Table of contents:
- Dezhka's childhood
- Choir member
- Kursk nightingale
- War and revolution
- The idol of emigration
- GPU agent
A peasant woman from Kursk province, the twelfth child in the family - and a favorite of the highest nobility of the Russian Empire. The wife of the renowned White Guard general - and a valuable agent of the GPU "Farmer". The life story of Nadezhda Plevitskaya could form the basis of more than one Hollywood blockbuster.
Little Nadya was called "Dezhka" in her native village of Vinnikovo. Her father was a peasant, a "Nikolaev soldier" - after serving 18 years in the army, he returned half-blind, but together with his wife he was able to create a strong farm. There was no shortage of food or clothing in the house for the many children. The mother was illiterate, but she knew the church service very well. All other family members could both read and write.
At the age of fifteen, the future famous singer becomes a novice in a monastery. There she sang in the choir, worked on an equal basis with everyone else, and on holidays she visited her relatives and went to the fair. Once there Nadezhda and her sister Dunyasha saw a circus. She liked it so much that she decided to leave the monastery and become a member of the troupe. The loud-voiced girl was readily accepted, but the news reached her mother, who took her daughter with a scandal.
Soon, Nadya and her aunt Aksinya went to Kiev on a pilgrimage. There she heard the performance of the female choir Lipkina - and asked to join them. The girl was taken, despite the fact that she did not know the notes. This is how Plevitskaya's vocal career began.
Nadezhda was lucky - Lipkina's choir sang many folk songs. They will become Plevitskaya's "calling card" in the future. But Lipkina soon died, and Nadezhda had to look for a new place for herself. For a short time, she joined the Stein ballet troupe, where she met the dancer Plevitsky. She married him - the marriage did not last very long, but Nadezhda then supported her ex-husband both morally and financially. During the marriage, Plevitsky taught his wife the basics of choreography, showed how to stay on stage.
The next stage in Plevitskaya's career was participation in Minkevich's choir, where she again shone with folk songs. Then the singer signed an engagement and began performing at the famous Yar restaurant, which attracted prominent Moscow merchants and bohemians. Soon she was invited to speak at the Nizhny Novgorod fair, in the Naumov restaurant. There, the famous Leonid Sobinov appreciated her talent and invited her to sing at a charity concert.
It turned out that Plevitskaya's talent is best revealed in her solo performances. She stopped performing in the choir and began to sing alone.
In the fall of 1909, Plevitskaya sang Russian songs in Yalta in front of the Minister of the Imperial Court, Vladimir Fredericks. Upon her return to Moscow, her first big solo concert was successfully held at the Moscow Conservatory. "Restaurant Singer" has become a folk song star, an expression of the Russian soul.
Plevitskaya's talent coincided with the fashion of that time for everything Russian. Soon the "peasant poets" Klyuev and Yesenin would become known, the glory of the artists Vasnetsov and Bilibin was already thundering, the intelligentsia drew inspiration from folk culture.
Soon Plevitskaya was asked to speak to the imperial family. The singer wrote in her memoirs that the sovereign said that she sings "for the heart" and should "remain as she is." For her performances, the empress presented her with a diamond beetle brooch.
The famous writer Alexander Kuprin in 1925 will write almost the same thing about Nadezhda's speech:
Tours began to bring money - and in 1911 Plevitskaya bought a large plot of land in her native village Vinnikovo, built a mansion for summer holidays, ordered a bell for the church, and when in 1914 the village was badly damaged by fire, the singer helped to rebuild the houses of the victims of the fire.
War and revolution
By the beginning of the war, Plevitskaya had everything - outfits, a luxurious apartment in St. Petersburg, fame. She was married for the second time - to Lieutenant Shangin. With him, she went to the front, to work as a nurse. The idol of the capital's nobility bandaged the wounded, sang songs to them. The number of her wards was in the hundreds - the divisional headquarters was at the epicenter of hostilities, in Verzhbolovo. For her selfless work, Plevitskaya was awarded the Order of St. Anna.
Shangin was killed in action in 1915. Later, Plevitskaya tied fate with Yuri Levitsky, also a serviceman.
The revolution soon began, and then the Civil. Levitsky went over to the side of the Reds, followed by Plevitskaya. She performed with concerts in front of the Red Army.
In the fall of 1919, Plevitskaya and her husband were captured by the Whites. Most likely, an unenviable fate would have awaited her, but the young General Skoblin, the division commander, recognized the "lark" (as Plevitskaya called Chaliapin). Skoblin was 27 years old, the youngest general in the Volunteer Army. Plevitskaya secretly married him in Turkey, where the remnants of the White Army were waiting for their fate, and did not part for the rest of her life.
The idol of emigration
In 1921, Plevitskaya and her husband were able to move to Europe. A few years later, Skoblin became a member of the Russian All-Military Union (ROVS). Plevitskaya made her living singing - she gave concerts in different countries. She was favorably received by nostalgic emigrants. In 1924 the artist Philip Malyavin painted the portrait of the singer, and a year later the famous sculptor Sergei Konenkov sculpted her bust.
Unfortunately, insufficient education made itself felt - Plevitskaya did not know foreign languages, her husband accompanied her on trips. Expanding the repertoire also failed - and the Europeans were of little interest to Russian songs. Chaliapin's fame was not achieved. The concerts did not bring sufficient funds, and both costumes and jewelry were required. The house bought in installments had to be sold.
The difficult financial situation, dissatisfaction with life, feeling “out of place” - all this only strengthened Plevitskaya's desire to return to her homeland.
GPU agentThe Soviet special services did not fail to take advantage of this. The Russian general military union was included in the sphere of priority interests of the OGPU, and General Skoblin was among the first persons of this organization - in 1930, after General Kutepov, Yevgeny Miller became the head of the ROVS, and Skoblin was appointed his "right hand".
In 1930, fellow soldier Kovalsky, who worked for the Soviet Union, arrived in Paris to meet with an old friend. He said that in his homeland they were expecting that Skoblin's elder brother had been living there for a long time. Noticing that the general was under the influence of his wife, Kowalski promised good prospects for her too.
In September 1930, the couple pledged to serve in Soviet intelligence in writing. For several years, they regularly supplied information to their bosses, reporting on the plans of the leadership of the ROVS and the moods of the emigrants. With their help, many agents were exposed and many plans of the ROVS, for example, about organizing a terrorist group, were not implemented.
In 1937, a decision was made in Moscow to kidnap General Miller, the head of the ROVS, and arrange a trial over him. Skoblin was involved in the operation. By this time, a new man was at the head of intelligence, who did not calculate the consequences of his decision. If Skoblin had not been involved, he could have become the head of the ROVS and then the organization would have passed under the full control of the Soviet side. Skoblin's participation in the kidnapping killed both the general himself and the intelligence plans.
Miller was kidnapped, but left a note where he directly indicated that he suspected a provocation by Skoblin.Tom eventually managed to escape, but Plevitskaya remained in France. She was arrested on September 27, 1937, and a trial was held in 1938, where she was found guilty and sentenced to twenty years in hard labor.
Plevitskaya died in 1940, when France was occupied by Nazi Germany. Soon, the German command ordered the exhumation and examination of the corpse. Then the body was again buried, but in a common grave. Why this was done is unknown. There is a legend that the famous singer was poisoned in prison.
The incredible fate of another Russian emigrant - Lady Abdi, who was the style icon of Parisian fashion of the first third of the twentieth century.
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