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A.I.Sergin, a Cousin of M.A.Sholokhov

28.07.2016

In July of 2016, it is the 120th anniversary of Alexander Ivanovich Sergin, a cousin of M.A.Sholokhov. He was born in 1896, in Stanitsa Ust-Medveditskaya, the Voisko Donskoye Region. (the town of Serafimovich since 1933) to the family of Ivan Leontyevich Sergin and Olga Mikhailovna Sergina. They had five children: Alexander, Valentin, Vladimir, Mariya and Ivan. Sasha Sergin went to parochial school.

In 1904, after her husband died, Olga Mikhailovna and her children moved to her brother’s, Alexander Mikhailovich, to Kruzhilin Village. When Misha Sholokhov was born, Sasha Sergin was 9. He was the first “nurse” for little Misha, looked after his cousin. Olga Mikhailovna also helped Anastasiya Danilovna in bringing up her little nephew. She was said to be a wonderful story-teller, she knew lots of fairy tales and told them to the children in the evening.

In their childhood the cousins were inseparable friends. When the First World War broke out and Sasha joined the army, they had partied for 9 years.

During the First World War A.I.Sergin was a secret service agent, he was awarded St. George Full Bow for his courage and bravery. In the years of the Civil War he served in the Volunteer Army, what Mikhail Sholokhov wrote about in his letter to Mariya Petrovna in 1926, just at the time, when the creative idea of the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” had been finally formed: “To my happiness, my cousin (the brother of Vanya Sergin) has come to Mikhailovka from Feodosiya (the Crimea). I am connected with him by lots of reminiscences from my early childhood. After all he was my “uncle nurse”, not in the sense of my relation, but in upbringing. So we had a good time on those days. I have not seen him for 9 years, he served in the Volunteer Army, some time we thought he was missing, and suddenly, imagine my surprise, I saw him with his Greek wife and a girl aged 2.” (G.Y.Sivovolov. Mikhail Sholokhov. Pages of the Biography. Rostov-on-Don, 1995, p.67).

In 1935, the life of A.I.Sergin changed abruptly. His “fault” was his past – his service in the imperial army. He was arrested, convicted and on imprisoning was exiled to Siberia. His first wife, Zinaida, was discharged from her job and was made publicly renounce her husband. And fearing for the lives of her children (the Sergins had two children) she submitted and renounced Alexander.

Soon, A.I.Sergin was allowed to settle freely in Siberia, where he met his second wife, Alexandra Petrovna Shcherbakova. In his second marriage he had two children too.

After the war, the Sergins moved to Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya, where at first their family lived with the Sholokhovs. Mikhail Alexandrovich helped them a lot. He gave money to his cousin to buy a house and found him a job. Alexander Ivanovich worked in the district department of education, director of the House of Culture and in the forestry enterprise.

The fates of the cousins were closely interwined. They were friends for life, corresponded and maintained their family relationship.

 

Natalya Kirsanova