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Ingenious Alcoholics Of The Soviet Union. Part 2 - Great And Terrible
Ingenious Alcoholics Of The Soviet Union. Part 2 - Great And Terrible

Video: Ingenious Alcoholics Of The Soviet Union. Part 2 - Great And Terrible

Video: Ingenious Alcoholics Of The Soviet Union. Part 2 - Great And Terrible
Video: La révolution culturelle nazie 2023, March

We continue to publish a series of articles-pathographs of famous Soviet poets and writers of the 20th century, prone to alcoholism. What amazing secrets are hidden in the life stories of Vasily Shukshin and Alexander Fadeev? How has alcohol influenced the work of these ingenious creators?

Alexander Fadeev


Alexander Fadeev (1901-1956) - writer and public figure; in 1946-1954, General Secretary of the Union of Writers of the USSR; the author of the novel "Young Guard", famous in Soviet times, which went through 276 editions (more than 26 million copies).

Fadeev's childhood passed in an atmosphere of family conflicts between his parents: "my father supported the Socialist-Revolutionaries, his mother supported the Social Democrats." Sasha grew up a capable child, he was about four years old, when he independently mastered literacy.

See also: Ingenious alcoholics of the Soviet Union, part 1 and part 3

Against the background of creative talent, the other side of the writer’s personality was increasingly manifested. According to the memoirs of the writer Korneliy Zelinsky, Fadeev, in his own words, “kissed moonshine at the age of 16 and after, when he was in a partisan detachment in the Far East. At first I did not want to lag behind the grown men … Then I got used to it. " The writer Yuri Lebedinsky recalled that “for the first time Fadeev started drinking heavily in the late 1920s. And before the war, he wrote, "the disease was already stronger than Fadeev."

But - an amazing thing! - the writing talent of Alexander Fadeev began to manifest itself just as early. He wrote the story "Spill" in 1922-1923, and the first novel "The Defeat" was published three years later. At the same time, Fadeev treated his work very conscientiously.

It should be noted that alcohol only at first allows sometimes creative individuals to expand the boundaries of "creative consciousness", to make the affective palette more diverse, thereby helping to express all the nuances and semitones of the emotional experiences of the heroes of the work. Fadeev seemed to have been born only for writing, but his party career was also extremely successful. For the rest of his life he will rush "between the party and literature."

Unfortunately, mental health problems also started early. In 1929, Fadeev complained: “Neurasthenia in a very acute form drove me to the holiday home. It is explained by the ever growing and ever more tormenting contradiction between the desire, the organic need to write, the consciousness that this is my duty, and the literary and social burden that does not allow writing and which cannot be gotten rid of."

Fadeev tried to "cure" his mental anguish, the incessant struggle of motives with alcohol

Climbing the career ladder clearly interfered with creativity. By 1932 he had begun the novel The Last of Udege dozens of times, and each time unsuccessfully.

At the end of the thirties, Fadeev no longer wrote anything serious, except for small essays and some useless scripts. Journalist Lev Kolodny recalls: “I suffered from insomnia. To overcome it, he began to drink … He fell ill so badly that the orderlies regularly came to his house and took him to the hospital. This disease is a payback for being close to power. Another price to pay is creative stagnation. " The writer Ilya Ehrenburg recalled on this occasion not without malice: “They also said that Fadeev writes little because he drinks a lot. However, Faulkner drank even more and wrote dozens of novels. Apparently, Fadeev had other brakes."

There is an opinion that Fadeev deliberately exaggerated his dependence on alcohol in order to be out of shape when it was necessary to sign the lists of the next death row writers. This fiction is not true. Fadeev's well-known drunkenness began in the late twenties, and he was able to receive the high "honor" to sign the execution lists only after 1939, when he was awarded the Order of Lenin, was elected a member of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks and was appointed secretary of the USSR Writers' Union.

The Patriotic War inspired many writers to work, and Fadeev was no exception. Until the beginning of the fifties, he was still able to create a cult novel in Soviet times, "Young Guard".

After the end of the war, Alexander Fadeev drank himself intoxicated, as they sometimes say, "in a black way": "he found drinking companions at the very bottom, not from writers, and disappeared for weeks in some slums." There were times when, "being heavily drunk, fell right on the street and slept in this place until morning."

