To date, few people know the name and works of Lev Nikolaevich Gumilyov. The son of the very shot poet Nikolai Gumilyov. His work is still underestimated. And therefore I want to draw the attention of readers to this personality of his thoughts and books. Please get acquainted.
Scientist, ethnologist and doctor of historical sciences, doctor of geographical sciences (degree not approved by the Higher Attestation Commission), poet and translator. The founder of the passionary theory of ethnogenesis.
Lev Gumilyov was born in Tsarskoye Selo on October 1, 1912.
He was born in a family of poets Nikolai Gumilyov and Anna Akhmatova. As a child, he was brought up with his grandmother on the Slepnevo estate of the Bezhetsky district of the Tver province. Little Leo very rarely saw his parents, they were busy with their problems and rarely came to Slepnevo – the patrimonial estate of the mother of Nikolai Stepanovich, Anna Ivanovna Gumileva. After the outbreak of World War I, and followed by the revolution, small parcels and money transfers from St. Petersburg to the small estate Slepnevo, located in the outback of the Tver province, rarely reached. Leo’s parents almost did not go there. Leo’s father, Nikolai Gumilev, was one of the first to volunteer for the front in 1914, and his mother, Anna Akhmatova, did not like Slepnevo, and characterized this village as follows: “This is not a picturesque place: fields, mills, bogs, drained by even squares on dragged terrain, drained swamps, “collars”, bread”. But if Leo lacked parental affection, then grandmother, Anna Ivanovna, compensated for this inattention in full. She was a very pious man, with a broad outlook, from childhood accustomed Levushka to the fact that the world is much more diverse than it seems at first glance. She explained to Leo that what we see on the surface actually has its roots, sometimes so deep that it’s not easy to get to them, as well as the “look” into the sky, into infinity. This means that you need to look at any phenomenon from this angle: the roots, the tree itself and the branches that stretch to infinity. “I remember my childhood very vaguely and sensibly I can’t say anything about him. I only know that I was immediately transferred to the hands of my grandmother – Anna Ivanovna Gumileva, taken to the Tver province, where we first had a house in the village, and then we lived in the city of Bezhetsk, where I graduated from high school. At that time I was carried away by history, and was fascinated tremendously, because I read all the history books that were in Bezhetsk, and I remembered a lot from children’s young memory” wrote Lev Nikolaevich in his autobiography.
Lev Gumilyov with parents – N.S. Gumilev and A.A. Akhmatova.
In 1917, after the October Revolution, the family left the village house and moved to Bezhetsk, where Leo studied in high school until 1929. Already at school, he turned out to be a “black sheep” and was accused of “academic kulakism” because he, according to his knowledge and successes, was out of the general row. And in the future, the activities of the scientist because of his novelty, originality constantly put him in the same position.
Lev Gumilyov with his mother and grandmother, A.I. Gumileva. Fountain House, 1927.
The last class of secondary school Lev Gumilyov graduated in 1930 in Leningrad, in high school number 67 on the First Red Army Street. He said: “When I returned back to Leningrad, I found the picture very unfavorable for me. In order to gain a foothold in Leningrad, they left me at school for another year, which was only good for me, since I could no longer do physics, chemistry, mathematics and other things (which I knew), but I was mainly engaged history and tried to enroll in German courses, preparing for the Herzen Institute.”
Lev Gumilyov. 1926.
In 1930, Lev Gumilyov applied to the university, but he was denied admission due to social background. In the same year he joined the laborer in the service of the tram department of the city “Ways and Currents”. He also registered with the labor exchange, which the next year sent him to work at the Geological Exploration Institute, then known as the “Institute of Non-Metallic Minerals” of the Geological Committee. In 1931, as part of a geological exploration expedition, Gumilev worked as a reservoir in the Sayan Mountains, and told about this work: “I tried to study geology, but I had no success, because this science was not my profile, but nevertheless I was the least in my position – junior collector – I went to Siberia, to Lake Baikal, where I participated in the expedition, and these months that I spent there were very happy for me, and I became interested in field work.”
