- Valentin Savvich Pikul
- V. S. Pikul's novel "Bayazet"
- Historical background
- The structure of the novel
- Main characters
- Problems of the novel
- The novel "Bayazet": feedback from readers
- Screening of the novel
It's not easy to write about history: if you depict everything as it really was, it may seem boring to the reader, and if you embellish everything, the writer will definitely be accused of distorting the facts. Despite these difficulties, historical novels have always been a fairly popular genre of literature.
There are a huge number of Russian writers who specialize in works of this kind, but not all of them write really worthwhile books. Valentin Pikul, fortunately, is an exception - his works are really interesting to read. The novel "Bayazet" was the first work of this author, written on the basis of real historical events.
Valentin Savvich Pikul
This outstanding novelist has been dead for more than a quarter of a century, yet his books are read by thousands of people every year.
As in their time, Alexandre Dumas and Valentin Pikul were often criticized for his rather loose handling of historical facts. However, even the mostardent critics of his work noted the unsurpassed writing style of this author, thanks to which it is impossible to tear oneself away from reading his works.
In total, during his literary career, Pikul wrote more than 30 works, most of which are historical novels. The most famous books of the author: "Bayazet", "Pen and Sword", "Unclean Force", "Favorite", "I have the Honor" and "Janissaries". Also, Valentin Savvich planned to write about the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Vrubel and Princess Sophia (the elder sister of Tsar Peter Alekseevich), but a sudden death from a heart attack prevented this.
V. S. Pikul's novel "Bayazet"
The first novel to come out of the writer's pen was Ocean Patrol.
Despite the popularity that the masterpiece enjoyed among Soviet readers, the author himself was dissatisfied with this work. His next major creation was the historical novel Bayazet. This book was written in 2 years (1959-1960), but it was published only in 1961
"Bayazet" was the first and very successful attempt of Valentin Pikul to write a novel based on historical events. And although there are certain shortcomings and roughness in the work itself, it is rightfully considered one of the best among those written by Pikul.
As a historical basis for his novel, Pikul took a very tragic and at the same time incredibly heroic moment from the Russian-Turkish war in 1877-1878. - the so-called bayazet seat. We are talking about the defense of the troops of the Russianempire of the Turkish fortress Bayazet. This building was located in a strategically important place - at the crossroads of the Ottoman Empire and Armenia.
If the Russian troops had not held the fortress, the Turks would have opened a direct road to the lands of peaceful Armenians, and then to the Georgians. However, realizing that with the fall of Bayazet, the inhabitants of these countries would become victims of the Turkish genocide, the valiant military held the city for almost a month (22 days), languishing from thirst and hunger. Only on the 23rd day, the Erivan detachment of the Russian army, Lieutenant-General Tergukasov, approached the fortress, with the help of which Bayazet was liberated.
Pikul's novel contains both characters who existed in reality and proved to be true heroes during the defense of the city, and those invented by the author.
The structure of the novel
The author divided his work into two parts, each of which, in turn, is divided into 4 chapters.
The first part describes the events before the start of the siege of Bayazet. And in the second - directly the "bayazet seat" itself and the fate of its surviving heroes after the end of the siege.
The main character in the work is lieutenant Andrey Karabanov, it is with his arrival at the fortress that the novel "Bayazet" begins. This is a man of rare courage and prowess, which is perfectly combined in him with extreme shamelessness and perseverance. He is not alien to a sense of duty and nobility, but due to the fact that much is given to the lieutenant with ease, he truly appreciates little.
If Karabanov is a character invented by Pikul, then hisbeloved, if you can call Aglaya Khvoshchinskaya that way, in reality existed. Only her name was Alexandra Efremovna Kovalevskaya. As in the book, she was the wife of a demoted commander of the city. This woman courageously survived the entire siege, sharing with the wounded the last food from her own stock. After the release of Bayazet, Kovalevskaya became so weak that the soldiers carried her out of the city in their arms.
Aglaya is a rather complex character. On the one hand, she is an incredibly noble woman who does not hesitate to sacrifice herself for the good of others. On the other hand, she is an overly passionate person who is not always able to control her heart.
Besides Karabanov and Colonel Khvoshchinsky (wife of Aglaya, who died heroically during the siege), another character is in love with a courageous woman - civil engineer Baron von Klugenau. Unlike the gallant lieutenant, he is not so brilliant, and Khvoshchinsky's heart does not tremble at his appearance. However, throughout the book, he shows himself to be a truly worthy and courageous person. He not only shoots commander Bayazet, who intends to surrender the fortress to the Turks, but also gives his portion of water to the woman he loves, risking to die of thirst himself.
Colonel Khvoshchinsky (his real name was Kovalevsky) is one of the best characters in the book. He is not only a far-sighted commander, whom the soldiers love like a father, but also a wise man. Being an honest warrior and not knowing how to curry favor with his superiors, he was removed from his position in favor of the short-sighted and narcissistic Colonel Adam Patsevich.
As soon as he took command of the city, this hero instantly earned the hatred and contempt of his subordinates. It was his fault that sufficient water supplies were not made in Bayazet, and many worthy warriors also died. In addition, it was he who had the initiative to surrender the city to the Turks. Only through the efforts of his subordinates, who disobeyed the criminal order, the city survived. Interestingly, Patsevich is quite sincere in his callousness: even on the verge of death, he considers the siege of Bayazet an unfortunate misunderstanding that prevented him from making a brilliant political career. It is worth noting that this character had a real prototype with the same name, though with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Also in the novel there are other characters who really participated in the defense of the city: Ismail Khan Nakhichevansky, Efrem Shtokvits, Vasily Ode-de-Sion, etc.
