Libmonster ID: IN-1242
Author(s) of the publication: L. I. MEDVEDKO


Doctor of Historical Sciences

Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

I met Lena Kalinnikova when I entered the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies (MIV), studied together for 5 years, and lived together for 62 years. She was an indologist-literary critic, and I was a Turkologist, an Arabist, and then a military intelligence officer-Orientalist. I have always tried to remain faithful to both Oriental studies and my recently deceased wife Elena Kalinnikova. She has been my wife, companion, and mother to our children for three generations. We celebrated together not only a gold but also a diamond wedding, and lived to see the birth of our third great-grandson. After the departure of the man with whom we have lived so much, the future seems as mysteriously uncertain as the self-destruction of the Soviet Union that we experienced.

Lena died on November 16, 2014. All the popular memorial days have already passed. It's too late to write obituaries. You have to store your memory differently now. I would therefore like to express my gratitude to Alexey Mikhailovich Vasiliev, Editor-in-Chief of Asia and Africa Today and a long-time friend of our family, for the opportunity to share his memories on the pages of the magazine. Moreover, for half a century E. Y. Kalinnikova was a regular contributor to the journal, which published not only her scientific articles, but also translations of works by English-speaking writers of India and Pakistan.

Lena left quietly. Probably, Lelya, or Lyolechka (as her children and family called her), did not even guess or did not want to know about the insidious cancer that caused her death...

As a student of Indian history, literature, and culture, she was always an Orthodox believer at heart. One of the leading oncologists in Moscow who visited our home warned us that only in rare cases, one in a hundred, patients with such diseases go away without pain. As the doctor put it, such care must be earned. And only very kind people who lived not for themselves, but for others deserve it. Such was in our view Lenochka, the family goddess in three guises-wife, mother and grandmother.

My son Sergey, the organizer of the wake, asked his sister Olga to follow me, saying out of habit:"Bring your father and mother." When I heard about this, it suddenly dawned on me that this is exactly the double role that I will now have to perform in front of my children and grown - up grandchildren, as well as my three great-grandchildren who are already growing up.

At the wake, a lot of warm words were said about Lena. My friend Volodya Onishchenko, who had known her for more than forty years, read the poems he had written on the same day. They ended with these lines::

 Elena, Lelya, my dear, you've orphaned everyone...  
 Your breath is now left in your children, grandchildren...  
 A smile, an incomparable laugh remained to us forever... 
 Yes, you left us, forgetting about the pains, torments,  
 Forcing everyone not to forget about the  

In her life, Lena only changed her maiden name to mine twice during our joint business trips abroad. She always treated her surname Kalinnikova very carefully, because on her father's side, an honored surgeon who saved thousands of lives in the First World War and tens of thousands in peacetime, she was a relative of the famous composer Vasily Kalinnikov. On her mother's side, she was the niece of the talented Russian-German artist Nikolai Zagrekov, a graduate of Vkhutemas, a student of P. Konchalovsky and I. Mashkov. It just so happens that Zagrekov lived in exile in Germany for more than 70 years and is buried in Berlin. Nikolai Zagrekov returned to Russia after his death with exhibitions of his paintings in the best museums of the country: the Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. Lena and I opened these exhibitions both in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Thus, the family, separated by the hurricane of events of the XX century, was reunited only 70 years later.

Lena served Oriental studies as faithfully as she did her family. After graduating from the Institute, as an indologist, it was, of course, insulting to be found

* Excerpt from the forthcoming book by L. I. Medvedko "The Test of catastrophes".

page 73

with me on a business trip in Turkey on the banks of the Bosphorus, and not in India on the banks of the Ganges. But even in Turkey, in her new role as the wife of a scout and the mother of two children, she also managed to become a cultural critic and translator. Later, several of her articles about life and everyday life in Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon were published in various magazines and newspapers.

Having returned to her native Institute of Oriental Studies in the early 60s and defended her PhD thesis, she initiated the study of modern English-language literature in India in Russia. Her book "English-Language Literature of India" has been translated into English and published in India. Her books "Razipuram Krishnaswami Narayan", "Mulk Raj Anand" and others became widely known among orientalists in Russia and abroad.

Her latest work, The Phenomenon of Salman Rushdie, was the first book in Russia1 to tell readers about the world-famous English-speaking Indian writer, who gained infamous fame after the publication of his novel Satanic Verses. Later, Salman Rushdie, the author of more than 20 books, won many literary awards and even received the title of Knight "for achievements in literature"from the Queen of England.

