Life and three deaths of Mayakovsky. Report from the house-museum in Bagdati

In Imereti, in the city of Bagdati, there is a house-museum of Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky, where the poet was born and spent the first years of his life. However, this is not the house that Mayakovsky recalls in his autobiography.

“The tragedy was called Vladimir Mayakovsky.” (Boris Pasternak)

“The first house, clearly remembered. Two floors. The upper one is ours. The lower one is a winery. Once a year – carts of grapes. They pressed. I ate. They drank. All this is the territory of the oldest Georgian fortress near Baghdad. The fortress is four-cornered by a rampart. In the corners ramparts – rolls for guns. In the ramparts of the loopholes. Behind the ramparts of the ditch. Behind the ditches forests and jackals. Above the forests of the mountains … ” (Vladimir Mayakovsky,” I myself “)

Mayakovsky was born in another house, which stood nearby and belonged to a local resident Konstantin Kuchukhidze.

“Mayakovsky came from Kutais directly to us. His family consisted of five souls …, they all could not fit in one room …, the forester asked my father to give him two more rooms. My father, Konstantin Kuchukhidze, agreed and handed over we rent Mayakovsky one salz and two rooms for 10 rubles per month with furnishings, because the Mayakovsky family brought to Baghdadi only 4-5 pairs of blankets, one or two old baskets, an old faded samovar, one or two pots and a simple tin lamp who smoked every minute … “. (From the memoirs of Levon Konstantinovich Kuchukhidze) .

Now the house-museum of the poet is located in this house, and in the next building there is the literary department of the museum, where copies of letters and drafts, drawings and posters of Mayakovsky are collected. The director of the museum complex is Beka Kuchukhidze, the great-grandson of the man who rented out the house to the Mayakovsky family. The museum has almost 6 thousand exhibits, including furniture, books, things of the poet’s family, donated to the museum by Mayakovsky’s mother and sisters or bought from former neighbors to whom the Mayakovsky sold furniture when leaving Bagdati in 1906, as well as a collection of wood species collected by his father poet. The complex, where the ethnographic museum is located, employs 13 employees.

The Mayakovsky House Museum does not have a website. It is not included in all Imereti guidebooks. On average, about two and a half thousand people visit the house-museum of Vladimir Mayakovsky a year.

On September 16, 2017, a large company from different cities arrived at the Mayakovsky house-museum in Bagdati – Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk, Prague and Hanover. Visitors who boldly call themselves “the first international film expedition of VV Mayakovsky’s students and followers” arrived in Bagdati in the evening, after the museum was closed. However, the participants in the “film expedition” found the phone number of the director of the museum, and he agreed to come and open the museum especially for them.

“The Mayakovsky family came to Georgia in the middle of the 19th century, when the poet’s great-grandfather, Konstantin Kirillovich Mayakovsky, came to Georgia from the city of Berislav, Kherson province. The poet’s father, Vladimir Konstatinovich, was born in Akhaltsikhe in 1857. He began working in Armenia, in the Alexandropol forestry. In 1889, when a forestry was founded in Bagdati, Vladimir Konstantinovich was transferred here, “says Beka Kuchukhidze.

Konstantin Kuchukhizde was, according to his great-grandson, a wealthy farmer. The Kuchukhidze family lived in a neighboring house, which has not survived. And Mayakovsky Kuchukhidze rented out three rooms, one of which Vladimir Konstantinovich converted into a forester’s office, and his family lived in the other two. In 1891, at the age of three, the Mayakovsky’s son, Konstantin, died.

On July 7, 1893, Vladimir Mayakovsky was born in the Kuchukhidze house.

that my newborn baby will be a great person. My beloved dog was furious, but did no harm to anyone. “My grandfather replied:” I wish he was an inspector. “To this the forester said:” No, Niko, the inspector is nothing. He will be more of an auditor. He’s going to be a very big, big man. “(From the memoirs of Levon Konstantinovich Kuchukhidze)

The director of the museum says that as a child, Volodya Mayakovsky spoke excellently both Russian and Georgian. Mayakovsky himself writes about his admission to the Kutaisi gymnasium: “The priest asked what an“ eye ”is. I answered:“ Three pounds ”(so in Georgian). Because of this, I almost failed. Therefore, I immediately hated everything ancient, everything church and everything Slavic. It is possible that my futurism, and my atheism, and my internationalism came from here. ” (V. Mayakovsky, “I myself”).

An excellent student in the first grades of the gymnasium, in 1905 Mayakovsky is fond of revolutionary ideas, goes to meetings and demonstrations, draws proclamations.

