WE AND THE CAR
MEMORIES ABOUT FATHER
In April 1928, the first issue of “Behind the Wheel” was released. For nearly ten years, its chief editor was Nikolai Osinsky.
My father, Valerian Valerianovich Obolensky-Osinsky, joining the Bolshevik party in 1907, as a party nickname took the name of the populist Valerian Osinsky who died on the gallows during the time of Alexander II and was better known as N. Osinsky. It was also his literary pseudonym. He was born in 1887 in the village of Byki, Lgovsky district, Kursk province.
“There is an intellectual clan of Obolensky in Russia, ” his father wrote in 1926, refuting the assurances that appeared in the American press that V. V. Obolensky was a prince, that the Bolsheviks had managed to get themselves “Prince Valerian”. My grandfather, Valerian Egorovich Obolensky, the son of a small landowner in the Oryol province, who was impoverished and left nothing for the children, nevertheless became a man, he graduated from the veterinary institute in Kharkov and became a well-known specialist. He loved his six children very much, was attentive to their education. Thanks to his concerns, my father spoke German and French from childhood (then he knew - to different degrees, of course, six languages).
Father studied in Moscow, at the gymnasium. In the fall of 1905, he entered Moscow University at the Faculty of Law (Department of Economics) and immediately became involved in the activities of the Student Social Democratic Club. During the December uprising of 1905 in Moscow, he was a "flying reporter" of the Izvestia of the Moscow Council of Workers' Deputies, then he emigrated to Germany, where he spent a year studying political economy. Returning to Moscow, he resumed classes at the university. As one of the leaders of the student strike, organized after the death of Leo Tolstoy, was arrested. Only in 1916 he managed to pass the final exam and get a university diploma. By this time, he had already become an active member of the RSDLP - the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.
After the October coup, he was summoned by Lenin to Petrograd, appointed Commissioner of the State Bank, and played a major role in mastering him. Then he became the first chairman of the Supreme Economic Council. In the 20s, he was Deputy Commissar of Agriculture, Plenipotentiary in Sweden. Twice traveled to America, studied agriculture, automotive and road construction there. An educated and already experienced economist, at the end of the 1920s he headed the Central Statistical Bureau and fought “for the right number” there, for which he was removed in 1935. He was the first director of the Institute of National Economy (the current Institute of World Economy and International Relations), he worked very actively in the editorial board of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.
My father was passionate about automobile business and was one of the first organizers of the automotive industry in our country. "An American car or a Russian cart" was the name of one of his books and a number of articles. He took a large part in the construction of the Gorky Automobile Plant, in one of the letters proudly calling him “my factory”. He was the initiator of the creation of the Avtodor society, the first editor of the magazine “Behind the Wheel”, wrote many articles on the construction of roads, on the rules of the road, he drove a car himself and participated in automobile races of the 1920s and 1930s more than once. According to rumors, when he left New York, after a second trip to America (he studied automotive engineering at Ford factories), Henry Ford himself came to visit him, got out of the car and presented it to his father. In the newspapers of the 1930s, I found dozens of articles by N. Osinsky on automobile business, public utilities, and economic problems.
My father was closely associated with the industrial construction of the 30s, especially with the construction of car factories. In 1931, while undergoing treatment in Kislovodsk, he, not knowing how to relax without work, engaged in a serious study of Hegel's philosophy. “I am very sorry, ” he wrote from there in one of the letters, “when I read in the newspapers that“ my “plants are starting up, and I am sitting over Hegel; disgusted that at the same time they write a lot of anniversary lies. For example, that AMO will produce the best truck in the world (this is an ugly, “kvass-patriotic” lie, because Avtokar is a car of very average dignity), that AMO is the best forge in the USSR and almost in the world, again a lie, because in Stalingrad it is better and in Nizhny it will be better that the Amovites completed the task on time … All this lies only spoils the impression of wonderful facts. "
Work, work without end. “Like a mean knight, shaking over time, ” he said. The main thing that we children knew about him: Dad works, he should not be disturbed. But the range of his interests was very wide. He wrote many articles about literature and theater. I would like to recall that Osinsky was the first party publicist who in 1922 supported the published collection of poems by Anna Akhmatova. Akhmatova, even in her old age, remembered his recall, so important to her, probably at that time, difficult for her.
