Presents a summary of:

Stalin Prize Winning Novel
by Pyotr Pavlenko
( 1947 )


Crimea in Photos
then take a:
Virtural Tour of Crimea

It is December 1944, and the Great Patriotic War is still going on. A boat arrives in a Crimean port, bringing mainly Cossack settlers from the Kuban, complete with livestock and ficus trees. The pier and esplanade--where before the war noisy, merry crowds gathered--are mutilated, bombed out. In fact, the whole town is barren, dead.

On board the boat is also 43-year-old Colonel Aleksei Veniaminovich Voropaev, a war veteran four times wounded, with pulmonary tuberculosis and one prosthetic leg. He is on extended leave and has decided, against all common sense, to come to this town, find a cottage for himself, and live somehow.

The head of the district Party committee, Korytov is suspicious, then merely annoyed, when Voropaev shows up with his documents. Korytov expects all sorts of problems with this absurd colonel. Voropaev admits that he probably made a mistake by coming, but now that he's here he'll try to stay out of Korytov's hair. Kortyov shows Voropaev a map of various houses that are available. They're all in bad shape, and Korytov will not be able to give Voropaev any help with repairs.

Korytov then talks at some length about a topic more to his liking--the massive problems of reconstruction in this ravaged and depopulated district.

It is midnight when Korytov leaves Party headquarters. He decides to go spend the night a nearby kolkhoz. A Party worker named Lena walks along with Voropaev to show him the way. Asking questions, Lena learns that Voropaev is a widower with a seven-year-old son who is ailing. It is for the sake of his son that Voropaev has taken this trip south. Lena hasn't heard from her husband for over three years. He's either dead or has abandoned her.

Voropaev says he doesn't like Korytov, but Lena defends him. She also bewails the desperate situation. They get bread only every third day and no sugar or fats at all. Lena suspects they're not telling the truth to Stalin, otherwise things wouldn't be so bad. Lena disapprovingly thinks Voropaev plans to get a cottage with a few apple trees and become an independent fruit dealer.

At the kolkhoz, crowds of newly arrived settlers are everywhere, milling about, sitting on bundles. There is no order, no discipline. The chairman of the kolkhoz is there. He is Mikola Stoika, a tall handsome man in an army tunic with a Red Star and Sebastopol medal on his chest. He is also missing his left arm. He calls out names of the settlers and assigns them homes. As he does so, he wishes the newcomers happiness in their new life.

They'll keep coming and be a burden to us, this one with medals, and that one with crutches.
After helping Voropaev, Lena returns to the small, semi-dipalidated house she occupies with her six-year-old daughter and her mother, Sofia Ivanovna. Lena tells Sofia Ivanovna about the events of the day, including the arrival of Voropaev. The old woman fears that many of these wounded war veterans will show up, causing trouble and possibly even kicking them out of this house. Perhaps the house was shabby, but the land was good, with 23 trees. Sofia Ivanovna wants Lena to get Korytov to assign this house to them permanantly.

Voropaev spends the night sleeping by a campfire on the kolkhoz. In the morning he awakes and sees Korytov addressing the settlers about the problems and prospects for the new life here. Korytov notices Voropaev and, with some irritation, suggests that he take a job as accountant on the kolkhoz; he'll get a room immediately and maybe someday a house. Voropaev says he'll think about it, then asks if Korytov has heard the latest news from the front. Korytov ignores the question and keeps droning on with his speech.

Voropaev wanders up a hill. From there he can see the whole town and the kolkhoz below. The fragrant scents of grasses and trees waft gently to him. He finds the burned-out shell of a small, four-room house with a kitchen, complete with apple trees and vineyards. Just what Voropaev needs. He imagines fixing it up and from here, with his son, Seryozha, going fishing and to the beach. But then Voropaev realizes that the house is too far away from sources of food and fuel and the school. And how could a one-legged man manage the work and repairs?
Learn about that
Splendid Bolshevik

Sergei Kirov
Then solve the mystery:
Who Killed Kirov?

Vorapaev, a Siberian native, had long dreamed of living by the sea. He first saw the sea during the Civil War in Astrakhan, when that splendid Bolshevik Sergei Mironovich Kirov, was leading the defense of the city. It was there that Voropaev, serving in the Red Army, had suffered a severe bout with typhus. Later, he was guarding the frontier on the Amur and helped build the city of Komsomolsk. He saw action in north Finland, also. Through it all, only the sea fostered in his mind pictures of repose and complete happiness. At last he was beside the sea, but he might just as well have not come here. He was stranded on the beach like a wrecked ship.

Voropaev comes to see Korytov and right away they begin disputing. Korytov says he likes to generalize. Voropaev says it does no good to generalize and ignore the individual--to honor Stakhanovitism, but to ignore Stakhanov. "There is not a whiff of Marxism in that," he says.

Changing the subject, Korytov asks the purpose of Voropaev's visit. Voropaev says he wants to sign on as a propagandist, only on the condition that he gets an apartment. Korytov agrees, but says that the apartment isn't ready yet so he'll have to settle for a room at present.

Voropaev's first assignment will be to visit and lecture at three kolkhozes, to enthuse the people and build up a Cherkassova movement. Voropaev says Korytov doesn't know what he's talking about. He questions why Korytov is always "bragging" about the difficulties, as if predicting inevitable failure. And why hasn't Korytov enthused the people already? Instead, the people are imbued with doubt and depressed by the difficulties. The argument continues loud and long until they both come to the same conclusion, each thinking he was the first to say: Heroism is organized; it is not elemental. To their bewilderment they see that they weren't arguing, but coming to an agreement.

Voropaev spends the night in Lena's house. Sofia Ivanovna tells Voropaev that he should insist on being assigned a house--even this very house. She points out its advantages (it has about a dozen cherry and apricot trees) and how easily repairs can be made. The old woman says she'll do the washing and watch after Voropaev's son. Voropaev realizes that he wasn't really looking for a house so much as some people with whom he can tie his fate. He says he'll apply for the house and they can split it--2 rooms for Voropaev and 2 rooms for Lena's family.

