A connoisseur of antiquity, writer Valentin Lavrov celebrated his 86th birthday

He is a lot of years old, but his movements are fast, his eyes are young. Are burning! Over-read, amazingly erudite, witty. It can be seen that a person enjoys life, and tirelessly. He is a connoisseur of beauty in all its manifestations. And female, of course.

This is a fleeting portrait of the author of many historical detective stories, academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Professor Valentin Lavrov. Once he was a welcome guest at MK. For eight years, every Thursday the newspaper published his books.

He is a lot of years old, but his movements are fast, his eyes are young. Are burning! Over-read, amazingly erudite, witty. It can be seen that a person enjoys life, and tirelessly. He is a connoisseur of beauty in all its manifestations. And female, of course.

This is a fleeting portrait of the author of many historical detective stories, academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Professor Valentin Lavrov. Once he was a welcome guest at MK. For eight years, every Thursday the newspaper published his books.

– Oh, it was a sweet time! He wrote tirelessly, did it easily, with pleasure. Frankly, it was very popular – my books were snapped up instantly, autographs were given incessantly. Today fame has flown away, she is such a windy lady. But the readers stayed. And now they find out on the street, share their impressions, ask questions.

– You were born in Moscow in 1935. And therefore, remember that the trail has long gone cold …

– I remember myself well from the age of three. My father was a famous footballer, played for Moscow Lokomotiv, and his friends often gathered with us – Khlopotin, Serdyukov, Kireev. The future famous commentator Kolya Ozerov was a young neighbor. In a telecast dedicated to his father’s 70th birthday, he recalled how he carried a suitcase behind his father.

Our huge house in the center of Moscow, not far from the Krasnye Vorota metro station, was built at the very beginning of the last century. It had more than two hundred apartments, each with six or eight rooms. Almost all families had children, often two or three. Children filled the courtyards, and all year round this tireless young tribe entertained itself as best it could: football, volleyball, small towns.

The main entertainment is a huge fountain. The photos have been preserved – the kids are splashing in the water.

Many young men managed to build the White Sea Canal, and not only that. They were wearing tattoos “I will not forget my dear mother”, “There is no happiness in life”, Stalin’s profile on their chest, on their legs – “They are tired of the stages, they need to rest.” And – “botali” on a hairdryer. Were cut in the “point”, “borax”, “goat” – for interest.

– How did you meet on June 22, 1941?

– The day was sunny and warm. He ran from the yard for a minute, but heard an agitated murmur in the hallway. Our neighbor Boris Nikolayevich Nesterov, chief engineer of the Krasny Oktyabr confectionery factory, who wore thick glasses, stood surrounded by neighbors. And he said that we were “attacked by the Germans.” Everyone was in thought, but someone fervently shouted: “We will destroy the enemy! On its territory, by autumn we will be in Berlin! ” Alas, everything turned out to be much worse …

Boris Nikolaevich was drafted into the militia. According to him, he did not get the rifle. They gave me some kind of stick and said: “You will get a weapon in battle!” Fortunately for him, in October 1941, he developed chronic consumption. Only then was Nesterov sent to the rear …

Air raids began – at first training, then real. We, children, in the morning collected fragments from the asphalt – rough pieces of metal, the remains of anti-aircraft shells.

– Were you evacuated?

– Stalin ordered all the children to be taken out of Moscow. I ended up with my grandmother in the Chuvash village of Ilyinskoye. Life was well-fed and free, but in October my father made us return to Moscow. In December, the forty-first aircraft plant No. 45, where the parents now worked, were transferred to the city of Molotov, now Perm. It was even hungrier here than in Moscow. A three-year-old neighbor died, and I myself suffered severe jaundice.

My grandmother managed to bring parcels to me at the hospital every day, but almost everything was stolen by the nurses. Mom donated blood four times and received food stamps. Of course, I ate …

Once, in the bathhouse, my father and I saw the Leningrad blockade. The orderlies led the naked people by the arms into the washing room. An eerie sight: skeletons covered in leather! I have never seen anything more terrible!

But there were also joys. The Leningrad Kirov Opera and Ballet Theater was evacuated to Molotov. Aunt Polya, with whom we were assigned, served as a ticket collector in the theater. And that is why the whole repertoire was at my service … I listened to Eugene Onegin ten times. Once I managed to get backstage – I really liked it!

– When did you return to Moscow?

– In April 1943 – here I saw white bread for the first time in a year and a half. Relatives and neighbors in the apartment welcomed us, tried to feed us, while my father was filling out the cards. Do you know what was the most delicious food? Kissel from oats is a gray dense mass with a heavy smell!

– Did you remember the victorious May 1945?

– The details were not captured, but I remember the general jubilation mixed with tears – after all, many did not return from the front. Life went on, in December 1947 the card system was canceled, Moscow stores were again filled. Every year, radio and newspapers announced significant price reductions – an average of 15–20 percent. They began to build housing, including by the hands of unfortunate German prisoners of war.

– Many of your peers live under the yoke of past years. But you, I see, are not one of them …

– Very rightly noticed! Old age is a happy age for me. I’m glad I’m still alive. I write and publish books without any censorship. Daughter Katyusha is beautiful and talented. She studies and works as a psychologist in Barcelona. Another daughter, charming Olga, has a wonderful husband, Sasha, whom I love like my own son. I travel all over the world and stay in good hotels. I’m still in love – my friend Elizabeth is pretty and half a century younger than me. What more could you want?

– Let me congratulate you on your birthday and wish you even more courage, optimism …

– Thank you, it won’t hurt. In response, let me give some advice to readers. You need to prepare for old age, dear friends, while you are young and full of strength. You should definitely have hobbies. For example, I love old books, American jazz of the thirties, Hollywood gangster films. And in general, old age should not be afraid. Alas, it comes very quickly …

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