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Alexander Solzhenitsyn lived with his wife Natalia Svetlova for 35 years. But there was another Natalia. The one he met in his student years. It was she who accompanied him to the front in October 1941, sent him parcels to the camp. Natalia Reshetovskaya was the writer's wife for 30 years. Unable to know the joy of motherhood through his fault, she continued to love Solzhenitsyn. What could have made her arrange the grave of her first husband during his lifetime?
Two kindred souls
They both studied at the university in Rostov-on-Don. Alexander Solzhenitsyn at Physics and Mathematics, and Natalya Reshetovskaya at the Faculty of Chemistry. In this situation, they could never even meet, if it were not for the love of dancing that united them. They studied together in a dance studio, always stood in pairs and, quite naturally, after rehearsals, they went for a walk along the streets of the city.
And once in the Theater Park, young Solzhenitsyn confessed his love to Natalya. June 2, 1938, she remembered for the rest of her life as one of the happiest days in her life. Then she could not utter a word, but simply burst into tears of happiness.
He signed almost two years later and did not even tell his parents about it, fearing their disapproval. Having become husband and wife, they went to Tarusa and were incredibly happy. Alexander compared Natalia with Natasha Rostova, admired the beauty of his wife and dreamed of a long, long life next to his beloved woman.
Surprisingly, Natalya Reshetovskaya, clever and beautiful, was ready for almost any sacrifice for the sake of her husband. Of course, she was happy with him. When he said that he did not want to have children, she did not immediately understand how serious it was. And then Solzhenitsyn forced her to have an abortion, and Natalia was forever deprived of the opportunity to become a mother. But she never, under any circumstances, blamed her husband for this.
After that there was a war, letters, a trip to her husband at the front in 1944 and the return of one of her letters in 1945 back with a frightening inscription “the addressee left”. Only after a while she learned that her husband had not died, but was arrested on February 3, 1945 for criticizing the Stalinist order.
She again cried with happiness, because her husband was alive. Natalia was ready to wait for him as long as she wanted. I sent him parcels, limiting myself in everything, if only Alexander Solzhenitsyn there, in the camps, did not starve. She wrote letters to him and was angry when he persuaded her not to wait, but to divorce him and arrange her personal life.
But at some point, she still filed for a divorce. And she married her colleague, a teacher at the Rostov Agricultural Institute, Vladimir Somov. It was not even he himself who conquered her, but his two sons, Seryozha and Borya. On them she brought down all the power of her unspent motherly love.
Solzhenitsyn was released after Stalin's death, and once Natalya Reshetovskaya, visiting friends, saw her ex-husband there. Suddenly it seemed that there was no separation. They again looked into each other's eyes and could not stop talking. At parting, Alexander Isaevich handed Natalia a mathematics textbook, saying that she was waiting for a surprise in the cover.
At home, Natalya Alekseevna found thin leaves covered with writing by her ex-husband inside. These were poems that he wrote to her in the camp. She again lost her peace and left the family to Solzhenitsyn.
He loved her and needed her. While in the camp, Solzhenitsyn was diagnosed with an oncological disease, he was operated on. It seemed that everything worked out, but the state of his health still left much to be desired.
Natalya Reshetovskaya came to Solzhenitsyn in Mezinovka, and then they settled in Ryazan. They signed again in 1957. Solzhenitsyn served as a teacher, Natalya Alekseevna taught at the institute, headed the department and contributed 320 rubles to the family budget, while her husband's salary was only 60.
In her free time, Natalya Reshetovskaya reprinted her husband's manuscripts, carried on all his correspondence, took care, looked after, created conditions for creativity. He wrote constantly, day and night, and everything in the family was subordinated to his regime. There were no guests in the house, and they themselves allowed themselves only rare exits to the cinema.
After the complete rehabilitation of the writer in 1957, the magazine "New World" published "One Day of Ivan Denisovich", Alexander Solzhenitsyn immediately became famous. Natalya Alekseevna was happy and proud: her husband was a real genius. She did not expect any gratitude from him; on the contrary, she was ready to serve him until the end of her days.
Everything seems to be working out in their lives. Natalia Reshetovskaya continued, in addition to her main work, to devote herself to her husband. He rarely condescended to giving gifts to his wife. Sometimes he gave a modest bunch of lilies of the valley on the anniversary of their painting, much less often presented books or sheet music.
Burial of love
Natalya Alekseevna felt the appearance of another woman almost immediately, and after that Alexander Isaevich himself admitted that he fell in love with another. Natalya Reshetovskaya did not arrange scenes then. She even offered her husband to rebuild their apartment, making a separate entrance for him. And then Tvardovsky happened to be their guest, who throughout the evening sang praises to the writer's wife.
Stunned by her sacrifice, the writer seemed to wake up from a dream. After the guest left, he told his wife that there were no other women in his life anymore. But the other still appeared.
Just a few months after the couple celebrated the 30th anniversary of their marriage, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn made a toast to love to the grave, Reshetovskaya learned that Natalya Svetlova was expecting a child from him. Beloved husband invited Natalya Alekseevna to file for a divorce. And he invited her to remain his mistress.
Natalya Reshetovskaya tried to commit suicide by taking 36 sleeping pills. Solzhenitsyn noticed that his wife did not rush out of her room at the sound of a book falling to the floor, went into the bedroom and saw his wife unconscious. Then the doctors managed to save the woman.
But no one could save her love. After the divorce, she put her husband's favorite photograph in a plastic bag, put it in a small hole, and laid out the date on a mound of grass and flowers - July 22, 1972. The day she stopped being Solzhenitsyn's wife.
When Alexander Isaevich found this "grave of love" with his photograph inside, he was beside himself with anger, shouted and accused his ex-wife of burying him alive. But she was not burying him, but her own life and her love.
There will still be men in her life, but Natalya Reshetovskaya will never marry again. And she will continue, in a way, serving her ex-husband, become the author of books about him, will be able to calmly communicate with his wife and the mother of three children of the writer Natalia Svetlova, will accept help in the form of payment for the nurse when she herself becomes weak and sick. And he confesses at the end of his life: she never stopped loving him.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn became one of five Russian writers to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. In total, 21 people from Russia and the USSR received the prize, established by the inventor of dynamite Alfred Bernhard Nobel in 1833. True, historically, the Nobel Prize was fraught with great problems for Russian poets and writers.