Voropaev sets off on his lecture tour, hitching a ride in a truck. He begins to feel the way he did before going into battle. He heard recently that his old unit was old unit was crossing the Danube. He imagines all his old comrades in battle. He also recalls the front-line surgeon Aleksandra Ivanovna Goreva. He remembers their first meeting, in the Ukraine in spring time. He was returning to his unit after recovering from this third wound. A bomb exploded nearby and a building wall collapsed to reveal Goreva, crouching over a wounded man on whom she was operating, to protect him from the debris. As soon as she finished the operation, Voropaev moved in and organized the evacuation of her operating room to another nearby building. Voropaev was impressed both by Goreva's fortitude and her beauty. They quickly became friends and soon others were talking about them as future husband and wife. But then Voropaev received his fourth wound, and it was Goreva who cut off his leg. From that point on, Voropaev could never picture himself as anything other than her patient, certainly not her husband. He knew he had to seek a new life, and this is what compelled him on his journey south.

Thinking of the difficulties awaiting him, Voropaev becomes fearful and doubts his strength. And for the first time, he regrets that he had remained alive.

Voropaev arrives at the Pobeda sovkhoz, a large vineyard, winery, and wine research institute. The wine expert, old Shirokogorov, is delivering one of his weekly lectures, answering random questions from the audience. Voropaev finds the lecture fascinating, including the information about the collection of medicinal herbs by school children and Young Pioneers.

People who think that everything is easy ought to be condemned as slackers and rascals.
Voropaev meets Chumandrin, the sovkhoz director, and together they go to meet with Shirokogorov. They drink wine, and Shirokogorov asks Voropaev to tell them his impressions and reminiscences from the front. They talk for hours. With each glass of wine, Voropaev's talk gets more animated and more interesting. In response to a question from Shirokogorov, Voroapaev describes how he came to be here. He says he will never again feel the happiness he felt when fighting in the ranks. He fell out of happiness as from an airplane. And, because of the wine, Voropaev even permits himself to complain about Korytov and his failure to find a house for Voropaev. Shirokogorov tactfully says there are difficulties everywhere. Chumandrin suggests that Voropaev come to work on the sovkhoz, promising to find him a house--even three houses--by tomorrow.

In the morning, Chumandrin points out a nice house Voropaev can have if he comes to work for the sovkhoz. Voropaev is tempted, but declines, feeling that he is honor-bound to continue working for Korytov. Chumandrin says he'll keep the house vacant in case Vorobaev changes his mind.

Voropaev attends a meeting of the Pervomaisky kolkhoz. The chairman holds up a batch of medical certificates excusing the receipients from heavy work. He tearfully pleads with everyone to turn out and hoe the vines, since it's almost too late. In desperation, the chairman asks Voropaev to speak.

Did we fight at the front only to perish at home? Are you not ashamed to look on quietly at the behavior of slackers, shirkers, boozers and ne'er-do-wells?
Relying solely on instinct, Voropaev starts by addressing the war veterans present, saying they must not let the victories in war now be defamed. He criticizes the doctor, who gives sick leave every time a pimple breaks, making this place a pimple palace. With the veterans, he recalls war exploits. Like Zakharchenko...or was it Stalingrad, who, although wounded seven times, dived into the Volga again and again to fish out the company radio installation. He had never learned to swim, but in he went, and he received his eighth wound.

Voropaev declares the kolkhoz in a state of emergency. He says the war veterans should organize and lead the assault. Sick leave only for the dead! Thus working the crowd up into a patriotic frenzy, Voropaev leads them outside into the night where they immediately begin hoeing. This night expedition enabled the people to see in themselves something they had rarely seen before; and this seemed to be the most imporant and valuable aspect of this mission, for, digging in the dark, the hoeing at this moment could not have been very efficient.

The next day, Voropaev visits the veterans who had not attended the previous night's meeting. First is the surly Boyarishnikov, who refuses to get involved in the kolkhoz. Voropaev then goes to see Yuri Podnebesko and his wife, Natalya. Both 20 years old, they are extemely poor. They both joined the army right out of school, Yuri as a sapper, and Natalya as a nurse. They both were wounded, became ill and were sent south to recouperate. Cursing Korytov for knowing no more about people than a corpse, Voropaev finds Yuri work as a night watchman, and Natalya is put in the vegetable brigade.

While Voropaev is gone, Sofia Ivanovna gets the house registered in Voropaev's name and undertakes major repairs, using the 500 rubles he left behind. The roof is repaired. She has a gardener plant roses, pomegranates, five fig trees, wisterias, and Alexandria Muscat vines. She finds the garden gates, which had been blown off in an explosion. She is unable to carry them back to the house herself, so she paints a note on them, claiming them as Voropaev's property.

After undertaking the "offensive" at the Pervomaisky kolkhoz, Voropaev, for the first time since his return from the front, felt that elation, pleasure and confidence that make a man happy. As the offensive reaches its height, Voropaev chances upon a boy playing in the woods, giving a pretend speech in imitation of Voropaev.

Voropaev thinks of his own son, Seryozha. The family caring for Seryozha is a good one, but, even so, Voropaev is jealous, frightened that perhaps his son is being weaned away from him.

At the end of his second week at the kolkhoz, Voropaev falls, severely hurting his wounded leg and chest. One of the more active workers, Varvara Ogarnova, wants to take him to the doctor (the same doctor Voropaev ridiculed at the open meeting). Voropaev is reluctant, so she suggests taking him to a local healer at the Kalinin kolzhoz, Opanas Ivanovich Tsimbal, a Cossack settler from Kuban. Voropaev is shocked--Tsimbal is an old acquaintance.


Mamaev Kurgan
The most famous kurgan
and memorial
arising from the
Great Patriotic War.

