Posted 19 сентября 2022, 17:47
Published 19 сентября 2022, 17:47
Modified 25 декабря 2022, 20:57
Updated 25 декабря 2022, 20:57
Viktor Yesipov, writer
I am writing as a former confidant of Vasily Aksyonov, and after his death on July 6, 2009, of his wife and heiress Maya Afanasyevna Ovchinnikova.
About a year after the death of the writer, I turned to Irina Barmetova, who was then the editor-in-chief of the now defunct, unfortunately, Oktyabr magazine, which published all of Aksenov’s latest novels, and later my publications based on materials from his American archive, which I had the honor to analyze, - he proposed to start a fuss about installing a memorial plaque in memory of him on Kotelnicheskaya embankment, in a high-rise building where he lived upon his return from emigration and from where he left for emigration on July 22, 1980. Irina Barmetova asked me to prepare the text of the relevant appeal for submission to the Press Agency, which I did. The letter was signed by eminent friends of Vasily Aksyonov. Here is the text, which I have in the form of a photograph with the signatures of the friends named in it:
“To the Head of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications, Mr. Seslavinsky M.V.
Dear Mikhail Vadimovich!
You, no doubt, are well aware of the name of Vasily Pavlovich Aksenov (1932 - 2009), an outstanding Russian writer, one of the leaders of the generation of the sixties of the twentieth century, the author of about three dozen novels and short stories, as well as many stories, plays and scripts, according to which throughout For decades, performances were staged and films were shot, including the famous TV series "Moscow Saga".
His last years from 2005  to 2009, V.P. Aksenov lived in house No. 1/15 on Kotelnicheskaya embankment, building B, in apartment No. 56, owned by his wife Maya Afanasyevna Ovchinnikova. Until his forced emigration in 1980, he also lived in this house.
Taking into account the great contribution of V. P. Aksenov to the literature and culture of Russia, we ask you to assist in the installation of a simple memorial plaque on the mentioned house from the side of the Yauzskaya embankment.
Signatures: A. Kabakov, E. Popov, B. Messerer, O. Tabakov, A. Kozlov, I. Barmetova”.
However, the mentioned request for assistance in installing a memorial plaque was rejected by the Press Agency due to the fact that, according to the law, memorial plaques to famous people are installed only after 10 years from the date of death.
Ten years have passed since the death of the writer in 2019. But the heirs of Vasily Aksyonov, son Alexey Vasilyevich Aksyonov and Irina Afanasyevna Zmeul, who accepted Aksyonov's inheritance through his wife Maya Afanasyevna, who was her blood sister, did not bother with the memorial plaque. This mission was entrusted to the regional writers' organization with the strange name "Russian PEN Center" (which has nothing to do with the International Penov Movement), or rather, its chairman (president), a former younger friend of Vasily Aksyonov from the time of the almanac "Metropol" Yevgeny Popov.
After the death of Maya Afanasyevna on December 24, 2014, no longer having any rights in relation to Aksyonov’s inheritance, I, on my own initiative, contacted the Press Agency, where, as before, the installation of the board was supposed to be in a high-rise building on Kotelnicheskaya embankment: all the last books of Vasily were written here Aksenov, in particular, the novel "Moscow-kva-kva", the action of which takes place in this house and the house itself is the object of the image. Knowing about Yevgeny Popov's initiative, I advised the Agency employee to keep in touch with him.
And on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the birth of Vasily Aksyonov, I find out that a memorial plaque has been erected in his memory, for which friends and admirers of his work, it would seem, cannot but be grateful to Evgeny Popov, and I personally would be grateful to him if not one "but". The board was installed in a completely different place than it was supposed after the death of Vasily Aksyonov, namely, on the writer's house near the Aeroport metro station, where Aksyonov lived in his first marriage. The dates on the board are incorrect.
Here is the text posted on the memorial plaque:
"The outstanding Russian writer Vasily Pavlovich Aksyonov lived in this house from 1967 to 1981."
The fact is that Vasily Pavlovich Aksenov could not live in the mentioned house until 1981, because, as mentioned above, on July 22, 1980, together with his wife Maya Afanasyevna and her family, which by that time had become his family, flew out of Moscow to Paris  . It is impossible to assume that E. Popov, who saw off Vasily Aksenov at Sheremetyevo Airport abroad, does not know this date. What caused such dishonesty in relation to the memory of a deceased friend?
To the bewildered questions of those who knew Vasily Aksyonov closely, E. Popov replies that Aksenov was discharged from this house in 1981, which is why this date appeared on the memorial plaque. Thus, E. Popov admits that the memorial plaque does not indicate the dates of Vasily Aksyonov's residence in this house, but the dates of his registration in it, but in this case the word "lived" should be replaced by some other words.
The indicated balancing act with dates is not only a blatant disrespect for the memory of an outstanding writer, but also a malicious distortion of his biography by a person who is increasingly aware of his fundamental departure from the worldview of his former friend, as well as discrediting his second wife Maya Afanasyevna Ovchinnikova.
Will anything resembling conscience move in the soul of the initiator of the installation of a memorial plaque with a distorted date, if he remembers the expressions on his face from Vasily Aksyonov's photo albums, preserved in his American archive? He will remember the photographs where he appears joyful and happily smiling during his stay in the American house of the Aksyonovs, feeling in everything the boundless hospitality and cordiality of Maya Afanasyevna, this wonderful woman, the chosen one of the replaced writer, whose location he continued to use in the high-rise building No. 1/15 on Kotelnicheskaya embankment after the return of Vasily Aksyonov from exile, until his death.
 2005 - the year of residence of Vasily Aksyonov at the specified address. In fact, he lived here, coming to Moscow, since 1993.