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Territory of Kuvaev

Territory of Kuvaev

In April, the country released the film "Territory" directed by Alexander Melnik based on the novel of the same name by Oleg Kuvaev, which tells about the discovery of gold in Chukotka in the 1950s. Since 1975, the work has withstood more than 30 editions, including multi-million copies. The book inspired people to go North, putting duty, honor and work above all else. Opinions about the film were divided. Some consider it to be the usual propaganda of the official ideology, while others are sure that we really miss such patriotic films today, when the development of the Far East has already become a state priority. Primorsky writer and well-known ecologist Anatoly Lebedev shared his impressions with EastRussia about the novel and the film, the development of the Arctic, the search for freedom and "the destiny of man."

- The paradox is that generations change too quickly. And it is even more dangerous because they are replaced along with ideology and forms of propaganda. With the death of the Soviet Union, in many ways of course natural, not only “communism” that opposed Yeltsin and some social groups perished (which never existed there), not only state control over the developed economy, often more reasonable than the current, pseudo-market, essentially criminal. With the death of the Soviet empire, the main thing that made it a society of reasonable people - respect and poeticization of labor - disappeared from society. And not just labor for the sake of money, but labor - for the sake of a LIFE CHALLENGE.

This simple formula was a kind of motto for Oleg Kuvaev, a brilliant representative of the Far Eastern literature of the 60s of the last century, a geologist, philosopher and poet of working people - scourges, hard workers, heroes and devotees. And the author of the just held premiere of the second film "Territory" based on his sensational novel in the 70s.

Oleg Kuvaev and I met at the end of the 1960 in the Arctic port of Pevek, the capital of Chukchi geology and the peculiar center of Soviet free-thinking of those times, attracting, along with Magadan, many creative people who do not agree too much with the regime. I worked there for two summer navigation 1967-68 years as part of the Marine Operations Headquarters of the Eastern Arctic as the head of the rescue group as a ship engineer of the Far Eastern Shipping Company (now for some reason, the Moscow office of FESCO).

As an aspiring journalist and writer, I quickly found contacts in Pevek with other Kuvaev brothers in spirit and literature, which today hardly anyone will remember. Although their books have been published and are probably in the libraries of Chukotka and Magadan, these are Yuri Vasiliev and the failed philosopher Nikolai Balaev who escaped from Moscow State University. But Oleg was the pinnacle for this community: he was already working on the novel.

What can be considered invaluable in this film, no matter how controversial its style may seem for modern youth living in a radically different reality, is the emphasis on the greatness of the Far Eastern and Northern nature, on the greatness of the working Man and his life task. I am convinced that it is critically important for the current generation of young people who are trying to build a new Russia according to the capitalist model to understand and appreciate the role of the human spirit and faith in the state task, which drove very different heroes in the discovery of Chukchi gold. It is important to see that they often did it against the dangerous bureaucratic will, risking their careers and lives, doing it as professionals, because they knew their job deeply. They did it like heroes, because in their souls, as in all of us in that era, the principle was embossed in gold: "First think about the Motherland, and then about yourself."

I understand the reason for the appearance of this film right now, when Russia is struggling to regain its rights to the former Soviet sector of the Arctic, where Soviet sailors and scientists have worked very actively for centuries, including including trans-arctic raids of commercial vessels from Europe to Asia. All this was, and it's important to remember journalists reporting today the benefits of such raids in climatic conditions, much more favorable than half a century ago, when it began.

Evaluating the film "Territory", it is important for the current generation of energetic people to remember that the Arctic for the Soviet Union consisted not only of hero-geologists searching for gold, not only of miners who developed these discovered deposits in extremely difficult conditions of the north. It consisted not only of workers at polar stations, sailors-icebreakers, hero-helicopter pilots of ice reconnaissance, who paved the way for ships with cargo for geologists, miners and local reindeer herders. I worked at headquarters with my father, an icebreaker captain, ensuring the safety of navigation in the ice with a group of divers, and saw how heroically these people ensured that vital supplies for the northerners, including the heroes of Kuvaev, were delivered to their destination. At the same time, all this formed a kind of spiritual Territory, separate from the entire empire, independent from it, crawling out of the skin to forget about the horrors of the Gulag, and at the same time - about the still unrelenting pressure of power over the free-thinkers who fled there in hundreds from everywhere.

Chukotka and Magadan in the late 60s - early 70s, in addition to what is shown in the film adaptation of Kuvaev's novel, were the Territory of flight from despotism to freedom. When we met Oleg, he was already writing his geological Territory, but he was thinking about the last novel, The Rules of Escape. And this was already our common creative search: when this novel came out in the "Young Guard", I realized that he, as a senior mentor, was ahead of me. The novel contained everything that our generation of that time lived, and it was difficult to add something. Only after 20 years of my own discoveries and disappointments, having overcome the six-thousander Frunze Peak alone in the Pamirs and having learned a certain higher truth of being, I decided to write my novel about the same - about finding myself and meaning. It was published only in 1994 in New York by a Russian-language publisher from Riga, Gabriel Valk, entitled “A House Without Suburbs”. And today I see how even the titles of these small books, which are extremely important for understanding the true essence of the Far Eastern spirit, are philosophically close: The Rules of Flight, the last novel by Kuvaev, in his era was the same search for oneself and meaning, after understanding the Territory that my "House without suburbs" is, in fact, the very Territory of flight. From city bustle, to wild and wondrous nature, to home, honesty and eternity.

In Russia, as elsewhere, everything is changing - tsars, systems, priorities and forms of propaganda. Our generation with Kuvaev is leaving, giving way to new shades of culture and new communication technologies. It develops faster than people die, and this is normal. And it is immensely important that young people are looking for ways to understand the recent history of their country and region, including through the example of the film "Territory", which was organized by the youth government of Primorye. When there is interest, knowledge of history arises. When there is knowledge, the memory of generations and culture are preserved. Including the culture of perception of native nature, a working person, heroism and self-sacrifice in the name of the Life task. And if ordinary people have this culture, they will never allow the enrichment of rogue oligarchs, the ruin of their environment, they will not tolerate violence against their constitutional rights. People who “think about the Motherland before” are always stronger than any oligarchic power. This may be the symbolic afterword to the film Territory, a poem of the 1960s generation about working people.

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