The Directorate of the Ulyanovsk – UNESCO City of Literature Program is completing the publication of the work of 2nd year Master students of the Institute of International Relations, Faculty of Linguistics, Intercultural Relations and Professional Communication of Ulyanovsk State University (Ekaterina Krasheninnikova, Mohammad Temple, Xenia Skvortsova, Diana Alieva, Maria Parfenova, Terekhina Anastasia) based on the translation into English of novels and short stories by the Ulyanovsk author Valery Eremin.
About the author:
Eremin Valery Alexandrovich - a poet and prose writer from the working settlement of Surskoye Ulyanovsk. He is a member of the Union of Journalists of the Russian Federation, the Union of Writers of Russia, the chairman of the Sursky literary and poetic association "Promzin syllables". Valery Aleksandrovich is a regular contributor to the Literary Page of the regional newspaper Surskaya Pravda, has publications in the regional literary and artistic almanacs Karamzinsky Garden and Simbirsk, and is the author of several collections of short stories and poems.
Today you can read novels and stories from the book "Conversation", published in 2021, the literary translation of which was prepared by Terekhina Anastasia and Parfenova Maria.
We invite everyone to read it, as well as readers from other countries. Here you can read stories in English.
They lived in the same village, on the same street, on the same side or as they used to say on the same order, and also this side of the street was popularly called the sunny or red side. The windows of their houses looked south to the sun, which on clear days rose to the highest point above the horizon and shone brightly into the rooms, which in the village were called the front. And the sun shone the same on all of them. They went to school, and each of them was overcome with worries and aspirations.
Their names were Valerka, Vovka, and Gerka. Valerka lived almost at the top of the street in a small stone, white house with his grandmother. He was the oldest of the three. In the spring, lilacs bloomed in his and his grandmother's front garden, and music could often be heard through the ajar window. Valerka loved music very much. He played many stringed instruments: balalaika, mandolin, and guitar. Where and when he learned to play, no one knew.
Down the block, you could say in the middle of the order, lived Vovka, with his father and his aunt. His father's name was Kostya. Vovka was the youngest of the trio, and he also played guitar, or as someone said, strummed and sang something there.
At the very bottom of the street lived Gerka. This one tried to play the balalaika in the Pioneer House. He was even squeezed into a circle, but nothing came of it. It is true that he sometimes sat in the rows of a small string orchestra and was strumming there, but, alas. He had tried singing even earlier in elementary school. Once he came out in the middle of the big class, at some matinee, he did not sing something at all, but whispered it. Then he cried a little and decided not to do it anymore. But when he grew up, when many of his coevals started playing guitar and singing trendy songs to them, gathering boys and girls around him, he decided to learn the guitar. Gerka had been persuading his father for a long time to buy him an instrument. He fought him off as much as he could, proving that he could do nothing, saying:
- You must have no ear. A bear, as they say, stepped on your ear.
- Yes, I'll try, and Valerka promised to help me, I've already talked to him about it - tried to convince his father Gerka.
- Valerka is different. He had an uncle who was a musician, only he died in the war. He was a talent. He could play all instruments, even piano and violin. Valerka, you see, in him, and nobody here plays anything: neither me, nor mother, nor your brother and you won't succeed, believe me, listen to me, - father persuaded Gerka.
But there's no way. Just buy it. And in the end his father gave in.
And soon Gerka was holding it in his hands and admiring it. And it smelled and glistened with fresh lacquer. It was a joy to the eye with its golden yellow deck. It was shaped like a woman's body. Its black fingerboard stretched the strings, silent and ready to sing... But Gerkin's father was right. Valerka came by, showed me the tricks of the game. He played himself. Yes, he played so that you could listen to. Gerka tried to represent something too and to weave it into a melody, but it turned out very clumsily. In short the guitar did not want to talk to him with its seven strings. Even my pet cat, when he heard him playing, started asking to go outside. And then Gerka began to embrace his instrument more and more seldom and extracted not joyful sounds from it, and then he disliked it and abandoned it altogether.
In the meantime, Valerka finished school and went somewhere else. Vovka moved with his father to another house on another street. He and Gerka met fleetingly. Their interests were different. They didn't have any particular friendship feelings for each other. Probably because once, when they lived on the same street, they got into a bit of a fight. How did they fight? Vovka's house had a little slide. The boys used to sneak water on it in winter and skate, sled, scooter, and baloney from it. Vovka's father didn't like all that much. In general, he was a strange man to many people. He didn't work anywhere, they said he was kind of sick. Constantly wrote some letters somewhere. They said he was looking for the truth. And regularly chased the boys away from home. We had to go sneaking around in the evenings. One evening Gerka took a neighbor's scooter, which he did not have, and went to the slide. Suddenly Vovka appeared, followed by his father. This way Vovka, of course, would not dare to attack Gerka. True, he was taller, or as they used to say, was lanky, and walked, somehow bouncing a little. And Gerka had a small stocky figure. And when Vovka suddenly attacked him and wanted to knock him down, Gerka at first resisted. But then they fell together. Vovka fell on his back and Gerka on him and hit him in the stomach with his knee and Vovka howled in pain. Gerka grabbed the scooter and started sticking his heels in his ass. Anyway, he ran down the street home. Vovka's father, taking a shovel, rushed after him. Well, where there. And he only threw it in despair in the trail of the fugitive. After this incident, Gerka and Vovka did not pay much attention to it and continued to communicate. They both went to the Pioneer House, but to different clubs. Gerka attended the aviamodelling club, and Vovka attended the drama club. Sometimes girls' voices could be heard outside the door, and among them the sound of the guitar and Vovka's voice.
The school years passed quickly. Few memories of their former school years are still vivid. Only a few remember Vovka coming to the school radio room. Usually, he brought records with foreign music, and sometimes this music was on "bones", on X-ray photoplates. He would also sometimes gather a small group of boys and girls in the front garden, on the abandoned front porch of the school, during recess, and give his concerts. It was said that sometimes he also sang songs of his own composition. But, unfortunately, Gerka was not one of the listeners. At that time he became interested in technology, and specifically in the radio club. Of course, he loved to listen to music, especially on the homemade radio receiver assembled with a friend of his age who was trusted by his physics teacher to run the school's radio club.
And Vovka, in between his speeches, would say:
- Let's go to the maritime school. Let's go sailing, wander the seas, look at foreign countries, at people, at their life, in general, look at the world.
Gerka didn't know whether he talked him into it or not, but he heard that Vovka himself left for Riga... Then a few years later they met again, no, not in Riga, but in his own settlement from which Gerka had never left. Vovka called him and told him that he was on his way back to Riga and asked:
- "Let's meet at the bus station. I was told you lived somewhere near there. We should talk.
- So come on in," Georgy invited.
- No, - replied Vladimir. - I'm not alone, and I've got my things and the bus.
They met in front of the bus station and Vladimir immediately, without any preparation, offered Georgiy to go into business. And he began to draw pictures and perspectives of the business.
Georgy immediately stopped him:
- I'm sorry. I can not and do not want to do it. I have a job that suits me fine. I'm sorry.
- Maybe you'll change your mind, or offer it to someone else," and with these words he handed Georgiy a sheet of paper with a phone number written on it.
- I don't promise anything," Georgy answered.
- Here's my bus. Okay, bye. Call me, Vladimir said and went to get his things and his companion.
- Bye, bye, Georgy answered, and thought to himself. - Why didn't I ask him if he played guitar or not.
And after standing for a while, he went home.
Many years passed, Georgy forgot about Valery and Vladimir, and what can I say, life sometimes made him forget about himself. Children came along, then grandchildren. He began to write and publish books. He used to write only for himself. And then one day he met Zhenya. A girl he used to be friends with at school. Zhenya congratulated him on the books. She said she liked it and that now he could be called a literary man. And then she asked if he remembered Vovka, from his street, who played guitar, sang his songs, went to the Pioneers' House and studied at the same school with them. And Georgy, of course, remembered him, and Zhenya said that you could find something about Vladimir on the Internet. And later Gerka started looking. And what he found excited him greatly.
Vladimir Konstantinovich A..(1947 - 2009) - author and performer of his songs.
He has released 7 CDs in the author's chanson style. Has 12 poetry collections.
That of course surprised and delighted Georgy.
Publications in the press about the Soviet underground song were full of his name, and the way to the official scene was closed to him. Closed author's evenings, home concerts, tours (Irkutsk, Riga, Leningrad...).
In 2005, he disappeared without a trace.
This had already upset George, and he began to call and ask school friends and heard the answer, yes he was, but who he studied with, we do not know, or rather do not remember, and certainly where he lived and what happened...
Georgy wandered the Internet, listened to Vladimir's songs and searched and what he found amazed him.
Punitive psychiatry returns?
Vladimir A... the citizen of Riga forcibly sent by the authorities to the mental asylum seeks the truth in the European Court
Vladimir A... has got hope that they will protect his rights in Brussels.
Vladimir A... was fraudulently admitted to a social welfare center for the mentally ill. The psychiatrist gave an opinion about dementia without even seeing the patient, and he was not even invited to the trial that declared Vladimir incompetent.
The letter that Vladimir A. sent to the editorial board of the Riga newspaper "Saturday" is written competently and surprisingly logically for a "feeble-minded and inadequate" person, as the Riga Ziemele District Court and the Riga District Court call him in their decision. (Vladimir A. attached documents and decisions of both courts to his letter).
This kind of case, when a person inconvenient to the authorities is declared insane and put in an asylum, is typical for countries with totalitarian regimes. If the European Court decided in favor of Vladimir, it would be another blow to Latvia's democratic image.
Georgy immediately remembered Volodka's father Konstantin, who also wrote somewhere and searched for the truth for himself and others. So there you have it.
And this is what Georgy found next.
A shelter for homeless souls.
Journalists from the newspaper "Saturday" went to visit Vladimir A. to find out on the spot what happened and how the former journalist, poet and businessman ended up in an institution for the mentally disabled. The Ile Social Welfare Center is lost in the middle of nowhere in the Dobelsk region. Centuries-old oaks, birch alleys and silence greeted the journalists at the entrance to the boarding house. Almost an idyll!
Vladimir met the journalists in a tiny room where he lived with a neighbor. He was glad of the gifts that his ex-wife Tamara had given him through them - there wasn't enough money for cigarettes and fruit. The court-appointed guardian (social worker) gave him fourteen lats and kopecks from his pension, the rest went to the boarding house.
Vladimir had no one to communicate with except one married couple suffering from epilepsy - when there are no seizures, they are normal people. The Internet is an inaccessible luxury, sending a letter is a problem: you are allowed to go to the post office when it is already closed. Vladimir tries his old habit of writing poetry and reading books brought by friends, so that he does not go crazy with hopelessness. Imagine spending the rest of your life within these walls and you want to howl like a wolf...
In the doldrums of the 90s, Vladimir and his wife Tamara were in business together. He took Latvian children with vision problems to the famous St. Petersburg eye clinic. Dozens of families are grateful to him for restored health. Vladimir was also the head of the "Slavs" foundation that cooperated with Russia.
That's when apparently Vladimir dropped in, in his small motherland, and offered to take over Georgiy's business.
And then it struck Georgiy more and more.
How could this energetic and educated man end up in an almshouse? Among the guests of the boarding house "Ile" he seems to be a black sheep.
If to trace all abrupt turns of Vladimir's destiny, it becomes clear that he is partly to blame for his misfortunes today. Vladimir's character is not easy - uncompromising, hot-tempered, conflicted. He is one of those right-thinking fellows who are always fighting with something, proving something to someone and making enemies.
Yes, heredity can't be helped, - Georgiy understood, his father's blood apparently got the upper hand in him. And read on.
Vladimir's first family didn't work out. His second wife Tamara, with whom he does not live together in recent years, purely humanly sympathetic to Volodya, but can little to help. Vladimir lost his apartment in the denationalized house and had problems with alcohol. As a result, in 2003 Vladimir, disabled group II, has appeared in the center of social services "Mezhciems" in Riga.
- It was a good boarding house. Many of its residents treated me with respect, gave me advice, asked me to write letters for them," Vladimir said. - The only thing that didn't work out was my relationship with the head of social services, who hated me and harassed me.
According to Vladimir, the conflict started when he asked him in a confidential conversation to keep an eye on the boarding house residents and report to him who was drinking with whom, what they were talking about, and what they were complaining about. Vladimir flatly refused to snitch. So he began to drive him out of the boarding house.
The head of social services, Vladimir says, repeatedly called the police to the "rampaging drunk" guest, even though he claims to have given up drinking. And there are no police reports in Vladimir's "case file" about his violations of the boarding house's rules of conduct.
Several times the head of social services called a special brigade, which took Vladimir to the mental hospital, but he soon came back. On the other hand, the supervisor eventually accumulated information that Vladimir was a patient in an insane asylum.
One day Vladimir's superiors suggested a "amicable" parting of the ways: to transfer him to the same boarding house, but only in the Dobelsky district. Vladimir, knowing little Latvian, signed the transfer application. When he found himself in the boarding house of the closed type for the mentally ill, it was already too late.
Of course, they had screwed him good, Gheorghe understood, and there was nothing he could do about it, the state system.
This is how the head of social services commented on "Vladimir's case:
- Vladimir gave us a lot of trouble. An educated man, he read books, played chess, but when he drank, he became aggressive and inadequate. He was repeatedly sent to a mental hospital, and then transferred to a boarding house for the mentally disabled, because there was no place for Vladimir at Mezhciems, a general boarding house. And the court declared him incompetent, so there's nothing personal here!
That's the way people are, if you can call them people, Georgy thought with great regret and indignation as he read on.
Persons declared incompetent by a court lose the right to participate in elections, to dispose of monetary income and property, to marry, to be in public service, to apply to state and local government bodies and to the courts. Such people can be forcibly subjected to psychiatric examination and treatment.
You cannot declare a person sick in absentia!
The newspaper "Subbota" got in touch with a psychiatrist professor, who at one time saw Vladimir's patient.
- I remember Vladimir: an intelligent man who did not suffer from severe mental illness. He had problems with alcohol. Vladimir belonged to that type of personality: impulsive, intemperate, he could not live in a state of peace, always looking for his truth. Hence the problems in communicating with other people, conflicts. And such personality traits tend to worsen with age.
- However, the fact that Vladimir was declared incompetent is unexpected and sad news to me. It's a pity that the court did not consider it necessary to ask me for advice as a doctor who had been in contact with Vladimir for a long time.
As for the psychiatrist's conclusion about a patient's mental health, a specialist can give it only on the basis of all the data about his illnesses and, of course, having personally examined the patient.
And Georgy felt so bitter and painful at heart and hurt for his compatriot that he could hardly bring himself to read further.
It is not easy to correctly prepare documents to the European Court, so that they are not rejected. It is surprising that Vladimir was able to do it without the help of a lawyer! The newspaper writes.
The Citizens' Commission on Human Rights has more than one victory to its credit. Even though there are not many of them, each one tells the story of a man who despaired in search of justice, was humiliated and almost broken. One of them is Vladimir from Riga. The newspaper Subbota took it upon itself to help him and his friend.
- I regularly visited Uladzimir and knew that he was on the waiting list for a social apartment," Uladzimir's friend told Subbota. - They tried to deprive him of his legal right to housing - as if he had been permanently moved to a boarding school. We proved it wasn't so, and at last we got justice: Vladimir got a comfortable apartment in a new social house.
A friend moved Vladimir to the new apartment, and his colleague on the "civil commission" helped furnish it and create comfort. But Vladimir was happy only three months: years of struggle and privation undermined his health, and not yet old man died of heart failure.
A friend experienced Vladimir's death purely in human terms, and as a member of the board of the "Citizens' Commission": for human rights. The case against the unjust judges who had illegally declared Vladimir incompetent and the unscrupulous psychiatrists was closed.
The old principle applies: no person, no problem.
Georgy saw that there were still people with a human face and soul, but that did little to reassure him.
Then he found the words of his poet friends, who dedicated their lines to him. One of them wrote.
To the memory of Vladimir.
Another Viktor Murzin recalled.
He knew Volodya well. We met, got to know each other and became friends in 1973 at the seminar for young writers of the Latvian Writers' Union (Russian section). At this seminar, in my mind, he was the most talented among us, who were invited to study and discuss...I feel sorry for Volodya! He, a deeply Russian poet, was cut off from Russia. This, in my opinion, is what ruined him.
In my first book of poems with a preface by Nikolai Starshinov, there are lines dedicated to Vladimir.
Feedback from those who know when Vladimir passed away in 2009 and where he is buried.
Volodya is no more here. He passed away, but his poems and songs remain.
But Georgy also found a record that made him even more sad.
Hello! My name is Yulia. I am the granddaughter of Vladimir and the above mentioned Irina. I have never seen my grandfather and know almost nothing about him. Victor, if it is not difficult for you please contact me. I will be very glad if you can share with me your memories of my grandfather. I never got a chance to meet him.
Like my grandfather, I also compose poems, although I am still far away from him. I would be very grateful if you respond.
- How right Victor Murzin is! - Georgy thought. - Never, in any case, you can not break away from the motherland, neither from big, nor from small! And you must never break away from your family. Didn't Vladimir understand that...?
Georgy also found sincere memories of another person.
I look with pain and regret at the man who is forever in my memory. I was 17, he was 18 when we briefly met. I left Latvia for a long time and came back only in '91. I was looking for Volodya. But I was too late. I can compare that man and this man. That one, tender, vulnerable, pure, talented then and the one from the reel - wounded, caustic, with a tortured soul, but not surrendered. Let the earth warm my alien, who came to earth from a crystal-clear universe on our dirty earth.
And quite unexpectedly Georgy, at a meeting with a well-known St. Petersburg poet and bard Nikolai Yeremin, who was also born on Surka land, heard such words:
- "I first heard this song "I'll write an hour after the fight" in the mid-1980s, performed by my brother Anatoly. The piece became one of the songs on which I honed my performing arts, performing it many times with friends and student groups. Much later I found out, quite unexpectedly, that its author was my countryman, a native of the village of Surskoe in the Ulyanovsk region, poet and bard Vladimir. About his fate I was able to find out a little: he was born in Sursky. He went to Riga, worked as a journalist, wrote songs. During perestroika he tried to do business, was imprisoned in a lunatic asylum and in 2009 he died. A great memory to my fellow countryman!
AND ST. PETERSBURG BECAME CLOSE AND DEAR TO ME…
- You say, why has Peter suddenly become close and dear to me? - George asked his interlocutor and was silent for a minute... - No, it didn't happen all of a sudden. You know, if you parents tell you something in childhood, oh how it remains in the memory. So my mother started telling me that she lived in St. Petersburg. I listened and at first I didn't even believe it. I don't know why, but I didn't believe her. And she began to tell me that her father, Ivan Stepanovich, was drafted into the tsarist army before the revolution, and he joined the navy. He served on the battleship "Emperor Paul I". Maybe you've heard of it? It was a famous ship in its time.
- So she fought in World War I, too?
- What I don't know, I don't know. My grandfather didn't tell me about it. He didn't like to talk about such things. And what kind of people we are, after all. But I was young, green then, I was in school and I used to visit my grandfather in the village regularly, and for some reason I had no sense to ask him about everything, and it would have been a good idea to write it down. And now I regret very much.
- There must be something written about this armadillo.
- It's written, it's written, but how they write and who writes it. During the reign of Czar one thing, after the revolution or as it is called now, after the coup another, and in modern times the third. As they used to say, everyone looks from his own bell tower and looks for his own benefit in something. And my grandfather's story would have been closer to me somehow. And from what I have read, I understood that "Pavel I" did not take part in sea battles in the First World War. It went around the Baltic, guarding the mines from the German minesweepers, and also guarded the anti-submarine nets and the ships that put these nets and mines. And there were naval battles, I do not know, but I am sure that the battleship was ready to engage at any moment. Grandpa Ivan told me a little bit about the seventeenth year, and I even wrote a little bit about it somewhere. But listen to what others said about it. The catastrophe that befell Russia in 1917 was not expected or foreseen by any of the bureaucracy. And only a few people were aware of the inevitability of this catastrophe. And the appointment as prime minister of an utterly incapable old man was the limit. In mid-January, it was said that the officers and sailors were imbued with indignation and excitement, and in saving the country they believed there was only one way. And in spite of the food riots already taking place in the capital, in St. Petersburg, and the complete disorganization of the government, the obscurantism of the government did not abate. Power, committed an insane act. The State Duma and the State Council were dissolved for a month, this was the signal to the revolt. But for some reason, on the day of the revolution that occurred at the end of February, or, as they say, the coup, the officers and commander, remained completely unprepared for the events in the fleet, for the revolt that was being actively prepared by the underground forces. It was said that it was the Bolsheviks. They turned out to be no more resolute than the grand dukes, who tried to persuade the emperor not to ruin their country.
And what is surprising, a new revolutionary history continues to keep secret the names of its fighters, who on March 3, 1917 gave the signal for a mutiny in the fleet in the Helsingford raid. It took an enormous amount of preliminary work for the ships, all as one, to follow the signal given from the Emperor Paul I. Here on the ship was created, a deeply concealed strike team, which is amazing coordinated action in the complete ignorance of the officers managed to organize the feeding of the towers, to take control, raise the battle flag on the ship and lead the instantly scattered on the ship groups of fighters. The conspiracy they reproduced on the "Emperor Paul I" in 1917 with complete success. Obviously, measures of "fatherly attitude" to the sailors or at least elementary political oversight on the ship were absent or too weak.
But listen to what I wrote about my grandfather's recollections.
Sometimes my grandfather would remember his service in the Navy and say, "You know how the drill was? And if you did something wrong, you could get punched in the teeth. "Your brothel" was all over the place, that is, "your nobility". I was young, I had strength and all sorts of exercises with weights. What do you do? Nothing. The ship's commander was a good man. Didn't give him much of a hard time. But times were tough. At one point I felt that the ship was commanded by someone else besides the commander. And soon, before the revolution, there was a rebellion on the cruiser "Pavel". It was only said that it seemed to have started on the Aurora, but no, on the Pavel. On the fire shields they took all the axes, all the cudgels, and it started. All the officers, who was mocking, who was spiteful - on the head, and overboard. Maybe it was too harsh, but what can you do, that was the time. It turns out there was a revolutionary committee on the ship. Everyone on the upper deck was lined up. They announced that the ship's power had gone to the ship's committee. The commander and a few other people, myself included, were made part of the committee. I did not know, maybe because I was literate and had two specialties - gunner and clerk. Or maybe for discipline. Don't know."
- Apparently the Bolsheviks did a great job there?
- It turns out that it is. Here is how else they write.
It was a fatal miscalculation of the authorities who did not dare to relocate the dreadnoughts to the Gulf of Riga, which caused them, while standing in Helsingfors, to undergo an intensive revolutionary decay, which was reflected on the Paul I, and it was especially successful in the activity of underground organizations. To the commander and officers, the riot ripening on the ship came as a complete surprise. In contrast to 1912, when in the crew there were many sailors who felt it their duty to warn the officers about the preparation for mutiny, in 1917 the officers, it seems, did not receive such information. Apparently, there were no attempts to "fatherly attitude" to the sailors, as Minister Grigorovich repeatedly lamented in his memoirs, but to establish good relations in the Navy himself made no effort. And the mutiny, the organization of which to this day remains completely unreported by any documents and studies, occurred as suddenly as it was on the "Potemkin", but not spontaneously at all, but at the signal of the well-conspiratorial organizers.
And Georgy turned to his interlocutor:
- Surely you have seen the film about the mutiny on the "Potemkin" and here too the sailors must have been driven to it, and how, with all the good it is possible, to raise people to revolt, and listen further.
Officers, too, not having estimated explosiveness of the moment, tried to enter with commands in joint discussion of events and possible course of their development. The Commander of the 2nd Brigade of battleships, who had just come back from Petrograd and that means he was well informed about the coup d'etat, which took place on the 28th of February, was inscrutably short-sighted. He refused to go to the crew with the beginning of unrest on his flagship "Andrew the First Called" and preferred to go to the headquarters, but on the way he was killed. At the same time, at about 20 o'clock, as the flagship log of the first brigade of battleships testified, the ship "Paul I" raised the battle flag and pointed the towers at the battleship "Andrew the First Called" standing beside it, after which the "Andrew" also raised the battle flag. Shots were heard on both ships. They were followed by the "Glory", which was standing nearby, and almost immediately by the dreadnoughts "Sevastopol" and "Poltava". Mutiny engulfed the entire fleet, not excluding the "Gangut", the ships did not stop shouting and firing.
George, sometimes, stopped and took a break from his sheet, and it was obvious that he was trying to imagine the events of those distant times. And in them to consider his grandfather, and see how, and what, could then do this young sailor, from a distant Russian village, caught in such a rapid whirl of historical events.
-Such are the memories, -George said, putting aside the scribbled sheet of paper, and taking another, and reading on, and sighing for some reason at that.
From "Pavel I", which led the mutiny, to the flagship "Petropavlovsk" clotty sent: "Deal with unwanted officers, our officers are arrested. Delegations were sent from the "Pavel" to the "Andrew" and "Petropavlovsk" to expedite the arrest of those officers who had escaped the reprisals that had already taken place. The total loss of control of the officers over the ship was facilitated by the captain of the Pavel I. In contrast to the commander of the "Andrew the First-Called" who vigorously opposed the mutineers, the commander of the "Paul" gave the mutineers complete freedom of action and, sitting aloof in the cabin of the commander, did not try to organize at least the rescue of the officers and conductors from the murderers.
And Georgy tried to mentally picture to himself the picture of the ship's cabin and the captain sitting idly in it, with all this going on around him, and he couldn't.
- And here's more, remember, listen. Whether it's true or not, I don't know.
As if the commander of the brigade, the commander of the battleship "Emperor Paul I." Standing on his knees, he asked to be released and promised to give him everything from the buffet and give him a double portion for lunch and asked to take him out on the upper deck to see what was going on in the world. When he saw red lights everywhere, he crossed himself and said with tears in his eyes: "That's the way to do it."
- I did not hear all that from my grandfather. I didn't hear what else I found. Maybe grandfather was silent about many things, maybe he was forbidden to talk, or he had to sign a note. And then it's really scary to read.
The mutiny on the "Pavel I" began with the murder of the navigating officer, Lieutenant. The fighters, prepared in advance, had bayoneted him as if he had been an agent of the security branch. At the noise raised at the time of the murder immediately went the senior officer, the senior lieutenant, having previously instructed the midshipman to relay an order to the officers to go to their companies. After relaying this order, the midshipman and several other officers quickly made their way down the corridors to their companies. A group of sailors was walking toward them in the corridor. The ensign somehow accidentally passed her, and the lieutenant following him was stopped. The sailors asked him not to go any further, as he would be killed there. The lieutenant was completely unarmed and to these warnings only raised his hands up and said: "well kill me" ... And at the same moment he was really killed with a blow on the back of the head with a sledge-hammer. He was killed by a stoker who crept up behind him, a sailor from the peasantry of Poltava province.
Here Georgy paused for a long moment.
- If this is true, how can a man go mad? - Georgy said with a strong sadness in his voice and continued.
When the sailors, who had warned the lieutenant, wanted to carry him to the infirmary, the murderer struck him several more times on the head with a sledge-hammer. The same sledgehammer also killed a midshipman who had slipped into the crowd. The chief officer, who was trying to talk sense into the crew on the upper deck, was seized by them, beaten with whatever he could, dragged by the legs to the board and thrown out on the ice. Receiving no help, he died on the ice the same painful death that by the evening of March fourth, having survived the preparation for the shooting, should have died the senior officer of the cruiser "Diana", captain of the 2nd rank. He, severely wounded, was being finished off by blows with butts while being escorted across the ice.
Georgy wanted to quit reading, but his companion asked:
-No, finish it, please.
Then Georgy continued.
At the same time, the electrician conductor, who had displeased the rebels, was wounded. The revolutionaries had a full payback to the "oppressors". The lessons of the war and rebellions taught the officers nothing. They were completely demoralized by their apolitical attitude. The loyal subjects with idiocy continued to believe in the emperor - a wonderful, kind, crystal soul man. In the face of the sailor masses, the officers found themselves in the pathetic role of defenseless, trapped hares.
On March 3, 1917, they had to pay with blood for the inability and unwillingness of the tsarist regime to make reforms, which would have led Russia to civil pacification and put it on a par with civilized and enlightened countries in Europe. The dark instincts of a Russian rebellion, senseless and merciless, which had soared to its full strength and breadth, prevented the sailors from recognizing that, in their rejection of Nicholas II's regime and their desire for the good of their country, many of the officers were closer to them than to those who had called them to revolt.
But the officers also made no move to understand the souls of the sailors, and therefore received reprisals. It is believed that as many as 100 officers died in those days. And these casualties were only the beginning of the Russian revolution. There were many chilling massacres of officers in Helsingfors and Kronstadt, but none of the organizers and executors of these elaborate massacres was ever mentioned in the Soviet publications. The collection of documents "The Baltic seamen in the preparation and realization of the Great October Socialist Revolution" is silent about them.
For one more day, "Pavel I" and the surviving officers under arrest remained in the power of the mutineers. They managed to form as many as three committees and even a kind of "United Fleet Democratic Organization". On its behalf, on the morning of the fourth of March, a radiogram was broadcast, which in response to the calls of the Fleet Commander for the restoration of order, stated: "Comrades sailors! Do not believe the tyrant. Remember the order to salute. No, we will not get freedom from the vampires of the old order.... Death to the tyrant and no faith!" The signal was heard: and at the port gates, the admiral, marching into the city, was killed by a shot in the back. Miraculously escaped death by the flag officer midshipman who was marching with him and was nearly mauled by the crowd.
On May 27, the battleship "Emperor Paul I" received a new name - "Respulika.
On "Respulika" with all the comforts, contrary to all orders of service, the coastal Bolshevik agitators were quartered.
By the time of the July putsch of the Bolsheviks "Republic" and "Petropavlovsk", had the reputation of a citadel of Bolshevism. On the Republic, Bolshevism dominated undividedly, to the point that the entire ship's committee was under the influence of Bolshevik sailors. Sailors of the Republic and Petropavlovsk declared their readiness for a revolutionary campaign of their ships to Petrograd to support the Kronstadt detachments.
On June 21, the crew of the Petropavlovsk issued an ultimatum to the Provisional Government: to dismiss 10 ministers within 24 hours and called on the fleet to support this ultimatum by bombing Petrograd. By a resolution of July 10, the crew of the Republic resolutely rejected the charges of treason to the revolution made by the Provisional Government against her ship as well as the Petropavlovsk and the Glory. "We have no instigators, spies, or German agents on our ship, nor can there be. And in vain does the Provisional Government think that the ships of the Baltic Fleet are overflowing with traitors to the fatherland." The crew confirmed their readiness as faithful defenders of the fatherland at any time to defend their freedom from enemies foreign and domestic.
The rotten, flailing around in all directions "kerenshchina" proved to be unable to punish the murderers on "Pavel I" and other ships. Everything was confined to verbose, but inconsequential cracking orders. Like his predecessor on the throne, the most petty ruler of "democratic" Russia pushed the army and navy to an uncontrollable collapse. In the hysterics of his historical speeches in front of the crew of the cruiser "Bayan" went so far as to directly call for "without any mercy" to deal with those officers who do not comply with the revolution.
Interrupting for a while, George remarked:
- All in all, many in those troubled days put their hands on the minds and souls of the sailors.
And then he concluded:
- It is inexpressibly hurtful and painful to realize what titanic efforts the officers and the healthy part of the fleet made that summer to maintain its fighting ability, and how all these efforts were ultimately nullified. But in spite of everything, the Baltic ships continued to fight in the whole theater of war, from the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia to the Strait of Irbin.
The situation in Russia was becoming increasingly ominous.
“See how much I've told you, and no matter where I searched for, I found not a single word about my grandfather, although, there were more than half a thousand of people on this ship, ‘the Pavel I’. I know, my mother said, then after the October Revolution, Ivan Stepanovich worked in the Admiralty, and again there were no information about it. He even took his family from the village to St. Petersburg, my mother told me that she went to the first grade there to study, but of course she didn't know where they lived. Only once did she say that she and her father and his friend, a sailor, went to a rally. And this comrade or colleague of her father's was very tall. She was sitting on his shoulders, and could see the speakers very well. She told me that she had seen Lenin, but I did not believe her. I don't know how long they lived in St. Petersburg. I remember my grandfather saying that he used to go around the Baltic on ships and submarines to Finland and liked to flaunt words in Finnish in front of me. Then, for some reason, he returned to his home, to his homeland in Baryshskaya Sloboda. He worked as chairman of councils and chairman of collective farms in the villages of the district. By this time, I know from my father's words that he was a Communist already. Ivan Stepanovich's family was large, he had seven children. Two of their sons, Anatoly and Boris, were killed during the war. His wife tried to persuade him, as they say now, “to get them out of the front”. But Ivan Stepanovich didn't do it, though he could have. Then, for the loss of part of the millet crop from the rising wind, the collective farm chairman himself were sent to the front, although he was no longer of military age. Yes, they say, almost in the penalty box – only a severe concussion saved him, and until the end of the war he served, as they say, like a copper pot. And yet, all his life he kept a brand-new sailor's uniform from the‘the Pavel I’. He was buried wearing it in a rural churchyard. This is the story, but at that time almost every house had similar one, and every other for sure.”
“The grandfather’s documents should have remained, right?” a friend who was listening to Georgiy asked a question.
“The documents remained, but his son Yurii took them, and after that they disappeared. I searched for them, but didn't find anything.”
“Have you ever been to St. Petersburg yourself?”
“I still remember being in Leningrad. I was lucky then. I received a ticket to Petrodvorets from work. They had a good sanatorium there. The water is healing, and the procedures are different.”
“And where does the mineral water come from?”
“At the beginning, I also asked the same question, but then I read in the local newspaper that Catherine also had a well with healing water and even soldiers guarded it. But years had passed and everything was lost, abandoned. And then one day, in one place of the park, a fountain gushed and doused the bushes and trees. They were covered with a whitish coating. This place was cordoned off. The water was taken for research, it turned out to be mineral. So, someone then remembered about Catherine's well. And, of course, it was renovated as expected.
“Yes, you are lucky, but it was a long way.”
“Not really. On a plane, though with an intermediate landing for refueling, but this is a trifle and the ticket cost a penny, chatted a little with passengers on the YAK-40 and I’m here. I came to Petrodvorets, to the sanatorium, to the emergency room, but it was too early. It was closed, so I sat down on a bench, waiting. The weather was cool. Back then, almost everyone was wearing sweatshirts all summer. I wore a raincoat, while a guy in a white short-sleeve T-shirt was shivering nearby. We met each other. I asked him where he came from, asked what hot place it was if he was dressed like this. And he told me he came from Vladivostok. I didn't believe it, of course. He started telling me that he worked on the railroad. And most importantly, he is single. When he offered me as a joke or not a trip to Leningrad, I agreed. Why not? The road is free, the fact that it takes a long time to arrive there is nothing new, but you can see a whole country. Though he told he underestimated a weather a little. He explained to me, that in Leningrad August is a hot month, and here it's a little cold. The boy was small, dark-haired, with a dark face with Asian features. They put us in the same room, and we became friends. We also had a disabled man from Uzbekistan who lost a leg. He was wearing a prosthetic one. And he protected his prosthetic leg more than his own leg. I kept thinking whether it was made of gold, or maybe there were diamonds in it like in the famous Soviet movie. He always criticized us, the Russians, to put it mildly, that we live differently from them. We don't save a lot of things, especially bread. He explained that they use every crumb. We also very lazy, especially young people and children. He said that in Uzbekistan everyone is busy with their own business from an early age. Someone takes care of the animals, someone works in the flower garden, or in the vegetable garden. He also complained that it was cool and raining, and there was no place to sit and drink good tea and talk to someone.”
On the first day, he asked us:
“Do you know the name of the building where you were placed?”
He narrowed his eyes slyly. So, his eyes became just slits in his round, shiny-skinned face, and he waited a moment before answering: “The Stables!”
“What does in mean the stables?” My new friend Nikolai asked in surprise.
The man from Uzbekistan, in turn, added:
“And in the room in which you will live, in royal times Hussars lived, and the dining room is located in the former arena for horses’ dressage, there you will see, a royal balcony on which the kings sat. Well, you will find out everything yourself. But the building is very beautiful, it looks like a palace or an English castle. Built by Nicholas I. Patron saint of the Horse Guards. And there is even an equestrian cemetery. At one time, one said they made films about what's-their-name… three fat men.
George thought for a moment and continued:
“The beauty of Petrodvorets and Peterhof, is certainly exceptional. I've been to Poland before when I was young, and there's nothing similar to it, not even close. And Moscow looks a little pale in front of St. Petersburg.”
And George began to talk about the beauty of palaces, parks and fountains. He said that all the streams and rivulets from all over the area are collected in ponds and feed these various and amazing forms of sculptures. And those with light singing raise silver streams of water above them, scattering and sometimes turning them into countless emerald and diamond drops. He also told me about large and small palaces that ran down almost to the sea. There is a small building on the shore, a palace called Montplaisir, where Peter the Great held his famous assemblies, in other words, meetings. In the hall, on a large table, on a green cloth, under a glass cap, a cup of “Big Eagle”, and a huge glass. Approximately there was more than a liter of aniseed vodka in it, and anyone who was late had to drink it. And after that, one said, one fell in the bushes, and then for a long time was ill. So, no one was late.
He paused and continued:
“You can imagine I went to the water of the Gulf of Finland, looked into the distance of the sea and involuntarily imagined my grandfather sailing on a warship.”
“Well, did you find out about him anywhere else?”
“Where and when? I wanted to go everywhere in that short time, see everything that I could, but I also had to go through the procedures. I've already visited all the excursions there that I could. I saw the first wooden house of Peter the Great. I went on a tour of the city of sea glory. I was on the “Aurora”, of course, and the thoughts of my grandfather were spinning around even there. It even seemed to me that I was walking around the ship not with the guide, but with Ivan Stepanovich, and when I fell behind the group, and caught up with it, and saw the sailor, I wanted to see my grandfather in him. And when we were at the Admiralty, I couldn't help looking at the gates, doors, and windows, and I couldn't help wondering where my grandfather might have been in that austere building at that time. But I knew for a fact that he had walked these roads and participated in those most difficult events.”
George paused and got lost in his thoughts. The other person was also silent, but the narrator continued again.
“You tell me I visited so many places, and now even I'm surprised. I've been to the Winter Palace, I've seen Peter the Great's house, in Petropavlovsk, I was in the Kunstkamera, at the Piskarevskoye cemetery... they even took me to the theater, but I don't remember which one or what play was presented there, apparently some kind of nonsense. In Razliv, where Lenin wrote his famous theses in a hut. I visited Tsarskoye selo – it was unforgettable. Of course, I grew up on Pushkin as it often said. I still remember Museum-Lyceum. The main hall. And Pushkin's voice still echoed here. Portrait of Derzhavin. Derzhavin's chair. Portrait of our fellow countryman Goncharov. A table with a book on it, “The History of the Russian State”. A library. A room for self-study. Training class. Physics and math class. Drawing class. Singing class. And 82 rooms for students. Everything is numbered, but the room No. 13 do not exist, there are two No. 14 rooms instead... And at home I still keep half-decayed Pushkin’s compilation. I got it from my father...
But sometimes I couldn’t escape adventures... Once we went on a bus tour. The driver was a little nervous. And a huge, self-propelled crane entered the cabin like an arrow, and of course it entered exactly above me. But it gave a little touch and no one was seriously hurt. And the second time on the train, too, as they say, God saved me. Our train departs from the station, and the other one approaches this station and both of them are on opposite tracks. Thank God the automatics worked. A lot of people got bruises, including me. And I have a funny case happened to me. I still can't properly figure what it was. Before leaving, my wife and I made a list of what to buy in Leningrad. I had a day off and went shopping. I visited several shops “Opraksin dvor”, “Passage”, “DLT” (House of Leningrad trade). Of course, I visited “Gostiny Dvor” or as it was also called “Shopping Row”. Before that, I received advice about queues from employees of the sanatorium. If there are any, they sell something scarce there. And then I came to the store, and there was a crowd of people who, as they used to say, threw out the baby’s clothes. I took a place behind someone, went out, and sat down on the bench. I took the list out of my pocket and examined it. A peasant in a gray cap and a light jacket approached me. He sat down, legs crossed, took out an expensive cigarette and lighten it. Then he asks how and what, what kind of list it was. So, we talked, he laughed at me and left. And then I heard Vladimir Vysotsky's song about the list. And the thought just got into my head, as if he, Vysotsky, was sitting on the bench with me then, and then composed the song. I didn't tell anyone about it, though, only if we were close friends. You see how we all want to get involved with celebrities. Anyway, I bought everything, and even a Finnish light blue, sky-blue with white snowflakes on it, suit for my wife. She teased me then, asked on whom I tried it on, it was very much for her taste, and sat on her figure like a glove… I began to go home slowly to get ready and then after the procedures a elder woman came up to me and said: “I heard that we are fellow countrymen, we will be in the same region and leave on the same day. You're on a plane, and I'm going on a plane, too. Here's the money, buy me a ticket.” Well, what to do, I took the money and went and bought tickets. On the day of departure, we ordered a taxi, but she had so many suitcases! We arrived in Pulkovo, the airport was not in the best state at that time, I took her suitcases and dragged them, then my own. I saw bottled beer in the buffet, in the countryside, you know, it was a shortage. I thought, I could have a bottle. The admission procedure had started. My friend somehow quickly slipped through. I walked up to the counter, and there was a big, blond captain. He said, “Put your suitcase on the counter and open it.” I opened it, and he touched the top with his hands and asked: “Well, what’s in here” and I jokingly answered “Grenades.” Then he put my shirts aside, and found the bottles of Pepsi-Cola. We looked at each other and both smiled. I closed my suitcase, and he said, “Come in,” and pointed to the “horseshoe”. I passed by and heard a bell ringing. The captain said to me, “Take off your watch.” I took it off, went through, and it tinkled again. I laid out a key and a belt from a raincoat with an iron clasp. I passed for a second time and heard another ding. Then I began to worry, fumbling in the pockets of my raincoat, and was horrified to find a small-caliber rifle cartridge in my left hand, which I quickly stuffed into the thick notebook between the pages. Meanwhile, I pull a large pack of chewing gum wrapped in foil out of my right pocket. The captain points to the gum and said, “Put it down and come in.” As I passed, I couldn't believe I didn’t hear a tinkle.”
George paused expectantly. And the interlocutor immediately asked him: “Where did you get the cartridge?”
“I found it. When there were heavy rains and excursions were canceled, I went to the shooting gallery in front of the sanatorium, covering myself with a purchased umbrella. I was so good at shooting that I could shoot down the flames of gas burners. And one day, coming out of the shooting gallery, a strange lump flew out from under my shoe, so I picked it up. And when I cleaned it of dirt, I found that it was a cartridge from a small-caliber rifle, and for some reason I automatically put it in the pocket of my raincoat, and forgot about it completely. Of course, nothing particularly terrible, but I would have lived in Leningrad even on state-owned grub until the situation had been clarified, that's for sure. Then it was kept for a long time in my sideboard at home, reminding me of the unacceptable nonsense that should not be done in life.
“Yes, an accident, of course,” the interlocutor sympathized.
“When we boarded the plane, my fellow passenger began to ask me why I was delayed somewhere. In my joy, I answered her something vague and she immediately began to tell me about herself. That she works as a cleaner in the museum of our famous countryman Suslov. And that she saw him just like me right next to her when he came to his village for the opening of his monument, after being awarded the title of Hero of the Social work twice. And that they now have asphalt laid to the village. And about how modest this “big” person is. And how he was solemnly greeted. And what kind of food and drinks were prepared, and after the opening of the monument and fiery speeches, he quietly came and sat down at the table. He looked at everything and asked for millet porridge with milk. And she told, me how they had asked most of the village until they found the boiled porridge. And he took a bite, thanked them, politely said goodbye, wished everyone a good rest, apologized that he couldn't wait any longer – you know, and left. And she talked about how those invited to the celebrations did not leave the museum for several days and celebrated this event.”
“And why did you never tell anyone about it, my friend?” the other man asked.
“Well, I told my wife, but who needs this information, if I was someone like that, perhaps something could be inflated from this, but this is all nonsense. I've never been to Leningrad again, but I've been to St. Petersburg three times already. My son, Ivan, is the youngest, and he finished his studies at a military school in St. Petersburg. There he met a girl, and there was a wedding. My wife and I went with his friend, a neighbor Viktor by train. Wedding, you know what it is, all the attention to the bride and groom, however, the bride's parents took all the trouble on themselves. And the young people came up with a great idea, they laid flowers at the Leningrad memorial complex. The beginning of April, the weather is cold, but from what I saw, from such a popular memory, my soul became warmer. The wedding was played as expected. Then we went on the way back, two days and we arrived home. Yes, I completely forgot, my wife and I dropped by my son's school, as they say, got acquainted a little, talked to the teachers to calm our souls. True, we had to worry about two people now, but St. Petersburg was already much closer to us. And then, somehow, my granddaughter appeared unnoticed. My son, who graduated from high school, wanted to serve in St. Petersburg. We took him to the headquarters, so to speak, went to meet him halfway. And imperceptibly, time somehow flew, another grandson appeared. The son managed to serve near Moscow, returned to St. Petersburg again, and the granddaughter went to school. Soon the son was sent to the commission, it's a pity, of course, but he managed to get an apartment. And my wife and I had to go to St. Petersburg with our granddaughters to study, they added troubles to everyone there. Children it always like that, they will get sick, then vacation, then something else. For the summer, grandmother went to St. Petersburg for her grandchildren and brought them here. And almost all summer these young residents of St. Petersburg are with us.”
"Now I understand why St. Petersburg had become close and dear to you,” said George's interlocutor. “And it is clear that grandchildren are a sacred cause, they are becoming more expensive than children.”
“But they don't give you much of a trip to museums and excursions,” Georgiy continued. “But on one of my trips, and it was somewhere at the end of the year, in December, I dared and called Nikolai Viktorovich, a fellow countryman, and he is even my namesake. We often met in our village, he performed here, and he invited me to visit him. True, he does not live in St. Petersburg itself, but he lives nearby in Vsevolozhsk. Yes, you probably heard about him, he had a grandmother here, Yevgenia Makarievna. She worked as a doctor and was a good specialist. People called her Makarievna. Her husband died in the war and she was left with two children: Victor and Nona. So, Nikolai, from the son of Viktor, God rest his soul, served in the Civil Navy. And his mother Galina, also from our village, from the street, that used to be called Schelkan. And her father was Sergey Alekseevich, his surname was Zasarsky, if I’m not mistaken. A war veteran, an officer, I also wrote a story about him, how his communist friends accidentally buried him. And Galina Sergeevna was once the director of the maritime training plant. So, Nikolai Viktorovich, her son, was a bard. So tall, slender, serious, with a beard and glasses. In general, he wrote poems himself, played music for them, and performed with a guitar. Winner of various competitions. And the young man did not forget us and liked to come to his small homeland. He had a grandmother's house here, and he was born in our village. It's a pity that his aunt died, she lived here for a long time and was a fan of my “talent”, she liked my stories. God rest her soul. She was a nice woman, but the whole family in general, was good, kind, in the true Russian spirit. Nikolai Viktorovich was accepted into the Writers ' Union, and you know I was as well. So, we are somewhat kindred spirits. I had the reviewer at the introduction — the famous St. Petersburg writer Nikolai Mikhailovich, it's just a great pity that he died. However, I was lucky enough to meet him, no, not in St. Petersburg, but in Ulyanovsk. The Goncharov Prize was awarded to him. At that time, Olga Georgievna was the chairman of the regional Union. She was a wonderful person. Nikolai Mikhailovich gave me his book as a keepsake. He really wanted to visit us in Sursky on Nikolskaya Gora, but no luck. His wife came with him and somehow managed to break her leg.”
“Everything is interesting in life, but it is intertwined.”
“Don't tell me. Life is like a colored wicker pattern. And when I called Nikolai Viktorovich, I felt that he was happy, as he began to invite me to his place. I explained the situation. He understood and told me about St. Petersburg’s literary activities and those in which he intends to participate and if I have time, I can join him. The first thing I did was go to the winter book fair. And you know, another funny case. The times are different today, where there are a lot of people, there are detectors, which can scan you. And it didn't like my beard. And as our NVP teacher used to say, “vivarachivay karimany”. I had to open my wallet, show my passport and ID card. Well, there's nothing, you have to get used to it, it's good that you haven't got in prison yet. It's just a joke, of course… The exhibition is very expensive. There are so many publishing houses, so much literature and a lot of visitors, there are lectures and meetings. In short – it was great. I met two writers from St. Petersburg. One, it turned out, recommended Nikolai Viktorovich to join the joint venture, and the other later visited us in Ulyanovsk, and both of them, of course, knew Nikolai Mikhailovich well. We talked, pushed, took a photo as a souvenir, and then I met them again. Nikolai Viktorovich invited me to the presentation of a collection of poems by St. Petersburg poets, which also included his poems. And do you have any idea where it was? In Pushkin's house, on Moika, where the last hours of our great poet's life were spent, I certainly couldn't miss this. Nikolai Viktorovich and I met in the subway and went to Moika, 12 on foot, of course he was with his inseparable guitar, and we took pictures at the entrance and in the courtyard near the Pushkin monument. In my heart, God knows what was going on and now the whole situation flashes before my eyes. And then we went to the assembly hall. The crowd was decent. On the stage was a white grand piano, the presenter, the compiler of the collection and the poets who take turns performing. In addition to Nicholai, the bard – priest also performed on the stage, which, of course, surprised me a lot. And it all went easily, in one breath. Among the poets who performed, I saw another friend, Andrey Vladimirovich. Nikolai Viktorovich also introduced me to him earlier, when we also went to the presentation of another collection at the University of St. Petersburg. Andrey Vladimirovich was a teacher there. Translator from Portuguese, poet, writer and editor-in-chief of the Sphinx magazine. Such a powerful, burly man with big hair and a beard on a large head. Then he published some of my stories in a magazine. My son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter went to presentations and collected magazines. It is a pity that later a broken spine chained Andrei Vladimirovich to bed… Such cases… And then I left St. Petersburg on New Year's Eve, by train. Problem with tickets. True, by this time I still managed to visit the Winter Palace and of course went to the Admiralty. Once again, I was filled with memories of my grandfather Ivan Stepanovich... And then to the train station. And the first time I met the new year on a train, on wheels, on the top shelf. In our times, the old man rarely gives up the lower shelf. So that I watched in motion how Mother Russia sees off the old year and meets the new year...”
“Why are you being modest? You should have written about all this long ago.”
“To write something you need time and inspiration for it, adding to this your health condition, and the age... If there’s a God will, I will scribble something... Last summer I went to St. Petersburg again,” continued George. “I suppose it turned out interesting. The daughter-in-law brought her granddaughters by train in the spring, to the station, we met them with my grandmother, and she went back. A daughter-in-law didn’t need to go to work. Then he and his son came by car to pick up the kids at the end of the summer. We stayed for a while. The car was loaded, there was nowhere to sit. And we decided so, the daughter-in-law and her granddaughters are going again on the train, and my son and I are on the car. We left in the evening. They decided to skip Moscow at night. And the car seems not bad, and the road, but how many of these cars, it's just necessary to see. And in Moscow and all that is happening to it, an endless stream of lights, headlights, and everyone is going somewhere, in a hurry. Well, the phone helps to plot the route, but what a strain for the driver. By morning, they also left Moscow for the toll road. We took a little nap, had a snack and then went on. There were fewer cars here so we could keep a good speed. True, before the city, we spent two hours at a gas station. And in the evening, we were in St. Petersburg, but I'll tell you the pleasure of the trip by car is small. I didn't see much on the way, and I didn't remember much. I've been lying down for two whole days, but look, I've flown by plane, traveled by train, and now by car, and there's still water left on the boat. They say there is such a route, God willing, I'll think of something… And when I recovered a little from the trip, I decided to call Nikolai Viktorovich again. Before that, we began to communicate regularly by phone and on the Internet. He said that he had already experienced our viral times for himself. He got sick, caught this damn corona. But it's all good that it was more or less costed for him. He told me that he tried to go outside, be in air. He went for mushrooms and blueberries. There were almost no literary events, or they were held very rarely and with all sorts of precautions. I relayed our conversation to my son, who jumped at the idea of picking blueberries. I tried to talk him out of it, but he didn't. I called, made an agreement, and now we are going to see Nikolai Viktorovich in Vsevolozhsk, along the “road of life” as I read on the road signs. Not arbitrarily, as on the screen flashed in my eyes, imaginary shots of the military chronicle of besieged Leningrad. To distract myself, I started talking to my son. We stopped by to pick up Nikolai Viktorovich. He was waiting for us, and after leaving the apartment, he sat in the front seat of the car and became our guide.”
Turning around the city, the car swerved along the road surrounded by forest. They were mostly pine trees. In places, the road was paved with rubble stone. Unexpectedly, in the middle of the forest, there were buildings of solid houses, fenced with a dense fence.
“And now, there will be a lake called Dlinnoe,” said Nikolai Viktorovich and pointed with his hand. “It's followed by a lake called Glubinnoe.”
I then immediately cut in on our conversation, saying:
“No way! It sounds like our lakes. We also have Dlinnoe and Glubinnoe.”
“But we will go a little further to another lake with the name Bolshoye or it is also called Krugloe. We'll stop there,” Nikolai Viktorovich explained.
Soon the surface of the water began to flash like mirrors behind the trees. When we put the car in and everyone got out, we saw a big round lake. It was as if someone had filled a large, extra-large plate to the brim with water, and placed greens around it. It was so densely surrounded by the lake trees, stepping to the water's edge. After walking a few hundred meters along the road and going a little deeper into the forest, we noticed how blueberries began to look at us from the bushes with shining eyes. We started collecting and talking at the same time. We talked and remembered. We shared the memories and talked.
“And what was that you were remembering?”
“Interestingly, it turned out that at the beginning of his creative path, Nikolai Viktorovich was greatly influenced by our other fellow countryman, the bard Vladimir, and you know this Vladimir lived on my childhood street, just above my parents ' house. We even had a little fight with him once when we were kids… He played guitar and wrote some stuff. I wanted to go abroad. I tried to persuade the guys to go to sea training. I remember his tall, not very slender figure and slightly bouncing gait. I didn’t know for sure whether he went to school or not, but it seems to me that at that time he came from Riga in a sailor's uniform. I can't say for sure how long ago it was. You listen to what Nikolai Viktorovich told me “I first heard the song ‘I'll write in an hour after the fight’ in the mid-80s of the last century, performed by my brother Anatoly. The piece became one of the songs on which I honed my performing art, repeatedly performing it in the circle of friends and in student companies. Much later, quite unexpectedly, I found out that its author was my fellow countryman, a native of the working village of Surskoye, the poet, bard Vladimir Aratsky. I managed to learn little about his fate: he was born in Sursky. During the years of Perestroika, I found myself in Riga, trying to do business. He visited the Riga psychiatric hospital, where he was put away. Then he died. That's all. Rest in Peace!” But I couldn't tell Nikolai Viktorovich anything more then, only later I found something about Vladimir. But it's a long story, and I'll tell you another time.”
“I haven't heard from him at all.”
“Time, my friend, gives you a lot of things to forget,” George said philosophically, and moved on to something else. “I'll tell you a little bit about the estate ‘Priyutino’, which was owned by Olenin Alexey Nikolaevich, is located on the ‘Road of Life’.
“You passed it, but probably didn't pay attention,” Nikolai Viktorovich told us then. “It is hidden behind a fence and has been restored for many years, and how many poets, writers, artists, composers have visited it in their time! Pushkin also visited there. He wooed the daughter of the owner of the estate, Anna Olenina, she rejected him. Ivan Krylov also visited the Olenins. The owner of the estate was very hospitable. And later, in Soviet times, Nikolai Rubtsov lived there, also tried to arrange a personal life – yes, apparently, sheltering penates jealously keep their offsprings of their geniuses. They provide inspiration, but not success in love. My godfather came here after the wedding with his new wife – and he, too, apparently, fell to the charms of nymphs of the Priyutinsky pond. Such a place... “
After a pause, George added:
“I read somewhere later that the owner of the estate had a small herd of cows and a building for storing milk. So sometimes there was not enough milk for the guests, so many of them came to the estate.”
“Well, at least you picked up some blueberries, otherwise I realized you were having a lot of conversations.”
“Of course, they did, and even then, Ivan's wife made the jam. There are enough blueberries there and everyone could pick them up if they want. And on the way back, we stopped for pies to Galina Sergeevna, that she specially baked for her fellow countrymen. The family of Nikolai Viktorovich, his wife Tamara and son Seraphim gathered at the dinner table. We could probably talk and remember for days, but we had to leave. And my son Ivan and I once again rode along the ‘Road of Life’ and took with us not only buckets of blueberries, but also kind, warm memories of meeting our fellow countrymen on Vsevolzhskaya land.”
“You didn't ask, where you could find out about your grandfather?”
“What is there to ask. Everything was quarantined, including the archives. My young grandson and I decided to get into the Writers ' Union of St. Petersburg when my son and I were taking them to the hospital to get acquainted and at the same time give them our book as a gift. But on the door there is an announcement similar in meaning to the famous one ‘The district committee is closed, everyone has gone to the front!’. But if you want to visit the aquarium, please pay money, put on a mask and go on. Business, commerce! Fish should be fed. But I'll tell you, there's plenty fish to see, of course. Especially for children. Even a scuba diver swims with sharks in a huge aquarium. Once again, the marine theme reminded me of my grandfather. I was determined to go to the Navy archives when I got home. I decided to take a plane home. Every day, walking with my grandchildren, I saw planes taking off and landing. The neighborhood where my son's family lives, not far from Pulkovo Heights.”
“You've probably checked all your pockets this time!” George's companion asked with a smile.
“Check it out! First of all, I didn't recognize the airport anymore. This is a large, modern and beautiful building. I said goodbye to my dear granddaughters and son in the waiting room, before I had to go through four checks before getting on the bus that took passengers to the plane. You can imagine, even on the X-ray enlightened. But then two hours of flight and I'm in our regional center. And it is necessary as I was lucky, late in the evening, on a passing truck to the house reached. Only one thing saddened me, our domestic aircraft were gone.”
And after a pause, George added.
“And I sent a request about my grandfather... now I'm waiting for a response.”
“You let me know when you get any news,” Georgiy's interlocutor asked.
With that, they parted ways.
And now the answer came from St. Petersburg from the archive. George studied the photocopies for a long time and carefully. And so many emotions, feelings and memories rolled over him. He couldn't wait to share, so he called a friend.
“Listen, I got copies of my grandfather's paperwork by email. Of course, it would be better to watch, but that's later. And now I'll try to tell you.”
My grandfather was called up shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. Oh, if you only knew, they sent me a circular, Form No. 6 of those times. This is the half of the document that remains in the part of the troops where the recruit arrived. So, it is written. Then lower, large 1914 YEAR. With a solid sign at the end. Four, of course, in words. Next line: Alatyr district for military service Presence of the 1st Simbirsk province. Below, in the capital letters, is the CORRECT FORM LIST. The most important thing highlighted, and under it the clerk wrote in an ornate manner: Baranov' Ivan Stepanovich. Next is the first line.
The number of the reception mural and opposite number 91, the number of the 3rd precinct. In what order is accepted. And vice versa. By lot. It turns out that the call was made by lot. They wrote numbers on cardboard boxes, put them in a box, and then pulled them out.
Line two. Nickname (or last name). First name and patronymic of the person employed. On the contrary, words Baranov Ivan Stepanovich, written down by the clerk. Below, the rank or estate and the society to which it belongs. And on the contrary, a peasant of the Alatyrsky district, the Baryshsky volost, the village of the Baryshsky Sloboda.
The third line is interesting. Time of recruitment, year, month and date. On the contrary, 1914, October 9 written by hand. And it is especially interesting that in the same line below. The beginning of the service and vice versa. Since January 1, 1915. And they took it for five whole years.
The fourth line. Time of birth, year, month and date, and on the contrary, 1893, October 16.
In the fifth line. Height 2 arshin 64/8 vershok. Below the chest circumference is 20 vershok. And even lower. Weight 177/2 pounds.
In the sixth line. In what order was accepted for service. K – drill.
The seventh line. Statement of health status. Next, the line is not filled in. This should be understood as that our grandfather was healthy.
The eighth line of three sub-paragraphs. What religion... Orthodox.
Further. Single; widowed or married and has children; as well as the patronymic and Orthodoxy of the first. He is married to Alexandra Pavlovna and has a daughter, Raisa. The wife of the Orthodox faith.
In the ninth line, nothing is said about literacy. But in the fourth paragraph of this line. Occupation, craft or craft, this is the answer. Watering on a barge. I should have understood, that granfather was literate. Now it became clear to me why my grandfather got to serve in the navy. And at the end. I checked it with the original reception painting. Presence member and signature. He came to the service and entered the state maintenance on October 28, 1914. According to the order of 1876 No. 77 and paragraph 30 and the instructions for the admission of recruits, he was given things and money; where exactly the Baltic Fleet was assigned to service and in words.
Alatyr District Military Chief, Colonel. Seal and signature. That's the kind of document you understand. This dispatch was apparently written out to my grandfather in Alatyr and forwarded to St. Petersburg.
“Yes. Very interesting. I will definitely come to see it,” Georgiy heard on the phone.
“And the next document was already filled out at the place of service in St. Petersburg,” George continued. “Listen to this. A standard form of that time, filled out with more than one hand. ‘The recruit of the draft of 1914. At the top is number 456 written in pencil and corrected several times. On the right side of the form in the upper corner there is a not quite clear purple stamp ‘gunnery officer’’. From what I immediately understood, my grandfather was a naval gunner. Then it continued. Gubernia (province) of Simbirsk. Alatyrsky county. Name Ivan. Patronymic Stepanov. Last name is Baranov. Below is the ‘11’ of November 1914 (year). On the left in the square. Ocular. Of course, diseases. And the signature ‘Healthy’. Below. ‘Trachoma – no’. To the right of the name, patronymic and surname, there is a note column and in it two words — a doodle with a pen that cannot be recognised. There are two more squares to the right. In them. ‘Ears – normal’. ‘Internal diseases – normal’. At the very bottom there is a large rectangle, and in it: ‘External diseases 0_|_0_’. Below in words ‘the height is 169’, lower ‘the weight is 79’ and something is not recognizable in Latin and the volume of the chest is also unrecognizable. And at the very bottom of the document: print. (That is, the printing house) of the headquarters. Kroonstad. The port.
And at the end of the third photocopy. Form No.2. Track record. Below Ivan Stepanovich Baranov. He came to the service and entered state maintenance on October 28, 1914. Further. Assigned to service in the 1st Baltic Fleet Crew. 1914 November 12. Renamed to Sailors 2 – articles. January 8, 1915. By the Circular of the Headquarters of the Chief of the Rear and the Port of Kronshtadt for No. 858, he was enrolled in the Training Artillery Detachment of the Baltic Fleet in the class of gunners. 1915 April 27. And then in words. By the order of the head of the training detachment and the detachment of training vessels of the Baltic Fleet dated March 1, No. 189, to enroll in the commandery, as having passed the exams for this title, and to appoint to the 2nd brigade of battleships. 1916 February 23.
By the circular of the head of the 2nd brigade of ships of the Baltic Sea for No. 192 to appoint to the command of the battleship ‘Emperor Pavel 1st’. 1916 March 11. And one more entry. By order of the Head of the Training Detachment No. 473, he was promoted to the sailors of the 1st article from January 1st. The order was signed on December 31, 1915.
There are still photocopies, but they only confirm everything I told you above.
George fell silent. My friend was also silent. Then George continued:
“This is all before 1917, and nothing was sent about the events of the seventeenth and after. And my grandfather, count the years until 1921-22, served in the Admiralty, according to my late mother. It turns out strangely that the documents of the tsarist times have been preserved, but there are no Soviet ones. What can I say, in his district, where he returned, where he worked as chairman of the soviets and collective farms, you will not find anything. It's also good that Ivan Stepanovich got into the book of Memory of the participants of the Second World War with his sons Anatoly and Boris. And where did they fight, how did they fight? Question. Maybe I don't know how to search. But I will still try, God willing, something will turn out. Well, all right, come, look at the documents and George, turning off the phone, involuntarily plunged into thought.”