We were stationed on two warships stationed on the inland roadstead: the Red Caucasus guards cruiser and the Columbus sailing ship (submarine base). I among other "cursors" got on the cruiser, where we were fed excellent buckwheat porridge with meat and drank tea.
Then the duty officer on the "Nizam" (the inner spaceships of the ship) with a bandage on his sleeve and the healthy fellow-boatswain began placing us in the "cockpit". Profundovy, the lowest register bass boatswain rumbled in cramped rooms, and, giving us the necessary instructions, he quickly switched from a strictly authorized address "comrades cadets" to patronizing "sons". We understood that the boatswain is located to us, does not intend to mock at us and that he is not a “skin.” In gratitude, we always willingly carried out all his orders, moving along the ladders and decks just by running, “bullet”.
While I was looking for a suitable place for a hanging bed, a sailor descended into the cabin on the ramp. For some time he looked at me and silently "played his cheekbones" (as I understood, this was his constant habit).
“Come, let me show you a good place for a bed,” he said in a deaf voice.
He led me deeper into the cabin and showed me the grille of a huge ceiling fan.
- This is a good place, and at night it will not be hot ...
- And the noise of the fan will not interfere? - I involuntarily asked a question, because I was pretty embarrassed by the neighborhood with such a huge unit.
- Do not be afraid. These fans are noiseless.
During the practice on the cruiser, I was repeatedly convinced of the fairness of his words and slept sweetly, blown like a hairdryer, with a cool air stream on stuffy nights, under a long time not cooling down after the hot day of the upper armored formwork. At the same fan, I clung to the washed striped vest and she, inflated with a warm stream, as if alive, wobbled and fluttered, from a distance resembling a human figure.
Finally, we met and talked on the forecastle (the bow of the ship, the traditional resting place of sailors and foremen), a place of endless conversations and stories, called "persecution" in the fleet.
They called my new acquaintance Vasily Shukshin (accent on the first syllable). We both did not smoke. I pestered him with questions on the device of the ship, and he began to make excursions after dinner, which gave me quite a lot. It is curious that he never called me a "salaga", while in others this offensive and semi-punitive word flew from the mouth, and more often from the lips of the "salag" themselves, with which on the ship, undoubtedly, we were cadets-pilots .
Thanks to Shukshin’s benevolent care, my acquaintance with the warship went quite successfully, I quickly mastered the basics of the naval service, numerous terms, and got used to a clear schedule. In those days, "bullying" was not in sight.
I remember that Shukshin and I witnessed such an episode. The cruiser commander, Captain 1, of the rank of Maksyuta, passing along the deck along the waist (the middle part of the ship’s superstructures), noticed that one of the sailors of the warhead-2 (artillery combat unit) was in a very deplorable state of “hromachi” - ceremonial-weekend boots issued to three years. Shoes burst at the seams and crawled. Maksyuta frownedly listened to the sailor's explanation that those threads had apparently rotted and that after the first dismissal they “spread out” ... ”
The ship's commander instructed the quartermaster service to issue new ones, but it turned out to be difficult: the quartermaster officer reported that for this it was necessary to attach a report and certify with a signature, for the boots did not serve the due date.
Maksiute did not like this quartermaster "logic", and he ordered the sailor to issue his officer boots, which the Czechoslovakian company Batya supplied to the fleet at that time.
After this, the sailor repeatedly demonstrated, at the request of the working people, his boots of excellent quality, for which their sailors were called "admiral", and they were the subject of jokes of ship wits, over which the owner himself good-naturedly laughed.
Shukshin on this minor episode has dropped:
- Now the sailor will serve not for fear, but for conscience. Such attention fathers commanders do not betray. For such a commander the sailor will go into the fire and enter, and those shoes will be taken away to his village, as an expensive memory ...
After a pause, Vasily added:
- By the way, Russian naval commanders and commanders considered the care of our brother the first commandment. Why were their fathers commanders called ...
Every morning on the ships of the fleet they scoured the deck. Shukshin and I did this. It was called "small or big tidy." Great tidy done on Saturday.