The novel "Bayazet" begins with the arrival of Lieutenant Karabanov at the fortress. The impudent and courageous man quickly settles in here and makes friends with other officers. Acquaintance with the wife of the fortress commander Khvoshchinsky turns out to be a pleasant surprise for him, since it turns out that the lieutenant had an affair with this woman before she became the colonel's wife. Despite the fact that Andrei understands that what he is doing is not entirely noble, he tries to play on Aglaya's past feelings.
Meanwhile, Khvoshchinsky is dismissed from his post, and the careerist Patsevich is put in his place. Once in power, the new chief changes the defense system of Bayazet, developed by hispredecessor, which worsens the position of the garrison. And after an unsuccessful military campaign organized by Patsevich, the fortress is under siege.
First of all, the Turks turn off the water, and since there are practically no supplies of water and food in the city, hunger begins in the garrison. In addition, not being able to wash, the defenders of Bayazet are tortured by lice and various infectious diseases.
At the time of the general assault on the city by the soldiers of the Turkish commander Faik Pasha, Adam Patsevich orders to lay down their arms. However, Andrei Karabanov, Aglaya Khvoshchinskaya and most of the other defenders of the city do not obey him. When Patsevich climbs the fortress wall to announce the surrender of the fortress to the soldiers of the Ottoman Empire, Baron von Klugenau shoots him in the back. But due to the fact that a Turkish bullet hits the colonel at the same time, the true culprit of the death of the commander is unknown to most.
Despite the plight of Bayazet's defenders, the Russian military decides to stand to the end. Suddenly, heaven itself sends them help - it rains, and those who are thirsty receive enough water. And soon General Tergukasov comes to the besieged with an army and liberates the city.
After the victory, the heroes of Bayazet receive awards and disperse throughout the vast expanses of the Russian Empire. Andrei Karabanov several times gets a chance to make an excellent career, but due to his willful nature and drunkenness, he dies in a duel at the hands of the cowardly Prince Wittgenstein. Freethinker captain Yuri Nekrasov is arrested for his revolutionary activities. Friends tryto rescue him, but due to Nekrasov's stupid stubbornness they fail to do so.
Fyodor Petrovich von Klugenau gives a huge amount of money to the family of a deceased comrade - Major Potresov. After that, he worked for many years as an engineer in St. Petersburg. Having met Aglaya again, he connects his fate with her.
Problems of the novel
In the work "Bayazet" the author of the novel not only describes the courage and mutual assistance of Russian officers in the face of death, but also raises a lot of rather difficult problems.
First of all, the book rather frankly depicts the shortcomings of the Russian army, which it suffers to this day. This is the presence in the troops at high ranks of unqualified careerist commanders, due to the incompetence of which the best soldiers often die.
Bayazet also criticizes the corruption that already existed at that time: military officers under enemy fire are unable to receive their own salaries due to various bureaucratic delays. Only through the efforts of the shameless insolent Karabanov, who knows how to give bribes, the soldiers get their hard-earned money.
The novel "Bayazet" reveals the theme of drunkenness among officers quite unsightly. It is the habit of getting drunk in the trash that leads to the death of the protagonist. After all, Lieutenant Karabanov committed all his most stupid acts, which led to his premature and rather stupid death, while intoxicated. This behavior of the hero also has the other side of the coin - by drinking he drowned out spiritual emptiness, tormentconscience and the inability to find application for their rather outstanding abilities. But at the same time, in this situation, there is a share of guilt and leadership of the hero: turning a blind eye to such antics of an officer, they thereby instilled in him a sense of permissiveness, which cost him quite dearly.
As for the love story, in the book it is rather sad, although realistic. Despite the presence of several noble men who love and appreciate her, Aglaya gives her heart to Karabanov, thus confirming the generally accepted opinion that women love scoundrels.
At the same time, Pikul in his novel shows everyone that, despite numerous problems and disagreements, in the face of a common misfortune, all the heroes leave their feuds and, united, repel the enemy. In the face of possible death, the defenders of Bayazet show real heroism and nobility, which, it seemed, they were not capable of at other times. It is noteworthy that even after the overthrow of the traitor commander, anarchy and lawlessness do not begin among the soldiers and officers, but on the contrary, they unite and continue to function as a single military organism.
The novel "Bayazet": feedback from readers
In 1961, when Bayazet was first published, its success was largely due to the lack of serious competition among Western books, which were rarely printed in the USSR.
However, today, when thanks to the Internet, readers have the opportunity to read almost any work on the planet, the popularity of the novel testifies to its high artistic value.
Most of those who read "Bayazet" in the 2000s praise him for his excellent description of the courage and friendship of the defenders of the fortress. Also, the book attracts with its scale, but at the same time the absence of pathos typical for historical works.
Among the shortcomings of the work, readers indicate the excessive saturation of the novel with the main characters, which are sometimes difficult to remember. Some in their reviews criticize the complexity of the structure of the work, and also point to the heavy impression that remains after reading due to the realistic description of numerous deaths. Others, on the contrary, consider this a virtue of the book, as it makes it an interesting historical work.
Screening of the novel
Due to the book's popularity in 2003, it was based on a 12-episode television series of the same name.
In it, the role of Andrei Karabanov was played by Alexei Serebryakov, his beloved (in the film her name is not Aglaya, but Olga) - Olga Budina, and the ram von Klugenau - Ignaty Akrachkov.
In 2017, it will be 140 years since the “bayazet sitting” took place. It's nice that this important event is not forgotten by posterity, which was facilitated by Valentin Pikul's book "Bayazet". Whoever wrote the novel in 1961 probably did not even suspect that his work would immortalize the feat of Russian officers. I would like to believe that the nobility and courage of the military, described in the book, are still inherent in many today.