A Civil War in Odessa in Natalya Longunova's Memoirs

Kiyanskaya O.I., Feldman D.M.


The article deals with the memoirs of the Russian writer-emigrant, N.A. Logunova, in which she describes the events of 1918–1920 in Odessa. Logunova's memoirs are kept in the Bakhmetevsky archive of Columbia University (New York, USA); in Russia this work has not been known until now. Analyzing the historical and political context of Logunova’s text, the authors trace the frequent metamorphosis of the power regimes in the city during the Civil War. Initially, the city was ruled by the supporters of the Provisional Government, who were then displaced by representatives of the Ukrainian Central Rada, after which, during the «January fights» in 1918, the Bolsheviks created their Odessa Soviet Republic. In March, that regime fell and was replaced by the military Austro-German authorities acting in support of Hetman Skoropadsky’s «Power». Then arrived Petlyura's troops, those being soon displaced by interventionist. On their departure, the power in the city passed to the Bolsheviks again, then – to the Armed Forces of the South of Russia, then – again to the Bolsheviks. The memoirs extensively describe the reaction of contemporaries to this «merry-go-round» of the city’s administrations. In the words of one of the memoirists, P.S. Stavrov, Odessa's «was constantly crazy» from what was happening. Turning to the biography of Logunova and her works, the paper describes her origin, education, lifestyle and interests. It is mentioned that in her youth she was a member of the circle of the young Odessa writers and was a close acquaintance of V.P. Katayev, E.G. Bagritsky, Y.K. Olesha. Her first story was published in 1920. Having a sharply negative attitude towards the Bolshevik rule, she did not think it possible for herself to pursue a literary career under their regime. During the Romanian occupation of Odessa, Logunova collaborated with the occupation authorities and published her texts in Russian periodicals. Then she emigrated and lived the rest of her life in the USA, where she wrote her memoirs. A small commentary is offered to the published fragment of Logunova’s memoirs. The well-known names and facts, as well as the names and facts that are discussed in the introductory article, are not commented on.


N.A. Logunova; Memoirs; Odessa; Revolution; Civil War in Russia.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2019.04.08

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