In Michael Moorcock's Byzantium Endures, we learn about the early career of one "Maxim Arturovitch Pyatnitski" (or, as he comes to be called, Colonel Pyat), whose boyhood is spent in the last days of Tsarist Russia. The book is related in the first person, in Pyat's own style of delusional braggadocio, punctuated by the occasional anti-Semitic rant.
Pyat relates that as a boy, his Uncle Semyon gets him a place at the Petrograd Polytechnic, under an assumed name.
His final exam comes in late 1916. Before all the assembled staff and students, he begins his speech on the "ontological approach to the problems of science and technology"...
Indeed, I felt somewhat godlike. This was partly due, I suspect, to the effects of the cocaine.
This dissertation is interrupted early on, and one of the examiners tells the young man "We will make a Special Diploma for you".
Over the next few months, Pyat waits for his diploma to no avail. He inquires a few times and is told things like "oh yes, it is being prepared". Then the Tsar abdicates and Pyat has to flee back to Kiev. On to the next checker in his career.
Michael Moorcock makes us read between the lines a lot, but I'm still confused about the meaning of this sequence, especially in regard to the Special Diploma. I see two possibilities:
The examiners were actually impressed by Pyat's ideas and actually wanted to give him a diploma.
The examiners were so appalled by Pyat's cocaine-fueled rantings that they said anything to get him out of the lecture hall. Perhaps "Special Diploma" was meant sarcastically, referring to something like commitment papers.
Is there any reason to think it's not the latter?