Voropaev first met Tsimbal in the spring of 1942 in the Kuban, where volunteers were signing up by the thousands. They met again about six weeks later in the Crimea during the confusion of a retreat. While all around were losing their heads, only Tsimbal was calm, giving all the right orders and organizing a withdrawal to a small state farm. There Tsimbal and his granddaughter Zenia (one of the best Cossack partisan scouts) buried the remains of Tsimbal's son, who was blown to pieces earlier in the day. The grieving Cossacks raised a kurgan over the grave. Tsimbal swore that the Germans would be defeated even if the Cossacks had to raise a barrier of kurgans across the steppes. Later during the war, Zenia, fighting bravely to avenge her father, was also killed. With no living relatives, Tsimbal burned his home to the ground and moved, leaving no forwarding address.

Voropaev arrives at Tsimbal's, and they renew their acquaintance. Unexpectedly for Voropaev, Dr. Komkov, the doctor Voropaev criticized at the meeting, arrives. Voropaev says if he had a doctor like Komkov at the front, he would have had him shot. Unfazed by Voropaev's criticism, Komkov goes on to say he's going to treat Voropaev's tuberculosis and very sensibly describes the treatment, consisting mainly of getting fresh air. In spite of himself, Voropaev finds himself developing some respect for Komkov, although he is reluctant to admit it. After Komkov leaves, Tsimbal says the doctor is a splendid and energetic man, and describes how he escaped from the Gestapo.

To treat his tuberculosis, Voropaev spends days on end in Tsimbal's garden on a bed. Having never been alone with nature before, he is at first uncomfortable with it. But soon he grows accustomed to it. He takes particular note of the birds. Some of them were bird war victims--they limped, suffered from nervous twitches, or were deaf. Others were bird refugees, driven from their native habitats. Their attempts to unite with the local birds seemed so human.

Voropaev grows lonely. He recalls once a wounded man quoted Seneca to him, "A man is unhappy only to the degree that he thinks he is so." The same is true of courage, the man said, "There are no born cowards or born heroes. Every man becomes what it is easiest for him to become." Voropaev also remembers an observation of LaGrange to the effect that the wounds of victors heal faster than those of the vanquished. This Voropaev confirmed from his own experience. Although he received serious wounds, they magically stopped hurting as he marched victorious into liberated Bucharest and Sofia.

Voropaev often thinks of an early death, and he feels sad that, now that the war is ending and a wonderful life is about to begin, he will not be a part of it. Not his wounds, nor his diseased lung, but the consciousness of his uselessness tormented him. Komkov advises him not to wallow in his own misery, but to occupy himself with other people.

Never had masses of people made such long and instructive journeys as they made during this war. Millions of people traveled all throughout Europe and saw fascism in all its hideous nakedness.
One day, two 19-year-old girls, Anya Stupina and Svetlana Chirikova, come to see Voropaev. They want to go to the Far East and have come for advice. Before the war, Anya had been the local Komsomol leader. When the Germans invaded, all the boys disappeared into the woods, either running away or becoming partisans. Anya, thinking that a revolution would start in Germany and that she could be of use there, actually volunteered to go work in Germany. Of course she was naive and no revolution began in Germany. She organized the escape of 20 Czechs, but she herself was nabbed by the Gestapo and placed back in the camp. After she was liberated, Anya was sent back home via Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. She saw with her own eyes and learned many things that could never be taught in schools. Back home, she felt the shame of what she had done, and now she wants to go away and start anew somewhere. Voropaev comforts her, saying that while she doesn't deserve any medals, she need not be afraid of her past.

Svetlana had been conscripted to work in a German shell factory. She grew very depressed and descended into an animallike existence. She was chosen by a German as his mistress. She did not resist. Nor did she resist when this German passed her on to another. And now, Svetlana tearfully relates, she's pregnant and doesn't know what to do. Voropaev says he'll think about their situation and that they should call again in a few days. He wants to help Anya, but is unmoved by Svetlana.

An ex-sergeant, Gorodtsov, shows up. He was wounded in both legs in Hungary and was only recently discharged from the hospital. During the war, his wife and mother moved to this region, so he is now trying to decide what work to take up and has come to consult with Voropaev, a responsible neighbor.

It turns out that Voropaev and Gorodtsov fought in many of the same battles. They share war reminiscences, then Gorodtsov decribes how he saw Stalin twice! The first time was near Klin, when Gorodtsov was given the task of collecting the bodies of Germans after a battle. Several cars drove up, and out stepped Stalin. A talkative fellow working in the detail tells Stalin that he swore an oath to kill every German, which was at odds with the order to take prisoners. The fellow confesses that he fulfilled his oath and disobeyed the order. Stalin laughed and said that he would see that this fellow's case be considered an exception.

The second meeting took place in Stalingrad itself. One night, Gorodtsov was at a post about 50 paces away from the Germans. Three men approach--one of them is Stalin. He stands at a machine gun emplacement and gazes out at the city. Gorodtsov is afraid that the Germans will see Stalin and shoot him. Although he remains silent, Gorodtsov wants to shout out, "Go away, Comrade Stalin! We'll manage without you!" Sure enough, the Germans start firing. Gorodtsov shouts, "Hurrah!", and leads a charge. They overrun the German positions and look back to see Stalin waving his hat at them.

On another day, Lena arrives to visit Voropaev. She brings him a parcel from her mother. Voropaev says as soon as he gets better he'll return and help Sofia Ivanovna with the house repairs. Voropaev realizes that life is hard for Lena, too. He hopes that somehow he can help make her life easier and simpler. He thinks, "It is nice when there are people in the world whom you want to help."

A social club is formed and holds its first meeting at Tsimbal's, owing to the fact that Voropaev can't get around. Voropaev introduces Anya as the featured speaker. She delivers a moving talk about her experiences. Afterwords, others talk about their hopes, plans, and projects. A good time is had by all. Nothing of great moment, happened; it was just some people getting together to have a talk. But that is just what people lacked and what they craved. So it was a great success.

Voropaev becames something of a talking statue who could be trusted to relay messages because he had nothing to do and was always on the spot. He had almost no time to think about death now. People came to him with complaints, told him what progress they were making, asked for advice. He wrote letters to people at the front and wrote articles for the regional newspaper. Although he wasn't supposed to find out, he learned that the people of the kolkhoz secretly decided to build him a cottage right next to Tsimbal's house.

