OBITUARIES : Gavriil Troepolsky

Gavriil Troepolsky was the best-selling author of the story White Bim, the Black Ear, about a dog who travelled round the world across five continents. It was translated into 20 languages and sold millions of copies.

Troepolsky was born in 1905, the year of the first Russian revolution, in Tambov Province, the son of a Russian Orthodox priest. He was teaching in a local school at the time of Stalin's ruthless collectivisation campaign in 1928-30, and then graduated from agricultural school as an agronomist. For more than 20 years he worked on one of the millions of state collective farms in mid-Russia, until 1954, when he became a full-time writer.

His first short story appeared in 1937 in a local magazine. His first book, Iz Zapisok Agronoma ("Diaries of an Agronomist"), was published in 1953 by the literary magazine Novy Mir, edited by Alexander Tvardovsky, who was of peasant origin and had himself experienced the collectivisation. The following year he moved to Voronezh, a big industrial city south-east of Moscow, where he remained all his life.

All Troepolsky's books concerned nature and people working on the land. His first novel, Chernozem ("Black Earth"), describes the dramas of rural life under Stalin. It appeared in Novy Mir in parts over the years 1950 to 1961 and was attacked by the Soviet literary establishment. His O Rekakh, pochvakh i prochikh ("About Rivers, Lands etc", 1965) documented how Russia's natural resources were being barbarically exploited and predicted an ecological catastrophe.

Troepolsky was elected a member of the board of the USSR Union of Soviet Writers in 1967. From 1975, the year he received the State Prize, he occupied a senior position on the board of the Russian Federation Union of Writers.

But it was his brilliant Bely Bim, Chernoye Ukho (1971, translated into English as White Bim, the Black Ear), the tale of a globe-trotting setter, that brought Troepolsky fame. It was regarded as allegorical and the setter identified with his editor Tvardovsky, a close friend, who died the same year. The story sold millions of copies round the world, all the currency proceeds of which were taken by the state. Troepolsky often appeared in the Literary Gazette, Our Contemporary and other literary magazines; his three-volume Complete Works was published in 1977-78. He is reported to have expressed joy when the Communist system collapsed. His house in Voronezh, became a place of pilgrimage for young writers.

Jeanne Vronskaya

Gavriil Nikolayevich Troepolsky, writer: born Novospasovka, Russia 29 November 1905; died Voronezh, Russia 12 July 1995.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower