And death is just a break!

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And death is just a break!

The satirist Mikhail Zhvanetsky passed into immortality

He has always been and always will be. So it seemed to us all. Millions of his fans are sure of this even today, on the day of sorrow and sorrow. Outstanding satirist Mikhail Mikhailovich Zhvanetsky dies at the age of 86.

To say that he was a popular favorite is to say nothing. In terms of all-encompassing permanent popularity in the Russian-speaking world, Zhvanetsky can be compared, perhaps, only with Vladimir Vysotsky and Arkady Raikin. Now this heavenly triumvirate is in full force…

During these hours, Facebook and other social networks are overflowing with quotes from the writer’s favorite miniatures, expressions of grief and love, memories of meetings with Michal Mikhalych, as those who are lucky enough to know him personally call him with tenderness..

Biblical depth

Politician and publicist Alik (Alfred) Koch, who lives in Germany, writes: “Zhvanetsky died. I was born with him and have lived all my life. This is more than Brezhnev, Gorbachev, Yeltsin. We speak his language, his metaphors, his images, his heroes … His last aphorism, which I learned, touched me to the depths of my soul: “…. They say that good always triumphs over evil. It means that whoever won is kind … ”. This is the whole Zhvanetsky: with simplicity and even mockery – biblical depth, wisdom and love for people. Rest in peace. You left behind more than many. Few have left more. You gave us the language we speak “.

Mikhail Mikhailovich Zhvanetsky was born in 1934 in Odessa into a family of doctors. He grew up in Tomashpol, where his father worked as a surgeon and his mother as a dentist. In 1956 he graduated from the Odessa Institute of Marine Engineers. Already in his student years, he began to write miniatures and monologues, often performing them himself. In 1963, there was a fateful acquaintance with Arkady Raikin, who performed many of his famous miniatures. He collaborated with Roman Kartsev and Viktor Ilchenko, for whom he wrote more than three hundred miniatures and monologues. Most recently, I decided to leave the stage for health reasons..

“With humor, not to mention satire, in our country in recent decades it was worse than ever,” reflects journalist and film critic Valery Kichin. – Zhvanetsky stood as a lonely cliff, absorbing all our common bitterness into his lines. Now humor has died completely, and no one knows when it will be born again. And without humor, the country has no future. Trouble “.

“Fate has never given us such a popular writer and artist in one person,” writes the singer and poet Veronica Dolina on her Facebook page. – Such a diamond gift did not die in the 30s, was not on a rack in the 50s, only raised his head in the 60s and then remained with us for so many years …, sparkling and encouraging, as a diamond should. Having unheard of his mighty literary gift into artistry, he made his own language the sharpest magic edge, in the shadow of which we all lived, withstood from the 20th to the 21st century. How much did he give. What vitality he radiated … His language could not be translated. It was Gogol’s power. Pushkin’s universal magic “.

The journalist Susanna Alperina, a woman from Odessa herself, who recently made a film about famous people from Odessa, notes: “It was clear that someday this difficult day would come when it would be necessary to write about Mikhail Zhvanetsky’s departure from us. He was sick. Not a coronavirus (no verified data on the cause of death has yet been reported. – OS). Wife – Natasha and director – Oleg Stashkevich, and son – Mitya and other relatives took care of Mikhal Mikhalych like a child. Selflessly and with love. Zhvanetsky was philosophical and wise until the last minute, as always and in everything in his life and in his works. I understood everything. I tried to meet any trouble with irony and joke, satire and sarcasm, impenetrable by the Odessa philosophy of life “.

Heaven and hell according to Zhvanetsky

In 2001, Mikhail Zhvanetsky visited New York, at the editorial office of the Novoye Russkoe Slovo newspaper, where his four-volume edition was presented and where he gave the author of these lines an interview for the newspaper and for the Narodnaya Volna radio station (we conducted interviews for the radio together with Victor Smolny).

Mikhail Zhvanetsky as amended; New Russian Word. 2001 Photo: Oleg Sulkin

“Looking at Russian life, I am more sorry than disgusted,” said the guest. – And under the Soviet regime, I was more disgusted than sorry … If I say: the government is shit, the people are shit, the president is shit, the system is shit, it is impossible to live, and it will be cut out, then I will say that there is no freedom of speech. I’m used to experiencing it myself. I know what it looks like, how concerts are canceled due to the renovation of the premises, how they are removed from the position of the head of the hall where you performed. Now I know that some clouds are gathering “.

“I have now come to America – it’s not paradise either,” Zhvanetsky said..

“Where is paradise?”

“In general, I was terribly surprised,” he replied. – Hell, we can describe everything in detail. Boilers stand with boiling resin. And paradise has no description “.

“I am a fairly well-to-do person,” Mikhail Mikhailovich continued. – If I need, I can earn. I can make money instantly. Leave somewhere with a concert. I feel fine. They say to me: Misha, what would you like? So that you live even better, or that others around you live better? Still, I see, it is more profitable to live better around you. Hanging like a nail in the middle of shit, tears, poverty, digging in a garbage can – it’s getting harder and harder “.

When asked about his popularity, he said: “It is happiness when the whole world is ours. You sit in a cafe, look at the Hebrew menu and hear a voice: “Michal Mikhalych, what are the difficulties?” We never thought we’d live to see a time like this. And here any taxi driver: “Mi-s-s-s-a! Are you still there?”. Straight from the yellow car, in the middle of New York “.

When asked how he reacts to manifestations of anti-Semitism, the writer replied: “I receive notes: is it true that all Jews are so smart? In general, I do not receive annoying, embittered notes. But on the other hand, there are films like Brother 2, which are said to express the true soul of our population. Soak everyone at home, then go, soak everyone here. Quite stupid, incomprehensible, but – to kill everyone. All this is born from the complex of a difficult life, from poverty, from humiliation. Previously, Soviet people reasoned like this: I live badly, well, to hell with him, I have always lived badly, well, at least the country … But now I live badly, and the country. So let’s go and soak “.

Then in 2001, in New York, already leaving the editorial office, Mikhail Mikhailovich issued “on the road”:

– Why do all stories about Russian life begin with the words: “The whole horror is that …”.

Many users on social networks quote their favorite aphorisms and phrases from Zhvanetsky. “Is it okay, Grigory? Excellent, Konstantin! “,” Alcohol in small doses is useful in any quantity “,” It’s okay if they laugh at you. It is much worse when they cry over you “.

And this one, corresponding to the moment:

“You will go through death, and you will understand everything, and you will know everything, and everything is not scary, and you will understand and gasp.

So they all died – and nothing. Live!

And death is just a break! “.

  • Oleg Sulkin

    Journalist, film critic, correspondent for the Russian Voice of America Service in New York.

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