You haven't had a bath for a month. Your underclothing is as full of holes as a fishing net.
On New Year's Eve, Varvara comes to Tsimbal's house with Voropaev's rations and mail. She sees Tsimbal hacking away at Voropaev's wooden leg with an axe while Voropaev hops around on one leg, bitterly complaining. Varvara wryly calls out, "Fight to a victorious finish!" then asks what's going on. It seems Voropaev wanted to return to work, but Tsimbal is destroying the leg to prevent this.

Delivering the potatoes and mail, Varvara says she's seen Lena and approves of her as a perfect match for Voropaev. She advises Voropaev to move in with Lena right away and his life will improve. Voropaev is much vexed at this matchmaking. He instead wants to hear the news from the District Committee and the Pervomaisky kolkhoz. He incautiously admits to Varvara that things are bad on the Kalinin kolkhoz and he does not know who to rely on here. Varava reminds him that he knew none of them on the Perevomaisky kolkhoz when he whipped them up to action.

If it is your intention to die in your god-forsaken seaside place, leave orders to have your coffin covered witih my letters.
Goreva writes letters to Voropaev every day, but he can't bring himself to read them all. He realizes it would be absurd and impossible to bring her here. And where would they live? At Lena's? Voropaev also reads with surprise a note from Sofia Ivanovna describing all the repairs and planting she's been doing and informing him that she's taken out a loan in his name to finance it all.

On behalf of the entire community, Tsimbal presents Voropaev with a New Year's present: a brand new wooden leg they had made specially for him. (That's why Tsimbal was chopping up the old leg earlier.)


"The Russian is an artist among men. He can depict and feel everything. He can appreciate the culture and customs of other peoples and remain true to himself. That is why we are so exacting toward ourselves--we are an artist people."
Tsimbal and Voropaev set out for a New Year's party at the children's sanitorium run by Maria Bogdanovna Merezhkova. On the way, they discuss the nature of Russians.

At the sanitorium, there is a large, decorated fir tree, and children in all sorts of costumes, made with the simplest of materials. It is all so touching, so charming, and so poverty-stricken. Voropaev wants to shout, "To hell with wealth!"

Merezhkova leads Voropaev into a room to meet her philosophers. Voropaev had not been forewarned, so he winces when he sees the children in the room: Zina Kuzminskaya, a 13-year-old girl from Smolensk whose fingers were chopped off by the Germans when she refused to say where her father's partisan detachment was; Shura Naidenov, a roly-poly, who lost both arms and both legs in an air raid; Petya Bunchikov, who lost his legs in a mine field; and Lyonechka Kovrov, who lost his eyesight in an air raid. One thing these children miss is a happy face. Even when happy people come to visit, they become sad when they enter the room. Voropaev is greatly moved by these children and realizes that in this room one cannot utter even a single word of untruth. He convinces the children to forget their embarrassment and join the others at the party. He has their beds wheeled out into the main room, and they are soon enjoying themselves like everyone else. Shura declaims a poem. Everyone is impressed with his determination--he wants to become a scientist to show the Germans what Russians can do, even without arms and legs.

One night we may all dream the same dream, and, on waking up, think to ourselves how great, strong, and inseparable is our family--our generation.
Without telling anyone, Voropaev decides to go home alone. It is pitch dark. He gropes along with outstretched arms; then, casting aside shame, he crawls on his belly until he reaches a familiar track near a precipice. He lies on the edge of the precipice like a bird with a broken wing. The wind blows strong, and if he were to let go of the boulder he is holding onto, he would be hurled off into the abyss. He thinks of Goreva and his comrades, and he knows that they have not forgotten him, for one cannot forget what has become part of yourself.

By February 1945, Voropaev is recovered and back living with Lena and Sofia Ivanovna. His relations with Sofia Ivanovna are somewhat tense. One evening, he decides to skip a District Party Committee meeting to stay home and have a talk alone with her. She ennumerates how she thinks repairs should proceed and also wants to build a pigsty and hen house to collect potash and maure. All of this, she says, can be used for trading, to make money. They get into a very heated argument and Voropaev promises to ruthlessly check her every attempt to become a market woman. They are on the brink of a complete break when Lena bursts in. She says something important is happening at the Party meeting and that Voropaev must come immediately.

While walking to the meeting, Voropaev decides that it makes senses, so he asks Lena to live with him as husband and wife. She is taken aback. While not agreeing, she does not reject the proposal outright.

At the meeting it is revealed that important visitors are expected from Moscow, England, and America. Voropaev is appointed supernumerary interpreter in exceptional cases of city-wide importance. Korytov says Voropaev must take up quarters in the city so that he can be found immediately when needed. An unknown Major from the State Security Service tests Voropaev's English and is satisfied. He says Voropaev will probably not be called upon for anything exceptionally important, except if the Americans and English start a scrap with each other, then Voropaev will have to pacify them.

Everyone is very excited. The District Party members pepper Voropaev with questions, such as, do Americans eat salt herring with onions and if it's proper to offer them tea. Shirokogorov is worried that the foreigners might want to visit the sovkhoz wine cellar--he doesn't like that idea. Stoiko, chairman of the Novoselo kolkhoz, is worried about what to do if Stalin comes to visit. Surely he couldn't take Stalin to his office...he has chickens in there!


"Voropaev was amazed by the precariousness of the friendship between the sailors of the two kindred Allied powers, American and Britain, and still more by the ease with which each side sought and found occasion to quarrel. The onlooker gained the impression that this friendship was burdensome and almost offensive to both sides, and that it would be natural for them to feel that they were in different camps.

The British gave Voropaev the impression of being sincerely amazed to find that the world was inhabited by others besides themselves, and that these others were human. Willingly admitting that the Russians are brave, the Norwegians pious, the Spaniards hotheaded and the Belgians prudent, they envied none, regarding themselves as superior to all.

The Americans created the impression of being jolly good fellows who hated only two nations--the Japanese and the British."
As Voropaev and Lena walk home together, Lena holds his arm tightly.

