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Mikhail Sholokhov: “Dear Friend! We Have Lived a Great and Rich Life With You"

28.09.2020

90 years ago, in September 1930, there took place the first meeting and acquaintance of Mikhail Sholokhov and Petr Lugovoy, a party and public figure who later became a close friend of the writer.

Petr Lugovoy was born in 1904 at the Volga station of Archeda in the family of a railway worker. He considered his biography ordinary. He did not study for long, at the age of thirteen he began to work on the tracks, during the years of the Civil War he joined the detachments of the Subdivision of special purpose, served on an armored train. In 1923 Pyotr Lugovoy joined the party, he was soon elected secretary of the district committee of the Komsomol, and then secretary of the district committee of the party. In August 1930, on the recommendation of the North Caucasian regional committee of the CPSU (b), Lugovoy was sent to a leading position in the Vyoshensky regional party committee.

A couple of weeks after Lugovoy 's arrival in Vyoshenskaya, Mikhail Sholokhov came to the district committee. Petr Lugovoy describes his first meeting with the writer as follows: “Sholokhov was wearing a kuban made of brown and gray astrakhan fur, a shirt buttoned with large buttons on a standing collar and belted with a narrow Caucasian strap, in dark riding breeches and light chrome boots. Light blond curly hair gave his open face a pleasant expression. A high straight forehead and somewhat prominent cheekbones were striking. In the hands there was a tobacco pipe".

In a short conversation with the writer Lugovoy shared his first impressions, not hiding his difficulties. At the same time, he noted that Sholokhov was interested in everything that was connected with the life of collective farms, with the work and mood of people. “Sholokhov was attracted by everything new, and above all, of course, new people”, Pyotr Lugovoy writes in his memoirs.

Over time, the meetings between Lugovoy and Sholokhov became more frequent, and the conversations began to be more confidential, and the relationship grew into a strong friendship. Mikhail Sholokhov often invited Petr Lugovoy to his home. One of the evenings in the Sholokhovs' house is described as follows: “There were not many people – Maria’s sisters, several guests. After a modest supper, dancing began in the upper room. Mikhail Sholokhov was their "ringleader". - During a break between dances, he used to sign a native Cossack Don song. His hearing was wonderful, and his voice was ringing: "dyshkanil", as they say in the Don".

During the years of collectivization, Lugovoy and Sholokhov repeatedly traveled to the collective farms and Vyoshensky district, met with people, talked with them about the progress of sowing, the implementation of the plan, the number of livestock on the farms.

In 1938 Lugovoy was present in the Kremlin at a meeting of the Central Committee's Politburo on the case of an impending conspiracy against the writer. During the Great Patriotic War, Mikhail Sholokhov kept up a correspondence with Lugovoy, reporting on the measures taken to assist in the restoration of the region, to establish post-war life.

Sholokhov appreciated his friendship with Lugovoy. On the back of one of the family photos given to a friend, the writer left his singature: “... Dear friend! We have lived a great and rich life with. You were, you are and you will remain to be - I am sure of this - my best friend. If this photo ever reminds you of the Quiet Don, Vyoshki, that I was and will always remain your faithful friend, it will be easier for you and me. For friendship that does not burn in fire and does not drown in water. For our meeting and for our victory over accursed fascism! Your Sholokhov. October 11, 1941".

Lugovoy told about this period of his biography and friendship with Sholokhov in his book of memoirs “With blood and sweat. Unknown pages from the life of M. Sholokhov”, which was published by the Rostov Book Publishing House in 1991.

Petr Lugovoy lived a long and difficult life. An old communist, a member of the CPSU since 1923, for three decades he was first in the Komsomol, then in the leading party and Soviet work. For fifteen years - from 1930 to 1945. - was the secretary of the Vyoshensky district party committee. In the last years of his life, he was a personal pensioner of union significance. P. Lugovoy died in May 1965.

 

Elena Ilyicheva