irrelevant in terms of the current mix of business they have. And I guess I sound like a broken record on this issue because I first wrote about his need to release his tax returns in the fall of 2015 and I first wrote about conflicts of interest last June. But conflicts of interest are going to haunt his administration if he doesn’t take a clean and consistent approach towards creating a real barrier between White House policymaking and Trump Tower deal-making. And nothing he’s done, including the fig leaf that he rolled out on Wednesday, is going to cure that problem. It could create real ethical lapses that tarnish the White House and the legacy and dignity of the office he’s about to inhabit. And he’s done nothing, including the plan he rolled out on Wednesday, to make people think he takes these kinds of ethical responsibilities seriously.