The deck of the ship sprinkled with fine yellow sand. After that, together with wooden "baklashki" they rubbed the oak deck, which was assembled as parquet. Such a “parquet”, type-setting deck, placed on the armor, is quite practical, as it protects the metal from strong heating in the sun (on other ships in rooms below the deck there is a terrible heat). But it was not easy to scrub.
Great Saturday tidy was sophisticated, and any cleanest hostess would come to great amazement from the efforts and efforts that the Russian navy uses for this business every day.
After the decking was done "like a pristine tear", the sand was washed off with outboard water from the hoses, the deck was rubbed with birch brooms, then "shoveled" with special wooden shovels with a piece of rubber at the end. But that's not all. After the end of this operation, the boatswain team began the final part of the tidy: the deck was diligently “moped”, and then wiped dry with a rag from a huge tangle of thread (waste from some kind of textile factory).
The boatswain slowly checked the quality of work, looked into each tarred seam and crevice and, grumbling with satisfaction and habitually straightening his wheat whiskers, already moving away, gave the command “tank” (from the word “tank” to which the duty sailor from the four received food allowance) , follow the galley for food.
Working side by side, pretty tired, Shukshin and I straightened our backs and showed each other calluses on our hands. At the same time Shukshin grinned:
- Today, we earned a fleet grub honestly.
However, I must note that sometimes the “big tidy” did not end there.
Here I must mention some strange lute, who was on the cruiser as a commander. His last name was Lyubchenko. Shukshin had with him eternal friction, ending, as a rule, not in favor of Basil.
Zampolit was by no means stupid with himself, with regular, almost girlish features. In the fleet, he was transferred from a coastal unit and was characterized by amazing sadistic inclinations. A grimace of scornful discontent forever froze on his face, and he seemed to find special satisfaction in endless small cavils. The officers of the ship disliked him, and he, knowing this, kept his distance from them.
And somehow, after the above-described big tidy on the poop (the stern of the deck where the mess-room was located), the political officer appeared: Seeing him, Vasya squeezed his cheekbones and whispered: "Well, wait now for troubles." Going down to the mess-room, Lyubchenko took a picture of a snow-white handkerchief from his jacket and led them along the deck. Inspected it. He ran it again and shouted loudly:
- Boatswain, call the cadets and rebuke the deck!
Cursing, and without the former agility, we set off to fetch sand, brooms, shovels and mops.
“I saw what kind of fruit we have on the“ box ”- you will not get bored,” said Shukshin with some special sadness. - A man - he is twofold: in him sits both the animal principle and the public. What will prevail in his life is unknown ...
Even then it was noticeable that Vasily was trying to analyze, to understand a lot in our “heroic life” ...
The galley on the ship was placed on the upper deck, on the "waist". Periodically we were sent there to peel potatoes. The "folk path" of Vasily Shukshin did not overgrow there either, because of all the same clashes with the political officer. He came to the galley, armed himself with a sharp knife, sat down on an upside-down zinc bucket, silently and diligently began to peel potatoes.
It was necessary to clear two huge aluminum cisterns, it took more than an hour, and therefore it began to "persecute" itself, salted sailor stories, anecdotes, but more often the poems of Yesenin and Pushkin were read. And time began to flow is not so tedious.
Once a novice was sent to the galley from a naval crew. The sailor was shustry, priblatnny, talkative and terribly unpleasant in communication. He reported that he “thundered” on potatoes because he blew his nose on the deck, and the “ratman-boatswain” saw this. The sailor dwelled for a long time, pulled out time, then stopped in front of Vasily and jerked, sang: “In Odessa, at the bazaar, noise and tararah. Everything that is needed is for sale: junk and trash ... "
Having moved, the sailor was given a place. Reluctantly sitting down, he began to look at the knife and, as it were, by the way muttered:
- Work, she loves fools ...
It was at this moment that, rattling a crumpled tank, the bear Mashka flooded into the galley. About a year ago, the artists of the Moscow Art Theater, who supported the Black Sea Fleet, presented it with a small funny ball. Having risen on her hind legs, she noisily sniffed the sweetest smells from the galley, at the same time she sniffed each of us individually, hoping to lure a piece of sugar or candy from someone.