In 1906, Vladimir Konstantinovich Mayakovsky dies from blood poisoning. After the ridiculous death of his father, who pricked his finger with a needle while sewing papers, Mayakovsky begins to be afraid of pins and needles, and suffers from bacteriophobia all his life.

In the same year, Mayakovsky with his mother and sister moved to Moscow, where the elder sister of the future poet was already studying.

The Mayakovsky Museum in Bagdati has collected many documents about the revolutionary activities of Mayakovsky at that time: orders to establish surveillance, arrest warrants, photographs of the prison dossier.

Moving on to the next stand, Beka Kuchukhidze shows visitors Mayakovsky’s drawings and with inspiration recites “A Cloud in Pants” – first in Russian and then in Georgian.

Many and many have translated Mayakovsky into Georgian. Including such famous Georgian poets as Paolo Yashvili, Titian Tabidze, Irakli Abashidze. The director of the museum reads to us excerpts from “The Cloud” and “The Spine-Flute” translated by the wonderful Georgian poet Vakhtang Javakhadze.

Beka Kuchukhidze says that of Mayakovsky’s poems he loves “A Cloud in Trousers” most of all, and the poet’s favorite poem was and remains for the director of the museum “A good attitude to horses.” Beka, forgetting himself, several times calls these poems “A special attitude to horses”, and this mistake reflects his attitude towards them and the separate, very human place that they occupy in Mayakovsky’s work, which was taken apart into quotes, by the words that ” we are all a bit of a horse. “

“How much fire there was – and how little ash remained!” (Boris Pasternak after Mayakovsky’s cremation)

We turn to the stands dedicated to the period after the October Revolution. Propaganda posters for “ROSTA Windows” and commercial works of the “father of Soviet advertising”, which caused deep sadness among many of Mayakovsky’s contemporary poets, rightfully occupy one of the central places in the collection.

“Leda is tasty and light tobacco, even a butterfly won’t spoil its lungs!”

“We are leaving only the Ira cigarettes from the old world!”

“Even children, having parted with a pacifier, smoke” Posolskaya “

But the director of the museum returns to Mayakovsky’s poems, this time to another milestone, if not in poetry, then in the poet’s civic life, to The Sitters, from whom Lenin “has not experienced such pleasure for a long time, from a political and administrative point of view.”

This praise of Lenin became, on the one hand, a gift (although Mayakovsky was not in favor for long) for the poet, whose desire to serve the revolution had not previously met with such warm responses from the authorities. On the other hand, in the opinion of such fellow poet in the pen as Boris Pasternak and Osip Mandelstam, Mayakovsky chose a path that was destructive for himself.

“I know that your path is not forged, / But how could you have been carried / Under the arches of such almshouses / On this sincere path,” Pasternak wrote in a dedication to Mayakovsky on the book “My Sister – Life”.

“It is completely in vain that Mayakovsky impoverishes himself,” Mandelstam wrote in one of his articles.

Many decades later, the American Ellendeya Proffer asked Lilya Brik how she, Osip Brik and Mayakovsky could turn a blind eye to what was happening in Soviet Russia.

“It was freedom, it was a revolution, we saw a blessing in it; we knew about murders and so on, but we considered it inevitable; there were excesses, but they were part of the great liberation. The time was exciting, and we were young,” he quotes the answer Brick Karl Proffer in the book “Literary Widows of Russia”.

According to Profferov, “it was said with full knowledge that they were wrong in their blindness.”

Kuchukhidze returns to the poet’s lyrics and personal life. It is interesting that the central place in the exposition is occupied by Mayakovsky’s relationship with Tatyana Yakovleva. Many Soviet researchers of the poet’s life, not wanting to spoil the image of the mouthpiece of the revolution with pictures of life with Briks, tried to push Yakovleva to the fore. Kuchukhidze tells what a blow was for Mayakovsky the refusal to obtain a foreign passport, which put an end to their relationship with Tatyana, but continues to talk about Brik as the poet’s only love.

Interestingly, Mayakovsky received a refusal to issue a passport shortly after he sent his famous Poems about a Soviet Passport to Ogonyok, but this poem was published only after the poet’s death.

April 14, 1930 “The corpse is dressed in a yellowish shirt with a black tie (bow).” (From the police protocol)

Despite the fact that the authorities instantly built a version of suicide because of unrequited love, both the poet’s contemporaries and subsequent generations put forward many hypotheses about the reasons for the shot – from syphilis to political murder.