In 1932, Lev Gumilyov got a job as a scientific and technical employee on an expedition to study the Pamirs, organized by the Council for the Study of Productive Forces. Here, on his own initiative, outside of working hours, he became interested in studying the life of amphibians, which his bosses did not like, and he was forced to leave work on an expedition. He went to work as a malaria scout in the local malaria station of the Dogara state farm and worked intensively on studying the Tajik-Persian language, mastering the secrets of Arabic script. Then, already at the university, he independently learned Persian literacy. “He lived in Tajikistan for 11 months, recalled Lev Nikolaevich, he studied the Tajik language. I learned to speak there quite cheerfully, fluently, it later brought me great benefit. After that, having spent the winter again at the Geological Prospecting Institute, I was fired to reduce staff and transferred to the Institute of Geology on the Quarterly Commission with a theme that is already closer to me – archaeological. Participated in the Crimean expedition, which unearthed a cave. It was already much closer, clearer and more pleasant for me. But, unfortunately, after we returned, my expedition chief major archaeologist Gleb Anatolyevich Bonch-Osmolovsky was arrested, imprisoned for 3 years, and again I was out of work. And then I took a chance and applied to the university.”
In 1934, Lev Gumilyov, as a student in the history department of Leningrad University, attended history courses with V.V. Struve, E.V. Tarle, S.I. Kovalev and other luminaries of historical science. Gumilev said: “The 34th year was an easy year, and therefore I was accepted to university, and the most difficult thing for me was to get a certificate of my social origin. My father was born in Kronstadt, and Kronstadt was a closed city, but I was found: I went to the library and made an extract from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, submitted it as a certificate, and, since this is a link to the printed publication, it was accepted and I was accepted to the Faculty of History. Having entered the history faculty, I was eager to study, because I was very fascinated by the subjects that were taught there. And then a nation-wide misfortune happened, which hit me too – the death of Sergei Mironovich Kirov. After that, in Leningrad, some kind of phantasmagoria of suspicion, denunciations, slander and even (I’m not afraid of the word) provocations began.”
In 1935, Lev Gumilyov was first arrested with the then husband of Anna Akhmatova Punin and several fellow students. Strange as it may seem, Anna Akhmatova’s appeal to Stalin saved Lev Gumilyov and the university students arrested with him “because of the absence of corpus delicti”. Nevertheless, he was expelled from the university and later said: “I suffered most from this, because after that I was expelled from the university, and I was very poor for the whole winter, even starving, because Nikolai Nikolayevich Punin took all his mother’s rations (buying them out on cards) and refused to feed me even dinner, saying that he “couldn’t feed the whole city”, that is, showing that I am for him a completely alien and unpleasant person. Only at the end of 1936 I was restored thanks to the help of the university rector Lazurkin, who said: “I will not let the boy cripple his life.” He allowed me to pass the exams for the 2nd year, which I did as an external student, and entered the 3rd year, where with enthusiasm I began to study not Latin anymore this time, but the Persian language, which I knew as spoken (after Tajikistan) and studied literacy now.” At this time, Lev Gumilyov constantly visited the Leningrad branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences (LO IVAN AN USSR), where he independently studied printed sources on the history of the ancient Turks.
In 1937, Gumilyov made a lecture at the Ivanovo Academy of Sciences of the USSR Academy of Sciences on the subject of the “Specific-ladder system of Turks in the 6th-8th centuries”, which, 22 years later, in 1959, was published on the pages of the journal Soviet Ethnography.
In early 1938, Lev Gumilyov was again arrested as a student at LSU, and sentenced to five years. Gumilev said: “But in 1938 I was arrested again, and this time the investigator told me that I was arrested as the son of my father, and he said: “You have nothing to love us for.” This was completely ridiculous, because all the people who took part in the Tagantsev case, which took place in 1921, were already arrested and executed by 1936. But the investigator, Captain Lotyshev, did not take this into account, and after seven nights of beating, I was asked to sign a protocol that I did not draw up and which I could not even read when I was very beaten. Captain Lotyshev himself then, according to rumors, was shot in the same 1938 or at the beginning of 1939. The court, tribunal of me and two students with whom I was barely familiar (I just visually remembered them at the university, they were from another faculty), condemned us on these phony documents with charges of terrorist activity, although none of us knew how to shoot, He didn’t possess any weapons at all. Further it was even worse, because the then prosecutor announced that the sentence against me was too lenient, and over 10 years this article relied on execution. When I was informed about this, I took it very superficially, because I was in the cell and really wanted to smoke and thought more about where to smoke, than about whether I would stay alive or not. But here a strange circumstance happened again: despite the cancellation of the sentence, due to the general confusion and ugliness of the time, I was sent to the Belomorsky Canal stage. Of course, they returned me from there for further investigation, but during this time Yezhov was removed and destroyed, and the very prosecutor who demanded that I be canceled for leniency was shot and killed. The investigation showed the complete absence of any criminal acts, and I was transferred to a special meeting, which gave me only 5 years, after which I went to Norilsk and worked there first for general work, then in the geological department and, finally, in the chemical laboratory archivist.”