When saying goodbye to Elena Kalinnikova, everyone talked about her as a phenomenon of faithful service to the cause of her whole life, because she worked at the Institute of Oriental Studies for more than 50 years. It was published several times in the magazine "Asia and Africa Today". Here her essay "Knowledge of India"was published in 4 issues2She put Kipling's epigraph at the beginning of the article:

 Those who have heard the call of the East 
  will always remember that call. 

The essay described how a Russian girl from an intelligent family with noble roots from Saratov became interested in the East, India, how she came to enroll in Moscow at the Moscow Institute of International Education, how she was not accepted (because then girls were not accepted there), how she went to an appointment with the deputy of the Supreme Soviet from Saratov, Academician B. D. Grekov, and-so that she, a medalist, could be accepted to the Institute of Oriental Studies for the indology department. And then followed an interesting story about the legendary teachers, such as G. A. Schmidt, E. A. Belyaev, E. Ya. Bregel and others. They gave inspirational lectures in front of packed classrooms, and often ended with applause. Lena also remembered her fun student life, her passion for sports, how she entered the parachute section, and to prove to herself and others that she was strong in spirit, she skydived three times from the wing of an airplane. And then in our institute wall newspaper there was an article about her, called " Descended from heaven."

At that time, our fellow students were Alexander Pyatigorsky, Anatoly Aleksin, Alexander Medovoy, Georgy Mirsky, Evgeny Primakov and Julian Semyonov, who entered a year later, and other Orientalists who later became famous journalists, writers, scientists, and major statesmen. Lena told in the essay about her discovery and knowledge of India - about trips to India, participation in international conferences, work in the Society of Soviet-Indian Friendship.

Everyone loved Lenochka because she was extremely sympathetic and sincere. She may have been surprisingly naive at times, but she was always honest, even to her own detriment. When Soviet tanks entered Prague in 1968, she was one of a handful of honest Orientalists who signed a letter of protest. At that time, it was an act of unprecedented civic courage, which she decided to do together with her faithful friend, the Japanese philosopher Tatyana Grigorieva. This is about the question of truth, rightness and strength of mind. By a fateful coincidence, Tatyana Petrovna passed away on the fortieth day after Lena, as if her friends did not want to be separated in another life.

When friends remembered Lena, many talked about her extraordinary qualities-kindness, light and some kind of universal forgiveness. Svetlana Prozhogina noted that "it is a blessing that our earth is sometimes visited by angels." And their colleague Lola Salomatshayeva, a Muslim, said that when she went "on the carpet to the authorities," Lena baptized her and encouraged her: "Go and do not be afraid of anything, everything will be fine." And immediately her heart felt light and free.

Lena was extremely beautiful in her youth, but even in her old age, she was still pretty. It is easy to be beautiful in youth, but beauty in old age must be earned. It glowed with beauty from within, its spiritual beauty transformed into external beauty. And that's probably the point.

page 74

On one of the anniversaries, daughter Olga dedicated poems to her mother:

 Let her be in her fifties, 
 maybe in her sixties, 
 Before she dies-there is no oblivion! 
 Everything is said by her radiant kind look 
 And brings the past excitement to life. 
 Past? The past is simply not there! 
 There is life now, and it is always there. 
 After all, Beauty does not come in vain - 
 universal light burns in it with thousands of stars. 

My son Sergey said at the wake: "People like my mother come to this world so that we don't completely despair and believe that Beauty and Kindness will save the world. She was the tuning fork of morality, honesty and decency, and with her gentle smile defeated evil in many of its manifestations." And our granddaughter Natasha added: "To be SO kind in our time, you have to be very strong."

What remains after a person's life, what does he continue to live in? First of all, in his children and grandchildren, in his business, work and books, and in the bright memory that he left about himself.

They say that a person dies three times-the first time physically, the second - when his relatives and friends forget about him, and the third - when his life's work dies. Thank God, our Lyolechka will continue to live in all these three guises in her life after death.

Kalinnikova E. Ya 1 The phenomenon of Salman Rushdie. Moscow, Russian Yard. 2009. 256 p. (Kalinnikova E. Ya. 2009. Phenomen Salman Rushdi. M.) (in Russian)

Kalinnikova E. Ya 2 Posnanie Indii [Knowledge of India]. 2000, N 6, 9, 11, 12. (Kalinnikova E.Ya. 2000. Poznanie Indii // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 6, 9, 11, 12) (in Russian)


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