The road of military life. Maria Bochkareva about herself
Fighting opposing motives
Maria Bochkareva can be safely attributed to the number of people who have practical thinking and are focused on real actions within the limits of what is available and possible at a particular moment. In any case, her entire previous 25-year-old life testified to this. At the same time, she was capable of decisive steps that radically changed her daily life. And she always tried to complete the work begun, while not always showing reasonable flexibility in decisions and flexibility in difficult or threatening situations.
But internal doubts about the correctness of certain actions, despite the strength of will and character, were also inherent in her. Therefore, leaving the distant Yakut Amga in the autumn days of the first military year, she listened to the inner voice and sensations of the instinct of self-preservation. She also took into account the doctor's advice on the morbid mental state of the civil husband - the exiled Yakov Buk. At the same time, her doubts and feelings of guilt before her roommate for forced flight, caused by fears for her life, did not leave her. In any case, this is the impression when reading the pages of her memories. In this case, involuntarily, in the field of view of the reader, a certain artificiality of bookish reasoning inherent in her about a sudden desire to join the ranks of the defenders of the Fatherland falls. There is an opposition between the motives of personal and public, which the reader of the book “Yashka” can sometimes cause a feeling of not understanding the meaning of the text and the logic of its presentation. In one case, the main motive for her escape from her roommate is the real threat to her life. Hence the main goal of all her actions and deeds is to secretly leave the place of exile and return to Tomsk to her parents. And in parallel, another basic motive that exists in her mind is to strive to go to war in order to sacrifice herself for the good of the Fatherland. To do this, she needed to enter military service and go to the front. However, she was not going to die for her homeland. At the front, she had to make a difference in order to then turn to Nicholas II with a request for clemency for Jacob. Here again, personal motive comes to the fore.
Many pages of the book “Yashka” clearly show the hand of the American journalist Isaac Don Levin, who wrote down her stories about his life in the summer of 1918, in distant America. It is quite possible that, while preparing to record her memoirs for publication, Don Levin added some thoughts and materials to the text. Here, for example, the episode, allegedly her, personal impressions in connection with the outbreak of the First World War. “The old men who fought in the Crimean War, in the Turkish company 1877-1878 and in the Russian-Japanese war,” she recalled in the pages of the book “Yashka”, they said that they had never seen such an uplift of spirit. These were sublime, magnificent and unforgettable moments of life. They took possession of my soul ... ". Everything would be fine, but only here Maria, tells about the events of August 1914, when she was in the exiled Yakut village Amga. And to find there among the several hundred of his inhabitants from among the political exiles and local Yakuts of those Crimean war veterans aged under 80 years and the Turkish campaign at the age of about 60 years or even relatively young participants in the war with Japan would be not that difficult. Just most likely impossible. In any case, in open materials there is no such information about war veterans living there. Moreover, Maria Leontievna herself had never before mentioned any contacts with participants in wars.
As you know, she was illiterate and was not interested in political issues or public life in places of her stay. She did not demonstrate in public her patriotic or religious feelings and loyal aspirations. Maria was entirely focused on personal success, material and family well-being. And in this way she did not count on someone's help or support. Everything that she managed to achieve was given to her by hard work. But, having received a good labor hardening from childhood, possible troubles and hardships did not frighten her. Therefore, she took on new matters decisively and without fear that she would not cope.
Way back to free life
Reaching without special adventures to Yakutsk, she learned about the new governor who had assumed office. Contacting him for help in returning home, Bochkareva, to her joy, met with understanding and support from his side. In addition to issuing a ticket at public expense to Tomsk, she was assigned an escort for protection. This place in the memoirs of Mary is not entirely clear. Guard from whom? Jacob remained for 200 versts from Yakutsk, she did not name other villains. Or was it her escort, given that she was returning from the exiles? It is unclear whether she had a passport in her hands or was she issued any documents in Yakutsk? If she was traveling without documents, then the role of the attendant would be clear.
The idea of participating in the war with the Germans first came to her mind on a seemingly completely unrelated issue. It most likely was just a criminal case. One political exile fraudulently begged her horse to escape from exile. He promised to leave the horse with the familiar Yakuts, but he deceived. Fearing anger and inevitable reprisals from a roommate, she first thought of fleeing the war as salvation. But for some reason she wondered not about saving her own personal life, but about saving the Fatherland from the adversary. “Go to the war and help save your country!” An inner voice called out. She recalled. - It was almost unthinkable for me to leave Yasha for my own good. But to leave him and go to the front in the name of selfless sacrifice is something completely different. ” So it is stated in her memoirs. But all these thoughts were not the true motive for her escape.
And even the wild scene of the public and cruel beating of Mary in connection with the loss of the horse also did not become a weighty reason for escape. Other exiles who repulsed her from the enraged concubine advised to show Yakov to the doctor who visited Amga once a month. The doctor during the examination found serious problems with the nervous system of the partner and said that it was dangerous to live near him, because he could kill him for nothing. “The doctor insisted,” recalled Bochkareva, “on my immediate departure. But I hesitated. Only after another attempt to kill her cohabitant, Maria finally decided to escape. In this case, no thoughts about the war at that time she did not arise. The main thing was to save your life.
But according to the plot of the book “Yashka”, in a mysterious way, immediately after these experiences in his life, it is absolutely not logical for Bochkaryova to re-think about the war again. When reading this, it is perceived as some kind of foreign text block insert. “Imagination day and night,” she recalls, “took me to the battlefields ...”. I wonder how an illiterate woman who had never been interested in military affairs, who had never seen real combat before, could have imagined or imagined battles on the margins of the First World War? Moreover, there were no large-scale battles. In August, the 1914 of World War I was still burning.