The psyche of the Soviet classic in the last years of his life was very upset: Fadeev suffered from insomnia, took a strong sleeping pill, and was even under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Here are the lines from the writer's letter: "In September, my liver disease worsened, and I ended up in the hospital … Physical weakness, insomnia, combined with increased disinhibition, made me an almost insane person." In consultations with a psychiatrist, he spoke about "mental fatigue, about the unbearable melancholy that gripped him after a binge, and about the irrepressible, obsessive desire to throw himself under the train."

The circumstances of the death of the classic of Soviet literature are now generally known. Fadeev committed suicide with a revolver shot

“The bullet was fired into the superior aorta of the heart with anatomical precision. She went right through … Nearby on the table, near the wide bed, Fadeev put a portrait of Stalin. On the table, carefully sealed, lay a letter addressed to the Central Committee of the CPSU. " This letter was immediately taken away by the "colonel from the State Security Committee."

Reporting on his tragic death, the newspaper Pravda did not fail to write about alcohol abuse. Suicide in the USSR, and even a figure of this rank, was practically equated with treason and had to be somehow camouflaged by the disease.

Paradoxically, but by his suicide, Fadeev rehabilitated himself and prolonged his memory. Even those who have never read his novels know him.

The presence in the writer of the final stage of alcoholism is evidenced by: polyneuropathy, cirrhosis of the liver and vital depression

Vasily Shukshin


Vasily Shukshin (1929-1974) - writer, film director, screenwriter and actor.

The most important thing about himself Shukshin said himself: "Never, not once in my life I have not allowed myself to live relaxed, lounging." So we are dealing with a person who lived from childhood to his last years in a state of almost continuous stress.

At the age of four, Vasya Shukshin lost his father, who was shot in 1933. I didn’t remember the mother’s nightmarish attempt in a fit of despair to commit an extended suicide of the family left without a breadwinner for his small years. She squeezed herself into the Russian stove with the children and tightly closed the flaps in such a way as to get mad. A neighbor accidentally noticed this and saved them.

The family members of the "traitor to the motherland" did not live well. For them, special camps were organized, the rights of the repressed were significantly curtailed in comparison with others. They could easily be evicted from their home, could be arrested, put on trial, humiliated, insulted. The family lived in constant fear, waiting for the knock on the door at night. Vasya's surname, just in case, was changed to his mother's before receiving his passport. He became Vasya Popov. It can be assumed that the boy from childhood was ready for resentment and self-defense, which later will not only be reflected in his stories, but will also leave its mark on his behavior. To survive, her mother remarried, but in 1941 Vasya's stepfather died at the front.

Due to the circumstances, the 13-year-old teenager became the “head of the family” and her breadwinner. The character was strict. He insisted that Vasily, not Vasya, should turn to him. After the seven-year period he entered the automobile technical school, but could not finish, turned into a "difficult teenager", and two years later he was expelled either for poor academic performance, or for hooligan behavior.

In due time, Shukshin put on a naval uniform, served in Sevastopol, for his dislike of empty talk, he received the nickname "Silent" from his comrades. It was during these years that he began to write his first stories

In 1953, Vasily demobilized and returned to his native village, joined the Komsomol and passed the exams for a matriculation certificate as an external student. The acquired life experience and staff shortage in the village made it possible to appoint him first as a teacher of literature, Russian language and history, and soon as director of a rural school. But creative aspirations did not make it possible to be satisfied with a "commanding" position. In the summer of 1954, having prudently joined the CPSU, he applied to VGIK. Before the selection committee he appeared in the form of a vest, a pea jacket and tarpaulin boots. The makings of a future actor were already apparent at this time.

Life taught Shukshin to adapt to the environment long ago. Having entered the VGIK and becoming the secretary of the Komsomol organization, in his first years he sincerely "trashed negligent Komsomol members for easy behavior" at meetings. His then appearance was remembered by everyone who at that time studied and taught at VGIK.

"He had his own abysses - vodka, women …" In the last courses they already began to "smash" Shukshin himself, as his hard drinking often ended in the police. However, the beginning of "real" cinematic creativity falls on the same period. In 1957 he was invited by the director Marlen Khutsiev to one of the main roles in the film "Two Fyodors". Shukshin liked to celebrate his successes noisily, and after drinking, he began to "row and rage."

Symptoms of alcoholic intoxication largely depend on the "soil" on which alcohol is applied. Shukshin had a "dysphoric" version of intoxication, when, instead of the usual euphoria, a gloomy mood arose with irritability, conflict and a tendency to aggression

Shukshin's creative career began in very difficult conditions, since he did not have a Moscow residence permit. “Not only did he, after defending his diploma, live in Moscow on a“bird’s”license, without a residence permit, he also did not always know in the morning where he would lay his head in the evening. I spent the night - either in the hostel of VGIK, or with someone from my acquaintances, often simply overcame the night at one of the Moscow railway stations.

Bella Akhmadulina, with whom Shukshin had a whirlwind romance in the early sixties, recalled him unflatteringly: "Sullen, shy, withdrawn, defiantly silent, not responding to courtesies." Since it was not always convenient for her to go to parties with such a “country guy”, she was able to force Shukshin to throw his favorite boots into the garbage chute and buy a suit, tie and shoes.

Relations with women were extremely difficult. Suffice it to say that, according to various sources, he was married either four or five times. With his first wife, his fellow villager, Shukshin broke up, barely leaving the registry office, in the summer of 1956. She refused to leave her native village with a student who did not have a regular income to Moscow. And by the way, she didn't give him a divorce. So for the subsequent registration of marriage, the groom had to "lose" his passport.

Shukshin met Victoria Sofronova at the Central House of Writers, two years later they had a daughter, but in the summer of 1964, while filming in Crimea, Shukshin met actress Lydia Fedoseeva.

The hero of the two novels darted between women for some time, and both recall with a shudder his suicidal binges in those days

An interim marriage with the actress Lydia Chashchina, who starred in his film "Such a guy lives", fell apart due to his many love affairs and drunkenness. In 1965, Shukshin had to be treated for alcoholism in the clinic. S. S. Korsakov. At the same time, communication with Lydia Fedoseeva continued. For a long time hesitating to make another choice between two beloved women, Shukshin eventually stayed with Lydia Nikolaevna, who gave birth to two daughters. Maria inherited her father's artistic talent, the youngest Olga - literary talent.

Note that a person sometimes begins to abuse alcohol not because of an attraction to alcohol, but for the sake of more frank communication with others. And if he is naturally offended by the whole world and closed? Then alcohol again comes to the "rescue", which "unties" the tongue, removes the barriers of involuntary alienation. It is the second option that is most suitable for Vasily Shukshin.

Here is what Lydia Fedoseyev-Shukshin recalls about her husband's condition: “Vasya could drink for two or three weeks, he was aggressive and violent. I drove out of the house everyone he brought. I dragged it on myself more than once. There was even a case when I saw my husband lying near the house, and then I was pregnant. The elevator did not work. What to do? She took it over herself and dragged it off. I thought I'd give birth … Before that, we had no children for two years, for me it was a tragedy. When Masha was born … he stopped drinking for a while. The children saved him."

In the late sixties, Shukshin quit drinking forever. There is a legend that this happened after one day Vasily Makarovich almost lost his little daughter on the street and after that gave a vow not to take a drop in his mouth. Writer Viktor Nekrasov gave evidence of the psychological state of Shukshin, who quit drinking, in his memoirs. Shukshin said: “Here, Platonich, I threw up drinking and I cut off something in myself. Like an arm or a leg … He lost his people, his people. Societies, if you want … But to talk … Not in the Central House of Writers, not in the WTO … Sometimes, you go to a tavern, no, not to this one, but to a simple eatery, an ordinary burger, gadyushnik, you sit down at the table … And they will tell you this, such will paint … And now I am deprived of this. Deprived now of that very society … with whom I have a common language."

But one type of addiction, as is often the case, has been replaced by another. In his diary, writer Georgy Yelin writes: “… apart from order on the desktop, I was struck by a whole warehouse of instant coffee: stacks of cans under the table, on the windowsill, on the floor near the balcony door. A lot, even for a coffee lover who is accustomed to stash. Noticing a curious look, Fedoseyeva said: “Vasya, thank God, has almost completely stopped drinking, now he is replacing alcohol with caffeine. Everything is better than vodka. One soluble can is enough for him for a day or two …”“In this case, it was about an obvious dependence on caffeine, which is hardly good for the heart.

It was difficult to combine literary creativity with filming feature films. When asked when he has time to write, Shukshin answered: “Where do I write? In hotels. In dorm. In hospitals. " According to him, he almost completely invented the story in his head and only then took up the pen. That is why he could write in any environment, and write quickly.

It cannot be said about Shukshin that he died of binge drinking. Moreover, attention is drawn to the fact that with a long course of alcohol dependence, Shukshin did not show personality degradation. Alcoholism turned out to be a secondary disease in relation to his diseases of the cardiovascular system. This is what allowed him to remain creatively active until the end of his life. He died on the set of the feature film They Fought for the Motherland


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