Catherine in Russian costume; Charlotte Prusskaya (wife of Nicholas I) in Russian costume.
"And the bread, German neat,
In a paper cap, more than once
I have already opened my vasisdas. ”
Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin. "Eugene Onegin"
In a paper cap, more than once
I have already opened my vasisdas. ”
Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin. "Eugene Onegin"
... I will begin with an explanation of a funny term from an epigraph. Vasizdas is the name of the window pane, from the German question 'was ist das?' ("what is it?"). Literally, the window of a curious observer, who, seeing that something interesting or scandalous happened on the street, immediately seeks to find out: "Was ist das?" But back, however, to the topic of our story. So, what is this phenomenon - a German in Russia, a neat bread maker, an iron Stolz, ... Mother Queen Ekaterina, as well as the “special person” Benkendorf and the fiery revolutionary Bauman? They lived in Russia, they perceived it as their homeland. They thought about it, and not about Westphalia, Courland, or even some Anhalt-Zerbst. The immigrants (I almost said guest workers) from the German lands - this topic is too extensive, full of nuances, and sometimes - silence, so I would like to dwell only on certain aspects. Images, vision, result.
An interesting moment - the Germans, that is, the dumb, not speaking Russian, initially nicknamed all indiscriminately foreigners, mainly from Western Europe and only immigrants from Germany, who were simply more than the British or, say, the Dutch, secured for themselves this designation. The look at them changed - they acted as teachers and mentors, now as unclean “comers here” non-Christians, now in the form of good neighbors. How is Pushkin? “I am a shoemaker, my name is Gottlieb Schulz, and I live from you across the street, in this house, which is against your windows. Tomorrow I celebrate my silver wedding, and I ask you and your daughters to have a nice dinner with me ... ”
... For example, in the reign of Elizabeth Petrovna, the real struggle against the "German domination" was launched. Daughter of Petrova, having ascended to the throne, immediately began to exterminate the “Kurland infection”, which became the symbol of the two previous rules. It was postulated that Anna Ioannovna and Anna Leopoldovna adored their disobedient Germans before stupor and, in fact, entrusted control of the state to them, whereas now the era of primordial autocracy is approaching. It is well known that Elizaveta actively and even - declaratively supported the natural Russian genius - Mikhail Lomonosov and did not favor scientists with German surnames. A lot was said about a certain “German party” (in the sense of a clique), which at one time plunged the country into the abyss of hopeless Bironovshchina. They say that the Germans, rallying around Anna's “Courland widow,” did their black stuff and robbed the people. In fact, everything looked much more complicated and simpler at the same time - there was simply no German party at the court.
Burchard Christopher Minich was a military engineer, politician and typical political adventurer of the Gallant Age, who knew how to overthrow disagreeable temporary workers. He was an ardent opponent of another German - Vice-Chancellor Andrei Ivanovich Osterman, one of the main protagonists of the Annenskie government. Both of them fiercely hated Ernst Biron, the favorite and the “main groom” of the empress, calling him a rogue and simply rootless boor. Tellingly, all three (and, separately) intrigued against the brothers Levenvolde - the main court parasites, in the opinion of everyone around them. If we trace the biographies of all the above-mentioned persons, it becomes clear that they all, rather, entered into political alliances with Russian aristocrats. For example, the omnipotent Ernst Biron was for a long time the patron saint of the noble boyar Artemy Volynsky, but the latter had his own views on government ... He ended up, as you know, bad.
Subsequently, especially with the filing of a talented novelist Ivan Lazhechnikov, Volynsky was considered to be almost a martyr-patriot who was killed by German henchmen of the lazy empress. In fact, Artemy Petrovich was a court figure, characteristic of the 18th century, and he was much more concerned with personal ambitions than, actually, the fate of Russia. Thus, there was no German party, clique, camarilla under Anna Ioannovna - each of the Germans was for himself, and each of them was personally given to the empress and, of course, his own pocket. This, by the way, is an interesting feature - immigrants from Germany have never gathered on national soil. Yes. Of course, there were German colonies in the Volga region. But a Russian German official, a subject of the Russian tsar, never promoted his own tribesman through the office just because he was also from Darmstadt. There are several explanations on this point. For example, it is believed that the native of all the same Darmstadt simply did not perceive the Saxon or Prussian as his own. On the other hand, the kurlander Biron (his real name is Beren) has never been a companion to all the same Levenvolde brothers who, it seemed, should have seemed to him "their own." Moreover, many of all these Holsteiners and Westphalians ceased to perceive themselves as, in fact, Germans. As Baron Tuzenbach from “The Three Sisters” said: “Yes, you need to work. I suppose you think: the German was deeply moved. But I, honestly, are Russian and do not even speak German. My father is Orthodox ... ”Some researchers, however, speak of the so-called“ landsknecht psychology ”, for which the Motherland is where service is.