Soon, foreign ships appear in port, and American and British sailors appear in town. They crowd the town's only restaurant where Russian cocktails--a blend of vodka and beer--rouse universal admiration. Voropaev is constantly breaking up arguments between the Americans and the British over who is braver.

Then it is learned that Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill have arrived. Roosevelt creates a good impression on those who see him, identifying him as a man of great zeal. However, Churchill is obese and senile-looking, giving the impression of an old gentleman who has lunched well and washed his lunch down with some delicious and bracing beverage.

Voropaev gets a call to go to the Pervomaisky kolkhoz where some drunken American is going from house to house asking idiotic questions.

The drunken American turns out to be Harris, a famous reporter. After sleeping it off a bit, Harris turns out to be a likeable fellow. He and Voropaev get into a series of heated, yet friendly arguements. Harris insists that America has the monopoly on democracy. Americans like and respect anything that resembles America; anything remote, they reject.

Voropaev and Harris go to see Shirokogorov. Shirokogorov offers the opinion that victory could be won this year if the Americans and British did not hinder it; but, says Shirokogorov, the Americans and British are unprepared for victory. The Soviets have pushed the victory so near to the U.S. and Britain that they only need reach out an grab it, but, the old man continues, the U.S. and Britain are afraid that people will say they got victory as a present from the Soviets.

They retire to the wine-tasting room. Shirokogorov waxes poetic about the fragrances, shades, subtlties, and inspirations of the wines. All Harris does is gulp down glass after glass, indiscriminately mixing wines. Harris wants to know why Shirokogorov is messing about with wines while his country is in ruins. Shirokogorov says he is preparing an elixir of triumph, wines of victory, repose, and comfort. In response to a question, Shirokogorov says that while German fascism may soon be crushed, Harris and many like him will rush in to be the fierest champions of capitalism in its worst forms. However, Roosevelt may some day come over to the Soviet side. He dismisses the importance of England, saying Churchill's England is like America's kept woman.

Voropaev takes Harris to meet the "philosophers" at the children's sanitarium. Harris gets one look at the armless, legless Shura and wants to know why he is not immediately killed. Voropaev explains that Shura is no less human than they are, but Harris refuses to accept this and storms out of the room.

On the drive back to town, the chauffeur points out to Harris a well into which the Germans threw his two young nephews. One died of hunger, the other's head was smashed. Harris says these things should not be spoken of out loud.

Voropaev says that while, on the whole, Russians like Americans, it is apparent that America is pursuing the policy of a degenerate nation. Many American capitalists just want to grab the fruits of victory for themselves. The bankers want to turn America into a stronghold of mililtarism with Churchill as their god. Roosevelt is too good a President for these bankers; they deserve much worse.

Sometimes I think we ought to have special dreamers, the same as we have propagandists and agitators.
The head of the Regional Party Committee, Vasyutin, asks Voropaev to accompany the foreign journalists on an excursion to Sevastopol. Suggesting also that Voropaev needs to get in the harness, Vasyutin wants Voropaev, when on the excursion, to look around and form suggestions on developing the area, with a special eye toward olive growing. Voropaev proposes they go together immediately to do it. Voropaev will then spend the night with Zarubin at the meterological station, and join the journalists' excursion on the following morning. Vasyutin agrees.

Voropaev and Vasyutin check out the landscape, deciding on the best place for the future sovkhoz offices. They also visit a bay which Voropaev has named Happy Bay and imagine a future health resort on the site. Voropaev tells Vasyutin that he has a theory. Just as before, when they took people from the villages and factories and moved them forward into the capital and People's Commissariats, now they should take the cadres that have been trained at the top and bring them down to lead the practical work in the villages and factories. Vasyutin doesn't much like the idea. He also scornfully recalls a memorandum from Zarubin suggesting the construction of a home for composers on the mountain ridge because, he said, there's a lot of music there that's going to waste.

Voropaev thinks that he will soon get in the harness, but where the Podneneskos and Anya Stupina need him, not where Vasyutin wants him.

The next day, Voropaev joins Harris and the other foreign journalists on their bus tour. They pass a burned-out tank. Voropaev tells about Chernykh's brigade and their part in the liberation of the area. The journalists have no interest in the story. Instead, they ask if Stalin has been to Sevastopol. Voropaev says no one should be allowed in Sevastopol because it is thick with mines. The English journalist haughtily announces that they will go wherever they want and only to the places they want.
Take a
Great Leap Forward


The journalists stop for breakfast and cognac. Harris says his first success as a journalist came writing about the Nijinsky performace of Prince Igor in Paris. The frenzied mass dancing, Harris says, gave him insight into the Russian soul. His conclusion was that Russian art, with tremendous strain, was restraining the passion of its people for a great leap forward, and all of this he connects to Russian history and politics. Voropaev says that to study a country from its ballet is like studying fruit-growing by eating jam. It would be more instructive to read Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Gorky, not to mention Lenin. Or, better yet, the Russian soul was best revealed in the 9-hour battle for Sapun Hill right here, or in Stalingrad.

They journalists decide they don't want to discuss or analyze events. All they want to do is see monuments. Voropaev says there are no special monuments yet, but that the entire city is a monument. Harris ridicules this idea. The journalists go see the old English Cemetery of 1855.



Voropaev is bidding farewell to some tipsy American sailors when an old acquaintance, Lieutenant-General Roman Ilych Romanenko drives up. Romanenko is suprised to find Voropaev out of the army and in this backwaters. Somewhat condescendingly, he he suggests that Voropaev should rejoin the army and come work with him at the General Staff in Moscow.

Romanenko takes Voropaev to the villa where the Soviet delegation is quartered. They dine with generals and diplomats all of whom, contrary to Romanenko, support Voropaev's decision to work among the people. Voropaev is not jealous of these generals and diplomats, who would travel abroad and have lives rich in diverse impressions. He felt his descent to the sources of life and human strength was not because he was being degraded, but rather it was a preparation for a new leap upward.

