Collection "Marietta" (M.: Umka-Press / Probel-2000. 2022. Compiled by Masha Chudakova and Anna Gerasimova (Umka) came out two months after the death of Marietta Omarovna Chudakova (01/2/1937 - 11/21/2021). In the memoirs, instantly written by many prominent contemporaries, one can see the scale of the personality of this philologist, writer, educator, public figure.
The writer and philologist Oleg Lekmanov noted that Marietta looked like the Russian empress, “sometimes eccentric, even angry, but, like a few, she felt that Russia is her country, which she must take care of, which must be loved and not given to redemption to all bastards and fools. And almost every memoirist notes precisely this trait of hers - she was very noticeable.
“She couldn’t even ride the subway calmly - people approached her all the time and asked: how to live on? Golden mind, bright head. Sometimes it is combined. And how much she has done for the country, and quietly, without sticking out herself. How many people know that she delivered books to village libraries and talked with children there? She admired these guys. She had so much faith in Russia, in her people, so much faith in some of its irresistible morality. Try to object - there was a whole storm: “But you will see!” - writes about her music critic and writer Natalya Zimyanina.
Political scientist Kirill Rogov recalls how, on one of his trips, standing at the dark window of a train, somewhere in the depths of Russia, Marietta Omarovna said: “I’ll get off at any station here and won’t look back, my country.” This feeling was very deep in her, Chudakova spoke about it in an interview that literary critic Elena Kalashnikova took from her: “Although I am a born Muscovite, I always physically felt my reader and listener right up to the Pacific Ocean, although I got to Vladivostok only in 2006- m - and drove by car to Moscow. We have such a large country that even one percent of the population is about one and a half million. And it suits me perfectly if this percentage hears me, reads me and learns something interesting from me”.
This "one percent" was made up of the most unexpected people. Writer and journalist Mikhail Shevelev recalls a characteristic episode: “In the winter of 2015, truckers in Khimki opposed the Platon system. They drove a dozen trucks to the site in front of Auchan and stood up in protest. They needed solar. Poured two canisters, brought. In gratitude, I was offered tea in a makeshift kitchen, which was located in the back of a truck. Only quietly, please, - they asked, - there is now a lecture. In the back, Marietta Omarovna Chudakova was found, who told the carriers about the reforms of Alexander II. Neither before nor after have I seen anyone listened to with such attention.
All this earnest, requiring a huge amount of effort and time, enlightenment in the country, which no longer demonstrated a special craving for enlightenment in the 10s of the 21st century, was carried out by a person of high scientific gift and level. Thanks to such scientists as Marietta Omarovna, philology remained what Mandelstam called it - "all the blood". Chudakova's "pressure, all-conquering vector as the basis of personality" (Anna Gerasimova) was combined with the scrupulousness of the textologist, who reconstructed from fragments - literally! - the first version of Mikhail Bulgakov's novel "The Master and Margarita". A huge part of Chudakova's scientific and creative life is connected with Bulgakov: she is the author of his biography "Biography of Mikhail Bulgakov" and many works and articles about him. And also - about Mikhail Zoshchenko, about Yuri Olesha and about a whole galaxy of Russian writers of the 20-30s. She loved to work with writers' archives and found real gems in them. Sometimes dark...
“Once a young researcher found a bloodthirsty entry in Furmanov’s diaries. The future Soviet writer talked about how "scary and fun" to play with someone else's life; and how they sentenced one soldier to death, and this circumstance somehow in a special way excites Furmanov's blood. “I will die, but I will publish this. Let everyone know,” Marietta Omarovna decided and achieved her goal, ”writes writer and journalist Evgenia Korobkova about one of these finds.
The social, the scientific, the literary were combined in Marietta Chudakova in the most natural way. Chairman of the All-Russian Bulgakov Foundation - and member of the Presidential Council under Boris Yeltsin. Responsible secretary of the Tynyanovsky collections - and a member of the Commission on Pardons under the President of the Russian Federation (also in the Yeltsin era). It is the naturalness of such a combination for her that the literary critic and critic Yevgeny Sidorov notes in his memoirs: “Chudakova, in my opinion, was one of the few heroines of our troubled non-humanitarian time. She had the rare gift of public service. That's for whom history and literature were word and deed.
And when you read one childhood memoir of her daughter, the translator Masha Chudakova, it becomes clear that Marietta Omarovna's attitude to literature, philology, and politics grew out of her attitude to life in general:
“Such a small toy: it seems like a sheep... Maybe I played it in class. And one girl in the class snitched on me as a teacher, and there was some kind of sad story, the teacher almost threw it out the window. And my mother said: “You are no longer friends with this girl, she is a traitor.” “And she said it was for my own good.” "That's even worse, they all say that." (And none of these: “She’s small ...” - nothing small, she has already formed. Then: there is no concept of “small” and “big”, if a scoundrel, then immediately.
The book contains another important memory of her daughter: “Mom said:“ Life is a great gift. And she should be treated that way. You have to love her, whatever she is." And the recollection of the poet and literary critic Anna Gerasimova (aka rock musician Umka), who was a graduate student of Chudakova, connects with him: “Marietta Omarovna really did not want to go to the hospital. They could only take her away because she was already exhausted. And there, in Kommunarka, until all this began - oxygen, an artificial coma - she had a nurse with the unprecedented name of Nebiya. And this almost heavenly sister already told Masha: “We all fell in love with her so much, she tells us so many interesting things, what kind of speech she has!..” Okay, truckers on strike - you try to save face in the death row.
The beautiful, unforgettable face of Marietta Chudakova is preserved in this collection of memories.