Or, for example, instructive история Princess Fike, who (according to her memoirs) ceased to be German as soon as she entered the Russian land. Whether her quivering love for a new Motherland was sincere, or whether a subtle political calculation is behind this is not so important. She considered herself Russian in everything and did not even tolerate foreign speech at her side, believing that even at court one should speak exclusively in Russian. Known historical anecdote. In those days, all diseases were treated with bloodletting, and when the doctor once again “opened the blood” to the empress, she sighed with relief: “Well, that's it! Things will go well - the last German blood is out! ”The most surprising innovation at the Catherine’s court was the so-called“ Russian costume ”. In her striving to “diminish the French courtyard,” Teuton Ekaterina knew no bounds. Moreover, she even wanted to see the image of Peter I by Falcone ... in a Russian caftan, but her intention was not realized. The idea to dress a Russian antiquarian in a caftan he hated looked at least strange. Then the empress began to zealously disguise her subjects, imposing on them everything from which Peter had so long disaccustomed their grandfathers and grandmothers.
Having a superficial idea of the Russian clothes of pre-Peter Russia, the empress came up with something between a modern court dress and a peasant costume familiar to her (or rather, with its festive version). There were kokoshnik and veil, and the like of a sundress, but at the same time, there was a thin lace, widely used in dresses of the XVIII century. It was with the filing of Catherine that it became a good tone to condemn cringing before the West. On the contrary, bon ton - praise everything Russian. For example, in the famous play by Denis Fonvizin (I note that he, too - von Wiesen) “Brigadier” (1769), a stupid pretentious lady says: “Ah! how happy is our daughter! She goes for the one that was in Paris. Oh! My joy! I quite know what it is like to live with a husband who was not in Paris. ” In the story, the young and empty-headed Shchegol Ivanushka (Ivan, who does not remember kinship) is crazy about everything foreign and therefore despises his “unhappy” origin. For him, being Russian is a real disaster. Whether business - abroad! And the playwright by the name of von Wiesen ardently condemns such offspring!
Under the grandson of Catherine - under Nikolai Pavlovich, this line continued. For the most part, a German by blood and married to a Prussian Charlotte, Nicholas I introduced in the society the age-old Russian values. The principles of the Nicholas rule - “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality” were formulated by Count Sergei Uvarov. Under Nicholas, another reform of the court dress was carried out - of course, “in the Russian image”. Tsar's daughter, Olga Nikolaevna, in her memoirs recalls one of her favorite beloved mentors: “She received a Russian dress of blue and gold, her own departure and a box in the theater ...” Which is characteristic, the Decembrist Pavel Pestel also showed interest in Russian dress and ancient customs - the offspring of the German family, who moved to Russia at the end of the XVII century. He literally wrote the following: “As for the beauty of clothes, the Russian dress can serve as an example.” Interestingly, the most active enemy of the whole German was the almost purebred German Alexander III, who in the West was always painted in the form of a bearded Slavic savage. He was a Russian tsar and loved Russia. Everything.
For comparison, the representatives of the Hannover (German) dynasty in England never particularly sought to become true gentlemen, and Marie-Antoinette, although she learned to tweet in French without the slightest accent, everything was considered a “German-Austrian” constantly led by her Viennese relatives. It is noteworthy that Handel, who lived in England from 1712 to 1759 a year, never called himself an Englishman. But back, however, to Russia. The image of a German in literature is a special conversation, because not only the political situation played a role here, but also the author’s personal views and preferences. The German is a bright antipode of the Russian man, or just a neighbor, comrade, who has his own national oddities, from whom one cannot escape. And sometimes a German or a German is a kind of generally accepted routine, and the author doesn’t even pay attention to it. Here is a phrase from everyone’s favorite work: “Andrei Bolkonsky, Kutuzov’s adjutant, married little Lisa Meinen, the most charming woman in St. Petersburg, last winter.” Meinen is a typical Prussian or Ostsee surname.