The next day, Romanenko picks up Voropaev to take him back to the villa. On the road, they pass a little girl, Lena Tvorozhenkova, who is holding some flowers that she dreams of giving to Stalin. Instead, she gives them to Voropaev.

At the villa, a general formally invites Voropaev to rejoin the service and move to Moscow. Voropaev politely rejects the idea, feeling that he can make important contributions to the Party active here.

While Romanenko is telling Voropaev that he's made a mistake, Voropaev is summoned to the garden. There he is stunned to find himself in the company of Comrade Stalin!

Stalin is talking with the gardener, advising him to ignore the laws of established science and to create grapes and lemons that will grow in the severe northern climates.

Stalin shakes Voropaev's hand and gently chides him for leading assaults at the kolkhozes. But, Stalin says, Voropaev did the right thing by refusing the transfer to Moscow. There are still too many people, Stalin says, who prefer to remain officials in Moscow rather than be leaders in the provinces. But their time will end soon, Stalin promises.

Stalin then asks what are the most urgent needs in the district. Voropaev says they need clever people. Stalin orders Voropaev to make clever people here on the spot and not expect then to come raining down on him from Moscow. "Nowhere is it written the clever workers are born only in Moscow," Stalin reminds him.

Recognizing that life is hard for the people, Stalin promises that soon the Party will grapple with the food problem with the same energy as it grappled with industrialization.

Stalin in greatly interested in Voropaev's assessment of the various people in the district such as Anya Stupina, the Podnebeksos, Gorodtsov, Tsimbal, and others. Stalin makes comments on all the people mentioned, but is particuarly taken with the story of Gorodtsov, who dreams of wheat. Stalin gives Voropaev a message for Gorodtsov. He is to tell the ex-soldier that those here in this region are in the second echelon, in reserve, as it were. Once the nation has solved the wheat problem, Stalin says, they will address the local problems here.

Stalin notices the flowers in Voropaev's pocket. Voropaev tells him about the little girl who dreamed of giving the flowers to the great leader. Stalin accepts the flowers and gives Voropaev a basket of pastries to give to the girl. At the end of the meeting, Stalin again says that Voropaev did the right thing by deciding to stay in the district.

Returning home, Voropaev tells Lena about the meeting and says he feels a thousand years younger. The next day, Voropaev tells Korytov. Korytov is envious and says that since it was a private meeting, not an official one, they should not discuss it publicly. Voropaev disagrees, but says he'll think it over.

But word of Voropaev's meeting with Stalin gets out. Soon everyone crowds into his home, demanding to hear the story. Everyone is excited to hear what Stalin had said about each of them personally. But they are also worried and terrified. Stalin knows their names. What if he orders an investigation? They had really better get to work now and show results!

In the beginning of April, Goreva is with the Third Ukrainian army as it moves in to begin the assault on Vienna. She is riding forward to establish a field hospital in the suburb of Simmering. The path is blocked by a large crowd of Russian officers. Goreva gets out and sees that the officers, along with an accordionist and photography or cinematographer, are gathered around Strauss' grave, which has been freshly bedecked with flowers.

As the battle for Vienna rages, Goreva moves into the city, dodging snipers and setting up field dressing stations in apartments. She is summoned to examine Golyshev, a wounded regimental Commander who is refusing evacuation to a hospital. When Goreva arrives at the command post, the young surgeon in attendance reports that Golychev received a shell splinter in the lung. Goreva, however, can see that the splinter has not entered the lung, but is stuck between the ribs. She agrees with Golyshev that he need not be evacuated, especially when victory is so near at hand.

That night at the command post, Goreva and the officers discuss the operation and the damage done to the city. The subject of Voropaev comes up. The officers are incredulous to hear that he has taken up farming. Golyshev comments that it's time for Voropaev and Goreva to get married.

Romeo and Juliet is a falsehood, although a very noble and romantic one.
Golyshev tells Goreva that he's been getting letters from Voropaev, talking of his circumstances and life. Golyshev says that, as a man, he understands if Voropaev has let Goreva drop from his life. When a man is kicked out of his groove, he is all knocked out, even his feelings. When a man's old life is wrecked and his new one not yet begun, sometimes it is best to leave him alone. Circumstances of life sometimes make love impossible, Golyshev says.

Back at the field administration, Goreva is billeted with an Austrian family named Altman. They invite her for tea in the evening. All the Altmans want to know about is the fashions in the various countries Goreva's been through.

Commander of the
Russo-Austrian Army:

Mikhail I. Kutuzov

Some time later, after Vienna had been liberated and the Soviet army pushes on westward, Goreva takes a tour of Vienna with Frau Altman and her daughter. Frau Altman, who prefers the palaces, doesn't understand why Goreva wants to see Beethoven's apartment. It's like looking at a jewel box with the jewels removed, she says. Nevertheless, they visit 11 of the 30 Beethoven apartments as well as several palaces. The Schonbrunn palace was no worse than those at Tsarskoye Selo, although the furnishings were poorer. Frau Altman points out where Napoleon slept. Goreva asks the guide if Kutuzov ever slept there. Neither the guide nor Frau Altman have ever heard the name and believe that Goreva is simply misinformed when she correctly identifies Kutuzov as the Commander of the Russo-Austrian Army of 1805.

Frau Altman expects Goreva to say Vienna is the most beautiful city in the world. But actually, Goreva prefers Riga, Vilnius, Lvov, and Leningrad. Goreva was disappointed with her impressions and realizes that the chief thing about a city is not its architecture but its people. A deserted, depopulated city is alway ugly and dreary.

Love is an event that decides the course of one's life, like joining the Party.
Golyshev gets another letter from Voropaev and forwards it to Goreva. In the letter, Voropaev says that Goreva deserves happiness, which, Voropaev feels, he cannot give it to her, so he does not even write to her. He does not believe in the equality of the sexes in marriage. The man must be the chief in the home. A husband who needs nursing, a husband who is pitiful cannot fullfill this role for Goreva.

No longer respecting Voropaev, much less loving him, Goreva writes him a note, calling him cruel for having deserted her in such a craven manner. Or perhaps, she wonders, he has gone mad. It would be better to think of him as a lunatic than as a cad.

