| Quote #1
Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov: The Great Question before us is: Can we Change? In Time? And we all desire that Change will come. (1.1.3)
We're told that Aleksii is the oldest living Bolshevik. The Bolsheviks were the overachievers responsible for the communist overthrow of the tsar in Russia in 1917. In his day, this man was a radical reformer – a super progressive.
| Quote #2
Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov: If the snake sheds his skin before a new skin is ready, naked he will be in the world, prey to the forces of chaos. (1.3.1)
No, Aleksii isn't auditioning for a show on Animal Planet. The snake shedding its skin that he's talking about is the Soviet Union as it goes through the reforms of Gorbachev's perestroika. This former radical reformer is worried that his country is now changing too fast and that it doesn't have a real plan for the future.
| Quote #3
Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov: Then we dare not, we cannot, we MUST NOT move ahead!
Aleksii's insistence that his comrades not move too quickly into the reforms of perestroika parallels "The Great Work" that the angel wants Prior to do: to stop humanity from progressing and changing. Both Aleksii and the angel want change to stop.