After Lev Gumilyov served his five years, he was left in Norilsk without the right to leave in 1943 and worked as a geological technician. In the hut, he lived next to the Tatars and Kazakhs and learned Tatar, as well as Kazakh and Turkic languages. Gumilyov said: “I was lucky to make some discoveries: I discovered a large iron deposit on the Lower Tunguska with the help of a magnetometric survey. And then I asked – as a thank you – to let me go into the army. The authorities broke down for a long time, hesitated, but then they released them all the same. I volunteered to go to the front and first got to the Neremushka camp, from where we, urgently trained for 7 days to keep the rifle, go in line and salute, were sent to the front in a seated carriage. It was very cold, hungry, very hard. But when we reached Brest-Litovsk, fate again intervened: our train, which was the first, was turned back one station (I don’t know where it was) and they began to train anti-aircraft artillery there. The training lasted 2 weeks. During this time, the front on the Vistula was broken, I immediately received an appointment to the anti-aircraft unit and went to it. There I ate a little and, in general, served quite safely, until I was transferred to field artillery, of which I had no idea. It was already in Germany. And then I did a really misconduct, which is understandable. The Germans in almost every house had very tasty jars of pickled cherries, and while our car convoy was marching and stopping, the soldiers ran to look for these cherries. I ran too. Meanwhile, the convoy started off, and I was alone in the middle of Germany, though with a carbine and a grenade in my pocket. For three days I went and looked for my part. After making sure that I did not find it, I joined the very artillery that I had been trained in – anti-aircraft. They took me in, questioned them, found out that I hadn’t done anything wrong, I didn’t offend the Germans (and I couldn’t offend them, they weren’t there – they all ran away). And in this part – the regiment 1386 of the 31st division of the Reserve of the High Command – I ended the war as a participant in the assault on Berlin. Unfortunately, I was not in the best of batteries. The commander of this battery, Senior Lieutenant Finkelstein, did not like me and therefore deprived me of all awards and rewards. And even when I raised the battery in the city of Toypits on alarm in order to repel the German counterattack, it was pretended that I had nothing to do with it and there was no counterattack, and for that I did not receive the slightest reward. But when the war ended, and it was necessary to describe the combat experience of the division, which was commissioned to write to our brigade of ten to twelve sensible and competent officers, sergeants and privates, the command of the division found only me. And I wrote this essay, for which I received clean, fresh uniforms as a reward: a tunic and harem pants, as well as exemption from outfits and work before demobilization, which was supposed to be in 2 weeks.”
In 1945, after general demobilization, Lev Gumilyov returned to Leningrad, again became a student at Leningrad State University, at the beginning of 1946 he passed 10 exams as an external student and graduated from the university. During the same time, he passed all the candidate exams and entered graduate school of the Ivanovo Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
In the summer of 1946, as a graduate student, Lev Gumilyov took part in the archaeological expedition of M.I. Artamonova in Podolia. Gumilyov said: “When I returned, I found out that at that time my mother’s verses didn’t like comrade Zhdanov and Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, too, and they expelled my mother from the Union, and black days began again. Before the bosses caught on and drove me out, I quickly passed the English language and specialty (completely and completely), with English being in the “four”, and the specialty in the “five”, and presented my dissertation. But I was no longer allowed to protect her. I was kicked out of the Institute of Oriental Studies with the motivation: “For the discrepancy between the philological training of the chosen specialty”, although I passed the Persian language too. But there really was a discrepancy — two languages were required, and I passed five. But, nevertheless, they kicked me out, and again I was without bread, without any help, without a salary. Fortunately for me, I was hired by a librarian in a madhouse on the 5th line to Balinsky’s hospital. I worked there for six months, and after that, according to Soviet laws, I had to submit a description from my last job. And there, because I showed my work very well, then they gave me a pretty decent description. And I turned to the rector of our university, Professor Voznesensky, who, having familiarized himself with this whole matter, allowed me to defend my dissertation.” Thus, Lev Gumilyov was allowed to defend a dissertation of a candidate of historical sciences at Leningrad State University, which took place on December 28, 1948.
In the spring of 1948, Lev Gumilyov as a researcher took part in an archaeological expedition led by S.I. Rudenko in Altai, at the excavation of the mound “Pazyryk.” After defending his Ph.D. thesis, he was hardly hired as a researcher at the Museum of Ethnography of the Peoples of the USSR because of the lack of a decision of the Higher Attestation Commission. But he did not wait for a decision, because on November 7, 1949 he was again arrested. Gumilyov said: “They arrested me again, for some reason they brought me from Leningrad to Moscow, to Lefortovo, and the investigator Major Burdin interrogated me for two months and found out: the first is that I do not know Marxism well enough to challenge it, the second that I He did nothing wrong – for which I could be persecuted, the third – that I have no reason to condemn, and, fourthly, he said: “Well, the morals you have there!” After which he was replaced, they gave me other investigators who drafted the reports without my participation and again handed over to the Special Meeting, which this time gave me 10 years. The prosecutor, whom I was taken to Lubyanka from Lefortovo, explained to me, taking pity on my perplexity: “You are dangerous because you are literate.” I still can not understand why the candidate of historical sciences should be illiterate? After that, I was sent first to Karaganda, from there our camp was transferred to Mezhdurechensk, which we built, then to Omsk, where Dostoevsky had been sitting at one time. I studied all the time, since I managed to get a disability. I really felt very bad and weak, and the doctors made me disabled, and I worked as a librarian, and along the way I worked, wrote a lot (wrote the history of the Huns on the materials that were sent to me, and half of the history of the ancient Turks, unfinished in the wild, also according to the data and books that were sent to me and which were in the library).”
In 1956, Lev Nikolayevich returned to Leningrad, where he was waiting for the deepest disappointment at a meeting with his mother. Here is how he wrote about this in his autobiography: “When I returned, there was a big surprise for me and such a surprise that I could not imagine. My mother, whom I had dreamed of meeting for the whole term, has changed so much that I hardly recognized her. She changed physiognomically, and psychologically, and in relation to me. She met me very coldly. She sent me to Leningrad, and she herself remained in Moscow, so that obviously she would not register me. But my colleagues, however, prescribed me, and then, when she finally returned, she registered as well. I attribute this change to the influence of her environment, which was created during my absence, namely to her new acquaintances and friends: Zilberman, Ardov and his family, Emma Grigoryevna Gershtein, writer Lipkin and many others whose names I don’t even remember now, but which Of course, they didn’t treat me positively. When I came back, for a long time I simply could not understand what is my relationship with my mother? And when she arrived and found out that I was registered and got on the line for an apartment, she gave me a terrible scandal: “How dare you register?!” And there were no motives for this, she simply didn’t give them. But if I had not registered, then, naturally, they could have sent me from Leningrad as not registered. But then someone explained to her that it was still necessary to register me, and after a while I went to work in the Hermitage, where Professor Artamonov accepted me, but also, apparently, overcoming very great resistance.”
Director of the Hermitage M.I. Artamonov took Lev Nikolayevich librarian “at the bid of pregnant and sick.” Working there as a librarian, Gumilev completed work on his doctoral dissertation “Ancient Turks” and defended it. After defending his doctoral dissertation, Gumilyov, rector of LSU, corresponding member A. Aleksandrov invited him to work at the Research Institute of Geography at Leningrad State University, where he worked until 1986, before retiring, first as a scientific worker, then as a senior scientific worker. Before retiring, he was transferred to leading research associates. In addition to working at a research institute, he taught lectures at the Leningrad State University on “Popular Studies.” Later, Gumilyov said: “I was not accepted to the historical faculty, but to the geographical one to the small Geographic and Economic Institute, which was at the faculty. And this was my greatest happiness in life, because geographers, unlike historians, and especially Orientalists, did not offend me. True, they didn’t even notice me: they politely bowed and passed by, but they didn’t do anything bad to me for 25 years. And vice versa, the relationship was, quite, I would say, cloudless. During this period, I also worked very hard: I wrote a dissertation in the book “Ancient Turks”, which was printed because I had to object to the territorial claims of China, and as such my book played a decisive role. The Chinese anathematized me, and abandoned territorial claims on Mongolia, Central Asia and Siberia. Then I wrote the book “Searches for a fictitious kingdom” about the kingdom of presbyter John, which was false, invented. I tried to show how in historical sources you can distinguish truth from lies, even without a parallel version. This book had a very great resonance and aroused a very negative attitude of only one person – academician Boris Alexandrovich Rybakov, who wrote an article on this subject in 6 Questions on History in which he vilified me very much. I managed to answer through the journal “Russian Literature”, which was published by the Pushkin House, to answer with an article where I showed that on these 6 pages the academician, in addition to three fundamental errors, made 42 factual errors. And his son then said: “Dad will never forgive Lev Nikolaevich 42 errors.” After that, I managed to write a new book, “The Huns in China,” and to complete my cycle of Central Asian history in the pre-Mongol period. It was very difficult for me to print it, because the editor of Vostokizdat, which was given to me, was Kunin, he mocked me like the editors could mock me, feeling their complete safety. Nevertheless, the book, although crippled, came out without a pointer, because it changed pages and ruined even the index I had composed. The book was printed, and thus I completed the first part of the works of my life – a blank spot in the history of Inner Asia between Russia and China in the pre-Mongol period.”
Anna Akhmatova and Lev Gumilyov.
Since 1959, the works of Lev Nikolaevich began to be printed in small print runs. Under these conditions, he plunged into the work of the Leningrad branch of the All-Union Geographical Society. Through the collections of society, he managed to publish a number of his works that were not allowed in official scientific periodicals. “This last period of my life was very pleasant for me scientifically,” he wrote, “when I wrote my main works on paleoclimate, on individual private stories of Central Asia, on ethnogenesis…”
Unfortunately, in the domestic plan, the situation for Lev Nikolaevich was not very favorable. He still huddled in the small room of a large communal apartment with twelve neighbors, and his relationship with his mother, Anna Akhmatova, still did not develop. Here is what he wrote about those years of his life: “Mother was influenced by people with whom I had no personal contacts, and for the most part I was not familiar with, but they were much more interested in her than me, and therefore our relationship in during the first five years after my return invariably worsened, in the sense that we were estranged from each other. Until, finally, before defending her doctorate, on the eve of my birthday in 1961, she expressed her categorical unwillingness to become a doctor of historical sciences and drove me out of the house. It was a very strong blow for me, from which I fell ill and recovered with great difficulty. But, nevertheless, I had the patience and strength in order to defend my doctoral dissertation well and continue my scientific work. The last 5 years of her life, I have not met my mother. It was during these last 5 years, when I did not see her, that she wrote a strange poem called “Requiem”. Requiem in Russian means a requiem. According to our ancient customs, a memorial service for a living person is considered to be sinful, but they serve it only when they want the one who serves the memorial service to return to the one who serves it. It was a kind of magic, which probably the mother did not know about, but somehow inherited it as an old Russian tradition. In any case, for me this poem was a complete surprise, and, in fact, it had nothing to do with me, because why should I serve a requiem for a person who can be called by phone. Five years that I did not see my mother and did not know how she lives (just as she did not know how I live, and apparently did not want to know this) ended in her death, which was completely unexpected for me. I fulfilled my duty: I buried it according to our Russian customs, erected a monument for the money that I inherited from her on the book, reporting back what I had – the fee for the book “Hunnu”.
The funeral of Anna Akhmatova on March 10, 1966. Lev Gumilev says goodbye to his mother, on the left – the poets Yevgeny Rein and Arseny Tarkovsky, the far right – Joseph Brodsky.
In 1974, Gumilyov defended his second doctoral dissertation, this time in geographical sciences, which the Higher Attestation Commission did not approve due to the fact that “it is higher than the doctoral, therefore not doctoral.” This work, known as Ethnogenesis and the Biosphere of the Earth, was released as a separate book 15 years later in 1989 and was sold out within one or two days from the warehouse of the Leningrad State University. The merits of Lev Gumilyov, both in the field of scientific research and in pedagogical activity, were stubbornly ignored. This was one of the reasons why Gumilyov was not even awarded the title of professor, and any government awards or honorary titles. But, despite all these troubles, Lev Nikolaevich with great pleasure gave lectures both to students and ordinary listeners. His lectures on ethnogenesis enjoyed continued success. Gumilyov said: “Usually, students are often washed away from lectures (this is not a secret, this was often raised by the Academic Council: how should they be written down and forced to attend). From my lectures, students stopped washing off after the second or third lecture. After that, the institute staff began to walk around and listen to what I was reading. After that, when I began to set out the course in more detail and worked it out in a series of preliminary lectures, volunteers from all over Leningrad began to come to me. And finally, it ended up that I was called to Novosibirsk in Akademgorodok, where I read a special short course and had great success: people even came from Novosibirsk to Akademgorodok (this is an hour by bus). There were so many people that the door was locked, but since everything was mostly “techies” in Akademgorodok, they quickly knew how to open this lock and went into the room. They were allowed into the hall only by tickets, but there were two doors – they let in one, the other was closed. So, the one who came in approached the closed door, slipped a ticket under it, his friend took it and went through again. How do I explain the success of my lectures? Not at all by my lecturing abilities – I’m burry, not by recitation and not by many details that I really know from history and which I included in lectures to make it easier to listen and perceive, but by the main idea that I carried out in these lectures. This idea was a synthesis of the natural sciences and the humanities, that is, I elevated history to the level of the natural sciences, which are studied by observation and verified by the methods that we have adopted in the well-developed natural sciences – physics, biology, geology and other sciences. The basic idea is this: an ethnos differs from society and from a social formation in that it exists parallel