Voropaev is fully and enthusiastically invovled in his job. He is giving lectures everywhere; he helps the librarian form reading circles; he gives lessons to Yuri Podnebesko to prepare him for vocational school; and he himself is taking classes on how to be a vegetable gardner.

Lena no longer works for Korytov, but is busy working in the garden, cleaning the house, and cooking. Everyone regards her as Voropaev's wife. She helps organize a vegetable garden brigade and even co-authors an article calling for the laying out of gardens at schools. The house remains unrepaired and even Sofia Ivanovna is no longer interested in making the house pay for itself, absorbed as she is in her work of collecting wild plants.

Comrade Stalin once uttered the words of gold: complete unanimity prevails only in the graveyard.
After the capture of Berlin, Voropaev does not sleep for 48 hours, so busy is he attending celebrations and giving lectures. For the rest of the week, he keeps up the blistering pace. He is called to see Vasyutin, who wants to appoint him District Secretary. Voropaev declines, wanting to be an exemplary propagandist, not a mediocre secretary. Vasyutin reminds Korytov and Voropaev that it's okay to argue over important matters, but they shouldn't let their squabling get out of hand.


"There is no power that can withstand the power of the Soviets. Let mankind register the event of this day: Socialism alone has won the victory for all! The Soviet people have come to the forefront of humanity. For thirty years the most infamous lies were told about them. But they built Socialism. Those abroad would not believe it. They set out to beat the fascists. Again those abroad would not believe. But we have screwed Hitler's neck, we have liberated two-thirds of Europe and are now victors in Berlin. Will those abroad even now doubt our strength, refuse to pay tribute to our glory? No! Now they will no longer be able to hush up our achievements. They will no longer be able to slander us! Henceforth we will forever appear in the eyes of mankind as the most powerful and most just people on earth!

Long live Stalin!
One night, Voropaev and everyone else are awakened with the news: The war is over! The joyous crowd rushes to the center of town. Korytov tries to quiet everyone, but no one pays attention. They all shout for Voropaev. He gives a rousing, patriotic speech. This is the first time Lena has heard him address a crowd, and she is amazed at what he can do with the people. On the contrary, says Voropaev, it is the people who inspire him. He is rejuvenated now that he is among the people and he feels he speaks with the voice of the people.

On the next day, Lena gets a letter. It is from Goreva, asking after Voropaev. Lena is greatly upset and runs home sobbing. Voropaev tries to calm her, but Lena says that she now sees that Voropaev never really wanted to be her husband. He was merely sorry for himself and had pity on her. Voropaev may have wished her good, but he did her evil. Lena says that Voropaev has taught others much, but he himself has never learned how to live. Natasha Podnebesko's baby is due in a few days, so Lena will go stay with her to help.

After this scene with Lena, Voropaev is a bit stunned. But he is forced to confess that he just could not arrange his life. "Happiness is elusive; you never know if it is there or not," Voropaev thinks. He thought he was making Lena happy, but was mistaken. He feels embarrassed that he had been building something artificial and lifeless. But at the same time, knowning that he is alone again comes as something of a relief.

In June 1945, the Americans hold a reception for the Russians. The Russians are perplexed. After a military parade and the antics of a drum-major, they retire to the dining room for glasses of whiskey and tiny ham sandwiches...and nothing more. The Soviets decide to retaliate with a real reception, including vodka, caviar, roast pig, trout, and Uzbek dumplings.

Goreva is sent to scout out a castle at Wallsee on the Danube, to see if it is appropriate for the reception. Her host, the castle's owner, is Duke Joseph, the last in line of the Austro-Hungarian emperors. The castle is ornate and crammed with dazzling riches, but the overall impression is that of a jumble. There are plenty of portraits of emperors, generals, etc., but no paintings that one could really admire, books that one could read, and the pianos, clavicords, etc., hadn't made a sound in years.

No repairs had been made on the castle in over 50 years. The roof leaked, the floors were cracked. Goreva suggests that the Duke lease the castle as a hotel or sanitorium. The Duke haughtily asserts that he does not wish to trade in the family honor. Hurrying past glass cases filled with enemy standards captured by former residents of the castle, the Duke just mumbles, "History, history, nothing but dust now."

Not For Sale !

Vorontsov Palace
in Alupka, Crimea

At the reception, two American officers tour the castle with the Duke and Goreva. The Americans offer to buy some of the Duke's antiques, as long as he can provide a certificate of authenticity. One of the Americans, a major, owes a soap factory and hires the Duke to work for him on commission, giving him some ready-made contracts and price lists which he always carries about. The other American recalls that he was in the Crimea recently for the Yalta Conference and saw some the fine Vorontsov palace, where Churchill stayed. Unfortunately, he says, the Bolsheviks don't sell palaces.

The Americans ask about some old, established Austrian companies. Their owners were Jews and, hence, exterminated by Hitler. This is just a trifle, say the Americans. A good, solid company can survive the death of its owner. The major reminisces about how he was able to flood the market in Alexandria with his products at the same time the Allies were unloading ammunition. They captured the city and the market at the same time. In Italy he painted soap advertisements on tanks.

Afterwards, Goreva tells Golyshev about the Americans. He laughs, noting that the Americans think putting soap ads on tanks is okay, but they accused Golyshev of insidious propaganda because he and his troops stopped to help some Austrian peasants plow their fields, asking for nothing but a thank you in return. Golyshev wishes he could stay and help the Austrians put their lives in order. It's sad, he notes, how incapable they seem. There's plenty of flour, but people are hungry because one person owns the flour, another the bakery, and another the transportation facilities, and they just can't get together. Even the Austrian workers were baffled when Golyshev suggested they take matters into their own hands and plant vegetable gardens. Goreva, on the other hand, is not interested in the fate of the Austrians and decides to apply for a transfer back to Moscow.

