This page-by-page annotation is organized by sections, as delineated by the seven squares (sprockets) which separate each section. The page numbers for this page-by-page annotation are for the original Viking edition (760 pages). Editions by other publishers vary in pagination the newer Penguin editions are 776 pages; the Bantam edition is 886 pages.
Contributors: Please use a 760-page edition (either the original Viking edition with the orange cover or the Penguin USA edition with the blue cover and rocket diagram there are plenty on Ebay for around $10) or search the Google edition for the correct page number. Readers: To calculate the Bantam edition use this formula: Bantam page # x 1.165. Before p.50 it's about a page earlier; as you get later in the book, add a page.
Finally, profound thanks to Prof. Don Larsson for providing the foundation for this page-by-page annotation.
the local Likbez center
Likbez was a campaign of eradication of illiteracy in Soviet Russia in the 1920s and 1930s. It was started on December 26, 1919, when Lenin signed the decree "On eradication of illiteracy among the population of RSFSR." According to this decree, all people from 8 to 50 years old were required to become literate in their native language.
naked Leningrad encounters with the certainty of his death
The 872-day Siege of Leningrad by German forces in World War II was one of the longest battles in the history of warfare and one of the costliest in human lives.
Paul Jablochkov (or Pavel Yablochkov, 1847-1894) was a Russian engineer. His "candles" were the first practical electric carbon-arc lamps, hence the connection here with Tchitcherine’s vision of the carbonized faces of the war dead.