to society, regardless of the formations that it experiences and only correlates with them, interacts in certain cases. I consider the reason for the formation of the ethnos to be a special fluctuation of the biochemical energy of living matter, discovered by Vernadsky, and a further entropy process, that is, the process of attenuation of the shock from environmental influences. Each push must fade sooner or later. Thus, the historical process does not seem to me in the form of a straight line, but in the form of a bundle of multi-colored threads intertwined. They interact with each other in different ways. Sometimes they are complementary, i.e. sympathize with each other, sometimes, on the contrary, this sympathy is excluded, sometimes it is neutral. Each ethnic group develops like any system: through the phase of ascent to the acmatic phase, i.e. phase of the greatest energy intensity, then there is a rather sharp decline, which goes smoothly to the direct – inertial phase of development, and as such it then gradually fades, giving way to other ethnic groups. To social relations, for example to formations, this does not have a direct relationship, but is, as it were, the background on which social life develops. This energy of the living matter of the biosphere is known to all, everyone sees it, although I was the first to note its importance, and I did this, reflecting in prison conditions on the problems of history. I found that for some people, to a greater or lesser extent, there is a craving for sacrifice, a craving for fidelity to their ideals (by ideal I mean a distant forecast). These people are more or less striving for the realization of what is more expensive for them than personal happiness and personal life. I called these people passionaries, and I called this quality passionarity. This is not a “hero and crowd” theory. The fact is that these passionaries are in all strata of one or another ethnic or social collective, but their number gradually decreases with time. But sometimes they have common goals — correct, prompted by the dominant behavior necessary in this case, and otherwise contradict them. Since this is energy, it does not change from this, it simply shows the degree of their (passionaries) activity. This concept allowed me to determine why the ups and downs of peoples arise: ups, when the number of such people increases, recessions, when it decreases. There is an optimal level in the middle, when there are as many of these passionaries as are needed to fulfill the general tasks of the state, or nation, or class, and the rest work and participate in the movement with them. This theory categorically contradicts the racial theory, which assumes the existence of innate qualities inherent in one or another people throughout the entire existence of mankind, and the “theory of the hero and the crowd.” But the hero can lead it only when in the crowd he meets the echo of people less passionate, but also passionate. In relation to history, this theory has proved itself. And just in order to understand how Ancient Rome, Ancient China or the Arab Caliphate arose and died, people came to me. As for the application of this in the present, this can be done by anyone who has sufficient competence in the field of modern history and realize what prospects, say, in the Western world, in China, Japan, and our homeland of Russia. The fact is that I attached a geographical moment to this – a tight connection between the human collective and the landscape, i.e. the concept of “Homeland”, and over time, i.e. the concept of “Fatherland”. These are, as it were, 2 parameters that, when crossed, give the desired point, a focus that characterizes the ethnic group. As far as our present is concerned, I will say that, in my conception, the advantage of passionary tension is on the side of the Soviet Union and the fraternal peoples that are part of it, who created a system that is young relative to Western Europe, and therefore have more prospects in order to stand that struggle, which from time to time from the XIII century arose and, apparently, will continue to arise. But of course I can’t talk about the future…”
The situation with the legacy of Anna Akhmatova turned out to be a difficult situation, for which Lev Nikolayevich had to sue for three years, having spent a lot of strength and health. Lev Gumilyov said: “After the death of my mother, a question arose about her legacy. However, I was recognized as the only heir, however, all the property of my mother, both things and that which was expensive for the entire Soviet Union — her drafts — was seized by her neighbor Punina (Rubinstein’s husband) and appropriated to her. Since I turned to the Pushkin House and offered to archive all my mother’s literary heritage, the Pushkin House sued, for some reason he quickly left, leaving me to conduct the trial personally, as an offended person. This process lasted three years, and Punina’s seizure of this property and its sale, or rather, its sale to various Soviet institutions (far from completely, she retained part of herself), he called a conviction in the Leningrad City Court, which ruled that Punina received the money illegally. But for some reason, the Supreme Court of the RSFSR, Judge Pestrikov, announced that the court considers that everything stolen was donated, and ruled that I had nothing to do with my mother’s inheritance, because she gave everything to Punina, despite the fact that not only there was no document for this, but Punin herself did not state this. This made a very difficult impression on me and significantly affected my work in terms of its effectiveness.”
