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May 7, 2022
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Not the same Munchausen

How the Soviet turned into anti-Soviet, or not harmless liars

Article One

… And then ours came. They came unexpectedly. Dimarov and his subordinates had no idea about the situation at the front. They learned about the offensive of the Red Army only when they saw the fleeing policemen.

That’s when they decided on a second action, firing at the fleeing from afar. Again, no one was killed, but, according to Anatoly, “at least they shot enough.”

This was followed by a new call to the army. Then they took everyone who was suitable in age and had no visible physical defects. Medical records were ignored.

Anatoly was recognized as fit for combat. He didn’t resist (didn’t make sense).

Armed recruits with anything. Often – trophy weapons. Dimarov got an Italian carbine, but … without cartridges. With this carbine, they led the attack to strengthen the enemy …

Anatoly again did not act like a hero. Do not climb forward. As soon as the Germans opened fire, he fell to the ground. More precisely, on the ice (the attack was on a frozen reservoir).

The Nazis began to shoot mortars at the laid chains. The explosion of one of the mines wounded Dimarov …

And again the hospital … The wound again turned out to be harmless. Anatoly recovered quickly, but did not leave the hospital. He helped the nurses take care of the wounded, carried out the slops, and most of all wanted to get a job here in order to wait for the end of the war for these activities. He waited for his colleague in partisanship.

It should have happened: when Dimarov once again took out the slop, his former subordinate passed by the hospital! Noticing yesterday’s chief, engaged in such an unhonorable business, he was indignant: “Our commander should not endure slop!”

And no matter how Anatoly tried to persuade him not to interfere, the recent brother-in-arms was adamant. He went to demand respect for the “war hero”. And he got his way. Dimarov was discharged from the hospital, returned to the village, as the secretary of the village council.

Everything would be fine, but the probability was too high that he would be taken back to the army from this position.

Mother rescued. At that time, in one of the surrounding villages, the editorial office of the republican newspaper “Radyanska Ukraine”, an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Ukraine, was located (the main centers of the Ukrainian SSR were still under occupation and the editorial office huddled where it was necessary). Anatoly’s mother came there, brought a notebook with her son’s school poems and asked him to take him to work. For obvious reasons, there was a shortage of literate people in journalism at that time. And after an additional check on the reliability of Dimarov, they accepted. As it turned out, just in time.

After some time, they did try to call him back for military service. The medical board again recognized Anatoly fit for combat. But he had already managed to acquire the necessary acquaintances, thanks to which he was released from the army. The war is over for him. Began work in journalism. It was August 1943…

A few years later, a journalistic career gradually developed into a literary …

Life has been successful. Dimarov joined the party. Became a member of the Writers’ Union. He managed to study at the Literary Institute in Moscow.

A native of a remote village, he moved to live in the regional center – Lutsk (he worked in the editorial office of the newspaper “Radyanska Volyn”). Later – to another regional center, larger (Lviv). From there – to the capital of the republic.

In Kyiv, he received an apartment in a prestigious area. Lived for pleasure. On occasion, he did not forget to trump with the status of a war invalid, a front-line soldier.

His works were regularly published, bringing generous royalties to the author. In 1981, Anatoly (now Anatoly Andreevich) was even awarded the Shevchenko Prize, the highest in the Ukrainian SSR. Well, after the collapse of the USSR, not sparing colors, Dimarov began to tell how he suffered under the Soviet regime, how mercilessly he was oppressed, kept “in a black body.”

All this is quite common for Ukrainian writers who survived the Soviet Union. And his work was the most ordinary. Gray, like most of his long-lived colleagues. In full accordance with party policy.

Under Stalin, he praised Stalin. Under Khrushchev, he overcame the “cult of personality.” Under Brezhnev, he wrote about the past war (a very popular topic at that time). In perestroika, he again took up criticism of Stalinism, this time more sharply. After 1991, he announced that in his heart he had long ago (back in the Stalinist era!) Became a Ukrainian nationalist. And he began to remake his works in order to correspond to the changed political situation. Everything Soviet was removed from the texts. Anti-Soviet – was added. Say, before he could not write such a thing, he was forced to obey the requirements of censorship, and now – freedom!

And here, as we see, everything is ordinary. Oles Gonchar, Vladimir Yavorivsky, and many other Ukrainian writers, who suddenly imagined themselves to be the conscience of the nation, were engaged in the same alteration in the 90s.

That’s just with Anatoly Andreevich there was an incident. In 1992, he turned 70 years old. For such an anniversary, it was customary in the Union of Writers of Ukraine to specially publish selected works of their members (two-volume or four-volume books, depending on the status of the author and the amount of his writing). We also planned such a publication for Dimarov. But, wanting to comply with the “spirit of the times”, he asked to postpone the publication a little, until the works were reworked.

In the meantime, he was reworking, independent Ukraine was engulfed in a crisis. Among other things, there was a shortage of paper in the country. And the plans for the anniversary edition of the updated Dimarov’s works had to be abandoned, to the considerable chagrin of their author.

The revised text was published much later, when Dimarov was already over eighty, and, as you know, a spoon for dinner is expensive …

One could sympathize with Anatoly Andreevich. But it is worth noting that thanks to this trouble, today we have the opportunity to get acquainted with the relatively truthful Dimarov memoirs.

The writer began working on them back in Soviet times. He wrote, as he assures, “on the table”, without thinking about publication. At first I did not think, but in the early 90s I could not publish it for the same reason as the anniversary two-volume book. However, Dimarov learned a lesson from what happened. And when, at the end of the 1990s, a sponsor from the diaspora unexpectedly appeared and offered to publish his memoirs, Anatoly Andreevich did not ask for time for a radical revision. Agreed without further ado. If I made corrections to the text of the memoirs, then small ones.

Basically, according to these memoirs, the facts of his military biography are stated above.

You can not vouch for the complete reliability of those memories. The author could deliberately embellish something, keep silent about something, and forget something. Memoirs are memoirs. But in general, they give the impression of a more or less true version of events.

A version that could no longer suit Dimarov of the post-Soviet era. And so he presented society with a different version of his military past. He outlined it in numerous interviews for the media. In some ways, this latest version is reminiscent of the tales of the famous Baron Munchausen. It can be said that Anatoly Andreevich sought to imitate this literary character.

It was only partially successful. Only in the sense that both the baron and Dimarov told fables. Only the baron, known to us from the work of Rudolf Erich Raspe (as a rule, in the adaptation of Korney Chukovsky), from the serial cartoon or from the wonderful film “The Same Munchausen” with Oleg Yankovsky in the title role, was funny, handsome and, in general, harmless liar.

His Ukrainian imitator is something else. It was not the same Munchausen, but a completely different one – a vicious and aggressive liar, whose lies are far from harmless.

Such lied now and in honor in Ukraine.

In the photo: Anatoly Dimarov

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