Some of the readers will certainly grumble about this material that it does not fit well into the format of the publication. And in general - some kind of local.
However, this short история too indicative for our time. When surprisingly quickly, and not to say that imperceptibly, such heroes of completely different times entered.
A family of journalists from the capital decided to take a job on a farm for a large landowner. In four months they managed to touch the landlord caste and realize what it means to be “serfs” of a sculptor-farmer.
The end of the experiment - the owner rudely and without explanation broke off the labor relationship. The journalists had to collect their things and leave the farm under the protection of a police squad. In front of you is a first-person report.
Mission and missionaries
The scene is the Vladimir region, 110 kilometers from Moscow.
Mission - we have set several tasks for ourselves at once: to change the urban way of life for a farm life. And at the same time to develop skills in the agricultural sector and build relationships with the landowner.
But the main thing is just to earn something for a living until we find where to go. And to understand - is it possible, in general, now to earn decently on earth? Well, let's not forget about proper nutrition, clean water and life in the fresh air.
Meeting: next to our dacha in the village of Ilyinskoye. We accidentally entered a private territory. We saw in the distance a huge three-story brick building with Gothic elements on the facade. The owner left the house and introduced himself as Nikolai.
We met - an artist, a sculptor, is finishing construction, took us inside the house. We did not hide that we are journalists in free flight.
Nikolai showed a genuine interest in us and offered to work on his farm. They replied that we would consider his proposal, exchanged phone numbers. In mid-August, a telephone conversation took place: they agreed orally on a salary of 30 thousand rubles a month for a family.
Outlined responsibilities on the farm, living in a small house on the estate. But literally a couple of days after the conversation, an emergency occurs - Nikolai's farm burns down. Only a herd of goats and two ponies survived.
We thought that the experiment would not work, but Nikolai surprisingly confirmed the previous agreements. On the third of September a new stage in our life began for us - the farming one.
Report from the reserve
In whose domain did we find ourselves? Meet Nikolay Lavdansky, a fashionable sculptor and artist whose works are sold for very impressive sums.
Graduate of the Stroganov School. General director of the "Cinnabar" workshop, which specializes in the manufacture of iconostases and painting of churches.
One has only to read the interview of our newly-minted "owner" (http://www.kinovar.com/ARCHIVE/kino2014/ortox-n/index.html) - he talks a lot about the most lofty things and principles in his work.
A kind of reserve - he has 16 hectares of land, a house with an area of 500 sq. meters, the mentioned farm with a herd of goats and a dozen sika deer, which are kept in a separate enclosure. And, in general, Nikolai himself also aroused genuine interest in us.
We enthusiastically set to work, which turned out to be very difficult, if not stressful. The farm after the fire was a truly miserable sight.
The burnt skeleton of a building made of foam blocks, charred pieces of wood everywhere, dead equipment and twisted sheets of melted profiled sheet - the former roof of the agricultural complex.
We knew practically nothing about goats, how to milk them and how to care for them - we were educated on the Internet. But things were getting better - they carried out repairs in the service house, removed the traces of a fire on the farm, learned to milk goats.
We equipped pens and feeders, fenced off the levada, made a house for a goat. They also began to follow sika deer.
The first "bells" that not everything was going well in this reserve rang out soon. We were visited by a former farm worker, Nikolaich, who had worked for Lavdansky for a long time. Nikolaitch kept telling us that the owner did not pay. And you shouldn't trust him.
A little later, from a conversation with a worker who was building Lavdansky's house, it turned out that last summer two women from the Kursk region had contracted to the farm. According to the interlocutor, they worked hard, everything on the farm was cleaned out, the animals were groomed and fed.
Before the fire, Lavdansky's farm was much more impressive - in addition to goats and ponies, horses, quails, chickens and rabbits were kept. The women established the marketing of goat milk, began to cook not only cottage cheese, but also cheeses.
But they lasted only forty days with the owner, for unclear reasons, he decided to part with them. And the parting, in many ways, was not peaceful.
And the official version of the fire on the farm -
"A heating lamp fell on the straw"
already looked not so unambiguous.
The next alarming "calls" were made by the residents of Ilyinsky. They were surprised that we were hired to work for Nicholas, whose reputation in the village was frankly bad.
One woman directly told the author of the article:
"If you respect yourself, then you shouldn't work for Nikolai for a day."
The villager's greeting was also not pleasant:
“You haven't escaped yet? Others fled. "
We naturally started making inquiries. And it turned out that Lavdansky more than once hired people, whom he then chased away. Or they fled themselves, often without a paycheck. Among them were both Russians and representatives of the near abroad.
The key moment came already in October - Lavdansky reduced our wages to 20 thousand rubles, while there was no question of concluding a written contract. The question arose - should we stay further or complete our farming mission?
Nikolai's parents, who live in the neighborhood, came to the rescue. They were finishing the summer season and asked us to look after the house and chicken coop. Not for nothing - and the financial situation has improved somewhat.
Division of labor
We again got involved in work, which was both hard and joyful at the same time. At the beginning of our acquaintance, Lavdansky said more than once that we are all comrades-in-arms, doing the same thing. We discussed plans for the development of the territory, including the implementation of various tourism ideas.
Nikolai's house is not easy - a whole mini-hotel with several rooms for tourists.
And then there are sika deer, which will no doubt arouse the interest of animal lovers.
But then an almost invisible barrier lay between us - we were doing business on the farm, and Nikolai would take care of the rest himself.
Lavdansky more than once got tired of parties for friends to which farm workers were never invited. Yes, we didn't really strive - we have a young child, and here alcohol, music, and sometimes shooting at targets from a gunshot weapons... The sculptor also has a small arsenal.
On the other hand, the financial issue remained relevant for our family - we repeatedly asked Lavdansky to return to the 30 thousand rubles mentioned. Once he even went to meet us - he decided that the proceeds from visiting deer by tourists would go to us.
At this time, the first guests began to appear in the estate. A few days before the New Year, predicting the influx of the public for the holidays, they independently put the entire entrance area in order: they removed the scattered equipment left over from the fire from their eyes, and dismantled a huge pile of broken foam blocks.
On the second of January, something unimaginable began - tourists from all over the area, primarily from Kirzhach, having seen information about deer on Instagram, rushed to the manor to see the sculptor.
Already on January 3, the number of visitors confidently exceeded a hundred, although this entertainment is paid - 200 rubles from each adult.
My wife and I were, in fact, thrown into a tourist "embrasure" - people must be promptly met, shown deer, conducted at least small excursions, and then shown our wards goats and ponies.
For seven hours in the cold, and even with a small child, they let us know that we were tired and began to fear for our health, mostly not ours - the child. And the organizers of the action - Nikolai and his friend - did not appear on the tourist "front".
Roundabout at Christmas
However, instead of words of gratitude and support at the operational "planning meeting", a stream of rudeness and swearing suddenly fell upon us. The softest that flew out of the mouth of Lavdansky was
"Money for the barrel."
It almost came to a fight.
In the following days, Nikolai and his girlfriend took control of the tourist flow.
January 7, Christmas, came the denouement.
In the morning, as usual, we went to the chicken coop to feed the chickens and pour them water. But then Nikolai rushed in front of us at great speed in his white Land Cruiser.
We went to his parents' plot and opened the gate. At night, it snowed, and on it the hasty tracks from the sneakers were clearly visible.
The sculptor went for eggs, as he believed - for his eggs. Before leaving, Nikolai's parents said that he had the right to some of the chicken products, but he had to buy grain for them himself.
Lavdansky refused this, and we had to buy food for birds for a month at our own expense. However, he did not find eggs in the chicken coop, which, apparently, made him angry.
At 10 o'clock at the entrance area, in the presence of, as he put it, the “colonel,” Nikolai told us that he no longer needed our work.
"You must leave the house and grounds before the end of the day."
We were shocked and asked to explain this decision.
But the sculptor did not argue for him in any way. My wife and I pointed out that we have a lot of personal belongings and a young child, it will be difficult for us to get together so quickly.
As a result, an agreement was reached that we were packing up and leaving in three days. At the same time, Lavdansky even said that he would pay us salaries for the period from December 15 to January 6.
But at about 18 pm, loud knocking began on the door and on the window of the house. Opening the window, we saw Nikolai and an unknown man next to him.
They began to demand that we leave the house immediately, asking questions:
"Where are you registered?"
"Why are you in private territory?"
Reasonably taking this as a direct threat, we called the district police officer and asked for help and protection. The representative of the law and order behaved strangely - he began to say that he could not come, there was no car, and he knew Lavdansky well, and that he did not pose a threat.
Realizing that we could not wait for help from the district, we called the police station on duty in Kirzhach. There the appeal was promptly accepted, and 20 minutes later a police squad, led by a major, arrived. We explained to him that we have a lot of things, we cannot take them out at once - some of them will have to be sent to our dacha, located nearby.
The major correctly assessed the situation - the outfit remained in the estate. Supervised the removal of all things and the delivery of the service house intact and safe to its owner.
And Nicholas came to the aid of a whole bunch of his cronies, who, despite the presence of police officers, began to insult us and throw greasy jokes. One of the phrases spoken was:
"Look, Nikolay, don't rape, girl",
pointing at my wife.
Having got out under the protection of the police from the estate, we went to the department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where a statement was drawn up to prosecute citizen Lavdansky.
Thus ended our agrarian mission at the sculptor's farm.
Instead of PS
It was a reportage. But according to the laws of the genre, one cannot but give the floor to the other side.
Therefore, here is a quote from Nikolai Lavdansky from his interview:
“We would not be us if we did not develop. If we stop, the workshop can be closed. And - all work with enthusiasm, with soul, with love. We do not have people who would do the work formally, just for the sake of money. Everyone is worried about the cause, they live by it. "(Cinnabar today is not only an icon-painting workshop)