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Russian Prince in the Soviet State

Hunting Stories, Letters from Exile, and Military Memoirs

Trubetskoi, Vladimir Sergeevich

Publication Year: 2006

Of a noble and distinguished family disenfranchised by the Bolshevik revolution, Vladimir Trubetskoi (1892 1937) alone remained in Russia, and suffered the consequences of his decision. His life and experiences are well documented in this remarkable volume, a selection of his writings that reflects his comfortable prewar existence and his post revolutionary poverty, uncertainty, and displacement, all conveyed with humor and ironic detachment.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Series: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory

Front Matter

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pp. v


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This translation owes its existence to my long and close friendship with Mikhail Andreevich (Misha) Trubetskoi, the grandson of Vladimir Sergeevich Trubetskoi. Misha embodies the resilience, humor, and linguistic brilliance that are the hallmark of the Moscow Trubetskois and that shine through every ...

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pp. xi-xvii

Vladimir Sergeevich Trubetskoi (1892–1937) belonged to a generation of Russians that suffered more than its share. He was born into an environment of the highest privilege—economic, social, cultural, and intellectual—and died (in all probability) in an Uzbekistan prison cell at the age of forty-five ...

The Extraordinary Adventures of Bochonkin and Khvoshch

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How We Fished for Grandmother

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pp. 5-13

When I found myself in the town of B., at first I didn’t suspect that fate would settle me here for a whole seven years.1 Before this I had never even known that such a town existed, but in fact, as it later turned out, remarkable people lived here. ...

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Shchadilov Pond

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pp. 14-20

It was after 1 A.M. Semion Semionovich and I were heading toward Shchadilov Pond and had already passed our little town of B., which was plunged in peaceful sleep. In the distance the rattle of the night watchman could be heard. A gentle night breeze wafted the fragrances of ...

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A Trap with a Triple Rehearsal

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pp. 21-29

It happened in the year 1919. The entire Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, and along with it our little town, was without yeast, matches, firewood, and sugar.1 In a word, everyone was suffering a crisis of provisions, and those citizens who had false teeth had nothing to use ...

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I Got the Fox!

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pp. 30-35

Has it ever happened in your life that you come upon a streak of failures and bad luck? Everything’s going well for you until suddenly something is broken off and spoiled, and from then on nothing you undertake works out right. If you hit such a streak, don’t despair, have patience: after all, ...

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The Death of the Dirigible

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pp. 36-42

When over the haze of deserted autumn fields the first caravans of wild geese float by in the distant deep-blue heights, and their voices reach the hearing of people on the ground, every person who owns a gun inevitably thinks: “Hey! If only I could bag just one!” ...

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Psycho-Curiosities of Semion Semionovich

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pp. 43-48

Semion Semionych's health was slowly restored. He didn’t perish. Only the “dirigible,” his famous gun, perished. It was trampled into the silt at the moment my friend was saved. We pulled a lifeless Semion Semionovich from the bottom of Ivlevo ...

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Adventures at the Zoo

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pp. 49-54

Semion Semionovich and I stayed two days in Moscow. During that time my friend’s illness vanished as if by magic. We visited many interesting spots, but the one we were most interested in—the Moscow Zoo—we intentionally left for last. We planned to end our epic ...

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The Recovery of the Dirigible

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pp. 55-63

It was a cheerful April morning. Semion Semionych and I were sitting in a cramped hunting tent made of reeds on the shore of Shchadilov Pond and had our eyes glued on a small flock of wild ducks. Their black forms were visible on the open water about 150 paces from us. Turning ...

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The Wolf Hunt

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pp. 64-72

When the barefooted little daughter of Semion Semionovich came running breathlessly to my place and announced that her daddy was waiting for me, I immediately understood that my companion was summoning me on hunting business. My premonition did not deceive me. ...

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Beautiful Mecha

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pp. 73-81

“Vladim Sergev, I'm sick of our old spots. It would be good to take a hunting trip somewhere a little farther away.” “You’re right, Semion Semionych: I’m bored! We’ve made a thorough study of every little bush here. I propose to you that we make for Beautiful ...

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The Aggitator from the Mississippi River

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pp. 82-91

This year turned out an amazingly unlucky one for our little town and for our whole district. Misfortunes seemed to pour one after another onto our poor heads, and it began with the fact that in the village Viazovka, right near the town, several farmsteads burned down in a single ...

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The Black-White-and-Tan Skewbald Dog

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pp. 92-106

There was a hard, bracing frost. The red ball of the rising sun slowly emerged from behind a knoll. The village of Ivlevo was smoking from all its chimneys at once. The smoke rose in thin columns and disappeared into the pale blue heights, presaging a quiet, marvelous day for hunting. ...

Letters from Exile

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pp. 107-143

Notes of a Cuirassier

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Chapter One. Choosing a Regiment

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pp. 147-157

My frank conversation with my uncle Aleksei Kapnist was decisive for me and turned my whole young life upside down.1 In fact up to then I had thought about my future in an unforgivably frivolous way. In my dreams about the future everything fit together—my ship, interesting

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Chapter Two. The Training of a Guardsman

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pp. 158-172

At the beginning of October my cousin Misha Osorgin and I arrived together to serve in Gatchina, where quarters had already been prepared for us. On the very first day we set off for regimental headquarters and reported to our immediate superior, Lieutenant Palitsyn, who served as the ...

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Chapter Three

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pp. 173-186

The quarters I shared with M. Osorgin were located in a separate little gray house on Liutsevskii Street and consisted of four small rooms furnished, as they say, simply but sweetly, by whose efforts I no longer remember. In the so-called dining room there was a comfortable sofa, a round ...

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Chapter Four. Studying for the Officer’s Examinations

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pp. 187-204

We had to hurry as fast as we could to prepare for the officer’s examinations, since there were only about two months left until they would start. In that length of time we had to master a two-year course in fourteen subjects, in which the textbook for military history alone was about a ...

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Chapter Five. Topographical Tests in the Countryside

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pp. 205-217

Before I had finished my examinations a joyful event finally took place in the Trubetskoi family. My cousin S. P. Trubetskaia married the very nice young Count N. Lamsdorf. This wedding, at which I performed the role of best man, was celebrated festively and gaily, after which the ...

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Chapter Six. Regimental Exercises in Gatchina

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pp. 218-227

THE LAST EXAMINATION passed almost without my noticing it. Finally the long-awaited day had come, and I breathed a deep sigh of relief. The object of my dreams—the grade that qualified me for the Guards—was in my pocket. Of us four cuirassier volunteers, only I had had ...

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Chapter Seven. The Third Squadron

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pp. 228-245

When I returned to the regiment, the gentle and kind Staff Captain Iskander, who had commanded the Third Squadron, had retired. In his place the squadron was taken by Staff Captain Edvin Iogannovich Lindgren, a Finn. Although no one could say anything bad or at all ...

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Chapter Eight. The Camp at Krasnoe Selo

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pp. 246-261

After passing the regimental drill review, the regiment left Gatchina for a few days of so-called patrol duty, so that the squadrons could practice performing field patrol duty according to the regulations for field service. While on patrol we were quartered in villages, and this ...

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Chapter Nine. The Imperial Circuit at Krasnoe Selo

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pp. 262-270

August 1912 was approaching. One could count the few little days until my promotion to officer, and for this reason I was up to my neck in errands: getting fitted out was no laughing matter. Every day after drill I would go to St. Petersburg, where first I would ...

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Chapter Ten. Becoming an Officer

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pp. 271-281

Now the long-awaited day of August 6, 1912, had finally come. This little day was awaited with impatient longing by hundreds of young Russians, counting the hours and minutes until that massive and firmly closed door—the door out “into the world”—would finally fly open before them ...

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Chapter Eleven. The Mores of the Regiment

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pp. 282-292

After promotion, all junior cornets were usually given a twenty-eight-day leave by the regiment. But I decided not to use my leave now but to postpone it until my wedding, which was set for November. The question of my wedding was not entirely simple. Officers did not ...


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pp. 293-307

E-ISBN-13: 9780810165915
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810116559

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2006

Edition: 1
Series Title: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory

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Subject Headings

  • Trubet͡skoĭ, Vladimir, kni͡azʹ, 1892-1937.
  • Russia. Armii͡a. Leĭb-gvardīi kirasirskīĭ Ei͡a Velichestva polk -- History.
  • Trubet͡skoĭ, Vladimir, kni͡azʹ, 1892-1937 -- Correspondence.
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