Everyone liked Masha without exception, Kok indulged her with an extra portion of borscht or meat, all the others were treated to sweets. She was a light brown suit, strong, plump and unusually friendly. Someone taught her to fight, and she, under the laughter of those present in the evening hours, indulged in this activity with pleasure, to the great joy of the sailors. Usually, she easily managed to plunge the enemy onto the shoulder blades, after which she would certainly “kiss” him - licked with a big red tongue.
Masha, during her time on the ship, fairly “humanized”, understood many words, adored affection, knew the routine on the ship, knew the boatswain and officers “by sight” and obeyed them without question.
With the advent of Masha, we noticeably perked up, jokes fell out, her friendly ruffled hair, thick neck ... But then the unexpected happened. When Mashka sniffed at the priblatnogo sailor for quite a long time, apparently getting to know and memorizing it, he, taking a cigarette out of his mouth, quickly glued it to the bear's nose. Masha backed away, sat on her hind legs, and covered herself with her front paws. Pain and bewilderment appeared in her eyes. Then she roared so terribly that the abuser sailor flew out of the galley like a bullet. Masha rushed to catch up with him. The boatswain saved the enraged motherworm. Seeing the chase, he threw a wet sailor's robe on the head of the bear. Masha stopped, and suddenly, before our eyes, releasing her huge claws, in the blink of an eye turned the strongest robe into pitiful rags. "Here she is, awakened bear power," Shukshin later said. The sailor in the greatest fear headlong reached the tower of the main caliber and, scrupulously climbing up the metal brackets, disappeared.
For several days they carried food there, because Mashka, who had an unusually sharp instinct, barely smelling the smell of the offender, rushed to him to inflict reprisals. In order to avoid trouble, the boatswain reported on the incident with
Mashka commander of the ship, and he immediately wrote off ashore in the naval crew. Mashka, having examined the ship, soon calmed down, realizing that the offender was no more, her former friendliness returned to her again.
Guards cruiser "Red Caucasus" was a deserved veteran of the Black Sea Fleet. His peer was the same type cruiser "Red Crimea", which filmmakers used to film as the legendary "Varyag", putting a sham pipe to it. The cruiser, slightly fuming, was located nearby, and Shukshin and I looked at it in the stereo.
In the depths of the Sevastopol bay, on its barrels stood another ship - the battleship Novorossiysk (the former "Julio Cesare" - "Julius Caesar"), inherited from the division of the Italian fleet between the allies and the victors in World War II. He possessed the largest major caliber and was an impressive sight. Subsequently, it undermined the Italian underwater saboteurs of Prince Borghese (in one of the latest versions).
Vasily advised me to visit Novorossiysk.
I am writing about all of this solely because, for some unknown reason, Shukshin never wrote a single story about our fleet, almost never mentioned in print about his service on the cruiser Red Caucasus.
This may be one of the mysteries of his work. However, he was released a short century, and, probably, he just did not have time ...
Putting on the ship's schedule "personal time" in the evening hours we spent in long conversations and walks on the ship. At the same time, Vasily in passing instructed:
- Remember the sea rule - everything that is painted with oil paint is forbidden to become legs. (At this point, I walked along the dyed ball paint casing, laid across the board at the rails, under them lay pipelines for seawater.)
--- The Boatswain will see, shlobopesh outfit out of turn - latrine scrape.
From the war on the ship there are many wounds. Part of the stern was welded from the leader of Chervona Ukraine, in which Stalin loved to take a vacation on his native Caucasus in the thirties (the German dive pilot managed to hit the bomb directly into the pipe). Along the sides and even on the foremast there were a lot of holes from fragments of bombs and shells, carefully brewed and inscribed with red red lead like the following: "Sergeant 27 of I.Petrov's articles were killed with this 1941 September fragment of 2."
Whenever the ship was repaired and re-painted, all the inscriptions on the holes neatly resumed. And I must say, reading them shocked.