In 1967, fate gave Lev Nikolaevich an acquaintance with the graphic artist from Moscow Natalia Viktorovna Simonovskaya. She was a well-known graphic artist, a member of the Moscow Union of Artists, but left a comfortable life in Moscow and shared with Lev Gumilev twenty-five years of persecution, surveillance and suppression of his works. And all these years she was close by, lived in the world between his real and imaginary friends, true and pseudo-disciples, “observers” and just curious. I fed and watered all those who came to Leo Nikolaevich. I was upset when the students betrayed, when they did not print and mutilated my husband’s books with edits. She was not only a wife and friend, but also an associate. In an interview, she said: “We met Lev Nikolaevich in 1969. Our life began in a terrible “klopovnik” – a communal apartment, which is no longer even in St. Petersburg. We lived a happy life together. This does not contradict what I wrote: happy – and tragic. Yes, the truth bothered him all his life. Historical – and he set off in search of her, writing many books. And human – because he is a believer and a very theologically gifted person, he understood that a person is subject to the influence of passions and the temptation of the devil, but that the Divine must conquer in him.”
Lev Gumilyov on a walk with his wife Natalya Viktorovna.
At the end of his life, Lev Nikolayevich wrote in his Autonecrologist: “My only desire in life (and I am already old, I am soon 75 years old) is to see my works printed without bias, with strict censorship checks and discussed by the scientific community without bias, without interference the individual interests of certain influential people or those stupid ones who relate to science differently from me, that is, using it for their personal interests. They may well break away from this and discuss the problems correctly – they are qualified for this. Hearing their impartial reviews and even objections is the last thing I would like in my life. Of course, the discussion is advisable in my presence, according to the defense procedure, when I answer each of the speakers, and with the loyal attitude of those present and the presidium. Then I’m sure that those 160 of my articles and 8 books with a total volume of over 100 printed pages will be duly appreciated and will benefit the science of our Fatherland and its further prosperity.”
Lev Nikolaevich Gumilyov can only conditionally be called a historian. He is the author of deep, pioneering studies on the history of the nomads of Central and Central Asia from the 3rd century BC to the 15th century AD, historical geography – changes in climate and landscape of the same region over the same period, the creator of the theory of ethnogenesis, the author of the problems of paleoethnography Central Asia, the history of the Tibetan and Pamir peoples in the 1st millennium AD. In his works, great attention was paid to the problem of Ancient Russia and the Great Steppe, illuminated from new perspectives.
Unfortunately, the general public got acquainted with the poetic legacy of Lev Nikolaevich only recently. And this is not surprising, because Gumilev was engaged in poetry only in his youth – in the 1930s and later, in the Norilsk camp, in the 1940s. Vadim Kozhinov wrote: “Several published poems in recent years by him (L.N. Gumilyov) are not inferior in their artistic power to the poetry of his illustrious parents” – that is, the classics of Russian literature Nikolai Gumilyov and Anna Akhmatova.
Old memory sways
In the space of river lanterns
Drains the New Fur with stones
Lies at the iron doors.
But the street stone is bloody
Horseshoe lights burst
And burned the fame in it
Forever past centuries.
This stone cipher dismantling
And knowing the meaning in the tracks
Think that share is holy
And the best is memory for centuries.
One of his poems, “The Search for Eurydice,” was included in the anthology of 20th-century Russian poetry, “Stanzas of the Century,” edited by Evgeny Yevtushenko.
The Search for Eurydice
The lights were on, but time was running out
A corridor was lost in a wide street
From the narrow window caught my greedy look
Sleepless fuss station.
For the last time, I gasped in my face
My disgraced capital.
Everything is messed up: houses, trams, faces
And the emperor is on horseback.
But everything seemed to me: separation is reparable.
The lights blinked, and time suddenly
Huge and empty, and escaped from my hands,
And rolled away – far past
Where voices disappeared in the dark
Alleys of linden, furrow fields.
And about the disappearance, the stars spoke to me there,
The constellations of the Serpent and the constellations of the Dog.
I was thinking about one in the middle of this eternal night
In the midst of these black stars, in the midst of these black mountains –
Like cute lanterns again see the eyes,
Hear again human, not stellar conversation.
