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150 years since the birth of Nikolai Bauman

29 мая 2023

Author: Angelina Shaposhnikova

150 years since the birth of Nikolai Bauman

Read 7 minutes

On the square of the Sloboda Palace, in front of the main building of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, there is a young man. He raises his head, boldly looks forward, his hand is resolutely clenched into a fist, and a smile is frozen on his lips. Who is he? A mathematician, a physicist, or a spaceship engineer?

This is Nikolai Ernestovich Bauman — a revolutionary, an unshakable Bolshevik-Leninist who made a special contribution to the history of Russia. A person with a strong character and a tragically cut-off fate.

The birthplace of Nikolai Bauman is Kazan. In historical references of that time, it is noted as a large Volga city with a developed factory and trade industry. Nikolai was born on May 17 (29), 1873 in the family of a carpenter and wallpaper maker Ernest Andreevich and his wife Mina Karlovna. In addition to the future revolutionary, his parents had four more children — sons Alexander, Ernest, Peter and daughter Elsa.

Childhood on the Volga is a special period in Nikolai's life. From the earliest years, he was distinguished by his agility, curiosity and independence. The boy was drawn to the Volga expanses, he was looking for adventures on them. Nikolai quickly learned to swim and dive well, skate and ski, and even tried to master horse riding. With her, Nikolai, despite his unshakable character, not everything worked out. Once a horse hit Bauman in the face, after which he was left with a scar. Nevertheless, as his relatives noted, this scar seemed to go to the energetic face of Nikolai.

Since childhood, Nikolai not only watched the work with his hands, but also studied it. Ernest Andreevich was a skilled craftsman and took on a variety of orders, among which were the turning of billiard balls, and the manufacture of bone jewelry. Little Bauman had the opportunity to be in his father's carpentry workshop every day and create his own products. For example, paper kites. Nikolai did not just glue, but designed, thought through all the details and decorated them, getting in the end not so much a toy as a full-fledged flying structure.

Working life surrounded Nikolai not only in the walls of the house. Little Bauman lived in communication with many people. His friends were the children of artisans, and opposite the house of the Bauman family was the Peter and Paul Cathedral, which was surrounded by numerous workshops and shops. There was also a market nearby, where artisans, artisans, and visiting peasants traded. Here you could always meet representatives of a wide variety of professions, nationalities, estates.

Parents took care of the children's education, and Nikolai could read and write from an early age, so he easily entered the first grade of the second Kazan gymnasium. Bauman spoke with special warmth about the lessons of the Russian language and literature, even then interested in the topic of the struggle for national happiness. Among the books he read, despite their absence from the program, were Radishchev, Chernyshevsky, Nekrasov, Dobrolyubov and others.

Despite his love of language, in 1891 Nikolai Bauman and his friend Vladimir Sushchinsky decided to enter the veterinary institute without the permission of their parents (because of which Nikolai would leave his home after). Sushchinsky in his memoirs said the following about this:

"The youth of that time, the part of it that went into the revolution, was active, not contemplative. At that time, such characters as Lenin and Dzerzhinsky were forged. Social ideals were then being worked out, but once worked out, they quickly became practical goals, incentives for actions and business decisions. Nikolai Bauman was also looking for a better and faster way out on the path of serving the people; the way out was found."

Nikolai was firmly convinced that a veterinarian is "a job close to the people and necessary for them."

Fellow students noted Nikolai as a strong-willed, energetic person who fought for the truth. One day one of the students decided to deceive his professor and not conduct a study, but simply come up with numbers to the pre-planned conclusions. For this work, the unscrupulous young man should have received a gold medal. Nevertheless, this story was made public, and led by Bauman, the course of students demanded that the student be expelled from the institute. One of the professors said that "from the very first words of the conversation with Nikolai Ernestovich, the interlocutor was overcome by a sense of trust and respect, although Bauman was only twenty years old at that time...".

The fate of an ordinary working man especially worried Nikolai. Yevgrafych (this is the name Bauman received among the workers) believed that a clear answer was needed — what a revolutionary should do in order to act and fight for the political rights of the working people in the first place. He followed the reports of local newspapers about the arrest of students, enthusiastically read literature on the history of political economy, sociology and general history. A special place was occupied by literature from St. Petersburg — special brochures for reading to peasants and workers, illegal literature, leaflets. One of Bauman's favorite expressions: "To do is to do."

Nikolai begins his work as an underground propagandist among workers as a student. He is working hard to create a strictly secret circle in which it would be possible not only to study Marxist literature in Russian, but also to translate imported from St. Petersburg books on political economy from German into Russian.

After graduating from the Veterinary Institute in 1895, Nikolai's life takes on a new rhythm. First he goes to Saratov county to work as an Omsk veterinarian. Here Bauman continues Marxist propaganda. In 1896 , Nikolai moved to St. Petersburg and joins the ranks of the "Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class." In 1897, he was first arrested for nineteen months, after which he was exiled to Vyatka province, from where he fled abroad.

And yet in 1901 he illegally returned to Russia, where in February 1902 he would be arrested again. In August 1902, Nikolai escaped from the Kiev Lukyanovka prison abroad, but a year later he returned to Russia and takes over the leadership of the Moscow Bolshevik Organization. In June 1904, he was imprisoned in Tagansky prison until October 1905.

Parents were especially worried about the fate of Nikolai, but his confidence could not be broken. In his letters to his father , he writes:

"I am very sorry to hear that You still can't or won't understand me. Does your long life experience not tell you that every person should go their own way, that there is no wide beaten path in life for those who are able to think and feel?.. In reality, he is unhappy who has strayed from his real path or could not find it at all; and happy is the one who goes steadily, without fear and doubt, to and straight where his conscience and convictions point him. A person cannot be happy if he is doomed to a constant struggle with his inner voice, if he has entered into a deal with his conscience."

It was October 18 (31), 1905. A huge revival, an extraordinary uplift of spirit reigned in the vast classrooms of the Imperial Moscow Technical School packed with workers and in the courtyard, where columns with flags, banners, posters were already being built. "Freedom to prisoners! We demand a general amnesty! Down with the tsarist arbitrariness!" — these were the demands of the protesters.

Nikolai Ernestovich was on his way to the factory to call for more workers. Bauman jumped onto the cab on the move. One of the demonstrators managed to pass a red banner to Nikolai Ernestovich. "I'll be with you in less than five minutes!" Bauman shouted. And in the memory of the participants of the demonstration, it was forever imprinted: "the spiritualized "Uncle Kolya" in a cab with a waving red banner in his hands. Everyone turned to the right, directing their gaze to "Uncle Kolya" in anticipation of his return with the workers." On October 18 (31), 1905, Nikolai Ernestovich Bauman was killed by a blow to the head.

Today, May 29, marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nikolai Bauman. 24 streets, a metro station, the main technical university of the country — they all bear the name of a great revolutionary, a fighter for truth. The memory of Nikolai Ernestovich Bauman continues to live in the history of our country and our beloved university.

(based on the book by M.A. Novoselov "Bauman")

Photo: Sergey Kushlevich


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