And then there are completely florid literary delights to match the pen of a venerable novelist. “My heart was torn there — into the boiling cauldron of war,” we read on the next page of the book “Yashka,” to be baptized in fire and harden in lava. I took possession of the spirit of self-sacrifice. My country called me. And some insurmountable internal force pushed forward ... ". Here, among the beautiful figures of speech, about which the illiterate Siberian from the lower classes of society hardly had any idea at all, the phrase about her self-sacrifice spirit is striking. Run away from a roommate because of the risk of being killed by him in order to sacrifice his young life in a war? Logic and common sense are powerless here.
Reflections on war pushed for action
Of course, with historical accuracy to restore the true motives of her desire to get into the wartime in the army after a century, it is hardly possible. It remains only to revert to her memories and interrogation protocols at the Cheka, where she mentioned that she had promoted her military service. Well, and whenever possible, comparing and analyzing other sources, try to establish the true sources of its subsequent actions and actions. So why was the young woman so eager to stand under the army banners?
In the book “Yashka” the goals and motives of this fateful decision are stated. We give them literally in the presentation on behalf of M. Bochkareva herself as the basic motives in her desire to get into military service. “And indeed, the thought of saving Yasha ... completely captured my imagination. But can it be done differently than by distinguishing himself in the war, to write a petition to the king in his defense?
So again and again my thoughts returned to war. I asked a friend to write a letter on my behalf to Yasha. Apologizing for leaving him so unexpectedly, I announced my intention to go to Tomsk to join the army as a soldier, go to the front, prove myself there, and then turn to the tsar with a request for pardon, so that the sovereign would allow us to return to peaceful life in Sretensk. That was my plan ... ".
Mary’s brief thoughts can be summarized in the form of a definite chain of goals and her follow-up goals.
The main motive and main goal is to save the concubine Jacob Buk from the severity and hardships of the exile life, having achieved his release from serving the sentence.
Intermediate goals on the way to the final result:
1) Enlist in the military.
2) Get to the front.
3) Distinguished in war.
4) Turn to the king asking for clemency for Jacob.
5) Return with him to a peaceful life in Sretinsk, where the parents of Buk lived.
And, as we see, in its largely fantasy "plan" there was no place for self-sacrifice and its inevitable death in the war for Faith, Tsar and Fatherland. Everything is laid out in the light of a favorable outcome and a happy, peaceful life in the Transbaikalian town of Sretinsk that she likes.
Motives for all occasions
From the above revelations of the most important heroine of the book “Yashka”, as presented by Don Levin, it is clear that the decision of Maria Bochkareva was internally motivated, wore a purely personal, everyday character and in no way was a manifestation of her patriotic or loyal faith. At the same time, Maria subsequently, depending on life circumstances and the specific situation, repeatedly changed her story about what really served as a motive for the young Siberian woman to expose herself not only to the deprivation of military service, but also the risk of dying on the war. It happened that she radically changed her motivation for military service to the Fatherland in the interests of achieving her goals, using the help and advice of other people. So, for example, it was a little later in the case of the council of an unknown officer of the 25-th Reserve Battalion in Tomsk to highlight their patriotic feelings in the application for admission to voluntary military service.
Times have changed, and the wording of her motives for entering military service has changed. Sometimes, depending on the situation, she reduced the explanation of her desire to go to the front to a reason understandable for ordinary people. For example, in the soldier’s environment and ordinary people, she often said that she went to war in order to avenge the Germans for the death of her husband as a soldier at the front. She considered this made-up excuse a suitable explanation, although in fact Athanasius Bochkarev returned from the war alive.
Then, already in 1920, during interrogations in the Cheka, she again told the investigator: "I went to war in 1914, out of patriotism and wanted to die for their homeland." So the true, deep motives of her admission to the army ranks are incomprehensible to the end. It is possible that they intertwined and transformed in accordance with certain periods of her life and military service, or adapted to certain life situations.
Internal dialogue and new thoughts about their use in war
All the fateful changes in her life will happen a little later. In the meantime, the former voluntary exile Maria Bochkareva almost 2 month traveled to become a native of Tomsk. This long journey was not easy. I had to go somewhere on foot, sail on a barge, go by train. The Yakut escort (or a escort?) Left her in Irkutsk and then continued on her own path.
And finally, after 6, the absence of years ended up in a familiar basement, where her parents had lived for 17 for years. Even at home, Mary did not abandon her plans, although she was overcome by various doubts. In her heart, of course, she understood that war is not a woman’s business. Moreover, in her heart, there was still a desire to return to Jacob. But she managed to suppress both her doubts and desires. Later on the pages of the book "Yashka" she recalled: "I ... made a fatal decision: I will go to war and fight to the last breath ... I will protect the Motherland and help those unfortunate on the battlefield who have already sacrificed themselves for her." As you can see, at this time she had another motivating factor for choosing military service - this is rendering help on the front line wounded during the fighting.
Bochkareva recalled: “November was the 1914 of the year. Having strengthened my decision, I took a firm step towards the headquarters of the 25 ... battalion stationed in Tomsk. ” It was for her a completely new and unknown road of military life, which she decided to choose for herself in the conditions of the flaring up fire of the world war. However, she hardly even suspected that according to the laws of the Russian Empire, any of her plans for military service would not have come true if His Majesty and Chance had not intervened. But that is another story.
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