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
  • Get to the point
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: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living