May ends, many people spend more and more time in the country, planting tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes. I plant her in my dacha and I, however, a little. And every time I remember at the same time a funny and instructive episode from my life, how I had to prepare potato planting material in one of the farms of the Samara, or rather the Kuibyshev region (as it was then called) in 1986. This story is interesting and instructive, since it is directly related to the topic of the development of science in the USSR, which is quite often considered by VO. It is interesting that most often people write about this who did not have and have nothing to do with her, but, judging by their comments, “who know everything and everyone”. Well, as it happened at that time, this is actually our story.
This is how Kuibyshev University was in those years …
I entered the postgraduate study at Kuibyshev State University on November 1, 1985 and had to finish it on November 1, 1988, respectively. My scientific advisor, the former first rector of this university, Alexei Ivanovich Medvedev, summoned me to meet him, asked that my wife and daughter remained in Penza, found out that I was determined in the most decisive manner and I had nowhere to retreat, that is, to write and defend I need a dissertation at any cost, and I gave such a calculation that I have not 36 months in reserve, but much less. Because summer vacation, of course, does not count, then all sorts of unforeseen emergency situations, so “you need to write quickly,” he said. At the end of May, namely on the 25th, "I expect from you an introduction and the first chapter." Well, I went.
After the first 90 days, at three o'clock in the morning, I woke up in a cold sweat. I dreamed that I had done little. I got up, wrapped myself in a warm robe, because it was very cold in the student dorm room, and under the howling of the wind I began to look through the collected material. The material turned out to be not so little and, reassured, I fell asleep. Well, then the winter ended, a rather cold April came, and it was then that I was unexpectedly summoned to the university party committee. It turned out that the party organizer needed me not as a "young communist, lecturer-propagandist, agitator and teacher of the history of the CPSU," but as … cheap labor!
“We are sending a team of graduate students to help the village,” he said. - There are not enough people in the village, and the party needs to fulfill the Food Program. We cannot send second and third year graduate students. But the first year may well be a little and work in the fresh air!"
- And how much? I asked in a low voice.
“For about a month, at least,” he replied in a tone that allowed no objection.
- But how, on May 25 to hand over to Medvedev the introduction and the first chapter!
- Do you have a typewriter?
- There is!
- Well, that's great! Take it with you and write everything there! The combination of mental labor with physical labor is exactly what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote about. So go ahead! The party says "must", the communists answer "yes!"
- But I have no work clothes …
- Go to the warehouse, they will give you everything!
What was to be done? He nodded and went to the warehouse, where, by my size, there were only boots! And in the morning a bus was already waiting for us, that is, the team of "university science" - to take us to the village. Of course, if this happened now, I would never go. Went to the doctor, would declare that I have chronic gastritis (and he was!), That I have an exacerbation and physical work in the field is contraindicated for me. And then he went to the hospital for examination. But in his youth, many things were perceived differently, especially in Soviet times, when people were afraid to act … "individually." Since it doesn’t hurt now, it’s better "like everyone else!"
True, I still went to my supervisor. What if it helps? He insisted that in such conditions I simply physically would not have time to complete the work on time. And he told me: "We need to be in time!" Said it suddenly and bluntly!
In addition to me, the brigade included the following graduate students: another historian of the CPSU from the same department as me, a scientific communist, a philosopher, a higher mathematician, a physicist, a butterfly specialist, a lawyer and an economist - only ten people (I don't remember one).
We all immediately got to know each other and laughed for a long time about the fact that we would do our science on potatoes. Moreover, we were traveling together with girls from some local factory. But we were not at all laughing when we were on the spot. We were given housing in a barrack with rows of two-story plank bunks. There was nothing else there, but the workers who lived before us painted the whitewashed walls with images of female copulatory organs.
Let's go have breakfast. Oatmeal and tea! "You haven't earned more for more!" Then we went to the field. Five kilometers away! And there are mountains of potatoes. Huge exhibition potatoes, I have never seen such in my life. And here local women are sitting near these mountains of potatoes - their asses are simply huge, I have never seen such ones either - they chop it with crooked knives and throw it into plywood boxes the size of a desk! There is an icy wind in the field. There is snow on the ravines. And in the midst of it all, we are. All are citizens. I am in the village for the second time after agricultural work in my first year at the institute. And even without the opportunity to change. On the head is a hat. Leather coat made of red leatherette. Checkered gray suit and … rubber boots above the knee. And we are all about the same. I remember there was only one in the cap.
The foreman explains: chop a very large potato into four parts, a smaller one into two. Here are the knives and mittens. The norm is 14 boxes per person per day. The price of the box is 14 kopecks. Everything! "Arbeiten!"
The women are laughing. "Who are you? Graduate students? Absirants !!! Ha ha! Look, in hats, and this one also put on his glasses. Hilarious!"
We sat down on overturned buckets. We started to work. Out of habit, the muscles ache. The boxes are filling up somehow. The clerk laughs: "It's not your head to work!" We went back for lunch. And from the food, some cabbage soup and again oatmeal - "We've earned so much!" Then again on the field …
In the evening we came to our cold barrack, lay down on mattresses stuffed with something incomprehensible, naturally no one undressed - it was cold, and somehow fell asleep. Needless to say, the common area next to the barracks had an even more disgusting look. It probably hasn't been cleaned since its foundation …
The next day, the same thing happened again.
But on the third day of testing with cold and oatmeal, we decided that we had to do something! "We are the elite of the nation here," said the philosopher, "so why don't we make it so that we eat the fish and ride on the bones?" We decided that we need a scientific organization of labor. We started by timing the actions of local women and studying their body movements. Then they picked up a song to the tempo rhythm of these movements and it turned out that the "Anthem of the Comintern" is ideally suited to it: "Comrades in prisons, in cold dungeons / You are with us, you are with us, even though you are not in the columns, / We are not afraid of white fascist terror, / All countries will be engulfed in revolts by the fire!"
My colleague, who knew her by heart, wrote the words, and we learned them. Then they decided that we needed lunch at 11.00, and then I volunteered, saying that I would cook baked potatoes for everyone, because this is a very useful dish for stomach diseases, and eight out of ten people turned out to be "ventricles". "But it will take a lot of potatoes," they said to me, "how will you bake so many of them?"
- I can! - I answered. And it began! We sang in chorus and began to chop this damn potato. And the matter went much more lively! Then I went, chopped wood in the ravine, took a large bucket, punched a couple of holes in the bottom, filled it with show potatoes, turned it over, covered it with wood and baked it for 40 minutes over high heat. Who doesn't know - this is a great way! The result is a clean, non-charred, baked potato!
We ate, refreshed ourselves, warmed up - the work went even better, and before lunchtime we did the whole day's norm!
For lunch, there was already soup with meat, goulash, compote - in a word, life began to improve! After lunch, since we had fulfilled the norm, we did not go to the field, but went to sleep according to the Russian custom. Slept - we bought gouache paints in the selmag and all the obscene "triangles" on the walls and the corresponding inscriptions were painted with huge bright flowers in the style of Bernard Palissy. The physicist made us a boiler from two razor blades and a pair of matches, and we drank tea in the comfort of our hut. Then the philosopher went to our neighbors, to tell the factory girls about the Kama Sutra (after which he told us how they perceived it all!). The mathematician and physicist started playing poker, I went to the cafeteria to write an introduction, and my colleague in the department got a job reading Lenin's book on agriculture - that was his topic.
The next day it got even colder, but we had nothing to wear, so we, like the Navajo or Arapaho Indians, wrapped ourselves in blankets right over our hats, girded ourselves with ropes, and so we went to the field. The hot potatoes gave us strength, and again we did all the norm before lunchtime. We had lunch and … did not go to the field again. And nafig?
Then the foreman comes to us and demands that we go to work. And we told him: “For 14 kopecks a box? Fuck you … "" So you won't earn anything here! " - he began to admonish us. And we to him - “And we don't need such earnings. We were sent here under duress to fulfill our party duty, and we are doing it. Extra-economic forced labor, so to speak. And we have no benefit here. We are just slaves to circumstances!"
From such clever words the brigadier simply "shrugged" and the very next day he tried to deceive us when registering. But it was not there! The top mathematician who took the integrals in his head quickly calculated everything and revealed his scam. The lawyer immediately named the article and the term for which he could be sentenced for such cases. And I explained that the party and the government did not send scientific cadres to knead the manure here, so that they would also be cheated here, and as a communist he can easily put his ticket on the table if we inform about his actions “where it is necessary”! He wanted to cover us … with bad words, but he saw our attitude and restrained himself, and no longer made such attempts.
And we have a real "communism". At 7 am a good breakfast and physical labor in the fresh air accompanied by the singing of the Comintern anthem, at 11 am lunch of baked potatoes with butter from a local store, sprats in tomato sauce and tea. At 13.30 lunch, then from 14 to 15.00 a healthy afternoon nap. Then "tea among flowers on bunks." Then scientific work on interests. Intellectual conversations are already in the evening. The biologist told us about the details of sexual intercourse between butterflies. A lawyer - funny examples of our legal illiteracy, a philosopher - about the influence of the Kama Sutra on the minds of female workers, my colleague and I - funny stories about the life of our party officials, drawn from the party archives of Penza, Kuibyshev and Ulyanovsk, and there was something to tell about … The most enjoyable activity was arguments with a young scientific communist, younger than all of us, to whom everything around seemed correct and understandable, and we proved to him that there is a big difference between word and deed, and that we are the best example of the ineffectiveness of non-economic compulsion to work and the inability of our party to establish productive work of peasants in the countryside. "I wonder if American universities also send graduate students to potatoes?" And you should have seen how he blinked his eyes and bleated in response with something unintelligible about the fact that blacks are being hanged there. And we told him - and if you don't know how to lead, don't take it! True, none of us then even thought that everything would collapse so quickly, but that the country needed changes, 9 out of 10 understood this in our company.
However, there was one benefit from the brigadier's visit to our "hostel" after all. He gave us the idea that you can earn money here. But how? As a propagandist-agitator, I took over this question and … went to the local party organizer. "How are you with the implementation of the lecture propaganda plan?" - I asked him and got the expected answer - “Bad! For six months, the plan has not been fulfilled. Nobody comes to us. And there is money, but there are no lecturers! " “Your happiness,” I say, “you will have a lecture hall by the forces of graduate students of KSU”. “But themes? - the Party organizer became worried. "If only everything is about the role of the party in building socialism, then … the people will not go." “And we will do so,” I said, “one topic for the report, another for the people. So you will carry out the plan, and the money will not hang on you, and we will be fine."
On that decision, and in the local club posted an announcement of lectures given by graduate students. There were different and sometimes quite surprising topics: "The American SDI program - a threat to peace and progress" and "Mysteries of ancient civilizations", "The Communist Party of the Soviet Union and" lessons of truth "(then this topic was very popular, Mikhail Gorbachev just said, what we need to learn from our achievements and mistakes), and "The ancient spiritual culture of India", "Egg production of laying hens and ways to improve it", "Legal rights of spouses in the division of property", "The party - mind, conscience, and our honor era "," Endemic of the Samara Luka "and even …" Aliens among us."
Surprisingly, after our first lectures, people even began to come to us for lectures "about the Party," and the "spiritual culture of India" aroused the keenest interest in collective farmers! We were paid 10 rubles per lecture, so those who wanted to make money on it very well. And how the Party organizer thanked us - you should have seen that!
Meanwhile, May began. It got warmer and no longer needed to wrap up in blankets. We made an agreement with the woman in charge of the warehouse, and she provided us with her bathhouse for washing and gave us tea with honey, and I not only wrote the introduction and the first chapter, but also prepared for the children's television show "School Country Workshop", which was then hosted on Kuibyshev's TV - I assembled a model of Columbus's caravel from paper and everything you need to then make it right in front of the camera in 30 minutes. Sowing began, and we worked a little more on the potato planters, but then our stay came to an end.
We celebrated the last day with a small feast on the bank of the local river, and then for some reason we were thrown into some dreams. We thought that it would be quite nice for all of us … to seize power in this collective farm and organize everything in it according to our minds. We decided that, firstly, it was necessary to build several roadside cafes and a hotel near the highway, since it is nearby: “Picnic by the side of the road”, “Village pies”, “Tasty borscht”, “Overnight with a good bath”. This would give us real money and increase the interest of the local population. Secondly, the river could be dammed up and a mini-hydroelectric power plant could be installed in order to receive its own electricity, and nutria could be raised on the banks of the pond for fur and meat. Open a workshop for sewing hats and jackets made of nutra fur. Further, to drastically increase the yield - all the manure that was accumulated from the peasants in the yards, to bring to the fields. Create a hippotherapy treatment center for disabled children and actively cover its activities in the media. But the main thing is to introduce a scientific organization of labor: to sell alcohol in the village only on Friday, and on Monday to selectively test all those who go to work for blood alcohol content, having previously signed an appropriate labor contract with them. A lot of alcohol in the blood - a fine in favor of those who have little! For good work - a bonus, for bad - a fine, again in favor of those who work well. A bonus to parents for those children who study well and, on the contrary, a fine to those from whom they receive deuces. And then - paid courses for lagging behind. At the expense of the collective farm, everyone should build standard houses with sewerage and central heating from biogas, and get biogas from manure handed over from peasant farms. I handed over more - paid less for heating! In a word, it was proposed to do everything so that “highly moral behavior” would become the only possible way to exist in this village, whether you want it or not.
We thought so, dreamed, then decided that in the conditions that we have in the USSR now, we simply will not be allowed to do this, and besides, we do not need garbage dumps. So we left from there.
The chief greeted me very harshly. "So how is work? Made?" "Here, I've done everything!" And the chief immediately warmed up. “So you were in time? So it is good!" Then I thought to myself - “of course, it was all good, a kind of“test of myself”. Again, baked potatoes are useful for gastritis, and we probably ate a ton of them, no less. But something else is also obvious … it is ineffective to use scientific personnel this way. Everyone must do their job. And… no matter how it comes back to us in the future”. And he turned out to be right, unfortunately! But our rightness or wrongness is somewhere down there, when there are those who are at the very top, it does not mean anything at all!