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Vorontsova G.N. The Image of Nestor Makhno in the Pages of Alexey N. Tostoy’s Trilogy The Road to Calvary: Documents and Materials. Studia Litterarum, 2017, vol. 2, no 4, pp. 250–269. (In Russ.) DOI:10.22455/2500-4247-2017-2-4-250-269

Author: Galina N. Vorontsova
Information about the author:

Galina N. Vorontsova, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

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Received: September 05, 2017
Published: December 25, 2017
Issue: 2017 Vol. 2, №4
Department: Russian Literature
Pages: 250-269

UDK: 821.161.1
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)6
Keywords: A.N. Tolstoy, trilogy The road to Calvary, Nestor Makhno, archive, documents and materials, the history of the trilogy.


This article examines documentary sources of the image of Nestor Ivanovich Makhno in Alexey N. Tolstoy’s trilogy The Road to Calvary; it bears on the materials that are both published (Tolstoy’s notebooks) and hitherto unpublished. Among the latter, there are Tolstoy’s notes from The Diary of Makhno’s Wife and the execution record of ataman N.A. Grigoriev shot by the Makhnovists on July 28, 1919. The document entitled The Dia ry of Makhno’s Wife was repeatedly quoted in Soviet publications of the 1920s which caused a negative reaction on behalf of both Makhno and P.A. Arshinov, the ideologist of the Makhnovist movement who claimed the diary to be fake. However, G.A. Kuzmenko, Makhno’s civil wife, recognized the authenticity of the document in a conversation with a historian S.N. Semanov in the late 1960s. The traces of Tolstoy’s acquaintance with the diary may be found in the final book of the trilogy The Road to Calva- ry, a novel Gloomy Morning where he describes Makhno’s behavior before the march on Yekaterinoslavin. Drawing details from the document, reconstructing a general picture on its basis and adding imaginary details, the author thus gave his own assessment of the diary. Equally interesting is Grigoriev’s execution record that is preserved in Tolstoy’s archive. It is the evidence of the author’s open refusal to follow reliable, documented information. Despite the fact that Grigoriev was shot by Makhno’s allies, the author makes Makhno himself commit the crime. The leader of the Ukrainian rebel movement leaves the pages of the trilogy as the immediate assassin of the insurgent ataman, and the novel’s climax thus reflects Tolstoy’s attitude to his literary character.


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