Literature, both domestic and foreign, father loved and knew perfectly. In February 1937, on the days when the centenary of the death of Pushkin was celebrated, he made a report on the great poet at the anniversary session of the Academy of Sciences. I then listened to his public speech for the first and last time.
Of course, he did not belong to Stalin’s “inner circle” and, I believe, despised him, was not friendly with any of this circle. They say that he was not at all afraid of Stalin. Disgustedly told his mother that swearing reigned at the meetings of the Politburo, and this was instituted by Stalin. Together with her mother, at a dacha in Barvikha, they buried a tin box with the text of Lenin's Testament in the forest. In the mid-30s, his father tried his best to move away from party and state work. But nothing could save him from the reprisal, which was already very close.
In June 1937, by order of Stalin, at a meeting of the Central Committee, it was suddenly announced that Osinsky had been removed from the membership of the Central Committee, and he resigned from the meeting. It was, of course, a sign of impending disaster. He was arrested on the night of October 14, 1937, and then his older brother Dima was taken away with him. That night I woke up because my mother sat on my bed and put a hand on my shoulder. There was a light in the room that seemed unusually bright and naked. My brothers stupidly watched strangers rummaging through our children's books. “Quiet, ” my mother told me, “lie still, dad and Dima were arrested.” I froze, suppressed by half-understood words, also sat down and began to monitor the search.
Mom told me many years later: at night she, sleeping in her room, on the opposite end of the corridor from her father’s office, woke up from the bright light that flashed in the hallway. She ran out, half dressed, not understanding what was happening. They led the father to the door. "Goodbye! He shouted. “Sell books, sell everything!” There was no one to sell and nothing. Mom was arrested three days later, her father’s office was sealed at the time of arrest, it was forbidden to take anything out of the apartment. Those who came for their father entered the apartment without a bell, opening the door with their tool. Now they were in a hurry to take him to the elevator. Dima has already been taken away.
Three days later, my mother was arrested. There was no search. She kissed us, I never let her go. “You know that I’m not guilty of anything, ” my mother said loudly, when she barely opened my hands on her neck, “everything will become clear. I'll be back soon!"
No one came back.
After the Bukharin process, the three of us, the three of us, went to the office on the Kuznetsk bridge. On this day, we were informed of a sentence of 10 years without the right to correspondence. We were stunned - he was a witness. Are witnesses sentenced as accused? Then they began to console themselves - ten years - not all life! In 1956, those who returned from the camps explained that this was the formula for execution.
Thinking about what they could have done to him in the basements of the Lubyanka is unbearable, but it’s impossible not to think. One man who was sitting with him in a cell at the end of 1937 told me how his father returned from interrogation, lay down in his place and covered his eyes with a wet handkerchief, lay silent for a while, and then suddenly cried out: “What are they doing with my eyes ! What do they want from my eyes! ”Probably, it was a common and not the worst torture - to direct the light of a strong lamp into the eyes. But this was before the process in which he was destined to fulfill the role of the “witness” provided for by the executioners, giving evidence against a friend of his youth Bukharin. And after the process, according to the surviving and returning cell-mate R. Panyushkin, he was very weak. They were taken to a walking patio on the roof of the Lubyanka. Father was allowed to take a stool with him, because he was so exhausted and weak that he could hardly stand. Once they talked about what they should do now. "What to do? "Said Papa, " worthy of waiting for death. "
In 1993, I got the opportunity to read my father’s investigation file. In addition to the text of the sentence and the certificate of enforcement, there was only one interrogation protocol of November 16, 1937 (a month after the arrest). Of course, this interrogation was not the only one, and the whole dramatic history of the investigation, not to mention its butchery essence, remains hidden. Basically, the protocol contains a long history of the accused’s confessions, the character of which was so clearly expressed by the hero of the film Tengiz Abuladze “Repentance”, informing the investigation that he was digging a tunnel “from Bombay to London”. But there is one piercing place in this protocol that struck me as the breaking truth.