I asked if there were any aboard the cruiser to the war aboard? Vasily answered in the affirmative:
“For example, our boatswain who loves you pilots so much.” - Shukshin grinned, looking sideways at me. - This is from the war. The cruiser was not sunk due to support from the air. And he had many opportunities to go to the bottom. The cruiser was hit by an aerial bomb and was not allowed to finish off by the aviators. Aviation in general, our beauty was saved more than once ... However, if you want to learn more about those events, ask the boatswain. He likes to talk.
Soon we were in the "kingdom of the boatswain", in his batalerka in the bow of the ship. Everything was made there by banks with red lead, scraps of anchor chains and a multitude of all sorts of things necessary for him to do.
The boatswain had a weakness for drinking, which betrayed him with a red complexion and a crimson nose. But he knew the measure, and he was forgiven. Indeed, he began to talk about the war willingly, rumbling with his bass:
“I and the ship are getting old.” Already at speed in 16 nodes, the body begins to deform. And once there was a handsome man! .. He was built on money from the "exclusive trade in vodka." But completed in 1930-m. Therefore, the entire anti-mine caliber cruisers are Italian "dvuhstvolki" with their optics, but converted to central fire control.
When the troops landed in Feodosia, the ship came close to the wall, under dagger fire. For some time we stifled them with gunfire and managed to land the troops. Directly to the embankment of Feodosia. Around everything is shot through. A flurry of fire from either side. On both sides, perseverance and rage. II, believe me, it was a little like a movie. Airborne combat thing is scary ... Some went crazy during the battle.
Having heard the stories of the boatswain, we wandered for some time on the upper deck, looked at the lights of the city, and although Vasily Shukshin was a great silence, we were not bored ...
Once he showed me his "cherished corner" on the ship, where no one interfered with it and where he could safely devote himself to reading or writing letters to Srostki. It was not easy to get through to it: it was necessary to go along a narrow pipe, down the iron brackets to the lowest deck.
At the same time, he confessed to me that he wanted to enter the cinematography institute at the screenwriting department and that he had already written several scenarios from rural life. The main difficulty of the screenwriter, he believed, was to write out human characters without lies, without embellishment, since each person is a “stunning cosmos” ...
But soon the solitude of the future writer attracted the attention of the omnipresent political officer, who for some reason decided that the sailor Shukshin wrote anonymous letters. And terribly disliked him. Quibbles, reading before the ranks, outfits out of turn, poisoned life. Through the efforts of the political officer, the promised leave to the mother was postponed indefinitely. Vasili began to hurt the stomach (apparently, on the basis of stress), the doctors identified "acute gastritis", which soon turned into an ulcer. This disease caused the demobilization of the radio operator Shukshin a year ahead of schedule, in the 1953 year (he was called up in the 1949).
Soon the cruiser "Red Caucasus" withdrew from the barrels, carefully and slowly entered the close Killen-bay, slowly moored "at the wall". The city of Sevastopol has become much closer, trolleybuses were very close, but they were rarely released into the dismissal of cadets. We were "fed up", and every day of the week was scheduled by the minute. The maritime business was not boring: we quickly mastered the flag signaling, the alphabet, artillery weapons and sea nodes ...
In the evening, after dinner, they walked into the forecastle, sat under the barrels of the guns and, glancing at the flickering sound of the city, were talking quietly. Quiet, but not always peaceful.
- On the village autumn rybalochku would move. Chubs have to peck, well, and small-sized footers, and roach, - he began gradually, apparently, wondering when the leave to his mother "shines" him.
Basil often used the words: "you, the city" or "we, the village." Maybe even too often ... I compared life in the village and life in the city. The result was a sad, joyless picture.
I learned from him for the first time that it is forbidden for collective farmers to keep horses, that collective farmers are working "for sticks" in the register, and most importantly, the villager does not have a passport, in fact, is enslaved.
Then it turned out that Shukshin graduated only from a seven-year school, and for entering the cinematography institute a certificate of maturity is required. The feeling of their unsuitability because of "lack of education" strongly poisoned his life. It was evident that he addressed this painful point often, thus aggravating his torments.