I was alone under the eternal blizzard –
Only with that one alone
That century has been my friend
And only she said to me:
“Why do you have to work so hurt
Barren, in the dark?
Today is your dowager
I wanted to go home like you.
There raves the red constellations
The windows have gone sunset.
There the wind wanders over the canals
And from the sea it carries aroma.
In the water, under the humpback bridges,
Like snakes floating lanterns
Similar to dragons
On the reared horses the kings.”
And the heart, as before, is stupefying,
And life is fun and easy.
With me my dowager –
Fate, and soul, and longing.
The list of such authoritative reviews could be continued. True, Lev Nikolayevich himself did not really value his poetic talent, but perhaps did not want to be compared with his parents. Therefore, a significant part of his creative heritage was lost. But at the end of his life, Lev Nikolaevich returned to this side of his work and even intended to publish some of his poetic works. Possessing a phenomenal memory, Gumilev restored them by arranging them in cycles. But he did not succeed in fulfilling this plan, and during his lifetime only two poems and several poems were published, and even then – in small-run collections, practically inaccessible to the general reader. On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Lev Gumilyov’s birthday, a collection “So that the candle doesn’t go out” was published in Moscow, for the first time, along with culturological articles and essays, a large part of his poetic works was included. However, not a single complete collection of his literary works has yet appeared, although he was an excellent expert on Russian literature in general, and poetry in particular. No wonder he once called himself “the last son of the Silver Age.” Lev Gumilev also did a lot of poetry translations, mainly from the languages of the East. It was a job that he did mainly to earn money, but nevertheless took it very seriously. At one time, his translations earned meritorious reviews from some famous poets. But they were also printed in small-run collections and therefore are not very accessible to a wide audience.
In 1990, Lev Gumilyov suffered a stroke, but continued to work. The heart of Lev Nikolaevich stopped on June 15, 1992.
Lev Gumilyov was buried at the Nikolsky cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
After the death of her husband, Natalya Viktorovna took care of perpetuating his name and developing ideas, and became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lev Nikolaevich Gumilyov Foundation. Concerned about the scientific continuation of ethnological research, she participated, as long as her health allowed, in conducting Gumilev readings, regularly organized by the Foundation at St. Petersburg State University. She managed to leave memories of life with Lev Nikolaevich. Having become the heiress of copyright to the works of Gumilyov, she found herself in a difficult situation with the publication of his works. Gumilev’s ideas, hushed up during his life, became possible to turn into money after death and use in political games. The interests of many people crossed on his manuscripts, Natalya Viktorovna and Gumilyov’s students were at the center of these conflicts. The result was numerous non-academic publications of the scientist. And – neglect of his memory. It is enough to say that the monument in the cemetery and the plaque on the house where he lived were erected by philanthropists (the mayor’s office of St. Petersburg and the Permanent Mission of Tatarstan to St. Petersburg). Natalya Viktorovna handed over the apartment of Lev Nikolaevich to the city for organizing in it not just a museum, but also a scientific center. She dreamed that her husband’s ideas would live and work for our multinational country. However, while there is no scientific center, but there is a branch at the Anna Akhmatova Museum, there is a danger that the scientific works of Lev Gumilyov will be lost under the burden of the poetic legacy of the great mother. And for the descendants there will be no scientist Lev Gumilyov, but only the hero of “Requiem”…
On September 4, 2004, Natalya Viktorovna died at the age of 85, and an urn with her ashes was buried near the grave of her husband.
In August 2005, a monument was erected to Lev Gumilyov in Kazan. On the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1996, one of the country’s leading universities, the Lev Gumilyov Eurasian National University, was named after Gumilyov in the Kazakh capital of Astana. In 2002, an office-museum of Lev Gumilyov was created within the university. Also, the name of Lev Gumilyov is secondary school number 5 of the city of Bezhetsk, Tver region.
Bezhetsk. Nikolai Gumilyov, Anna Akhmatova and Lev Gumilyov.
A documentary film “Overcoming Chaos” was shot about Lev Gumilyov.
The text was prepared by Tatyana Halina
Materials of the site www.levgumilev.spbu.ru
L.N. Gumilev “Autonecrologist”
Materials of the site www.kulichki.com
Lurie Ya.S. Ancient Russia in the writings of Leo Gumilyov. Scientific and educational journal “Skepsis”. Published in the journal Star, 1994
Sergey Ivanov “Lev Gumilyov as a phenomenon of passionarity” – An untouchable reserve. – 1998. – No. 1.
Good luck in finding.