The book by Bengt Yangfeld “The rate is life. Vladimir Mayakovsky and his circle” recounts the memoirs of Yuri Annenkov, who met Mayakovsky in Nice in 1928. When asked by Mayakovsky when he plans to return to Moscow, Annenkov replied that he did not even think about it, because he wanted to remain an artist. “Mayakovsky slapped me on the shoulder,” Annenkov recalled, “and, immediately becoming gloomy, said in a hoarse voice:“ And I’m coming back … since I have already ceased to be a poet. ”Then, according to Annenkov, Mayakovsky burst into tears and whispered barely audibly:“ Now I am … an official. “

“For twelve years in a row, the man Mayakovsky killed the poet Mayakovsky in himself, the thirteenth poet stood up and killed the man,” – Marina Tsvetaeva will give the best answer to this question in 1932.

“After his suicide, Mayakovsky fell into even greater disgrace than he was during his lifetime. Discussion of his work, like the publication of his poems, was not welcomed until 1935,” Kuchukhidze recalls and quotes Stalin’s famous verdict.

“Mayakovsky was and remains the best, most talented poet of our Soviet era. Indifference to his memory and his works is a crime.” (Resolution of I. Stalin in a letter to Lily Brik)

“This was his second death. In it he is innocent.” (B. Pasternak)

“After Stalin’s resolution, everything changed,” says Kuchukhidze. authorities, and Mayakovsky’s lyrics were practically forgotten. My generation knew “Poems about a Soviet Passport” very well, but practically did not know the poet’s lyrics. “

The “canonization” of Mayakovsky saved not only his loved ones from persecution, but also Konstantin Kuchukhidze, who, during collectivization, escaped arrest only because he once rented out the house to the Mayakovsky family.

In 1940, by order of Joseph Stalin, the Mayakovsky house in Bagdati became a museum, and the village itself (the status of the city of Bagdati was received much later) was renamed Mayakovsky. The first director of the museum was literary critic Alexander Koloskov.

Soon after the opening of the museum, Nikoloz Georgievich Kuchukhidze, the grandson of Konstantin Kuchukhidze, became one of its employees. Beka Kuchukhidze says that Nikoloz, who was educated at the Kutaisi Pedagogical Institute, was “ill” by Mayakovsky all his life. In 1959 Nikoloz Kuchukhidze became the director of the museum. According to his son, Mayakovsky’s older sister, Lyudmila, was bothering to appoint Nikoloz.

“My father made a significant contribution to the popularization of Mayakovsky’s work and perpetuating his name. My father was a real museum professional, knew the poetry and works of Mayakovsky perfectly, was an excellent orator. However, my father sacredly believed in the ideals and ideas of socialism, and especially honored Mayakovsky as a Soviet poet. And I showed him exactly this side. I think that this is not entirely correct. Mayakovsky is bigger and better than this, “says Beka Kuchukhidze.

After the collapse of the USSR came, as Yangfeld put it, the “third death” of Mayakovsky.

“When the Soviet Union fell, Mayakovsky fell too – hard, like monuments fall during revolutions. Despite the fact that in many ways he himself was a victim, most people saw in him a representative of the hated system, an official poet, whose poetry they were forced to learn by heart. few knew that he wrote not only praises to Lenin and the revolution, but also wonderful love poems.When the literary hierarchy was redrawn after the collapse of the USSR, Mayakovsky disappeared from curricula and bookstores.This was his third death – and in it he was not guilty. ” (Bengt Yangfeld, “The rate is life. Vladimir Mayakovsky and his circle”)

Nikoloz Kuchukhidze worked as the director of the museum for 40 years and died in 2000, and his only son, Beka Kuchukhidze, took his place.

“Mayakovsky is necessary when you need to jump over your head. Today we must do just that, because there is nowhere to fall further.” (Dmitry Bykov, “The 13th Apostle. Mayakovsky: a tragedy-buff in six acts”).

History teacher, Beka Kuchukhidze, at the time of his father’s death, worked as the director of a rural school, but in 2000 he moved to Bagdati and began to restore the museum.

“I practically grew up in a museum, and I knew that a stranger would not invest in it as much as I could, that the museum needed an enthusiast. In the late 90s, the museum was in such a terrible state that I don’t want to remember. And not only the museum , our whole country was then in a terrible state. It was a very difficult, very bad period for Georgia, “Beka says.

According to Kuchukhidze, in 2001, with the help of the authorities, restoration work was carried out in the museum, and in 2008 there was another restoration, which was financed by the Kartu Foundation.

Beka Kuchukhidze’s wife works in the same museum as a curator of the fund. They have two sons – 24 and 26 years old. Beka laughs that they are unlikely to follow in the footsteps of their father and grandfather, but now the museum can already be transferred into the “wrong” hands.

Seeing off the participants of the “film expedition”, Beck again reads Mayakovsky, this time in Russian.

“I have not a single gray hair in my soul, / and there is no senile tenderness in it! / The world is huge with the power of my voice, / I go – a beautiful twenty-two year old …”

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