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.

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

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice