Rasputin_Siberia Without the Romance.

Rasputin_Siberia Without the Romance. - Valentin Rasputin...

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Unformatted text preview: Valentin Rasputin Translated and with an Introduction by Margaret Winchell and Gerald Mikkelson 7 Photographs by Boris, Dmitriéfi ' ' NorthWéstorn Barman; Press EvafiétOh, 7' " _\ V _ . $3» Valentin Rasputin. Photograph by Anatoly Panteleev, St, Petersburg Siberia without the Romance This vast expanse bears the common name Siberia, which will probably stay With it forever because nothing other than Siberia c531 3 cl cOIDC \‘w Vladimir Andrievichf specialist on Siberian history The word Siberia—and not so much the word as the con— cept itself——has long sounded like a warning bell announcing some- thing vaguely powerful and imminent. ln the past its tolling grew muffled whenever interest in Siberia suddenly dropped off and then became louder again when interest rose; now it rings continually with ever—increasing forcefulness. Siberia! Siberia! . . . Some people hear confidence and hope in this resonant sound; others hear ominous human footfalls in a faraway land; still others hear nothing in particular but listen with the vague sense that the changes coming from this region might bring relief. Even those who have never been here and who remain distant from its life and concerns inevitably feel Siberia inside themselves. Siberia itself has become a part of the lives and con- cerns of a great many people, if not as a physical, material concept then as a moral one that promises an unclear but much desired renewal. In the eighteenth century Russians said, “Siberia is our Mexico and our Peru.” in the nineteenth century they said, “It is our United States.” 77 u In the twentieth, “Siberia is a source of colossal energy, a land of unlimited opportunity” As we can see, humanity’s arsenal of technolo— gy is changing, our needs are changing, and the way we characterize Siberia is changing, too. Siberia has everything, from virgin mineral wealth lying on or near the surface to processible wealth buried deep in the ground. It has obliged every age, and all assessments of it, from the earliest rumors to the most recent substantiations by economic experts, 34 Siberia, Siberia have invariably abounded in superlatives But even now. when Earth can feel the symptoms of asphyxia, we are already turning to Siberia, calling it “the lungs of the planet.” Even now . . . It’s not hard to figure out what humanity’s prime and permanent necessity will be in thirty, forty, or fifty years and in what way Siberia could verily become a force of healing and salvation. We are used to the language of comparison, but no comparisons will tell us anything about Siberia. We can merely juxtapose the results of developing it, the work of human hands, and that’s all. There is nothing in the world that we could place in the same rank as Siberia. It seems capable of existing as a self—sufficient planet. it contains every— thing in all three realms of nature—on the ground, under the ground, and in the air‘that a planet ought to have. We cannot categorize its actual life, so varied and diverse, using known concepts. With every- thing bad and good, discovered and undiscovered, finished and incomplete, reassuring and inaccessible that exists within it, Siberia remains Siberia, a land that has its own name, lies in its own spot, and has molded its own character, which is unlike anything else. Its spirit hovers over it from region to region and end to end, seemingly unde- cided, even today, whether to embody good or evil—it all depends on how human beings behave here. During the four hundred years that have passed since Russians conquered Siberia, it seems to have simply remained a giant that they have tamed and made to look presentable in places but have never managed to fully awaken. And we would like to hope that this awakening, this spiritual realization of its own self, is yet to come. The word Siberia has never actually been deciphered; its exact ety— mological meaning has not been found. To outsiders who know about Siberia only through hearsay, it is a huge, austere, and wealthy land where everything seems to have cosmic proportions, including the same frigidness and inhospitableness as outer space. And they see native-born Siberians as a product of enigmatic nature rather than as a product, like they themselves, of the enigmatic human race. To those of us who were born and live in Siberia, it is our homeland, nearer and dearer to us than anything else in the world, a homeland that, like every other, needs love and protection, perhaps even more protection than any other place because it still has something left to protect. And Siberia without the Romance h [Tu-[5 about Siberia that scare others we find not only normal but k‘ c . . . . LID-0 cssential: we breathe more eaSIly 1n the winter durEg a hardtfiip: Ihm during a thaw; we feel peace, not fear, in the w1 ,fVirginda gt, n1i0h[)' rivers and unmeasured expanses have formed our ree 3n rt: — It‘s: souls. Differing views of Siberia—a View from the outSi e da m“ from within—~have always eXisted; although they have shi te , fluctuated, and drawn closer to each other, they remain different even now, Some people are accustomed to Viewing it as a rich provmce and envision the development of our region as the rapid, high-powered removal of its riches: those who live here and feel patriotic toward this land haxc always regarded its development as more than the explona— non of natural resources and industrial expansion. it includes this, too, but within reasonable limits, so as not to completely squander the rich— es that will become priceless tomorrow and that even today are moving out ahead of all the others, as the lucid mind not intoxicated With industrial zeal understands. These riches include the air produced by the Siberian forests, which we can breathe without harming our lungs; pure water, which the world is experiencing a huge thirst for at this verv moment; and land that is not contaminated or exhausted, that could adopt and feed far more people than it feeds at present. Humanity could in effect turn over a new leaf by leaning on Siberia and a few other areas that are as yet untrammeled. One way or another, the human race will have to solve major problems very quickly if it intends to go on existing: what to breathe, what to eat and drink, how and for what purposes to make use of human intellect. The earth as a planet is coming to rest more and more heavily on four pillars, not one of which can now be considered reliable. And even if the root meaning of the word Siberia is not salvation, Siberia could still become its syn— onym. Then the colonization of Siberia, which lagged behind that of North America and for which old Russia was criticized for a long time, would turn into a great advantage; and then Russians could feel, with justification, that they had fulfilled no small part of their cleansing mis- sion on Earth. 35 36 ‘5."3“? Siberia, Siberia But here is a chance to do justice to our national character. Steadfastness in all their undertakings and tirelessness in carrying them out are the qualities that distinguish the Russran people And ifl had room to elaborate on hypothesis, then 1 could show that an enterprising spirit and consistency in following through with whatever they undertake have always been the main reason for the Russians achievements. Aleksandr Raciishchev,2 “A Word about Yermalt”3 Although Siberia is located on the same landmass as Europe and is par- titioned off from it only by the Rock—~the Ural Mountains—which can certainly be considered surmountable, it was nonetheless opened up for civilized humanity almost one hundred years later than America. Vague rumors about Siberia had circulated throughout the world since antiquity, of course, and naturally Russians, especially the tireless Novgorodians, hunted, fished, and traded in its domains, penetrating Siberia both by land routes and from the northern seas, but because they regarded these activities as ordinary, they did not report their unauthorized penetrations to anyone and simply passed along their experience to their sons. The Novgorodians were familiar with Yurga (as the northern lands east of the Urals were called) as early as the eleventh century and perhaps even earlier The word Siberia first appears in Russian chronicles“ at the beginning of the fifteenth century in con- nection with the demise of Khan Tokhtamysh,5 the same Tokhtamysh who, after the Battle of Kulikovo Field during the reign of Dmitry Don- skoy,6 set fire to Moscow but held power for only a short time and was killed, as a result of internecine feuding, in “the Siberian land.” The rumors about Siberia that arose periodically in Western Europe during ancient times were so full of fables and fairy tales that they scared off some people and made others smile in disbelief even back then. Relying on such rumors, Herodotus notes in his History, apparently having the Urals in mind: “At the foot of some high moun- tains dwell people who are bald from birth and have flat noses and oblong chins.” But later he cannot help having some doubts: “The bald ones say—which, incidentally, I do not believe—that some people liV- ing in the mountains have goats’ feet and others living beyond them sleep six months out of the year.” Foreigners in ancient and medieval times can be excused for believing that the depths of Asia were inhabited by monsters with dogS’ { E t, Siberia without the Romance ,. Liven with no heads at all, with eyes and mouths on their bel- O ’ Haiti.» 1 t there is actually a Russian written source from the sixteenth nu. J “Lit .V the same century in which the Russian government began to t C Ill L11 1 . mncx Siberia, that, in describing the country beyond the Urals, repeats ihc old tales in which the people there ostensibly die for the winter and come to life again in the spring. This is not surprising: a'fewyears ago m \VcSt Berlin someone asked me, “What do people in Siberia do dur— ing the winter?” The questioner actually supposed that in our part of [he world all you can do during the winter is sleep. pyotr vyazemsky,7 a man of letters and a friend of Pushkin, makes an intriguing co 1 )crson. a Fl‘CllCl‘iHl’dfl OT 21 German. 10 Dltlll out 801716 T101} mment about opinions of this sort: “if you want an ['lt‘llitic’llil sense; make him render a judgment on Russia. This is a subject that ivill intoxicate him and immediately cloud his mental faculties.” These words are all the more applicable to Siberia. And you don’t even have to go to Europe: for a long time Siberia “intoxicated” and “clouded” the minds of its own brethren, its fellow countrymen, who uttered (and sometimes still utter) such stuff and nonsense in their Views on Siberia that now we can only regret that no one ever took it upon himself to gather them all, for the sake of amusement, into a single book. But this nonsense was not always harmless and sometimes manifested itself in decrees that had to be carried out. Even today, just as in ancient times, people continue to search for miracles that don’t fit the scientific conception of order in the world. \Ve must assume that Siberia is one of those areas where the human spirit of contradiction and doubt has suffered considerable disappoint— ment in its time: here, too, things are essentially the same as every- where else. The conqueror of Siberia, as we know, was Yermak Timofeevich. The fact that Yermak himself and his band of warriors were all Cossacks signified a great deal. Cossack [in Russian, bazak] is a Tatar word that translates as daredevil, bold spirit, someone who has severed ties with his social class. The Cossacks arose in Rus8 shortly after the Tatar yoke was thrown off and became a distinct group during the sixteenth cen- tury, when the Russian people were increasingly subjected to feudalism and serfdom. Those who did not want to endure any sort of yoke, 37 was 38 Siberia, Siberia including a paternal one, fled to the Wild Field9;the lower reaches of the Don and Volga Rivers—where they founded their own settlementS elected Chieftains called atamans, established laws, and began a free) new life that was not subordinate to any khanate or czardom. Later or; the Russian Cossacks were still forced to submit to the czar’s rule (01h- erwise they could not have survived), but in the sixteenth century this had not happened yet; at that time the Cossacks were their own mas- ters. The czarist authorities, playing on the Cossacks’ patriotic feelings, could use them against their restless southern neighbors, against Turkey and the Crimean and Nogay Tatars, but they could also send punitive expeditions against them for unauthorized actions or as a result of diplomatic maneuverings with those same neighbors: relations between Moscow and the free Cossacks were always complicated, especially at the beginning. One good thing about this arrangement was that if any serious danger threatened Russia, the Cossacks consid- ered it their duty to rise to its defense no matter where the danger came from, be it nearby Turkey or distant Lithuania. Historians have argued recently that on the eve of his Siberian campaign Yermak Timofeevich took part in the Livonian War.10 The Cossacks played an exceptional, almost supernatural role in conquering and opening up Siberia. Only a special class of people— daring, desperate, and not crushed by the ponderous Russian state— could do what they, by some miracle, managed to do. When discussing the figure of Yermak, 1 find it hard not to pause and pay tribute to our Russian negligence and forgetfulness. Between the overthrow of the Tatars and the reign of Peter the Great,11 Russia's fate held nothing more important or monumental, more fortunate or historically significant than the annexation of Siberia, whose expanses could have accommodated old Rus several times over. Our imagination freezes in confusion before this fact alone, as though getting stuck just beyond the Urals in the deep Siberian snows. in contrast we know everything there is to know about Columbus, the discoverer of Ameri— ca: where he was born, what he did until his hour of “stardom,” when, down to the month and day, he embarked on his first voyage, and on his second, third, and fourth, when he reached the American coast, when his flagship, the Santa Maria, landed on a reef and what hap- pened then . . . Columbus nothing! We remember more about the Siberia without the Romance emperors and patricians of ancient Rome than about Yermak. All right, he couldn’t have kept a journal the way Columbus did, and there was no quick—witted historian at his side, as there was at Nero’s when he planned his murders, but in Yermak’s case there wasn’t a single soul who understood the significance of this figure and the greatness of his campaign. Only afterward did we come to our senses, when it became Clear that we didn’t know either Yermak’s real name or his ancestry, that there was no recollection or record of the year in which he went into battle against Kuchum,12 how many Cossacks made up his detachment and what kind of aid the Stroganovs provided, whether he reached lsker, the capital of the Siberian khanate, in one crossing, as the well— 39 ~94"? 40 siberia, Siberia known historian Ruslan Skrynnikov13 believes, back across the Urals after wintering th again, we are forced to question th or whether he had to go ere and then gear up all over e accuracy of the Stroganov Chronj- cleH precisely because it was commissioned by the Stroganovs and might exaggerate that family’s role in the annexation of Siberia, We look just as skeptically on another document, the Sinodik—the roster of Cossacks fallen in battle—which was compiled forty years after Yer- mak’s death by Kiprian,” the archbishop of Tobolsk, based on the sto- ries told by surviving participants in the campai the local church the Right Reverend Kiprian n much to make Yermak a saint and for that reason tated to embellish or omit any facts from Yermak’s ', not appropriate for canonization. Not for nothing is it said that Whoev- er controls the present also controls the past. And so for a couple of centuries now we’ve whether it’s true that Yermak, as the folk son ic sprees like Stepan Razin,16 Rivers before going to Siberi mama.» gn: in the interests of been trying to guess gs have it, went on period- roaming up and down the Volga and Don glory, do the common people, mixing up virtue with attributes he never had? We argue over whet name or a truncated form of the name Yermol from Yeremey, or Yermilo? Regarding Siberia’s first hero and his feat, we are ground when following the wel revised versions 5, endow their hero her Yermale is a nick- ay. Or maybe it comes obviously on safest l-known trails blazed by history The proposed by present-day scholars are not convincing enough to accept without reservations. Thus there is practically no basis for whitewashing the part of Yermak’s biography that pertains to gang life on the Volga when they try to prove that Yermak could not have engaged in the indecent “thieves’” trade [“vorovskim” remeslom]. His comrades-in—arms might have, but not Yermak. Isn’t it safer in this instance to rely on folk memory and folk intuition, which rarely erred in assigning such heroic traits as these? In addition, considering the times and morals back then, it’s hard to imagine that a man who spent at least twenty years in the Wild Field and became an ataman would have insulated himself from the customary occupations of the Cossack outlaws. As the song puts it: Siberia without the Romance he said accept respectful greetings from iermak' l ' l Lfijll‘, « :tlt kt H. V ‘ l \Il‘t‘l‘ you the whole blbellan lar Cl, le Siberian landi gram a pardon [O Yermak! ‘1 is the who 1 Yermak and his comrades caroused up and down the Volga - [it so . A 1 Mn in skirmishes and battles; by that time the Stroganovs, a \' 'c . ' And [00 I chant clan had settled on the eastern fringes of the Russran Gus met » Lmi long the chusovaya, Kama, and Lysva Rivers in the Ural a .- - | um, . ' mun .15 had established profitable enterprises for salt production, Houniall , v- ‘ulture trade, and other activities there, and, not content with 'k thc already acquired, had obtained permisswn from Ivanvytme Mm )~ ‘\Nl’l(,l into the lands along the lobol and lil}:l“l Rutis. {Hullsi‘ggfistfcll permission cost the Terrible Czar nothingd fglre glitz: linds did not belong to him: Khan Kuchum, who had united d — rim tribes and sown the seeds of lslam among them, was for an ma: [ctr there Thus the Stroganovs, on one side, looked longinglggt t te rich expanses that ostensibly belonged to them but in acth 1 no , while on the other side Kuchum, gathering strength, began arassmg the outlying settlements more and more often. Under those CircurE— stances it was only natural for the Stroganovs to turn to the Cossac s [m we will never know who took the initiative—Yermak himself, when his sins forced him to flee the Volga region, or in-fact the Sii‘oganovs, finally resolving to take serious action concerning their neighbor to the east—just as we will never know whether Yermak had .mvldoubts about making the difficult and dangerous march into Siberia, but it would have been a shame if someone other than Yermak had taken on Kuchum. Yermak, a man of the common people, was extremely well suited for this role, as if the people themselves had sent him to Siberia and then rewarded him with fame. He, along With Stepan Razin. became permanent favorites of the Russian people, the embodi— ment of their ancient, freedom-loving aspirations. But while Stepan Razin sought liberty by leading a rebellion on the lands of old RuSSia, chnak opened up fabulous new lands that seemed to have no limit and no end, flinging the doors wide open for freedom. ' He set out on his campaign to the territory beyond the Urals in 1581 or, according to other hypotheses, in 1579 or 1582. During the 41 42 Siberia, Siberia tricentennial celebration of this event, one of the Russian journals observed: Yermak‘s feat, the conquest of an entire realm with a handful of Cossacks was, of course, astonishing. No matter how superior to a bow and arrow a m1; might be, we still must not forget that locusts can extinguish whole bonfires that block their path, even though multitudes of them perish. The Cossacks numbered only five units of one hundred each, while the enemy counted themselves in the thousands and would have saved themselves by putting up a stubborn defense had not the head of the brave Russians been the outstand. ing commander and administrator Yermak and had the internal bonds that linked the Siberian tribes been stronger Glorifying Yermak's feat. we also can‘t help being astonished that it was a man of the common people who manifest- ed the law of history that moved Rus eastward into Asia and that has contin. ued to lead it in that direction down to the present. Yermak took the first solid step beyond the Urals, and others followed after him. And those others accomplished a feat no less astonishing. No! Everything that the Russian people could do in Siberia they did with uncom- mon energy, and the result of their labors deserves astonishment because of its magnitude. Show me another people in the history of the world that could cross an expanse greater than the expanse of all Europe in a century and a half and establish a firm foothold there! Everything the Russian people did went beyond its powers, beyond the historical order of things. Nikolay Yadrintsev” It’s a mystery why Yadrintsev, the famous Siberian writer and scholar of the nineteenth century, says that it took the Russian people a century and a half to cross Siberia and establish a foothold there. This obvious- ly applies to “establishing a foothold,” to occupying Siberia in all its breadth and might, to figuring out where to till the soil, where to hunt game, and where to dig mines. According to the old sources, Yermak captured lsker, the capital of the Siberian khanate, in the fall of 1582 and perished in an unequal nighttime battle in August, 1585, after which the surviving members of his detachment were forced to withdraw; yet in 1639 Ivan Moskvitin,‘8 a government servant19 from the Yenisey region, set up a winter t... fi<ia\1P‘hM\‘m'mWIh sit int ltlx Siberia without the Romance , i the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk and Russians reached Jmlmlcm OI ‘hile in 1648 Semvon Dezhnyov20 sailed across the “it (Mean W from Asia. This defies comprehension! . yho can even vaguely imagine those great and deadly dis— Anwm “’ h 1 shaking his head in disbelief. Traveling only by river 43 am e p ds) and dragging canoes and heavy loads across *4"? r to another; wintering in hastily built arm ’6 . ' . t w B ‘ s in unfamiliar places among hostile indigenous nomads while 3m x for the ice to break up; suffering from cold, hunger, disease, binds, and blood—sucking insects; losing comrades and strength ‘lcll move; using not maps and reliable information but rumors t be pure invention, often numbering Just a h-mtitnl of men; and not knowing what lay in store for them the nfext tll'n' or the day after that, they kept pressing forward, farther and1 ar— t-r to the east. Only after them would Winter quarters appear a ong i rivers and wooden forts, and crude maps, and written copies of L l , and experience in dealing at separates America nincCS C log cal \mllm wtltl 11 With e I, \Htlltl easily pro/\e to th th I” "oral histories” [zapisi “rasprossnykh rechet 1 with natives, and plowed fields, and saltworks, and simply notches on trees to point the way—the earliest explorers were domg it all for the first time, and everything was a dangerous, uncharted novelty. And nowadays, when