How an entire Siberian city died out because of one fur coat, and what has the shaman's curse to do with it?

About moving to aggressive Moscow in the 1990s, about stupid conversations at Patriarch's Ponds and about working with the new director of the Sovremennik Theater.

I was born and raised ...

In Kemerovo. Childhood was absolutely courtyard. I didn't know what it was like to stay at home. As soon as my studies were over, I quickly did my homework and immediately into the yard - there began a life that consisted of garbage dumps, garages and fences. And I don't remember studying as such - it was more of a game, I generally taught my homework during recess. I was constantly hanging around everywhere, it was impossible to drive me home. All kinds of dolls were point and rare games. It was more interesting to steal potatoes from the house, put them in a wicker basket, cover them with dolls so that mom would not notice that you were stealing something, and go to the trash hemp near the garages where hemp grew. Newspapers were not taken from home - there was enough garbage on the street to set it on fire and make a fire. And we, hiding in this hemp, baked potatoes. I still remember the smells: grass, fire, and some kind of childhood happiness. Someone told us that it is healthier with the peel, so they ate the tubers just like that, unpeeled. Often the potatoes came out completely burnt, but we ate them anyway. Such a thrill that it's all secret! Salt was brought from the house in small bags. By the way, now I realized that not only there, in the trash heap, we ate without vegetables, but in principle there weren't too many vegetables - it was impossible to imagine that the refrigerator was filled with cucumbers, as is traditionally happening now. Tomatoes, cucumbers, greens - then completely unpopular food. Although I had one favorite salad - "Spring": cucumbers, mayonnaise and a boiled egg. I remember how we gnawed the sorrel prepared for the soup. In general, I was not particularly interested in food as a child. I burned soups all the time, when I warmed them up, forgot to eat - all this was uninteresting and boring to me. There was enough energy without it.

We liked climbing on roofs - the attics were open then. We sat there, singing songs. The roofs were sloping with a small, small partition just above the knee, and we just took it and rolled over it. I remember one day, when my parents had guests, we were sitting on the roof, and suddenly I heard a shout: "Lena!" And I, having lost my attention, ran to this side, rolled over it and shouted cheerfully: "Dad, everything is fine!" And he, apparently, afraid to scare me, quietly, but in an extremely targeted way, said to me: "Go home!" But I was lucky: there were guests, dad was tipsy, and, of course, I promised that I would not go there anymore, but, naturally, I continued to climb the rooftops. In general, all childhood is associated with violations of parental prohibitions.

And for me childhood is also winter entertainment: skiing, skating. Dad at the age of three put me on both. Therefore, in the evenings I disappeared at the yard skating rink - I put on dances to imaginary music, and then to the real one, sounding from the horns, when we moved to live near the stadium. Recently, having forgotten my skates in the locker room at the Ice Age, I took those children’s ones, I kept them, and, let alone ride, I couldn’t really stand on them. But once upon a time, our athletes won competitions on such skates, which did not hold the ankles at all!

Every weekend my dad and I took skis, a special ointment for different weather and surfaces, and right in our ski boots we went to the bus, which drove for an hour to the pine forest, where we rode on squeaky snow. Half a day in the mountains - without any lifts, climbed to the peaks "herringbone". By the way, I don't remember at all that we were freezing.

Speaking about the older age, we had a very interesting relationship with the boys. In the lower grades it was like this: you sit at a desk, a note arrives, and a cockroach crawls out of it. Once, for such a trick, we grabbed a boy, rolled him over a split tree in the schoolyard and kicked him. By the way, then, if we wanted to take revenge on someone, we used just such a stable expression: "Let's get it drunk." And in high school, my girlfriend and I had two boyfriends. They knew when we were going for a walk, and they tied behind us. But since we did not allow them close to us, they walked from us at a distance of 10 meters. So we walked along Spring Street along the embankment. And, of course, we wanted to please these boys, but there were no beautiful clothes. But by that time, my parents had already traveled to the GDR, and my mother brought sandals on the platform from there (and the difference between us and her is two sizes), and I put on several socks, rubbed the sandals into a bag, resorted to a friend, we changed at the entrance and went for a walk - in my opinion, she also put on her older sister's shoes.

In general, the topic of clothing was relevant for me. I remember looking at girls who had beautiful dresses, smart collars or aprons with flounces for school uniforms: a brown woolen dress and a black apron on weekdays and a white one on Saturdays. I hate brown ever since! "Take this away from me!" By the way, it was at school on housekeeping that I got carried away with sewing: I cut myself dresses, blouses. And later, the German magazine Burda appeared with amazing sewing patterns that fit perfectly on everyone, and I began to cut according to it. What a pleasure it was to walk around choosing materials from which you will later sew! Although “choosing” is ridiculous, it wasn’t too much to choose back then. Once I found myself a hebash thin fabric of complex blue with an admixture of gray (but there was no concept of “complex” color then), and she shocked me so much that I bought this cut and sewed a jacket for myself from it: I wore it for a long time, sewed up. In general, at that time it was considered normal to sew up and darn: socks, tights, panties - all ten times. And if it was torn so that it was impossible to sew, then they gave it to some aunt-needlewoman, who lifted the hinges.

And once in winter I really wanted a fur coat, although then it was customary to wear a coat with collars. And my mother and I went to the store, where I saw a white one with terracotta spots made of faux fur. And my size, as luck would have it, was not. But I stood my ground and persuaded my mother to buy me a fur coat several sizes larger - now it would be chic! But then it was considered a nightmare: the shoulders are wide, she is all big. We have changed the buttons - the darts have shifted. It was also long, which was also not accepted by young girls at that time. But I was irreversibly convinced that I looked awesome, even though pieces and shreds were constantly coming out of this fur coat. At some point, my grandmother decided to alter her old bald fur coat for me: she cut it into pieces and assembled for me a short girl's coat made of shreds. I was already an adult then, I went to college, and this new thing was my pride. There is still a photo where I stand in this black zipun coat, white fox hat that makes my head huge, jeans tucked into winter boots - like a clown, but I'm happy, with the smile of the Cheshire Cat, because it seems to me that I'm so fashionable!

In general, it was a normal, classic Soviet-Siberian childhood with eternal taking off his leggings in the frost on the sly from mom, with enthusiastic trips to Philatelia, collecting stamps. Everything, like everyone else: not in size, in short supply and with Lenin on his chest.

First time in Moscow ...

Sew a fur coat with your own hands

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The city swallowed by the tundra

In the middle of the last century, pilots flying over Yakutia could see the old city lost in the middle of the taiga. In its center stood a wooden church, blackened from time to time, and most of the buildings were destroyed to the ground. The old streets were overgrown with tall weeds and willow trees, and the numerous cemetery crosses seemed to testify to something mysterious that happened here almost two centuries ago.

The history of a forgotten city called Zashiversk began in 1639, when nomadic Russian Cossacks settled on the Arctic shores of the Indigirka. Zashiversk stood in a geographically advantageous place - at the intersection of water and land transport routes of the Yakutsk-Kolymsky tract. In 1783, the settlement, in which a fortress and a church grew up, received the status of a city and an administrative center of the Zashiversky district of the Yakutsk region. By the standards of that time, the city was considered large: the mayor was located in the city hall, there was a county treasury and a criminal court, a large church library, a drinking house, and shops.

The townspeople were fond of fishing, hunting and a little farming. Evens, Kagirs and Yakuts supplied dairy products, bear meat, game, and venison to the city. Periodically, the Tungus aggressors attacked the city of Zashiversk, which is why the territory was surrounded by high fortress walls. Every year, towards the end of autumn, crowded fairs were held near the city walls. Merchants arriving from Yakutsk sold dishes, linens, sugar, beads and tobacco here. The local population exchanged goods for furs, mammoth and walrus tusks.

Zashiverskaya cursed tragedy

Desolation was recorded in 1820, when Peter Wrangel, who was making a long polar expedition, discovered about a dozen residential shacks throughout the town. Two decades later, four people lived in Zashiversk, who soon moved to Verkhoyansk.

There is a legend about the desolation of the city in the Yakut lands, according to which Zashiversk died out due to the curse of a local shaman who competed with a local Christian priest. The latter had a son, and the shaman was raising a beautiful daughter. Once, having discovered at the fair whose chest was unknown, the pagan sage demanded that the suspicious thing be drowned. But his eternal opponent, the priest, opened the find and distributed things to the townspeople. The sable coat, inherited by his son, was presented by the latter to the shaman's daughter. Soon the girl fell ill and died. The inconsolable shaman cursed Zashiversk along with all the inhabitants. The punishment also overtook the priest: the son, tormented by a sense of guilt, committed suicide.

An epidemic began in the city, the population was dying out in great agony. Soon most of the inhabitants were at the cemetery. A certain traveler, identified in the archival papers by Vinogradov, visited Zashiversk a couple of years after the events described. He found there only "a temple and three yurts, a priest with a clerk, a clerk with a pen, and a stationmaster without horses."

Versions of the reasons for the decline

According to the information available in the "Chronology of Natural Phenomena of Siberia and Mongolia" by geologist Zadonina, the cause of the extinction of Zashiversk was banal blackpox. The epidemic at that time for several centuries, with short interruptions, mowed the Siberian expanses and the Far East. In the 18th century, every 2nd Yakut and Evenk in that area died of smallpox. The disease was brought to the coast of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, the Kamchatka southeast was empty before our eyes. Smallpox came to Verkhoyansk in 1773, and for several years it wandered between camps and villages. Since the incubation period lasted up to 14 days, the locals managed to spread smallpox across the tundra and taiga. The trouble did not go around Zashiversk, where smallpox mowed down all, without exception, Russians and Yukagirs. In the next wave of 1833, the disease finished off those who survived the first epidemic.

Mysterious deaths of members of the Soviet expedition

In the 1960s, Soviet scientists recalled the mystery of Zashiversk when they came across materials about a lonely historical monument of an extinct city - a unique hipped roof church. In 1969, an experienced historian and founder of the Institute of History, Philosophy and Philology Okladnikov initiated and led an expedition to Yakutia. In addition to the architects who studied the Zashiversky temple, archaeologists worked in those parts. They studied the graves of the townspeople. The grave of the mysteriously deceased shaman's daughter was also opened. After some time, rumors spread throughout Yakutia that the Moscow professor Makovetsky and the cameraman Maksimov, who were in contact with the burial of the girl, became very ill and died suddenly.