A day in memory of famous Russian poet Nikolay Gumilev will begin with laying of wreaths on the place where the poet was shot. Videos dedicated to the poet will be also shown on August 25. The Anna Akhmatova museum and the Memorial scientific research center will organize several events on this day.
Nikolay Gumilev was supposedly shot on August 24 or 25 of 1921 somewhere near Petrograd (former name of St.Petersburg) in the valley of the Lubya River.
The poet was shot right in the prime of his bright talent. Every new book of his poems revealed new sides of his talent: it was like a peak he was conquering. If the Petrograd extraordinary commission had not killed Gumilev in 1921, Russian poetry would have achieved even greater success.
Nikolay Gumilev was brave in his death as he had been all his life: he did not betray friends and acquaintances to save his own life. People of that time often resorted to betrayal to save their lives.
Gumilev’s brave conduct in jail has become a legend. In letters to his wife, he wrote: “I am in good health, write poems, and play chess.” The poet managed to keep quiet during the moment of his arrest interrogations. Before his execution, Gumilev wrote on the wall of the cell: “God, forgive my sins; it’s my final journey.” A futurist poet, Bobrov, heard stories from those who witnessed the shooting of the famous poet. He said, “Gumilev finished smoking, and he was smiling. It produced a special impression even on those who executed him. There are very few people who can meet death like he did.” Gumilev’s mother wouldn’t believe that her son had been shot. Until her very last day, she hoped that Nikolay had managed to escape for Madagascar.
Nikolay Gumilev organized a literary society that consisted of talented youth. He held the final meeting of the society on the day of his arrest. Gumilev was in wonderful spirits on that day, surrounded by talented bright girls and boys; the meeting lasted late into the night. Members of the society decided to accompany the poet to his home. They couldn’t even guess that the extraordinary commission set an ambush in the apartment where Gumilev lived and arrested everyone who came there on that day. Later, all people except for Gumilev himself were released.
Nikolay Gumilev took the Gospel and a book by Homer to the jail. The majority of his acquaintances believed that the arrest was a mistake and the the poet would be soon released.
Petrograd learnt of Gunilev’s death later, on September 1, 1921. People said that, although the city streets were crowded, they seemed desert and silent, the same way living people feel when they come to pay tribute to those who die.
The intellectual elite of then-St.Petersburg behaved rather bravely. A special service for the dead poet was held at the Kazansky Cathedral. Although the poet’s name wasn’t mentioned, people understood for whom the prayer was. Several days later, another service was ordered at a chapel of the Guslitsky monastery on the Nevsky avenue. The chapel was crowded with friends of the poet who came to pay tribute to the famous poet.
The main reason for Gumilev’s death was his incredible popularity among the younger generation, his successful work at poetry schools and studios, poetic performances, and the very fact that he became even more popular in St.Petersburg than poet Alexander Blok. Publication prepared by Yelena Kiseleva PRAVDA.Ru Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/culture/2002/08/22/46047.html