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"Compressed, but not broken"

The memorial project on the repressed poet Alexander Solovnikov was awarded the All-Russian Prize

Following the results of 2017, another book about Kolyma was recognized as the best in Russia: a number of high awards were awarded to the collection "Seymchansky trail" dedicated to the work of the poet Alexander Solodovnikov. The author of the memorial project of the same name, the deputy director of the Magadan regional museum of local lore Svetlana Budnikova became the winner of the All-Russia award "Alexander Nevsky" for his contribution to the preservation of the historical heritage of Russia and the memory of its heroes, high spiritual and civic position. EastRussia Ms. Budnikova told about those far years when destinies broke, but not people.

"Compressed, but not broken"
Photo: Svetlana Budnikova conducts an excursion to the children of the summer recreation camp "Nelten". Pos. Seimchan, July 2016 year
- When did you first become interested in the fate of Solodovnikov?

- It was an accident. More than five years ago we were preparing an exhibition in the museum devoted to the history of the Christmas tree in pre-revolutionary Russia. A traditional festive decoration and, of course, the best gift for children were sweets. And who left a greater mark in the "Russian sweet production" than the merchant Apricot? That's when I was interested in the fate of the descendants of this family. As it turned out, the great-grandson of Alexei Ivanovich on the maternal line was repressed and was serving his sentence in Kolyma. In 1940, the poet, prose writer, playwright and composer Alexander Aleksandrovich Solodovnikov was once again arrested on false charges and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.

"How did he get to Kolyma?"

"Like the rest of the prisoners." By train they were delivered to the vicinity of Vladivostok, where Dalstroi and Sevvostlag had a number of units. Then, from the port of Vanino, the prisoners were transported by steamers to the bay of Nagaev, from where they reached the Magadan small transit zone.

Then on the "transit" for the next party came representatives of gold mines, mountain administrations, road organizations and people convicted in cars, groups in 20-25 people, were transported to the place of serving punishment. So Solodovnikov also got from Magadan to Seimchan. He arrived in Magadan 19 July 1940, and probably already from August of the same year until the end of 1942 he worked as a miner at the Lazo mine. To sustain work in the face was on the verge of the possible. The poet saved the case. 

During the war Seymchan turned out to be one of the important sections of the air route "Alaska-Siberia", which was created for the transfer of armament on planes from the USA to the USSR through Siberia to help in the war against Hitlerite Germany. At the Seimchansk hospital, a detachment was set up for the flight crew of the 3 Airborne Regiment, which served this section of the route. To translate the documentation for medical equipment and medicines, which also came under Lend-Lease, they began to look for a specialist.

So Alexander Solodovnikov was in the Seimchansk hospital. Useful not only the knowledge of several languages, but also the qualification of the brother of mercy, which he received in Moscow during the First World War. According to the testimony of his relatives, he also took care of the wounded pilot. It is more than likely that this pilot was Captain Leonid Ivanovich Kosogorov, who crashed during the plane crash in December 1942. He was rescued by the doctors of Seimchan, where he was delivered at the beginning of 1943. In the book, this is described in sufficient detail. 

To work in the mine, Alexander Solodovnikov no longer got, remained under the Sanitary Department of the South-Western mining department. And all he spent on the Kolyma 16 years. After the liberation in September 1946 Solodovnikov 10 years could not return home, to Moscow, remained on the settlement in Seimchan. He worked as an educator and musical director in the Children's Combine of the Southwest Mining Department. He received an excellent education, played a variety of musical instruments - the piano, the accordion, and in Seimchan quickly began to enjoy great respect and authority. Solodovnikov's poems were even printed by the local newspaper, which in different years had different names: "Metal to the Motherland", "Stalin's pace", "Seimchanskaya Pravda". Now this district edition is called "New Kolyma", and then it was the printed organ of the political department of the South-Western Mining Department. 

"But is not this a paradox: the mouthpiece of the political department publishes the poems of yesterday's prisoner?"

- We are well aware that in those years it was impossible to write on topics that worried Solodovnikov, and even more so in the agitation newspaper. In the Kolyma period, Solodovnikov described the reality that surrounded him. Poems about the best workers of production, celebrations, early commissioning of a new mining enterprise, etc. But we still feel the author, his unique style. Especially in the poems about Seimchan in different seasons, about the nature of the region. No wonder the residents of Seym called him a "local poet."

It was not easy to find these poems, since Solodovnikov did not include them in his samizdat collections, which he formed after returning to Moscow. The copies of the newspapers have not been fully preserved. Some of the publications were found in the Seimchan Local History Museum, some in the collections of our museum and the State Archives of the Magadan Region. For the missing copies of the newspaper had to go to the State Library of Russia and the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg.

- These works can be considered an important part of his poetic heritage?