Several days later, Goreva is on a plane bound for Kiev. On board are some Bulgarians, Romanians, and a Dalmatian historian named Bojidar Voinovich. When he hears from Goreva that Vienna survived intact, Voinovich is furious. Vienna, he says, is what turned the pus of Prussianism into pastry. One cannot expect anything good from a people that produced Hitler, he says. Voinovich recalls legends that Lenin told Stalin to unite all the Slavonic lands. He hopes that legend comes true.

Goreva recalls how all the Austrians seemed the same to greedy opium smokers. They all traded in the drug of illusions. All wanted easy success without thinking how to achieve it. After surrendering to Hitler, they considered themselves martyrs. On being liberated, they demanded special consideration. They were omnivorous creatures without backbone.

It is autumn. The fields and houses of Crimea are alive with the colors and smells of the rich harvest. Yuri Podnebesko, newly graduated from propagandist school, returns to the Pervomaisky kolkhoz as its new propagandist. Since spring, Voropaev has replaced Korytov as District Secretary. He no longer lives at Lena's house. His place there has been taken by the Podnebesenkos, with their little daughter. Voropaev lives in an unfurnished apartment in the town, but his son stays with Lena. But really, Voropaev's home is the entire district; he seems to be everywhere at once. He has also initiated a system of training specialists right here in the district, not sending them to strange towns for their education and possibly never getting them back. He invites some engineers, business executives, physicians, and other experts from Moscow to tour the area. They are so eager to stay and work here that they almost brawl when the building lots are being distributed. Tsimbal is head of the Pioneer, a new olive sovkhoz.

Some of the grape-picking on the Pervomaisky kolkhoz is lagging. Yuri goes to investigate and finds that the grapes are not being collected or weighed with proper attention being given to the differing varieties.

Meanwhile, Gorodtsov, now head of the Mikoyan kolkhoz, is causing a stir with his reorganization plans. He wants to reduce the number of grape varieties grown as well as eliminate the poultry and vegetable gardens, replacing them with rose gardens, useful for their valuable oil. The plan was rejected by the District Land Department as a Left deviation. Gorodtsov, in turn, accused the Land Department of Right deviation. Only Voropaev can resolve the issue.

A postman returns a letter to Lena. It was written some time ago by Voropaev to Goreva and is marked: Addressee gone. Lena opens the letter and reads it. In it, Voropaev manfully and frankly tells her everything; how his sense of unfitness had compelled him to leave Goreva's life and that his current way of life confirms the correctness of this thought. He asks to be understood and forgiven because he loves her. Lena reflects that, still, Voropaev must be lonely, and she wonders, "Why are good people so rarely happy?

Anya Stupina stops by Lena's one evening, asking to stay there because she is going on to Tsimbal's the next day. She asks Lena, Natasha, and the children to accompany her, and they agree.

The next day, at the Pioneer sovkhoz, Tsimbal solemnly declares that, since the sovkhoz needs specialists, they will send Anya to college to study agriculture at their own expense. They joke, saying that Anya is marrying the sovkhoz.


"Culture is a longing for beauty. It means training oneself to enjoy intellectual pursuits, and it is regrettable that we do not all desire this, that many of us even think that somebody or other will masticate this culture for us and feed us with the pap whenever it is required, as much as to say: We are ever so busy, comrades, leaders, entertain us and teach us. But such a line of reasoning will bring you to the idea that the state ought to shave you, wash you, and take you to the tailor and shoemaker."
In the winter, there is a stormy but fruitful meeting of everyone in the district, summing up the work of the year. Everyone says they could have done better if they had not been hindered by their neighbor. Voropaev, looking thin and ill, gives an inspirational speech, stressing the importance of culture.

Afterwards, Komkov and Lena walk home. Komkov takes Lena to Eagle's Peak, a rocky ledge in a beautiful setting and with a gorgeous view. Komkov points out evidence that this place was designed and created by man. Fifty or 80 years ago, someone planted the trees here, piped up water to feed them, and even carved steps in the cliff to make access easy. But yet, this unknown person built no house here. Instead, he was selflessly creating something beautiful for future generations. Komkov suggests that this unknown person is somewhat like Voropaev in his dedication.

Worried, Lena asks about Voropaev's health. Komkov shakes his head gravely and says that Voropaev already should have died twice. What Voropaev needs, says Komkov, is a little joy in his life.

Returning his attention to the Eagle's Peak ledge, Komkov says sadly that he envies the nameless ancestor who designed and created this view; that he and Lena will never leave behind anything as lasting and significant as this. Lena, however, responds, "We will leave people such as the world has never seen before. We will leave happiness."

Learn about
Revolutionary Russian Scientist:

No, I am not Dr. Zarkhov.

K.A. Timiryazev

After resting at a sanatorium, Goreva decides she just has to go see Voropaev, so she takes a boat to his town. On board, she meets many people who are moving about the country to start new, postwar lives. One fellows quotes the scientist Timiryazev who said, "Praised be he who raises two ears of corn where one had grown before." Goreva thinks that she, too, must make a new life and try to, so to speak, grow that extra corn. She also recalls that someone once said, "Happiness is a byproduct; it is obtained when striving to get something entirely different."

Goreva arrives in town. She is told that Voropaev is unwell and resting in his apartment. Goreva, not knowing what to expect, enters the apartment. Voropaev's eyes light up with such unfeigned joy that Goreva knows instantly that everything will be all right.


Biography of Pyotr Pavlenko

Pavlenko, Pyotr Andreevich. Born 29 June 1899 in Petersburg, the son of an office worker. He received his education at the Bakinsky Tekhnicum, from which he graduated in 1920. That same year, he joined the Bolshevik Party and the Red Army, where he served as a political worker. After the Civil War, he worked in the Soviet trade mission to Turkey between 1924 and 1927.

As a writer, Pavlenko became associated with the Pereval ground, and his story Shematony appeared in a Pereval anthology of 1930. His first novel, Na Vostoke ("In The East"), appeared in December 1936. It chronicles the adventures and enthusiasm of ordinary Soviets building new cities in the far eastern reaches of wildest Siberia. The area also prepares for war, and, sure enough. . . . (...Continued...)

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