I didn’t like Shukshin’s “Rustic Theme” at that time, and therefore I strived to “change the record”. Once I stunned him with a question:
- Did you read Jack London's Martin Edens novel?
- No, why?
- Be sure to read and enroll in the Sevastopol library. For most people, life is not the main entrance. Therefore, if you set a goal, count only on your own strength, will and your own talent! (The phrase was unnecessarily moral, and Vasya shivered.)
Further, at his request, I gave a detailed account of the contents of the novel about the sailor Martin Eden, who became a famous writer. I deliberately dropped the sad end of the novel.
Shukshin listened to me without interrupting, played with nicks and looked at the reflections in the water. (To this day, I carry in myself the conviction that Jack London’s book played a big role in Vasily Shukshin’s life.) He asked me to compile a list of recommended books, which I did by placing Cervantes, my favorite Stendhal, Paustovsky, Sholokhov (emphasized especially), Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky (then he was officially considered in the pamphlets of the society "Knowledge" and the critic Ermilov "a reactionary writer"). Closed the long list of the "Golden Calf" Ilf and Petrov.
Vasily carefully read the list and, reaching the name of Tolstoy, snorted: “You don’t do fools of us. Something we did read.” I was quick to say that I mentioned just in case, afraid to miss.
This coming Sunday, we managed to get together on leave, go to the Maritime Library and see the city. In those years, the Maritime Library was located next to the public garden on Lenin Street, near the place where the house of the writer Stanyukovich, the author of the famous "Sea Stories" stood (the house was destroyed during the war). We were met by a young beautiful librarian Evgenia Matveevna Shvarts.
She listened to Shukshin affably and attentively, looked at the list of recommended literature, started a conversation, added something to the list, all the time calling us "young people." And so she did it nicely, benevolently. Then she asked us to wait a bit and went into the next room.
There were almost no people, and Vasily looked at the booklets of old editions with eager interest in the bookcases. His deep-set eyes lit up with an inner light. It was evident that he immediately became comfortable here, as among good friends.
We left the library with "Martin Eden" in our hands, Stendhal, and some other wonderful books ... I involuntarily noticed how carefully and lovingly Shukshin was holding a book: stroking it, turning it carefully. He read very carefully, thoughtfully and slowly. He was eagerly animatedly discussing what he read, his judgments were deep, original, weighed. Especially he was animated if he learned something new, significant, correctly noticed and well described.
Misses of writers, false, inaccuracies, he saw as the most experienced writer. HG Wells, he was not interested. Fantasies he was not fascinated. Compared with Jules Verne Wells, he believed, in some way loses.
Sholokhov’s mastery was recognized by Shukshin as very high, and he probably didn’t suppose that he would ever meet him at Veshki ...
From Western writers, more precisely from the French classics, he highlighted Rabelais. "Gargantua and Pantagruel" he read several times, penetrating the sparkling folk humor of this work. Perhaps the reading of the immortal Frenchman Rabelais later helped Shukshin in writing a magnificent satirical tale "To the third roosters", in my opinion, things that no one of modern writers has gone up to. Without a doubt, he pondered the plot for more than one year.
“Doesn’t it seem to you,” he once told me, “that after the revolution, we Russians are striving to push us somewhere.” And everyone wants to rule us, starting from the local bureaucratic racket and to the very top. Something very important has been crushed in us, not that historical pride, not something else ...
Employees of the trading network, or "traders", were for him bloodsuckers of villages and cities, creators of an artificial shortage, people of the most disgusting breed - cruel and unmerciful. He admitted that he was often lost in front of their rudeness, solidarity with the police and local authorities, their invincibility, and their contempt for simple workers. In my opinion, Shukshin later in his stories very faithfully depicted their psychology, stereotype of behavior.
One day, by chance, I recognized the fact that struck me - in the Botkin hospital at the blood transfusion station there was not a single case of blood donation from vendors. How can you not remember it was Vasily Makarovich!