we don’t hesitate to call every step and every deed done by the builders and subduers of Siberia a marvelous feat, it wouldn’t hurt to remember and it wouldn’t hurt to try to imagine a lit- tle more often what it must have cost our ancestors to take the first steps and perform the first deeds. Hc trudges through the Tobolsk forests and endless snows with a heavy - ' i it arquebus across his shoulders, which was issued to him from the v01vode s storehouse for the duration of his journey. He is searching for new river val- leys rich in sable and drawing sketchy maps. He crosses immense snowy expanses on skis, races along on a shaggy bay horse, leading another one by the reins, and Sits at the helm of a wide, flat-bottomed boat with a rawhide sail napping over his head. Danger lies in wait for him. He hears a black—feathered arrow sing as it approaches him. He doesn’t spare himself in “cl hand) combat [v “5"emnom” boiul, and at the end of a life filled with hardships, his wounds are impossible to count. He sleeps on the snow, feeds himself any pine bark ose” (hand-to- way he can, goes for years without seeing fresh bread, and often eats 44 +~2~z~ Siberia, Siberia and “any old foul thing” ["vsiakaia slevema”l. The government hasn‘t paid hi, i . rt his salary—in money. bread. and salt—for manv vears. “Gearing up” [“podn. I I L maias’ J to search for new rivers and lands, he buys everything with his 0w n money, signing agreements with crushing terms and running up debts he Can never repay. This is a portrait of one of the first explorers drawn by the Well- known writer Sergey Markov22 at the beginning of his essay on Semyo Dezhnyov. And it is by no means a complete list of the hazards that lay in wait for the “prospector” [“dohytchik”l and “profit seeker” l‘pribyl'shchik’q on their long journeys. Add to this the unfairness and greed of such voivodes as Pyotr Golovin. a stol'nihi‘ in Yakutia. Add the duplicity and behind-the-back actions of local princelings, who were totally unreli- able; the “floggings” [“pravezh”], “inquiries” [“rozyski”l, and denunciations on the part of informants, whom even the smallest collection of Rus- sians could rarely do without; and the struggle, sometimes reaching the point of battle, with defectors from their detachments, as occurred between Khabarov and Polyakov or between Dezhnyov and Stradukhin —and all this on top of the harshness of nature in Siberia. They endured shipwrecks, and vanished without a trace, leaving not a single record of their activities behind, and wintered time and again in places we now know to be the sites of record-breaking cold, and lost their minds during the long arctic nights. n . . . What more can be said?! Siberia exacted its tribute from them in full measure. They began their journeys as Cossacks strong both in body and spirit and ready for all sorts of deprivations, even one—tenth of which they could hardly have foreseen, and finished them, those who managed to finish, as men with a special superhuman fortitude and strength, men before whom the earth beneath their feet had to yield. Apparently no one like them came along afterward; they were what might be called the “crossbows” [“samostrely”l of the Russian spirit, for this was largely a spontaneous, grassroots movement undertaken at their own risk, with which the governments and even the voivodes’ decrees could not always keep pace. We do not have enough imagination to Visualize their exhausting feat; our imaginations are not equipped to walk the same long routes that these heroes took on their treks through Siberia. What led them eastward? What forced them, scorning torments i, .w “Mm, rmmmwlww‘ 9- ~: “.m, Siberia without the Romance H i Killngm-S, to be in such a rush? One reason is usually given: a crav- 1 k M. lefit, a need to find new lands where the natural riches. espe— ., 111V furs, were still untouched, and a desire to serve a voivode or the :1”: |)\' coercing more native peoples into paying tribute. All this did gum-51c them, of course, but if these were the only reasons, then the Inst Cossack explorers would not have been in such a hurry. In those “m- or sixty years that it took them to get from the Irtysh River to the plplng Ocean, ermine and sable were not yet wiped out in the “known” novedannaia” chast'] of Siberia, while the wooden forts that the an: p.1l‘l l”) ' . roent‘ks hastily put up on their way east were meager and few in number and provided no safety it would seemingly have made more its. to build a proper foundation, to store up plenty of \ictuals and other provisions, to make the rear areas, as we say nowadays, secure, .md then to move onward slowly and surely. But no, they were in a big rush. Just try to imagine them enduring a quiet and sensible life sitting tn one spot if nomads told them that up ahead lay the great Yenisey River, then the great Lena River, where a numerous and talented people tthe Yakuts) lived, and then the rivers all simply ran off into the dis- tance to meet the sun. No, it was not in the Russian character to calmly sit still awaiting instructions; it wasn’t in the Russian makeup to be prudent and cautious, abandoning their inborn “just maybe” [avos’]. We can be certain that the Cossacks were driven not only by self-inter— est and not only by the spirit of competition, by a desire to get there first—a more noble reason—but also by something greater. it was like the will of history itself, bending down low over that region at that time and picking out daredevils to test and prove the capabilities of the downtrodden Russian people, who were, in a widely held view, half asleep. National pride provided no small amount of the energy for this mighty upsurge. We don’t usually erect monuments to cities that distinguish them- selves. But it would be only fair if somewhere in the expanses of Siberia, say on the same Lena River where the most active “frontiers- men” [“zemlesvedyvateli”] gathered in the middle of the seventeenth century, we acknowledged and underscored Siberians’ noble recollec— tion of Ustyug the Great [Velikii Ustiug], now a decaying town that pro- duces accordions. But at that time Ustyug the Great, which once rivaled Novgorod the Great itself, was still a big name, and it confirmed A 45 46 «M- Siberia, Siberia its greatness through the likes of Semyon Dezhnyov, Yerofey Khabaroy 7 Vasily Poyarkov, Vladimir Atlasov. Vasily Bugor, Parfyon Khodyrev, and many, many others who achieved fame for their courage along Siberia’s rivers, portages, and seas. All of them came from Ustyug the GreaL This is not merely amazing; it seems unbelievable. What an Oddlty! How did so many of them get their start there, in the cradle of seafarers and discoverers, and how did they develop their backbone and strength of spirit?! To have produced only Dezhnyov, who discovered the “Bering” Strait, would have been enough for the town to be proud of itself for centuries. Any capital would consider it an honor to boast of Khabarov’s “odyssey” had he been born there. And what about Atlasov, the conqueror of Kamchatkam And Poyarkov. who “fouan the immense territories of northeastern Siberia! And for all we know, Ustyug may have been the home of the legendary Penda, who set out from the “gold-rush” town of Mangazeya“ and penetrated the Lena River region ahead of everyone else. Wasn’t Ustyug also the birthplace of Pyotr Beketov, one of whose expeditions inspired the following comment by Johann Fischer in A History of Siberia from the Discovery of Siberia until the Conquest of This Land Using Russian Weapons:ZS “l-le achieved his aim with such a small number of men that it seems almost unbelievable that Russians could have been that courageous.” it’s also worth noting at this point that twice in the course of one decade (in 1630 and in 1637) Ustyug the Great, along with neighbor- ing Totma and Solvychegodsk, sent large groups of single girls to dis- tant Siberia to become the “womenfolk” [v “zhonhi”l of Russian men in government service. After that, how could Siberians not feel bound to the town by blood and not bow down to it in heartfelt gratitude from afar?! They should also bow down to all of northern Russia, to the dear old land of Novgorod, Vologda, Arkhangelsk, and Vyatka, which is where the artisans and plowmen who followed on the heels of the C05- sacks came from and where the initial migration to Siberia began. Siberia was fated to enter the flesh and blood of Russia, and that is exactly what happened. Yermak, by quickly driving a sharp, knife—like wedge into the Siberia of the khans, deprived it of its former power; the first Cossack explorers, by racing across Siberia from one end to the other and quilting it with armed wooden forts, seemingly sewed it onto Russia. But Siberia was settled and made Russian not by warriors of I'm—r--. .W Siberia without the Romance ts not by hunters, fishermen, or tradesmen, but by d by profit rolled in and out like the tide, ~. m unit‘ut sel‘van ‘ ‘ ' "were. Those motivate I \m l 'W “I: 'q and mammmh iVOty, gold and other PreCious metals, and, swung l1" It Or hauling off the riches, after ravaging Siberia’s forests Mm film’le Of 'neral wealth to the extent that the means available then md Nbcm:1:€kers Of qUiCk fortune would head home and spread l'll'lx' rumors about Siberia, calling it a dead, impweflshgd count-W :llilll either for success or for a comfortable life. Thats hoVY It alway's 18: m“ mbbcr never Says thank—you to the victim. Even during the nine— ‘ mur)’ some of our better minds, discouraged by what they '1 lcred too small a productive return from Siberia, declared that Ol‘fi ' ‘lllOVCCd , [h _ ., 3., 1d,} prices ol Russia. knew only h0\\ to sap the 5u-cngth of its nurturer. Meanwhile, the farmers who had followed the tossacks into that uninhabited virgin land were plowrng‘ up the steppe or cltaring the taiga to make fields, sowing and harvesting crops year mgr year, raising children, adding to the number of families there, and making a land of hardship, by now already theirs, accessible and fit to mg on the h“ lfllls quiet, inconspicuous labor, pleasing to God, as people used to say, was the deciding factor. In the end, Siberia submitted to those who fed it. just one hundred years after Yermak’s campaign it began to man— age on its own grain alone, and after another hundred years it didn’t know what to do with so much. Curiously, the opponents of construct— mg a railway across Siberia in the nineteenth century put forth as one of their main arguments the fear that Siberia would use such a railroad to llood Russia with its cheap grain, while Russia, they claimed, would have no place to market its own. T he peasant was the one who finally grafted Siberia onto Russia, completing with his wooden plow the immense undertaking—immense in scope and in consequences—begun by Yermak with the aid of weapons. And we must admit that RuSSia acquired Siberia more easily than anyone might have expected. Its acquisition was like a great stroke of good fortune, or, to use the Siberian expression, an unprecedented lucky break [fart]. 47 «we 48 Siberia, Siberia We ought to be fair to Siberia. For all the shortcomings that have taken root there because of the constant influx of various, often highly impure elemems such as dishonor, selfishness, sccretiveness, anc mutual distrust, Siberia is distin. guished by a special breadth of spirit and thought, by a true magnanimity~ Mikhail Bahunin25 A Siberian’s mind is completely engrossed in material gain and keenly interested only in routine, practical goals and concerns These cold calculations and mercenary passions have crushed every predisposition toward the ideal, even public-spiritedness, that the population contained Afanasy Shchapov27 if we could gather all the opposing opinions together. it would be clear that non—Siberians speak better, and often with rapture, of Siberians than Siberians speak of themselves. And this, too, is in character for Siberians. They prefer to be unfair by exaggerating their faults rather than their merits, and they won’t hide their disappointment in their fel- low countrymen and in their homeland, which they would like to see become better, closer to perfection. After ending up in an unfamiliar natural environment, after finding themselves surrounded by aborigines, the native inhabitants of these regions, and after confronting new terms of existence in many aspects of life, Siberians naturally had to be different from their kinsmen living in the old part of Russia. just as the European in America turned into the Yankee type, so, too, did the Russian in Siberia become trans- formed into the Siberian type, acquiring distinctive characteristics in psychological makeup and even in physical appearance. As soon as you cross the Urals, you find faces with Asiatic features. it is widely acknowledged that the Russians who went to Siberia turned out to be superb colonists from the very start. True, they did attempt to establish slavery here as well, using North America as a model, with the intention of drawing on the local population for raw material; their attempts, however, not only came to nothing but were a big flop, condemned by the government, by public opinion, which was just arising, and by the practices of the simple peasants who had migrated here. Concerning the government, it must be said that in all serious diS' putes between Russians and non—Russians, the authorities, as a rule, I mum-«m res—WWW, .. Siberia without the Romance ' ith the latter That’s how it was under Peter the Great as well as i \\4 ‘ rvliherine. This did not. of course, prevent the voivodes and 'tli‘t hf , . , , , 1 mm from mercilessly humiliating and fleecmg non—Russians, but 1 it‘ll. i ‘imple peasant who settled in a new place next to a Buryat or a 1 1C 5 r 1 us had no trouble entering into friendly relations with him right 111 g - ' ' . \' passing along his experience as a plowman and an artisan while 11 . t ‘ ' t I I 10 up his neighbor’s skills in hunting and fishing, along With his lcdoe of local conditions and nature’s calendar. Not suffering in O .l\\' plt‘lx'll know ,h. hwist from elitism (Russians never seem to), the settlers began to g t .qihlish family ties with the aborigines and got so carried away that kt \ ' ‘1C[lC€ alarmed both the government and the church. As early as this pr . I ‘ ~ i it not the matriarch of Moscow Scl’ll a reprimand to kiprian. the .u'cli'rnishop of Siberia: ii hath come to our knowledge both from voivodes and from lower—ranking Ulllt‘lillS who formerly served in Siberia that many of the public servants and other residents of Siberian towns are living not by Christian customs but in actor-tiance with their own vile lusts: many Russian men . . . reportedly take pagan Tatar and Ostyak and Vogul wives and dwelleth in sin, while others live \\‘l[ll tiiibaptized Tatar women and committeth foul acts with them . . . The church, incidentally, was not consistent in its demands, forbid- ding mixed marriages with one raised finger while allowing them with another on the condition that those of different faiths convert to Chris- tianity. The parties of single girls sent out from the Russian provinces lrom time to time to become wives could not have sufficed for the whole vast region; Russian peasants, moreover, had the right to make Ilit‘il' own choices. Therefore it is not surprising that the farther you go Into the heart of Siberia, the more mixed marriages you find and the more often you see Asiatic features on Russian faces. in Eastern Siberia, for example, nearly every third or fourth face has broad cheekbones and slanting eyes, which give female beauty new contours and an expressive freshness that sets it apart from the tired, washed—out look of European beauty. The Siberians who resulted from blending Slavic mipulsiveness and spontaneity with Asiatic naturalness and self— absorption did not, perhaps, stand out as a unique character type, but they did acquire some noticeable traits, both appealing and unappeal— 49 4.4. .3. I 50 ‘3"3-3' Siberia, Siberia ing, such as keen powers of observation, a heightened sense of self~ respect that does not accept anything alien or coercive, inexplicable changes in mood and an ability to withdraw into themselves to some unknown private recesses, a raging passion for work alternating With bouts of wanton idleness, and also a touch of cunning mixed with kindness, a cunning so transparent that it can be of no advantage what- soever. it’s possible that all this is not yet fully formed, for every feature reveals two sides that have yet to combine into a single whole. We must assume that nature needs more time than it has had so far to complete what it began, but it obviously performs this task with a certain amount of pleasure. \Vhen discussing the character ofRussian Siberians. i must empha- size that common freemen‘” were the ones who shaped it from the Very outset. The colonization of Siberia was above all a popular movement, and groups of “freedom seekers” lotriady “v0l’n00khochikh”l made their way out here ahead of those whom the government sent “by choice" l“po vyboru”l and “by decree” [“po ukazu”l. The people who came to Siberia were fleeing restrictions and repression and seeking freedom of all sorts: religious, social, moral, occupational, and personal. Those Who were at odds with the law headed this way to escape punishment by hiding in remote areas far beyond the Urals; others sought fair com- munal laws to counteract administrative oppression; still others dreamed of a wonderful land without any laws whatsoever. Righteous individuals walked side by side with shady characters; hard workers rubbed shoulders with empty souls and crooks. The religious schism of the seventeenth century29 brought to Siberia tens of thousands of the strongest people, extremely steadfast in character and spirit, who refused to acknowledge innovations in church and state and who pre- ferred to withdraw from the world into an impregnable wilderness. Even today our forests still harbor settlements where the inhabitants have remained the same in language, customs, beliefs, clothing, and means of livelihood as they were three hundred years ago. We can mar- vel at the fanaticism of these people, but we must also marvel at their steadfastness and tenaciousness, which exceed our usual understand- ing of these concepts. Everything came together in Siberia—and the community of Old Believers, noted for their pure, strong morality, off— 2: p w I wwr- NA may“. PM.” Siberia without the Romance | rotherhood of exiles and criminals, who abided by laws of a l , y different kind. Yadrintsev notes: I 'liit‘ ,ttiiiplclb‘l H r “on these villages bear the stamp of olden times, the reason they dis— “: Ci, 1 .mnath and order, is that religious dissenters make up the bulk of their p .1)' 5 b million The same orderliness, the same prosperity in everything, can also 130! i v be seen in other s n Siberia, wherever they may be. The very appearance of the ettlements of schismatics throughout Siberia, whether in Eastern or Wester minimum is different, as if they constitute a special breed. Beautiful, plump ,mm with white faces and fresh complexions wearing neat, colorful \NK mmpcrs, neatly groomed, respectable-looking old folks, handsome lads—— 1mm: t‘\UciC> orderliness, cleanliness, and prospent} Now, too, descendants of the semeiskie, as Old Believers living east 0| Lake Baikal are called, arouse special interest and respect even among Siberians: their background, as a rule, makes them excellent workch and reliable friends. There were always a lot of folks going back and forth to Siberia. At times it resembled a revolving door—with all the inevitable behaviors people display when merely passing through. This is still true to a large extent even today. The vast multitudes constantly rolling into Siberia’s celebrated construction sites like breakers, with the noise, music, and impressive might that breakers usually bring, vanish quietly and unob- trusively after a few years as if seeping into the sand. Then come more breakers and more multitudes—and another ebbtide of hidden, reced~ ing rivulets that leave provincial areas with a tiny fraction of the new arrivals. The explanation for this rests squarely with the prevailing atti» tudc toward Siberia: take its riches as quickly and as cheaply as possi- ble. Concern for the welfare of those who live under Siberian condi- tions, a topic of much discussion, occasionally slips several notches, but no one ever wants to take this slippage into account and start it a few notches higher. Living in Siberia, needless to say, is not easy. its climate, having grown more capricious in recent decades, continually comes up with surprises, as when melting snow starts dripping on New Year’s Eve or when a winter snowstorm hits in june, and has hardly gotten any 52 4-44» Siberia, Siberia milder. Since time immemorial the harshness and bleakness 0f mesa, n, ,, parts have strictly weeded out colonists and conquerors of every song in order to become acclimated and to remain here, you must have the spirit of a Siberian—not momentary bursts of enthusiasm but a state of constant readiness for all kinds of annoyances and surprises and a knack for overcoming them without expending too much energy. This spirit does not necessarily have to originate in Siberia; it can develop anywhere but must be in keeping with Siberia and enter its general atmosphere by following a parallel course. There are people whose family trees have been growing in Siberia for several generations, but who have never actually become Siberians—the longer they live here, the more keenly they suffer in a land that is alien to them—and there are those who seem made for Siberia and who, once they get here, adapt without any particular difficulty. Thus a Siberian is not only a thick skin accustomed to inconveniences and freezing cold and not only stubbornness and persistence in achieving goals (qualities that the local conditions produced), but also a certain fatedness, a deep and solid rootedness in this land, a compatibility between the human soul and the spirit of nature Siberians are rarely unfaithful to their home- land; the urge to move from place to place that has become epidemic everywhere is less noticeable in them and is confined, as a rule, to the boundaries of their native region. The land of our forebears, which lives in each of us as a primordial component, exists in Siberians as a more demanding passion, perhaps because it was gained with great labors, the memory of which has not yet been lost in the passing of generations. Human beings could not have lasted here very long without the stubbornness and persistence that Siberians are often criticized for. The first inhabitants, the founders of villages and towns, had to literally bat- tle with the taiga for every clump of land in Siberia’s interior. If they slackened their efforts even slightly, the forest would attack the plowed strip that had been taken away from it. The taiga stood like a wall, while high above the taiga hovered mountains whose snowcaps never came off. The long winters wore down people’s mental stamina and the short summers required twice the normal amount of physical energy. Light frosts could suddenly strike without rhyme or reason in the mid- dle of summer and wipe out what they’d intended to harvest in the i ! l i '*~*m:j_g.xitl in their g Siberia without the Romance ardens and fields; during the winter starving animals ‘ 1 11 villages, kill livestock, and attack human beings. in warm . I, [my were oppressed by blood—sucking insects: mosquitoes, ur'dlllr‘ and alSO n swarms during bad weather. Cattle, pestered by i . molaretsy, tiny, barely visible malicious flies that mu gh- dumped down 1 "razed only at night; during the day they stood tethered close I ’65. mm All People worked with horsehair nets pulled over their {0 smoking fires. hauls. which ma dded precaution. And all these practices from our de it hard to breathe, and also smeared themselves will tar as an a LuuntlliilliL‘I'S‘ day have come down to us as well: when I was growing up in the 1940s and 19505, you couldn’t go outside on the lower and perches of the Angara River for even two minutes without a m1 \\L~ wound and wrapped rags around ourselves from head to foot m “Carly 3OCC [86°F] heat (no one cared about getting a tan) so that—— \IULl lorbidl—not a single patch of skin would show. We tarred our- wives like devils and stuffed grass into the tops of our knee-high moc- hmns and boots, plugging all entrances and exits, but it didn’t do much good: we still went around with puffy eyes and our arms and lr'tls were all eaten up and covered with bloody welts. K Concerning our mosquitoes, Sommier,30 an Italian who visited the land beyond the Urals at the end of the nineteenth century, writes: “If Dame had traveled in Siberia, he would have invented a new form of torture for his criminals, using mosquitoes.” The mosquitoes seem to have changed little here during the three hundred years before Som- mier's visit and the one hundred years since; during the twentieth cen- tury they adapted better than human beings to the smoke and industri- al waste and all the other changes in their domain. In order for the early settler to stand his ground and not lose heart, he had to have more than strong muscles. He also had to have a strong spirit the spirit of proud resistance and unflagging stubbornness: i’ll hold out no matter what. I won’t leave—~l’m stronger than everything, no matter what. "Didn’t God mold this land into Siberia at the very end of creation, when he began to have doubts about the human race?” That’s what a \lberiun might have thought back then in mournful arrogance as he lfiolx‘cd around from the middle of his field at the unfriendly distant prospects unfolding before him. 53 +4"? 54 ‘99s? Siberia, Siberia Add one more affliction to Siberians’ past misfortunes: vagabonds Siberia is well known as a land of hard labor and exile. where a Vast empire not founded on the rule of law dumped people for any offense) large or small, assuming that this was of benefit to an underpopulated area. For some reason we have come to believe (no doubt on the basis of memoirs, which common criminals don’t write) that practically the only offenders sent here were political exiles. Siberia, incidentally was lucky to get the political exiles it did, from Decembrists31 and Polish insurgents to Marxists and Bolsheviks, although they themselves, to be sure, did not feel lucky to end up here. But good is good in Whatever circumstances it may be done, and for our land, benighted and little studied at the time. their endeavors in the arts, sciences. and cultural life and simply in moral and individual education were an enormous blessing. The mere presence of the Decembrists, who were scattered in exile all across the expanses of Eastern and Western Siberia, had such an influence on the intellectual community, which in many places con- sisted of a few minds isolated from each other, that, first, it became a true community of intellectuals and, second, it acquired goals that eventually led to the opening of Tomsk University. But Siberia for the most part was inundated with common crimi- nals. In some spots they outnumbered the local inhabitants, and natu- rally could teach them nothing but their own trade. It wasn’t even a matter of corrupting morals; native Siberians were staunch enough not to succumb to corruption. The main trouble stemmed from large num- bers of such people roaming the countryside. Supervising them was completely useless. Escaping from the place they’d been deported to was far easier than surviving afterward on the open road; for this rea- son those who decided to run away were prepared to do anything: to rob, steal, murder. We are the ones who now lament their ruinous fate when we sing the plaintive song about a vagabond who “walks up to Baikal and makes off with a fisherman’s boat,” but our ancestors shed bitter tears on their account. They kept weapons handy to defend themselves not only against wild animals but also against the shady characters who might rap on the window at any moment and demand whatever they felt like demanding. After this should we be surprised at Siberians’ distrustfulness and secretiveness, at their supposed coldness . ,.........m.....mwu~—-ms Siberia without the Romance , m ,mumess? Yes they are distrustful, cold. and wary, but only at : tin k ‘ ’ 1].. [mm they‘ve gotten to know you and concluded that you ‘ll \ 1 H) h'n‘inflthen they'll bare their souls. and the Siberian who {Hill}; ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ . m d on [he Verge of turning you away from his doorstep w1ll wel- xt'k‘ K _ ~ ‘ 1 you and regale you like his own brother, Without superfluous (011 L' 1 ‘ “on; and unnecessary feelings but in a friendly, hospitable way, show— ,, “L: the kind of sincerity and cordiality that reflect the joy people ought minke in one another’s company in this world. mherian hospitality is legendary. The legends might exaggerate «mt-“hat, but they arose and live on for good reason. The towns and villages along the rivers lay far apart from each , , u t ;t not large and contained one and the same circle of people lliJI 15 why Siberians, whose back—breaking tasks and long hunting and fishing expeditions in the taiga made them yearn for a fresh face, knew how to appreciate human contact and make the most of it. it was like a holiday for them. And even their relationships with each other, mth their neighbors and fellow villagers, were notably solid and earnest. Trivial matters didn’t lead to petty quarrels and grudges; when they were friends, they remained friends, and when they were foes, they stayed foes, going all out and not stopping halfway it was harder to make do without mutual assistance and a commu— nal spirit here than in any other place, and, oddly enough, the commu- nal spirit got along beautifully with the Siberians’ secretiveness and individualism: one was for ties with the known, familiar world and the other for everything that seemed foreign and suspicious, of which Siberia had more than its share. When hunters left their winter shacks in the taiga, they would always set out dry kindling, matches, salt, and food—«they never knew what straits the people who came after them might be in, This law was strictly observed for centuries and began to disappear only in very recent times. When locking up for the night, Siberians did not forget those same vagabonds who’d caused the old- timers so much sufferingathey’d put a jug of milk and a loaf of bread in the window they’d cut in the solid plank fence for that very purpose: Have a bite to eat, traveler, and move on. In the beginning they did this out of compassion but later in order to turn the hand of evil away from their farmsteads. And Siberians would customarily give their last 55 ~M~¢~ 56 Siberia, Siberia kopeck when strangers, hiding their eyes, went around the cities and m towns from house to house and cottage to cottage collecting money um help a friend escape“ {“tia pobeg tot'arishchud. But it was Siberia itself that most influenced the character of Siberi~ ans, as the land, the world they lived in and whose air they breathed, as the homeland that gave them birth and sustenance. Each individual reflects his ancestral home just as “whole peoples reflect their father— land” (Shchapov). The only kind of grandeur, of mightiness, that can overwhelm Us are those that stand out sharply and unnaturally amid everything else, making any comparison sad and crude. When, however, everything in the surrounding natural environment is consistently and proportion. ater on the same large scale, this, in turn, elevates human beings as well. The genetics of the land is just as primordial and fixed as the genetics of blood. in view of nature’s greatness and unabating triumph, human beings couldn’t help feeling strong and significant, and the sparseness of population reinforced this outlook. The gigantic efforts they expended in order to tighten their hold and to survive in this rugged land made them inclined to respect themselves, as if they stood just as tall as everything around them, even taller. The whole world alongside them breathed an austere dignity and freedom, a concealed depth and strength, and in its outward tranquillity a coiled tension could be sensed; Siberians, quite naturally, adopted this spirit, and, when superimposed on their ancestors’ elemental love of liberty, it became set, probably a bit more firmly than was necessary It’s not true that Siberians are unsociable, but their sociability bears the stamp of rivalry and competition when dealing with equals and of protective— ness toward unequals. Both attitudes manifest themselves sponta- neously, without role—playing or prior thought, but Siberians always remember that they are Siberians and let everyone know it. Pride in their place of birth sometimes reaches the point of arrogance. Now, of course, this quality has weakened considerably, but it hasn’t been lost altogether. Another important point is that Siberia never experienced serfdom, which crushed people both morally and physically, deprived them Of self-sufficiency, and had an oppressive effect on their attitude toward work and toward life in general. Siberians got used to relying on them- uuumtmwmwmm-uulmmw u» uvtmwamn‘bwmtmum a...“ mm. m .a.» mm... m.” -r Siberia without the Romance I 1nd was abundant; you could take and cultivate as much as Wth as much as you could handle. The yoke of government Wmuuflw); which weighed heavily on thocitics, reached the country— ‘ILIC 35 \\'Ct1l(, ineffective orders that experienced peasants. were in no mm- to carry out. For them the Russtan proverb “Trust in God, but don‘t slip up yourself” [Na Boga nadeisia, da sam ne ploshai] had a prac- [Mt literal meaning. And indeed Siberians were not known for deep H,nu-mplzition and piety (except, of course, for the schismatics); a cal- tulttung intelligence prevailed over feelings, not for personal gain but [mum this was part of the old-timers” very make—up. it would seem unitige to look for the softness and slackness typical of Russia’s steppe “y: in this “fireproof” spirit [v “ogrteuporuom” dttkhel born of Uinstant resistance and tempered by depth ation. But i say this not to make the Siberian a model of virtue, but simply to show what he had In him and what he lacked. He would even crane his neck and peer into the sky as if gazing at a powerful neighbor, dreaming confidently ol hurling a way to harness it for himself and his household needs. You can say that in all their qualities, good and bad, fortunate and unitu‘tunate, Siberians exemplify what could become of people who stayed one step ahead of restrictive laws for a long time. But when reflecting on Siberians as a branch of Russia that stood out thanks to selectivity and local conditions, we should not forget that the settlers were spread across an enormous territory and came from a rariety of social groups and for those reasons alone could no longer share one manner and one style. The Altaians, who trace their roots to the stern schismatics, and the inhabitants of the Lake Baikal region, whose ancestors were sent there to work in the mines, and the direct descendants of free Cossacks who live on the banks of the Yenisey bear lll tle resemblance to one another. And that is why any attempt to single out some general feature common to all Siberians will have exceeding- ly fuzzy outlines. Rather, it is the ability to resist being reduced to a simple formula and to remain a thing in itself that makes this land Siberia and these people Siberians. We sometimes like to say, and not Withom Pridev “Siberia is more Russia than Russia.” 57 i i 58 «3+ Siberia, Siberia These words, which appeared long ago and have become a popui A Y. 7 ' I . at saying. carry no hint of opposition or argument. Siberia and Rue a smgle whole. Siberia doesnt exist without Russia. and there I is no need to present evrdence to prove this. Our saying means some else. Perhaps out of false patriotism, or perhaps based on observ that have shifted in our favor, we would like to believe that certai qualities in Russians have been better and more fully preserved i: Siberians. We claim no credit for this—it just turned out that warm and our feelings can’t possibly have no basis whatsoever. Back inihe nineteenth century Semyon Kapustin32 noted: [hing ations The (.1 i, \ ,i my «in ~ «- x / ~~ ' siotiian peatnm itpitsci ts LHL RL‘SSMIN as he was in ancient Russia before the a " IV ' 111 I ‘ ppearance of serVitude, slave , and serfdo ,33 the innate charac. teristics of the Russian farmer developed freely in Siberia. In this connection we can recall that every foreign influence, be it French or German, that periodically swept through the Russian capi- tals34 like a conflagration and reached Tomsk or Irkutsk only after crossing thousands of versts on horseback would inevitably become covered with Siberian hoarfrost and adopt a strong Siberia “dialect.” We can cite the traditional distrustfulness of Siberians, who were not about to suddenly start fulfilling the directives that kept coming one right after another without looking them over carefully to see whether or not they would do them any good. And we can observe, on taking a close look at Siberians, that despite all the damage done to their char- acter in recent decades, they still remain within the bounds of sincere relationships and a more or less healthy moral code, a great boon in this day and age. But most important, Russians (like any other nation- ality that retains its primordial ethnic mix), who feel fully Russian and fully human only amid the part of Mother Nature that created them and who are at a loss wherever their connection to it has been destroyed, still have the opportunity, for the time being, to live amid their native Steppes and native forests in Siberia. But i must caution that this opportunity decreases and shrinks with every passing year, and if the reversal of Siberian rivers35 is ever actually accomplished, it Will undoubtedly disappear altogether. Of course today’s Siberians are no longer what they were even one i i i l Siberia without the Romance .100 The “Siberian breed" has been heavily diluted and to . Hit \czit‘S , . nerely a geographic concept in a very short L|.-\iincd to become i \mhma passed through Siberia without leaving its mark, be it um I I t 11:1 labor or the mass migration of peasants between the (“16 mt L m” and the beginning of World War 1, when four million people moved to Siberia—almost as many as its existing popu— ihmon Only strong, well—established moral standards, with a little help train that Mother Nature, could make Siberians out of them in the \ Hui-59 of LI few decades. Equally important, the immigrants came here w lm: permanently and were forced to reckon with the local laws, .. .md unwritten. whether they wanted to or not. But when the ~gk . . I 4 r CHLIIILIPJUOIT iefo In.“ LolqulCSb oi Siberia began twenty or thirty years ago and mighty WM,- ol‘ recruits poured in to work on construction projects, this ,vtNJt-lc no longer stood in their way. Young people came here primar— tl\' to work at some building site that, after they’d finished their busi— ncss. learned a trade, and earned enough money to support a family, [hm tould leave at any moment, which is usually what happened and silll happens today Those returning from Siberia might even retain the warm feeling toward it that they take back with them, but they don’t thungc their casual, detached attitude toward the land where they hap- pcncd to work temporarily and that simply never became their own. And faced with a huge number of temporary and seasonal people, native Siberians have been forced to step aside. They plow and build illitl l‘cll trees and mine ore, their share of the labor involved in the thungcs taking place in Siberia is much greater than newspapers and iiiiigazines would indicate, but they do everything in the wake of oth- crs. carried along by powerful economic and industrial currents. Act— ing out of their feelings and sense of duty as Siberians, they seem to instinctively choose jobs in which they can more easily and effectively look alter the land that is kindred to them. Present—day Siberians have changed drastically both in the country And in the city. But they are still Siberians, and the more they needed their distinctive qualities to provide strength and security in life, the more they long for these qualities once they are lost (the heroes of the hooks and films by Vasily Shukshin” can be cited as examples). But this is precisely What offers hope: they will hang on to what is left of their “core instincts” With characteristic stubbornness and persistence. 59 60 Siberia, Siberia Creating Siberia is more difficult than creating anything else under the blessed sky Ii an Gmit-imt-m-Je Cold and wild expanses! . . . How long ago were these words first spoken, and did someone actually say them or did they always hover soundlessly and imperiousj over Siberia like a ghost, dropping anguish and alarm on the Way): farer? For if someone actually said these words, it was a wayfarer flinch, ing in advance at the thought of the vast distances and painfUl ordealg he would soon have to overcome. l-le crossed the Urals, stopped at a border marker covered with heart—rending farewell inscriptions wring. by conyicts and by ordinary folk who expected nothing good up aheau and then moved on, but the impression left by the inscriptions and' reinforced by his own sorrow held him in its grip for a long time. Versj after verst slipped slowly and tediously behind him, and his eyes fell on one and the same landscape, which looked dreary and lifeless and which contained the rough, wearying road that made him think of the road to hell. And also traveling this road were columns of unfortunate wretches, ragged and frightened, sometimes prisoners, sometimes immigrants seeking their fate; here, too, a red—faced daredevil coming from the opposite direction would frighten him for no reason with a few nasty words. Everything was like the reverse of normal human life, and everything seemed to be in a foreign place that could never warm up or be regarded with affection and that was impossible to picture as someones beloved homeland. In this frame of mind the wayfarer traveled for a day, then two. then three, noticing, however, through his glum thoughts that the scanty forest along the roadside had given way to steppe. But the steppe, too, froze in monotony for a long time, and it seemed endless incapable of arousing warm feelings. He could only be patient with it and wait to see what would come next, hoping to find relief for his jaded gaze in a worse but at least new landscape. And relief actually did come. Waking as if out of a deep sleep, the traveler suddenly noted with surprise and delight that the occasional groves that had tnade him weary, and the pine and larch forests that were emerging from the impassable environs with growing frequeIIC)v it <2 i Siberia without the Romance rid itself. gradually losing its level contour. whlncss. and the la w,th to excite him more and more all the time, raising in I H “Singiy perceptible reaction to what seemed like a primor— r. And he no longer understood—he refused ould have looked at his surroundings with him .in mere 11 my ordained encounte \ ‘ , u understand/how he C t . I at had happened to make him turn away from this rare ti]tl1llt‘l'CIlL‘C,\Vh beauty. Anton Chekhov, w m nineteenth Century While traveling to Sakhalin Island,39 ho crossed Siberia in a horse-drawn carriage at illt‘ t‘iltl 0" [l \t t\ l‘mi'etl all the way to the Yenisey River. “Cold plains, crooked birch “at puddles, lakes here and there, snow in May, and the dreary, unin- . l‘.’.i‘.l\~ 0: 1h,- ti"l“t1..il"‘<ftw of the Ohm rrvtliat‘s all in} memon iiiair jg... to retain out of the first two thousand versts” [about l,320 miles]. ind even women: “The women here are just as dull as nature in whet-ta." But on reaching the Yenisey, he exclaimed, “Never in my life have I seen a river more magnificent than the Yenisey.” And he contin— llt'tl on his way enraptured with the gloomy, endless taiga and with the mics that worldly—wise people told him about hunting and about life. forty years before Chekhov another Russian writer, lvan Gon— tharoy. took a trip around the world40 and passed through Siberia going in the opposite direction, starting from the Sea of Okhotsk. After Ilk‘ rich. lush beauty of the tropics, after China and japan, he could hardly stand the frigid, bare expanses of Northeastern Asia at first. But not lar from the Lena River he, too, came to life. And even the winter— time appearance of the great river, covered with snow and ice and life- lC>S at that time of year, aroused in the tired traveler a fresh feeling of ~tncere emotion and delight that he, calling himself a romantic, retained as he continued his journey In both cases this is just the way it had to happen. From whichever direction you approach it, Siberia is in no hurry to reveal itself, and it placed its finest creations with love and good taste in its heartland. What constitutes its finest creations, incidentally, is still an open ques- tion. No two people will share the same opinion. For me, an inhabitant 01 central Siberia, the best places are right around Lake Baikal, the 8“Fun Mountains, and the Yenisey River; an Altaian will assure you that Ihcy lie in his region, in the Altay Mountains; and a Chukchi will say that they are located on the shores of the cold northern seas. Our place 61 .3. gag. 62 ééu’r Siberia, Siberia of birth is dear to each of us. which is another characteristic Of h f l r Siberian: fervent patriotism. The subject at hand. however is not} $.AH“ I 1‘ V g- _ ’ 0cm opinion but an oxervrew, as objective as possrble of Siberia as a C 3 0 try created by Nature. un. Of one thing I am certain: the very same landscape that om {raw 1 . E . er considered dreary and joyless on entering Siberia would be [r formed to such an extent on his return trip, becoming so relevantans. attractive and capable of strongly affecting his aesthetic sense the: 111d would start looking around in bewilderment, thinking, “This can‘t be Why, it’s probably a different road.” No, the road is the same and the. landscape is the same, altered, perhaps, only by a change of season ble the traveler is no longer the same He has now been to Siberia he, 1:1 seen many things that struck his imagination, and his impressions Siberia have opened up inside him some new and glorious ex an that he’d never even suspected were there before. p ses Siberia has the virtue of not startling or astonishing you right awar but of pulling you in slowly and reluctantly, as it were, with measurell carefulness, and then binding you tightly once you are in. And then it’s all over——you are afflicted with Siberia. After malignant anthrax [sibirsleaia iazva, literally, “Siberian ulcer”], which apparently doesn’t exist anymore, this is Siberia’s most famous disease: for a long time after being in this land a person feels hemmed in, sad, and mournlul everywhere else, tormented wherever he goes by a vague and agonizing sense of his own inadequacy, as if he’s left part of himself in Siberia for- ever. Everything in our neck of nature is mighty and free; everything stands apart from similar phenomena in other places. In Western Siberia a plain is not just a plain—it is the largest, flattest plain on the planet; swamps are not just swamps—even from an airplane they seem to have no boundaries and no end. The taiga in Eastern Siberia is an entire landmass, which, by the way, is suffering the most frightening disasters of its life because of logging and fires. The rivers—“the Oh, the Lena, the Yenisey—can rival only one another. Lake Baikal contains one—fifth of all the freshwater on the earth’s surface. No, everything here was conceived and carried out on a full and lavish scale, as though the Most High began creation of Earth with this land, starting at the Pacific Ocean, and made it massive and flashy, not scrimping on mate’ ~me mM‘a wmwmerm» in Siberia without the Romance after suddenly realizing that he might run our, did he m luck and make do. . .E.,,,.tt., 7 . W h rns size and volume. What can we say about Slbenas lint this conce I I possible to express in words anything remotely Wop ill\ ltttt‘t‘. .w - ' \ 'en 1‘ .Juu: [5 ll £\ ‘ ' [t l H. L,\..,mpie of Lake Baikal? Any words, any comparisons would 63 llV. \ " ’ . - . ~ I l . [mic feeble shadows. if there were no mighty Sayan Mountains raw-s. 3w ll N ‘ ‘ ‘ IN. by to match it, no Lena River originating not far off, and no mw‘, Can-lying Baikal’s water to the Yenisey, you might conclude while ~l.