RUSSIAN TREASURES

a historical novel

Journalist Klim Rogov, who has been pursuing an outstanding career abroad, returns to his home country, Russia, only to become caught up in the Bolshevik Revolution and the ensuing civil war. As his world collapses around him, he refuses to desert the woman he loves and remains in the Land of the Soviets fighting for their lives throughout the bloody struggles of 1917-1920.

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CHAPTER 1. THE PRODIGAL SON

When Klim Rogov ran away from home, he took what his father cherished most—his dreams of Klim’s bright future. At the time it felt gratifying.

Did you seriously think I would want to follow in your footsteps and become a Public Prosecutor, a man who preys and profits on others people’s misfortunes? Klim had thought. No way, Father. No way.

Ten years had passed, and Klim found himself once again standing indecisively on the threshold of his family house on a balmy summer’s night. It was shabby and overgrown with lilac and ivy but still luxurious with two marble bears guarding the entrance and a white balcony protruding like the drawer of a dresser.

There had been a time when Klim had dreamt of his triumphant return to his hometown as a successful foreign journalist, whose writing had made him famous all over Argentina. But in the Russia of the summer of 1917, this would not have been the safest guise to travel in. Klim’s home country had been at war with Germany for three years now, its economy had collapsed, and the railroads were packed with armed deserters. Foreigners with their fancy suitcases were easy pickings for them, and Klim decided it would be wiser to melt in with the local population. He grew a layer of dark stubble, acquired a soldier’s uniform and a shabby trunk for his belongings, and arrived in Nizhny Novgorod looking more like an opera villain than an heir to a fortune.

He felt uneasy in the knowledge that the moment he knocked on the door and re-enter the once-forbidden family home, the life that he had cultivated for himself would become irrelevant and meaningless.

Cousin Lubochka, who was renting the second floor in his father’s house, would come running to greet him, the sleepy servants would gather at the doorway, oohing and aahing at him. “Why did you leave us so suddenly like that?” The renowned traveler and journalist would once again be regarded as no more than his father’s son, and he had no idea where that was going to lead him.

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Russian Revolution of 1917

A Perfect Storm

 

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian Empire experienced a ‘perfect storm’ of every type of misfortune that history could throw at it: disastrous military campaigns, social unrest, several revolutions, economic collapse, disease and epidemics.

Bolshevism turned out to be a kind of ‘ideological epidemic’ too, and its major symptoms were prolonged and repeated bouts of delusional and violent behavior.

Like a disease, it spread from person to person affecting millions of lives—first, in Russia and then throughout the world.

For certain groups of people, especially the Russian nobility, clergy, and entrepreneurs, it would require a large slice of luck to survive this ‘perfect storm.’ The Bolsheviks made no secret of their plans to destroy them, and once labelled a ‘class enemy’ individuals faced a desperate fight to survive.

Like every other epidemic, Bolshevism eventually burned out, but we still live with the scars and the consequences today.

Klim Rogov

An Argentine journalist in Russia

All that remains for me to do is to take each day as it comes and try to be happy for as long as I can.

Our enemy have stopped attacking us, which is a blessing, and our commander had brought us of medicine and food, and my beloved girl is safe for the time being.

Hungry, penniless, and helpless as I am, head over heels in love with my woman, I’m dreaming of nothing but the next time I would be able to sit with her on the edge of the cliff in the eternal Sviyazhsk wind, gazing at her in admiration and secretly winking to God. “Look at her—isn’t she something?”

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Russian Treasures by Elvira Baryakina

Book 1

A novel about the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917

White Ghosts by Elvira Baryakina

Book 2

A novel about Shanghai in the turbulent 1920s

The Prince of the Soviets by Elvira Baryakina

Book 3

A novel about foreign journalists in the USSR

CONTRIBUTORS

Text by Elvira Baryakina

Translation by Rose France, Simon Geoghegan, and Elvira Baryakina

Book cover art by Olga Tereschenko

Book cover design by Tatiana Kotik

Illustrations by Ivan Vladimirov

Website design by Taras Karpyak