After the library we went to the "Istorku" (Historical Boulevard). A brass band played there. In the open area, surrounded by green acacias, couples danced. Vasily was indifferent to the “dances”, because he could not dance. For some time we chatted around the entrance, watching the “two sexes rubbing the third” (the acuteness thrown by him, as it were accidentally), after which they “pushed off” and walked on.
On the fourth bastion, where Russian officer Leo Tolstoy fought in 1854 for a long time, we examined ancient ship cannons shot from sailing ships, wicker tours, thick old ropes that served as original shields from choke bullets and cores. Basil was silent and concentrated for a long time, then exhaled loudly:
- Yes, our story. It was hard here for our grandfathers. And Sevastopol had to be left ... Tsar, tea, oh, how painful it was to grind this shame ...
We wandered around Sevastopol for a long time. Traces of recent battles were visible everywhere: the walls of dilapidated houses, on the Istorka wrought iron fence with ragged bites from bullets, on the Seaside park by the sea, under a decorative stone bridge, an iron door with a half-worn German inscription.
But the restoration and construction of the city went on intensively. Russian girls in good health, wrapped in sun-faded kerchiefs before their eyes, sawed huge blocks of Inkerman stone with hand-saws, turning it into facing slabs. White lime dust was everywhere in the air. New houses of two or three floors seemed fabulously cozy, and the city itself gradually began to resemble Alexander Zurban Zurbagan ...
Returning to the ship, we, according to the charter, saluted the naval flag at the stern and walked briskly along the deck. We were met by the bear Masha. Basil pushed the cap on the back of his head, squatted on his haunches and gave her toffee. Masha, looking with her clever eyes, devotedly settled down at our feet.
It is curious that in such cases Shukshin could talk with the beast for a long time, and Mashka listened to him! Longing for his eyes, he quietly and trustfully told her that they would both be in the woods now. The ship, they say, is a product of a human, incomprehensible to her mind, not for her. And the bear listened to his voice as spellbound ...
“The forest is not that human happiness,” he told her, “the forest for all is the same ...”
Vasily slowly got up, took the books from the deck.
- Well, come on in! - And without looking, he headed for the ladder. He could not wait to be alone with the books before the start of the watch ...
The last meeting
Vasily and I met almost every evening after seven. These visits did not go unnoticed, the cadet of Georgians Vazha Sikharulidze once asked bluntly: “The sergeant of the second article has come to you again. What does he take care of you, countryman, is it?”
- Not. He "rejuvenates" me ... We agreed to meet ...
It was impossible to call our relations particularly friendly. But Vasily, I was interesting, apparently for such a reason. I had a nickname (which we had many) "intellectual", although without some shade of irony. In the evenings, amateur playing the violin, besides, he did not smoke or speak foul language. He knew the literature well and the “Onegin” of Pushkin and the “Demon” of Lermontov by heart. To Vasily's question, when I managed to learn these poems, I briefly explained that, while standing upright at night with the broadsword on the side of the nightstand, and in order not to fall asleep, I memorized whole pages. The imminent punishment of the inevitable punishment of the daytime waited: “guardhouse watch” (cadet word), or simply “guardhouse” full-blown. My memory was not bad ...
Much later, I read Shukshin's article "Monologue on the Stairs." It was written in 1973, when he was already a mature master. In this article, he himself asks the question: "What is an intelligent person?"
“To begin with, the phenomenon is an intelligent person — a rare one. It is a restless conscience, a mind, a bitter discord with oneself because of the accursed question“ what is truth? ”, Pride ... And - compassion for the fate of a people. Inevitable, painful. If it's all in one person - he is an intellectual. But that's not all. The intellectual knows that intelligence is not an end in itself. Of course, it's not a hat ... "
Despite the cadet nickname, I didn’t match Shukshin’s capacious definition at that time, but we had something to talk about, all the more because he had once also wanted to become a pilot and even went to enroll in an aviation school. And also, perhaps, because I loved math. Shukshin once found me solving a problem with an equation with three unknowns from a problem book for entering higher education institutions.