\lltl1n~_‘, on the shore of this miracle/lake and gazing down on its near- ‘ (1 water, on its colors and luminosity, which make your melt but freeze in a deep swoon, you might conclude .ts tittidetith dropped from some other planet wealthier .mtl more joyful than ours, where it was in complete harmony with the t1,tll\‘t‘ mlmbitants. You get the same feeling when you look at Lake lt'lt‘lSlx'OC in the Altay Mountains. The Gorno—Altay region is very often t.t‘l]1p.ll'CLl with Switzerland, the model of European beauty. Nature llk‘l‘t‘ does not simply live but reigns limitlessly and with absolute 5 though ashamed of its heights—its distance not above above human perception—it magnanimously begins to tlcstmtl, bringing down its riches with majestic ease so that their viting tones might ring out like divine sounds made visible. its no accident that the Altay Mountains were precisely where Russians spent two centuries on end searching for the mysterious Belovodye, a legendary land created as an earthly paradise where they could live in complete happiness. They searched for it and, in their View, found it, lllL'Il brought their fellow countrymen from European Russia, from the l'ruls. and from the plains of Siberia and began building houses and tillmg the soil—this means there was something special, something out at the ordinary, in those parts that made people regard them with blessed hope. And everything there could have been like paradise, except that human beings let nature down, making their way into the deepest wilderness with their habits, laws, and institutions. The Minusinsk District in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, on the south— t m harder between Eastern and Western Siberia, is also called a Sibe- i'ltlll Switzerland. if a little corner of Siberia has ended up—heaven “"ll' knows how—in Switzerland or somewhere else in warm Europe, then there is an explanation: a mix—up occurred, and by pure luck the wt contours an mttl not merely t _,1"\ it \‘t qut‘ t‘. and, a \L'tl level but thcct'ing, in 64 Siberia, Siberia piece meant for Europe found itself here Siberia is Siberia an arounl .a l. but in the Minusinsk Basin cantaloupe and watermelon ripen splendid ly and tomatoes grow so large that even southern varieties can scarcel~ compete with them. y lncidently, we have quite a few such sprinklings of a seemin 1 non—Siberian nature. There is a short stretch along the Snow R15y [Snezhnaia rekal near Baikal where, growing alongside the larch an: Siberian pine, you find immense poplars and blue spruce, relics from an earlier age. You‘re better off not even starting a discussion of Baikal it has altogether too much of everything, from the simplest plants I5 large animals, existing as unique species that occur nowhere else, arjd those that do occur elsewhere have no business being in this part Oj‘jjh. world, according to the laws of nature. Where they came from and how they got there are a mystery. Scientists, as they continue to discover new species, continue to be puzzled. Not everyone knows that certain heavenly spots on Baikal have more days of sunshine per year than do the southern health resorts (i recently read in a respectable publication that after Davos, Switzerland, lrkutsk receives more sunlight than any other place in the world), or that the water, always cold and icy in the lake proper even during summer, warms up to more than 20°C [68°F] in the bays. And you can’t help concluding that all these exceptions both explicably and inexplicably successful, were made for one reason: they were created with the deliberate purpose of suggesting what humankind should do, in which direction to transform Siberia should it seem niggardly and inhospitable Nature in Siberia, like everything else here~the people, the land, the climate—cannot be as uniform as peas in a pod. imagine just the distances that would have to be discussed to convey a general idea of their extent. And only in winter does everything in nature freeze from one end to the other in a single ponderous, inaccessible thought. White plains lie bare and cold, mountains jut calmly out of the snows like abandoned border barricades and bend under their weight, the taigfl slumbers in a puffed—up pattern of frost, and the rivers and lakes are covered with ice. Everything is directed inward; everything is bewitched by a single gigantic, protective force. At this time of year you can clearly see how legends arose in the past not only about people who went to sleep for the whole winter but also about words that froze Siberia without the Romance we reaching the ear and that were capable of thawing out \ warmth and resounding on their own, far from the 'lt_L' \pi'mgtime ‘nu. it had spoken them. 21 its easy to succumb to .an lit‘l 11] \\'ll . such a frame of mind. 13; in our parts is not spring in the usual sense but a good two 65 |‘ winter simply swinging back and forth—warm/bitter cold, —until it finally takes a turn toward steadily warm nd races to thaw and bloom, to ' n latitudes summer comes like a ay the land lay ravaged and bare and was still hange, while today a simultaneous sprouting has and tomorrow suninicr \\ ill pct.“ 1n sihcri 5|ii'li lxtltl out A nunshot just yesterd .v Jr mmaring for c mhun llxlk‘gld‘j‘j 10 Pool" Oiil €\t\l’t\ \'\:'ltfl”€ it in lull glow. And it will begin to blaze with a vivid, reckless beau— 1 (ant look back, for summer is as hurried as winter is sluggish. ; my beginning of August it is already rounding the bend and iii] comes to pay a friendly call, making itself at home. This is [ summer has to live with: a cold spring hems it in on one side and t' 1'in n ih.i .miumn on the other. ake up for this, autumn is usually long and mild. Of course, in m an happen—sometimes even no years are the same and anything c this season doesn‘t manage to stick around—but when it comes early, Iiiol‘t‘ often than not it will make a late retreat, giving all living things in nature. exhausted from their labors, a chance to rest up and bask in the ;\nd it is not unusual for buds to swell a second time during 1 A L rim 1" 14ml nmrmrla dhrl for mmihtqin (lflhPQ tn 1 LL “LAM AVA L A A V m a A y m A A L V Lear/V“ >V Cu L/y Lin, uLLSCaSOLLML w MLLLLL , ved by Siberians “01 «um .mtumn. loo bloom with wild rosemary, a gnarled bush dearly lo that is not much to look at but that blossoms so selflessly, so joyfully \\llli violet or rose—colored abandon. And the forests blaze, burning low. lot a long time, inflamed with a broad scattering of fall colors that Are especially pure and radiant here, filling the air to a considerable height with their iridescence. RUM, blaze, glow, flame—these words don’t come from a passion for hrs terminology. That’s just the way things are in Siberia. The lazy, sated beauty of southern climes is not characteristic of nature in Siberia. which, 1 repeat, must hurry in order to have enough time to bloom and fade, bearing fruit, and it does this with measured swiftness and short—lived but vivid celebration. We have a type of flower that 66 Siberia, Siberia doesn’t grow west of the Urals and that we call simply Siberian glob" flowers l:harlei', ogon’lei, literally, “bonfires, little lights‘l When they blossom in july, the clearings in the taiga light up with a lush, festive glow, and nothing can dispel the impression that they give off a heal you can feel. And so there is swiftness at one time of year and sluggishness a[ another, with uneven and unstable transitions at their boundaries\ that’s what Siberia is. lmpetuosity and torpor, openness and secrecy, vividness and restraint, generosity and concealment, which by now appear in concepts that apply not only to nature—that’s what Siberia is. And when you reflect on these two almost opposite principles am recall how large, varied, and unsimple Siberia is, you rush to heed its restless call with the same impetuosity and come to a halt with the same restraint: Siberia! Altogether too much is bound up in this word nowadays. And how you wish to extract something from this immense, com. pleX tangle of contradictory hopes and aspirations that are linked to Siberia, how you wish to obtain from it, like a magic pearl, one simple and obvious certainty: that in one hundred and two hundred years people approaching Baikal will stop in their tracks at its primordial beauty and pure depths, and that in one hundred and two hundred years Siberia will still be Siberia~a land suitable for habitation, con- ducive to noble aspirations, and preserved intact, not a devastated lunar landscape dotted with the remains of petrified trees. ln every spiritually mature individual the outlines of his homeland are duplicated and alive. We Russians automatically carry within ourselves the antiquity of Kiev, the greatness of Novgorod, the pain of Ryazan,"i the sanctity of Optina Monastery,42 and the immortality of Yasnaya Polyana‘B and Staraya Russa.‘M The dates of our country’s victories and losses flicker in us like the burning bush. And in this sense we have long felt Siberia within ourselves as the reality of the future, as a reli- able and imminent step in our forthcoming ascent. What this ascent will become we can only vaguely imagine, but through the contours of random scenes we dream that it will be something new and different, an age when human beings will abandon labors that are unnecessary wnmmwmiin-Wmn m Siberia without the Romance Kiqtence and, having learned a lesson from the ent times, will finally start taking care of the deeds——that they have been lucky enough :iiniul to their e 'I' experience of rec "lllt I l/not in words but in lJIlL to inherit l'lns will be the tru habitants of a 0 its own future. e fulfillment of Siberia. And this is what Siberi— ‘ young and glorious land, ought to be like, for his. ihc in iln‘ll' land has a right t 1987 38 +~9$ V Notes a workshop). in Dialogi 0 Stud: shornik (Dialogues about Siberia: a miscellany) (Irkutsk: Vostochno—51birskoe knizhnoe izd~yo, 1988). 60. 24. Douglas R. Weiner, Models of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988), 230, 25. “Voprosy, Voprosy,” 169. 26. Anatole G. Mazour, An Outline of Modern Russian Historiography (Berkeley Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1939), 75. 27. Siberia on Fire, 102—60. and CHAPTER I 1 Vladimir Kalistratovich Andrievich (b. 1838). Russian historian; his maj0r work is [sturtt‘lieslcu adieu: Silvii'i pc damnim firetlsttzi harm}. it: 130123.27: soliramcm (afar/1m (A historical essay about Siberia based on data in The complete compilation of laws)~ 6 vols. in 8. (Saint Petersburg: 1886—89). 