“Question: You are exposed, Osinsky, in that you are an enemy of the people. Do you plead guilty?
Answer: It’s even strange for me to listen to such accusations. Where did such monstrous accusations come against me? This is just a misunderstanding. I am an honest man, I fought for Soviet power for many years.
Question: I advise you, Osinsky, not to juggle the expression “honest man” here - it does not apply to you. Tell me bluntly: do you intend to give sincere testimonies about your crimes today?
Answer: I would like to speak with you. Still, I’m Osinsky, they know me both inside the country and abroad. I think one suspicion would not have arrested me.
Question: It’s good that you begin to understand this.
Answer: I was mistaken many times, but there can be no talk of betraying the party in the literal sense of the word. I am a kind of person, and that means a lot. I am an intellectual of an old sourdough, with individualism peculiar to people of this category. I probably disagree with a lot of what is being done in our country, but I nurtured this disagreement in myself. Can my personal worldviews be considered treason? In the full sense of the word, I have never been a Bolshevik. I always staggered from one opposition camp to another. In recent years, I have had secret thoughts of a non-partisan character, but this is not a struggle. I was engaged in scientific work, I recovered. I wanted to get away from political work.
Question: Listen, Osinsky, stop drawing. We assure you that Soviet intelligence will be able to force you, the enemy of the people, to talk about the crimes that you committed. We invite you to end the denial. "
And in response to the executioners' ominous assurances that they will force him to do everything they need, the transition, murderous in its simplicity: "Well, I will give truthful testimonies." And then - a folding and obviously prepared by someone story about how he, on behalf of a certain “right center” headed by Bukharin, established contacts with abroad to carry out evil plans in favor of Nazi Germany, negotiated in the United States regarding the preparation of the defeat of the USSR in a possible war with Germany, in France - about actions for the collapse of the Popular Front and the struggle against the French Communists. And yet - about his wrecking activity at the time when he was the head of the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB).
The indictment was as follows: Osinsky-Obolensky Valerian Valerianovich … is subject to trial by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR with the application of the law of December 1, 1934. This law provided for the immediate enforcement of the sentence.
The trial, which could not last more than 10 minutes, was chaired by the "armwormist" Ulrich. The investigators who conducted the father’s case, Gerzon and Kogan, were executed in 1938 and 1939; as stated in the materials on the rehabilitation of the father - both "for falsifying investigative cases and the use of unlawful methods during the investigation." He was shot immediately after the verdict - September 1, 1938, the day when we, three of his children, who had no suspicions about it, already in the orphanage in the city of Shuya, Ivanovo Region, went to school on the first day of the new school year.
Father was completely rehabilitated on June 13, 1957. In the remote village of the Kalinin region, where my mother, who returned from the camp after eight years of imprisonment, having no right to settle in Moscow, lived for 14 years, I received a certificate from the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR dated June 26, 1957. She said: “The case of the accusation of Osinsky-Obolensky Valerian Valerianovich, who worked before the arrest on October 13, 1937, as the director of the Institute of the History of Science and Technology of the USSR Academy of Sciences, was reviewed by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR on June 13, 1957. The verdict of the military college of September 1, 1938 in respect of Osinsky-Obolensky V.V. due to newly discovered circumstances, it was canceled and the case for lack of corpus delicti was dismissed. Osinsky-Obolensky V.V. rehabilitated posthumously.
Head of the Secretariat of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR Lieutenant Colonel of Justice I. Polyutsky. "
And today, when I know about the father’s case many times more than what is said in this certificate, I can’t restrain my worries and put up with the fact that with such brutal simplicity it was confirmed by these words: “for the absence of corpus delicti”, “according to to newly discovered circumstances ”… Everything was as if random.