Frame from the film "Oblomov"
Can a “little princess” be considered a foreigner, an exotic fruit? Can we assume that she will gather around her circle, consisting of persons close to her by blood? For example, to invite only Anna Pavlovna Scherer, also, apparently, from the Germans. Here is another quote from the same novel: “In one morning, Colonel Adolf Berg, in a clean, spiky uniform, with his temples attached to the front, came to him.” But very often a native of the German world is depicted as a specimen of pedantry and a penchant for written rules. Whereas the primordial Slav hopes for a chance, tries to show sharpness, but not exact knowledge of laws. Here's how this is told in Nikolai Leskov's story “Iron Will”, devoted to the comparison of Russian and German characters: “No, sir: it’s in the case of a German who doesn’t take a step without calculating and will not fall off the bed without a tool; and secondly, don't you give too much attention to the will and calculations? ”
All memorable Andrei Stolz has always been the opposite of Ilya Oblomov. Sometimes it seems to be the antithesis of “German VS Russian.” Stolz - tough and resolute, but limited. Oblomov - lazy, but sincere and keenly feeling. They ideally complement each other, because where one has strength, the other has weakness. Stolz is a man-machine: “It’s all made up of bones, muscles and nerves, like a bloody English horse. He is thin; he has almost no cheeks at all, that is, bone and muscle, but no sign of oily roundness ... ”Or,“ He didn’t have any extra movements. If he was sitting, he was sitting quietly, but if he acted, he used as many facial expressions as was necessary. ” In Stolz, I remind you, the Russian mother, a noblewoman, sublime and sentimental. Her arguments about the German nation are quite typical: “In her opinion, there was not and could not be a single gentleman in the whole German nation. In her German character, she did not notice any gentleness, delicacy, condescension, nothing that makes life so pleasant in a good light, with which you can bypass some rule, break a common custom, and disobey the rules. ” It is interesting that Olga Ilinskaya marries iron Stolz, continuing to love the indecisive, gentle Ilya Ilyich. However, the reality is always more interesting and richer - a stranger, more irrational person than Kuchelbecker is hard to imagine at all. Yes, and sentimentalism with romanticism went to Russia from Germany. What kind of dismal pragmatism is there?
... And if tomorrow is war? Zinaida Hippius has a terrible story “German” about a boy named Veinen. As you remember, in 1914, everything changed - life, meaning, and accents. The young blonde turned out to be an outcast, although he never thought of himself as a German, like Baron Tuzenbach, by the way:
“—And the truth, brothers, he's a German! That's why such a fighter, the Germans are all fighters. And the German surname.
Valya was taken aback, even froze for a minute in surprise.
“I am the most Russian,” he finally said. - I have always been Russian. I am here, on Nikolaevskaya Street, and was born. ”
He becomes terrified of a teenager - he never thought about his German origins. “The case presented itself in the most hopeless form. And ... last name and dad buried in the Lutheran cemetery, and blond hair ... Yes, the Germans. Well, let there be anything you like, but he, Valya, will not be a German. Never! Everything was Russian - and suddenly not Russian? ”In the end, it turns out that the Väinen family are Latvians, and the child with this happy thought falls asleep.
Interestingly, the Nazi racial ideologues of the German colonist, whose ancestors once went to Russia, was considered second-rate or even third-class German, even if he is the “true Aryan”. The Nazis knew that the Russian Volksdeutsche perceived Russia as their homeland, and their river was the Volga, not the Rhine and not Havel. But in a war, the conversation is short. As you know, many Germans were repressed or deported to remote areas of the country. Nor was the famous Volga autonomy that existed within the RSFSR. By the end of 1941, a significant number of Germans were sent to Siberia and Kazakhstan from the European part of the USSR. According to the Soviet leadership, the situation with the immigrants demanded radical measures. The solution was found - the call of the entire German population in the so-called "Labor Army". As a rule, these were construction battalions. Thus, the theme of the Russian Germans is also a tragedy.
But the question is inexhaustible. Someone will remember Dr. Fyodor Haas, a famous philanthropist who did much to alleviate the fate of prisoners. Or scout Richard Sorge. Otto Yulievich Schmidt. Peter Struve. Or actress Alice Freindlich, who, by the way, had a blockade childhood in besieged Leningrad ... A people who are not near, but together.