2. Aleksandr Nikolaevich Radishchev (1749—1802), Russian writer whose most important work, Puteshestvie iz Peterburga v Moslevu (A journey from Petersburg to Moscow) (1790), describes the condition of the Russian people in the late eighteenth century 3. “Slovo o Ermake” is an excerpt from Radishchev’s “Solerashchennoe povestvovanie o priobretenii Sibiri” (A brief narrative about the acquisition of Siberia), found in vol. 2 of his Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (Complete works) (Moscow—Leningrad: AN SSSR, 1938—52), 146—47. 4. The Russian chronicles (letopisi) are historical works dating from the eleventh through the seventeenth centuries in which the narrative is divided into years. Most have survived as parts of chronicle collections, which combine individual entries, reports, tales, lives of the saints, and other material in one account. As chronicle writ- ing in general declined during the seventeenth century, local chronicles began to appear, the most interesting of which come from Siberia. The best known of these are the Stroganov and Esipov chronicles. In addition to providing important source mate— rial for research in early Russian history, the chronicles are invaluable for the study of Russian literature and the Russian language. 5. Tokhtamysh 0—1400), Mongol strongman and khan of the Golden Horde who invaded Muscovy and ravaged Moscow in 1382. 6. Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy (1359—89), grand prince of Moscow famous for his military victory over the Tatars at the Battle of Kulikovo Field in 1380. 7. Pyotr Andreevich Vyazemsky (1792—1878), Russian poet, literary critic, and statesman. 8. Rus, the most venerable, and now largely poetic, name for Russia. 9. In Russian, Dikoe Pole, the popular name for the extensive steppe along the southern border of the Muscovite state, so called because of the Crimean Tatars and other marauding groups who lived there and often made devastating incursions into Russian territory. 10. The Livonian War of 1558—83, a prolonged military conflict in which Russia unsuccessfully fought Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden for control of Livonia (the lands on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea north of Lithuania). Notes 11. The Tatars were first defeated by the Russians in l 380 but remained a serious threat well into the sixteenth century" Peter the Great ruled from 1689 to 1725. 12. Kuchum was the last ruler of the khanate of Siberia, who destroyed Yermak‘s forces in 1585 and continued to oppose the Russians until 1598, when he was finally defeated. l3. Ruslan Grigorievich Skrynnikov (1931—), Russian historian and author of numerous works on Siberia. 14. Stroganovskaia lietopis', one of the earliest of the historical chronicles describ— ing events in Siberia. It was composed sometime in the seventeenth century on one of 383 [he Stroganovs’ patrimonial estates and draws on family archives, including corre- spondence between the Stroganovs and Yermak’s detachment. Its author credits the Stroganovs with a leading role in organizing Yermak’s campaign. 15. Kiprian Starorusennikov 0—1635), archbishop of Tobolsk from 1621 to 1624. to itepan Tuntiecrigh Ragn .15307—1 671‘ PM Cossatl; and leader ofthe massive uprising that occurred on the Volga frontier of the Muscovite state (tom 1 ooi to 1671, after which he was captured and hanged in Moscow. Also known as Stenka Razin, he is the subject of many legends and has come to signify the essence of the Russian folk spirit. l7. Nikolay Mikhaylovich Yadrintsev (1842—94), Russian ethnographer, archae— OIOgist, explorer of Siberia, and Siberian “regionalist” (oblastnik). 18. Ivan Yurievich Moskvitin, Cossack from Tomsk who explored the Far East, reaching the Sea of Okhotsk and exploring its shoreline until 1641. 19. In Russian, sluzhilyi chelovele, a person bound by obligations of service, espe- cially military service, to the Muscovite state. 20. Semyon Ivanovich Dezhnyov (1605—1673), Russian explorer whose report on the strait he discovered remained buried in the archives in Yakutsk until German historian Gerhard Friedrich Muller found it in 1736, after Vitus Bering and others had also explored the area. 21. In Russian, voevoda, the governor of a town or province during the Muscovite period. 22. Sergey Nikolaevich Markov (1906—79), Russian writer whose literary themes draw on Russian history and who has written many articles and books on travel and on geographic discoveries, including Podvig Semena Dezhneva (The feat of Semyon Dezhnyov) (Moscow: OGIZ, Gos. izd—vo geogr. lit-ry, 1948). 23. Stol’m’k, a rank five steps below boyar that was conferred on Russian courtiers from the thirteenth through the seventeenth centuries. 24. In Russian, “zlatokipiashchaia” Mangazeia, a town founded in 1601 on the Taz River as the point of departure for Russians advancing into Eastern Siberia by a north— ern route. It flourished in the seventeenth century as a wealthy fur-trading center before burning to the ground and becoming deserted after 1662. 25. Siloirische Geschichte van der Entdekkung Sibiriens bis auf die Eroberung dieses Lands durch die russische Waffert, 2 vols. (Saint Petersburg: Gedrukt bei der Kaiserl. Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1768). 26. Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin (1814—76), Russian anarchist active in sev— eral European countries. 27. Afanasy Prokofievich Shchapov (1831—76), Siberian-born Russian historian, social and political commentator, and Siberian “regionalist” (oblastm’k). 384 Notes 28. In Russian, vol'nitsa, runaway serfs, Cossacks, religious dissenters, and Other “outlaws” in Muscovitc Russia 29, The Russian Orthodox Church split into two factions during the 16605, 30. Stefano Sommier (1848—1922). Italian travel and nature writer Whose works include Un’estate in Siberia fra Ostiiacchi, Samoiedi, Sirieni, Tatari e Bashin’ (A summer in Siberia among Ostyaks, Samoyeds, Zyryans, Tatars, and Bashkirs) (Florence; Ermanno Loescher, 1885). 31. In Russian, deleahristy, the name given to the Russian dissidents, mainly mili_ tary officers from the upper classes, who led an unsuccessful rebellion against the Russian government in December 1825. After the insurrection failed, 121 Decembrists were brought to trial, five were executed, thirty—nine were imprisoned, and the rest were banished to Siberia. 32. Semyon Yakovlevich Kapustin (1828—91), Russian government servant and expert on the peasantry who published a number of studies on the common people‘s mcans of cxisie‘“ce and ‘ 'tijv ofl‘fc 33. In Russian, lcal it I, sen nude by conan in u nigh ,in individual pl'OHIlSCd service for life in return for a loan or other assistance from a landlord; leholopstvo, the system of slavery prominent in medieval and early modern Russia until it was merged with serfdom, hrepostnoe pravo, under Peter the Great. 34. Russia has had two capital cities during its history. Moscow, the first and cur- rent capital, was superseded by Saint Petersburg from 1712 until 1918, during which time Moscow was considered the country’s second capital. 35. A reference to a project conceived in the 19305 to divert northward-flowing rivers to arid regions in the southern part of the Soviet Union to provide water for irri- gation and other purposes. 36. Serfdom was abolished in Russia in 1861. 37. Vasily Makarovich Shukshin (1929—74), Siberian-born author, actor, and film director. 38. Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncharov (1812—91), Russian novelist and travel writer, 39. Chekhov made a trans-Siberian journey in 1890, which he describes in let- ters and memoirs from that period and in a study of the penal system and the indigev nous peoples of Sakhalin Island titled Ostrov Sakhalin (Sakhalin Island) (Moscow: lzd. red. zhurnala “Russkaia mysl',” 1895). 40. Goncharov took a world cruise from 1852 to 1855 as secretary for a Russian expedition on the ship Pallada, publishing a description of the journey in Fregat Pallada (The frigate Pallada), 2d ed. 2 vols. (Saint Petersburg: V Tip. Morskago minis- ter—stva, 1862). 41. A town constantly ravaged and burned by the Tatars as they advanced toward Moscow. 42. In Russian, Optima Pustyn’, a fourteenth—century monastery visited periodical- ly by Gogol, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy to consult with its elders. Desecrated and near» ly destroyed during the Soviet period, it was returned to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1988 and has been restored. 43. Leo Tolstoy’s estate, 44. The city where Dostoyevsky wrote The Brothers Karamazov, which is set there, Notes CHAPTER 2 l. ijlinv. traditional Russian epic poetry transmitted orally from very early times. 2. ‘v ladiiiiii‘s Ilill (Vladimitsleaia goi‘lea) and Beautiful Hill (Krasny: lcholm) are vilicrc [he first buildings in each city (a cathedral in Kiev and a fort in Moscow) were erected. 3. In Russian, ukrainy, from which the name of the area’s present residents, 385 +:—:~«:~ Ukrainians, derives. 4, Czarevitch Dmitry (1582—91), son of Ivan the Terrible and heir apparent. He died mysteriously in Uglich, possibly at the instigation of Boris Godunov, who was mmored to have arranged the boy’s murder to ensure his own election to the throne. 5. Tobolsk was the chief city of Russian Siberia until 1764, when it became the capital of Western Siberia, sharing equal status with Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia. It was superseded by Omsk in 1839. 6. Pavel Ivanovich Nebolsin (1817—93), Russian historian, ethnographer, and geographer. " _\.il\.ila}. \lzkliaylox icr l\'.i:.i:ti:it‘ ilT'oo— . Eli's Russian titer and h:siori:::t whose major work, Istoriia gosudarstva Rossit‘skago (A history of the Russian state), published in twelve volumes in 1816—29, reflects the most advanced historical think- ing of his time. 8. Karacha was a Tatar nobleman and member of Kuchum’s council who later ambushed and killed Ivan Koltso, Yermak’s righthand man, and forty Cossacks. 9. Murza, a minor nobleman in Turko-Tatar tribes, 10. Matvey Meshcheryak, one of the four sotnihi (commanders of units of one hundred men) in Yermak’s army. who led the surviving Cossacks back to Russia after Yermak’s death, subsequently returning to Siberia after joining forces with Voivode Ivan Mansurov. 11. Ivan Koltso, one of Yermak’s sotm’hi, who was slain by Karacha after being sent to Moscow by his leader in 1582 to report to the czar the subjugation of the Siberian khanate to Yermak’s Cossacks. 12, Mametkul, a relative, perhaps son, of Kuchum and leader of his forces. 13. A quotation from Aleksandr Vasilievich Suvorov (1730—1800), a Russian mil- itary commander noted for his achievements in the Russo—Turkish War of 1787—91 and in the French Revolutionary Wars, who never lost a single battle. I4. Danila Chulkov, military officer sent by the czar with many troops and artillery to occupy Siberia after the Tatars were driven out. 15. Pyotr Andreevich Slovtsov (1767—1843), Russian historian who produced the first important works on Siberian history and on the local lore of the peoples of Siberia. 16. Gerhard Friedrich Muller (1705—83), German historian, archivist, and archaeologist who took' part in the Great Northern Expedition to Siberia and Kamchatka in 1733—43 and whose writings, in which Soviet scholars found “errors” in interpreting the origins of the Russian state, laid the foundation for the study of Muscovy’s eastward expansion and colonization. 17. johann Eberhard Fischer (1697—1771), German historian and philologist Who traveled extensively throughout Siberia and published articles on the history, geography, and ethnography of Siberia and northern Russia as well as an abridged German edition of Muller’s Iston‘ia Sibiri (A history of Siberia). ...
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Rasputin_Siberia Without the Romance. - Valentin Rasputin...

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