“And you are a talent, Kashtanka,” he said with undisguised interest, “like sunflower seeds. For me, mathematics, especially trigonometry, is a dark forest on a moonless night ...
Even then, as I recall, he decided to finish the ten-year period and acquired the necessary textbooks.
Let me try to answer one more easy question: “Why did I remember the foreman of the second article, Vasily Shukshin, a silent, focused Russian boy?” Perhaps more because he was the first in my life to be a real sailor who spoke very lucidly and sensibly about the cruiser and the sea science, to which I had great interest and respect.
“Understand, it will come in handy,” he said, smiling rather, after we had walked around the spacious engine room of the cruiser, “you have to wear officer shoulder straps ...”
But he was rarely in good spirits. It was felt that something oppresses him. Only from the book "Articles and Memories of Vasily Shukshin" (Novosibirsk, 1989) I found out that his father was repressed by the OGPU in the year 1933, very young and disappeared.
Basil, it turns out, was long recorded under the name Popov (the name of his grandfather), and only then took the name of the father ...
Srostki in Altai rarely spoke about his native village. Only once, sitting on a forecastle in a black jacket fastened with all buttons, his hands in his robe pockets, his eyes closed, he sang:
“There is a road along the Chuisky highway, many drivers drive along it. There was one desperate driver there, Kolya called him Snegirev ... "
He paused, sighed heavily and said in a deaf voice:
- This Chui path passes near my village. And this Kolka Snegirev, which turned the steering wheel on the AMO truck, was apparently from our places ...
Soon my maritime practice on the Black Sea was over and I went on vacation to the Urals in Perm, to my mother and brother Gleb.
Before leaving the ship, we gave a friendly farewell to Vasily Shukshin. Talk we no longer had a chance ...
For the first time I saw him on the screen in the film "Golden Echelon". In the credits flashed a rare surname Shukshin. And despite the fact that in the film he was Andrei Nizovtsev and flaunted a perfectly made-up officer overcoat, he was well recognized. However, I recognized the talent of the actor Shukshin after the film “Two Fedor” (1959), and I was heartily glad for him.
Then Vasily Shukshin began to be printed in the magazines Smena, Siberian Lights, and in Tvardovsky in Novy Mir. The first collections of his stories were published.
They talked about Shukshin as an actor, and after a while and as a writer, far from immediately. For the sake of truth, I note that the first to fall in love and recognize him as a great writer are millions of Russian readers. Professional critics have taken it down. Slightly praised, but more scolded for "clumsy style", for strange "heroes-weirdoes", for "everydayism" (without revealing what this term means) and for many other things ...
In the film “At the Lake” (1968), there is an episode where Vasily Chernykh, whose role was played by Vasily Shukshin, talks about literature in the library. He shrilly reminded me of the sailor Shukshin from the cruiser "Red Caucasus", leading the conversation about books. His gesture: a love touch and stroking the book with his hand. And at the same time a bright, warm, very special smile that is impossible to "play" ...
It seemed that deserved fame and respect had come to him. Spread horizons of his work.
But, as they say: "Glory comes from one city, but not only bears the message." In the autumn of 1974, after my transfer to Moscow (which was promoted by Colonel-General Aviation AI Pokryshkin), I bought the Literary Gazette at the kiosk, unfolded it, and there the story “Klyauz” of Shukshin with the subtitle “Experience of a Documentary Story”. I already read in the subway car and was shocked by the image of the unsightly truth that we, Russians, often try not to notice, but which so often “clucks” us in life. It was a story about rudeness and humiliation of human dignity. The reason for writing the "story" in Literary was a seemingly insignificant episode, which, under the pen of an outstanding writer, grew into a tragic symbol. Sadly, cad reigns and mocks us ...
Realizing that he was powerless before administrative rudeness, Shukshin wrote: “I don’t know what happened to me, but I suddenly felt that it’s all over. What’s the end, what’s the end, I don’t understand, I don’t know now , but the premonition of some very simple, blunt end was distinct. "
From this publication with pain in my heart, I learned that Vasily is seriously ill and that as a mere mortal he is more vulnerable than ever, despite all his fame ...