Poet Alexander Korotko: the Day of Yury Bogatikov has come!

Olga Barashikova

(is published in the reduction)

 “Want to see a happy man – look at me!” Yuri Bogatikov often told it from the stage. Neither in the past, nor this year in the capital did not happen a creative evening, which the people of Kiev would honor the memory of the singer of a tired submarine, regimental orchestra and barrows of dark, sun-scorched.

And yet “the Day of Yury Bogatikov has come” – so begins a poem dedicated to the memory of a happy man. It was written by the Kiev poet Alexander Korotko. Songs of Korotko are performed by Joseph Kobzon and Tamara Gverdtsiteli, Philip Kirkorov and Alexander Malinin, Nikolai Karachentsov and Taisia Povaliy. Bogatikov, who now lives in the heavenly quarters (“Quarter of the Celestials” – the name of one of the books of the poet) sang them too.

– Alexander Shimonovich, why you refused Bogatikov when he offered you a partnership?

–I was younger for 15 years – more ambitious, impulsive, and never considered myself a songwriter. Our acquaintance took place in the Crimea about 15 years ago. I do not remember the details, but this was due to Yuri Iosifovich’s interest in my work. The conversation did not turn out then. He then five years told the same: “Shimonovich will never give anything me to sing anyway.”

– What such disgrace for?

– Obviously, we did not find the right intonation. Yuri Iosifovich came to me not even as a maitre – as a kimonoire, and he was expecting my immediate joyful agreement: he is famous, and me – not (but already put a monument to myself).

 In August of 1995, I with my friend – composer and performer, now People’s Artist Nikolay Svidyuk – presented the new album “Separating is an occasion for a meeting”, over which Kolya and I worked for three years. Yuri Iosifovich heard about this and called (for the first time five years after that failed conversation): “Will you not mind if I come with Slava Belza and introduce you to him?” I know that you do not like me … “. “Come, I’ll be glad,” I responded. – We’ll drink up a little! ». But I did not admit that I knew well the art critic and TV presenter Belza, and Svyatoslav knew my poetry.

Everything that happened in the evening after the concert was much more significant than the actual action on the stage. Then I immediately fell in love with Yuri Iosifovich with all my heart, although we are not homosexuals. He had a very strong manhood, and at the same time he was a very vulnerable, anxious, unprotected person. Like no other, I understood that glory should be acquired, and honor – only not to lose …


He knew how to be friends, and his sincerity, irony, is nothing but the defensive reaction of a kind, warm person, whom life threw into this sea of historical cataclysms. Bogatikov always fought against the marauders of human happiness …


All obstacles collapsed at once. Yuri Iosifovich joked all the time, was relaxed, easy, and ironic, he repeated: “I am now at that age and state, when I can rejoice over others. I know the actor’s brotherhood – everyone envies, they are at war with each other. “Then he turned to Svidyuk: “Kolia, you are immensely lucky: you finally found the author of your poems. I repeat verses, but not lyrics. “And after a pause he screwed up his eyes and, looking into the distance, said in a low voice, as though not addressing me: “I hope that someday I will be able to sing something from your poetry.”


Today, many of our performers are fragmented: personality, voice, music, texts. And this stale okroshka they pour on our heads. And Yuri Iosifovich was a whole. He pushed away from the word, loved poetry. He had the only privilege – true talent. His energy message, the fusion of vocal data and a powerful spiritual beginning, did not leave anyone indifferent. And at the end of life, Bogatik needed not recognition but understanding …


After that evening in “Chernomorsky” we often called up. Then I moved from Crimea to Kiev, but the connection between us did not stop. Yury Iosifovich’s words turned out to be prophetic – he took seven songs from my and Nikolay Svidyuk CD into his repertoire, more than others he liked the songs about the war “Requiem”, “Bad weather” and “Separating is an occasion for a meeting”. He sang them in Moscow – in the concert hall “Russia”, the Bolshoi Theater, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

 In our last meeting with Yuri Iosifovich in the hotel of the Kiev hotel “Sport” he sang to me and to wife Tanya “Tell me, gypsy, you old bastard, tell me the truth and do not contradict, what color felt to me today…” and gave the CD of favorites “Red roses”, which included this composition …

– It’s called “Waiting.” Music for it and 10 more of my songs was written by the Crimean composer Vladimir Kesler (six of them were performed by Yuri Iosifovich, also at the “Slavianski Bazaar” in Vitebsk).

I remember that in the middle of the 90s a big concert of Ukrainian and Russian pop stars was held in Yalta. Bogatikov sang in duet with Svidyuk my “Parting is an occasion for a meeting” and, wanting to do me a pleasant thing, suddenly said into the microphone: “The author on the stage!”. I began to refuse gestures, but I was dragged out, put in front of the auditorium, and I began to sing along. Bogatikov changed dramatically in his face, snatched the microphone from my hand and whispered: “Shura, go into the auditorium.” It was hard for him to believe that I did not have a musical ear.

And at the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Boulevard in the President Hotel restaurant, we wereso much happy to have met, that drank hard, forgetting that he still had to perform. Tatiana, his wife, was a little nervous, but, as a delicate person, we did not make any comments. Suddenly, the presenter came and warned: “Yuri Iosifovich, after one performance is yours one.”

I see that his face is covered with red spots. “What happened,” I ask, “Do you feel bad?” He exhaled: “… oh my, I forgot the lyrics, remind me as soon as possible!”. And then I fall into complete prostration, there was not a single word in my head … He got up, sighed heavily: “Nightmare!” – and was doomed walking to the stage …. What he sang, I do not remember. From my poem I recognised one line.

It’s not the first time! As Bogatikov, at a most important concert, forgot the words of his crown “I have not been to the Donbass for a long time” and five minutes before the audience filled with high ranks, repeated the first line with different intonations to the music until “finished” to the logical end of the melody.

– Yes, he again coped with the task with honor. He returned to the table and asked: “Well, how?”. – “Terrific! – I genuinely admire. “You’re a brilliant improviser; I’ll give you the nickname Jazzman.” Recently I talked on the phone with his widow Tatiana, and she confessed: “Yura has always been very kind to you.” Usually he called me first: “Alexander Shimonovich, I greet you …”. “Hello, comrade Yuri Iosifovich,” I answered ritually. After that, we got carried away, and he immediately recovered: “Well, Shura, hello!”. He called me not Sasha, but Shu-u-urah, constantly pronouncing every sound (only my mother and my sister Sveta called me so, for my wife and friends I was always Sasha – this is an intimate return to childhood). “Yura, hello!” – I got into the tone and already saw myself as Shura Balaganov, and he was represented by Ostap Ibragimovic Bender in the performance of our beloved Jursky.

 During one of these ironic game dialogues, I read to Bogatikov my new poem “Forty-first”:

Раненое небо
К нам пришло с войны.
По краюхе хлеба
Маршируют сны.
Мама, я не плачу.
Умирает жизнь.
«Будет все иначе», –
Мамочка, скажи.
Годы кинолентой
В прошлое зовут.
Сорок первый, лето
Падает в траву.
Лагеря, окопы,
Подвиги солдат.
В черном – пол-Европы,
И в крови наряд.
Горе, как молитву,
В храме повторяй.
Всем сердцам убитым
Уготован рай.
Города воскресли,
Расцветает май.
О войне все песни
Памяти отдай.

I finished it, and on the other end of the wire – silence … I thought that the connection was lost, and put down the phone, immediately callback. An unknown voice in the phone sounded – a low, chesty, spasmodic: “Shura, I cried … Thank you … I’ll call tomorrow …”

But tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow the phone was silent. The bell rang out a week later. I recognize the stentorian Bogatikow’s: “Alexander Shimonovich, hello!”. “Hello, Comrade Yuri Iosifovich!” Three or four common phrases and again “Shura – Yura”, Ilf and Petrov enter our souls, and we play dialogues. “How could you write such a thing ?!” He asks me. “It’s about my childhood!”. “Vysotsky also did not fight,” I wanted to say, but did not begin and hung up, as he had a week ago, unable to cope with the excitement.

After a while, the Kiev composer Inna Pushkar, with whom I work, wrote music to “Forty-first.” Bogatikov so wanted to record it! Inna often played and sang to him on the phone “The wounded sky came to us from the war …”

In early November 2002, my wife and I flew to Dusseldorf. I drive to Borispol. The mobile phone rang: “Shura, hello! Every time I reread your “Forty-first”, I cry. Probably, I became sentimental and stupid … ” -” Yurochka, not at all! – I objected emotionally. “I am immensely grateful to you that you are able to feel this way, to pass through the heart these lines!”. He continues: “I’m in Kiev, let’s meet.” I wanted to turn around, but the car was gaining speed, and things were urgent. I apologized: saying, I have plane in an hour, but I will be back, and we’ll meet right away. But in December Bogatikov passed away …

 Last February in Kiev, however, did not find money for Yury Bogatikov’s memorial evening, timed to his birthday, in this – too …

–  With this attitude to the memory of Yuri Iosifovich, his soul is not the one who suffers – it’s us who condemn ourselves, because memory is perhaps the most valuable thing in human life.

Recently, the organizers called me and asked me, along with Igor Poklad and Yuri Rybchinsky, to come to the Simferopol Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater on February 28. Promised to be Vasily Lanovoy, waited for Boris Shtokolov, but on January 6 the 75-year-old great Russian bass passed away …

I put down the phone, everything bubbled inside, memories flooded. All night long I could not sleep – I wrote a poem from memory, wrote it down at dawn so as not to forget:

Юрьев день Богатиков настал.
Сделай шаг, забудь про пьедестал.
Между нотой «до» и нотой «ля»
черною пластинкой крутится земля.
Ты уже шагнул за горизонт,
там Гуляев, здесь твой друг Кобзон.
Ты о нашей жизни расспроси.
Комом в горле встала нота «си».
Значит, не допел, не досказал,
не до…
Не объехал море городов,
все шутил, надеясь на авось.
А сегодня ты наш главный гость.
Гвоздь программы, Юра, проходи,
все твои гастроли впереди.
Видишь, зал тебя встречает стоя,
как положено встречать героя.
Все, что наболело, расскажи 
во всю ширь израненной души. 
Кто сказал, что с нами тебя нет, 
если ты из рук берешь букет. 
Славу ты на гордость променял, 
но всегда с тобою был твой зал. 
И сегодня мы в одном строю, 
песню будем петь шахтерскую твою.