- Poems of the Kolyma period - an integral part of his biography. Moreover, the Seimchanskaya newspaper became the publication, where the poems of the poet were published for the last time during his lifetime. After 1974 year (Solodovnikov died 16 November - EastRussia) the poet's creative heritage was kept by his relatives and acquaintances in the form of collections of "samizdat". Only at the beginning of the 1990-ies, thanks to the Moscow journalist Yevgeny Danilov, poems began to appear in various magazines and newspapers. Together with Solodovnikov's second cousin Anna Petrovna Shpakova, two books by Alexander Solodovnikov were published: "I will not tire of praising God" and "In the bright garden of Christianity" (2006, 2010 years). In 2007, the book "Poems" was published. We received it as a gift at the beginning of June last year during the presentation of the book "Seymchanskaya trail" at the book festival "Red Square" from the poet's relative Andrei Igorevich Oleinikov, one of the compilers of the book. These publications have become a bibliographic rarity.

We prepared the book "Seymchanskiy trail" together with Anna Shpakova. She received her name from a small notebook "Seimchan traces" (Seimchan, 1946-1956 years), in which Alexander Solodovnikov pasted the clippings with his poems from the Seimchan newspaper and articles mentioning his name. The notebook was preserved in the archives of the poet.

The collection "Seymchanskiy trail" is more secular. In addition, it is divided into blocks that unite the poems of various periods of Solodovnikov's life. There are eight such sections. Each is preceded by an article about what determines this period. For example, the section "Lull" combines the poems 1922-1931 of the year, written after the first imprisonment in the Saratov prison. By the way, there he still had the opportunity to write poetry, and on Kolyma was deprived of this. After Solodovnikov was convicted on a political article, "without the right to correspond," he did not have the right to have a paper or pencil. And then, working in the face, he created two poems. I created it not on paper, but in my head - a unique case. These two works are also included in the section, where works relating to the period of stay in the Kolyma camp are collected. Some of them were written later, but we deemed it necessary to include them in this section. And now, when you work with the collection "Seymchanskaya trail", you see how life, the epoch, the worldview of people is changing. How does the poet's personality develop? Probably, it was this decision that provided such interest to our book.

I would also like to mention Magadan publishing house "Cordis". Our museum has been successfully cooperating with him for many years. The book "Seymchanskiy trail" is a joint publication. Svetlana Scleynis, director of the publishing house "Cordis", presented her at many competitions, where the book was highly appreciated.

- And how did you perceive the project in Seimchan itself?

- We visited there twice. The first time they visited Seimchan in 2016 year - they brought a mobile exhibition "Seymchanskiy trail". And in August last year, we held a presentation of our book. We were pleased that she aroused great interest. Literally for a couple of hours all the copies that we brought with us dispersed. After all, neither local ethnographers, nor the old residents of the village knew anything about Solodovnikov's stay in it. For them it was a revelation. His name in these places was forgotten. Which, however, is expected: after all this was earlier Seimchan was a large settlement. And now there are a little more than two thousand residents in the entire Srednekansky district. Many villages are completely liquidated, there are only two left: Seimchan and Upper Seimchan. People left, and this process was especially rapid in the 90-s of the last century. It is not surprising that they have forgotten about Solodovnikov ...

- Is there really not a single person who knew him personally?

- Fortunately, one such person was found. Now he is a famous scientist, laureate of the State Prize. But he began his career as a geophysicist in Seimchan, where in the early fifties he created a geophysical service, and in his free time he participated in theatrical performances of the local House of Culture, where he met Solodovnikov. The appearance of Diamar Mikhailovich Pechersky at the presentation of the book "Seimchansky Trail" at the book festival "Red Square" on June 3 last year was a huge surprise for the numerous relatives and fans of the poet's work who gathered there. He shared his memories of him. Indeed, Alexander Solodovnikov was a unique person. Extraordinarily smart, educated, well-mannered, erudite and kind. With perfect posture. He knew how to get along with people. In general, a person from another, already bygone era. It was not for nothing that Seimchan loved him very much and regretted his departure.

- And what was your idea of ​​the personality of Solodovnikov, when you read the memories of him, got acquainted with the preserved documents?

- Very similar. This is the brightest representative of a generation that has already left our life. Disappeared nature. So he appears in all the memories, some of which, incidentally, is published in our collection. This opinion is also confirmed by the stories of the relatives of Alexander Alexandrovich. Anna Shpakova met her second cousin, being a student, after his return to Moscow from Seimchan. Their families were friends. Anna Petrovna says that Solodovnikov did not break even after everything he had to go through in the camp. He remained a cheerful person with a very strong will. To the same conclusion came his nephew Yuri Solodovnikov, who studied investigative documents. He was convinced that Solodovnikov did not sign any charges. He was ready to defend his case until the very end. His spirit failed to break. Not without reason in the design of the cover of one of his samizdat collections, Alexander Solodovnikov placed an inscription in the drawing of the ring in Latin - "Compressed, but not broken" ...

The book "Alexander Solodovnikov" Seymchanskiy trail "" can be purchased on the site of the Magadan regional museum of local lore.
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