Musical selection “Emergence of a Legend” for the 135th birth anniversary of Vasily Chapayev
Vasily Chapayev - one of the most renowned historical figures of the Civil War epoch, was born on February 9, 1887. Chapayev holds a specific position in popular culture. In 1923, writer Dmitry Furmanov wrote a novel "Chapayev". The author served as a morale officer in the division under Chapayev’s command and was personally acquainted with the latter. In 1934, a feature film of the same name based on the book was shooted. "Chapayev" by the Vasilyev brothers with Boris Babochkin in the title role won great popularity in the USSR, and its plot formed the basis of folk art. During the first year of release, thirty million people saw the film.
The famous hero of the Civil War once and again hit the screen. At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, a five-minute propaganda and patriotic video was shot, with Boris Babochkin appearing in shot once more. In the 21st century, Sergei Nikonenko ("Soviet Period Park", 2006) and Ivan Okhlobystin ("Chapayev-Chapayev", 2013) appeared as Chapayev. Attempts to revive Chapayev's image were unsuccessful. Although several detailed biographical studies have been published, and in the artistic sphere, the legendary figure inspired Victor Pelevin to write a novel “Chapayev and the Void”, 1996 (where Chapayev is not just a division commanding general, where the decadent poet Pyotr happens to come, but also a subtle researcher of mystical issues).
There are also many songs about Chapayev. Most of them are tragic, narrating about the death of the division commander. Maria Popova, a warrior of the 25th Chapayev’s Division, composed a song "Chapayev the Hero Walked in the Urals" while still on active service. The story of Chapayev is an example of how propaganda and artistic exaggerations transform the image of a historical figure, making him a hero in fictional works and folklore literature. Vasily Chapayev life was rather short - he died at the age of 32, but his posthumous fame surpassed all the borders one could think of.