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Kunst and Albers - the legend of Priamurye-2
Leonid Blyakher's essay on the history of the Far Eastern merchants: "Life is tragedy! Hurray!"
Far East Atlantis - a region that once emerged from the dark waters of a beautiful and mysterious land, and sunk into them. The end of the XIX - the beginning of the XX century became not just the time of economic prosperity of the Amur region and Primorye. It was a time of bright and strong people, bright deeds. I wanted to tell me about such people (continuation of the essay, beginning - "Kunst and Albers - the legend of Priamurye").
Leonid Blyakher Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Culturology of the Pacific State University, Doctor of Philosophy
The beginning is due to the construction of a unique store (now GUM) in Vladivostok. Such supermarkets at that time did not exist not only in European Russia, but also in Europe. Business is not only in the size of the store, superior to the famous Eliseevsky, but in the assortment, in the technique of trade, in the appearance of the counters. Providing credit for purchases, bonus programs, a system of discounts - all this is in the shop "Kunst and Albers" at the end of the XIX century, on the farthest and undeveloped outskirts of the world. And the assortment? According to the memories of the inhabitants of the city those years in the shop "Kunst and Albers" you could buy ALL: from the car of the last brand to the Ussuri tiger, from the products of the last fashion show from Paris to the exotic fruits of Oceania. If the goods suddenly were not, then the order was accepted and executed within a month.
And unless the store. Dattan is building a hostel for workers, churches, public buildings, his efforts open hospitals and educational institutions, including the Oriental Institute - the first institution of higher education in the region, the germ of the future FENU and DFU. Gradually increasing. Activity "Kunst and Albers" spills outside Vladivostok. Through the efforts of the architect Yunghandal, not just shops appear, but cultural centers that are qualitatively higher than those that surrounded the inhabitants of the region.
In Nikolsk-Ussuriisk and Khabarovsk, in Blagoveshchensk and Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, in dozens of cities of the governor-general there are institutions of the company that are not just trade missions, but cultural centers that have gradually expanded into quarters. An important feature was the constant concern of the owner and the manager about the company's employees. Work on it should not just be profitable, but honorable, convenient, prestigious. For workers, dormitories were built with canteens, courses for boys-messengers were organized. Training for employees was paid.
Unusual kulturtregererskaya and charitable activities of the "most famous German" in the governor-general receive a well-deserved reward. Adolf Duttan becomes a commerce adviser to the Russian Empire. On the representation of the emperor receives the German order, reduces acquaintance with the supreme light of Germany and Russia, becomes a hereditary Russian nobleman and a real state councilor. Exhibitions of products of the company receive the highest awards at prestigious exhibitions in Odessa and Nizhny Novgorod, outside of Russia. It seemed that life only promises roses. A loving wife, a successful company, children grow up. Son, Alexander - one of the best students of the gymnasium, daughters thrive in music. Honor and respect, and sincere, not to the show, on the part of the most diverse strata of the population. But ... it was 1914 a year.
For many years before the fatal 1914 year, already the co-owner of the trading house and the millionaire Adolf Duttan decided to visit his distant homeland. Almost a year the journey lasted. In many cities of Russia long stops were made, connections were fastened. Visiting his native city was not particularly long, but triumphal. He gets an offer to become a sales agent, and later a consul of the German Empire. The main thing that Duttan brought back was wife Maria Fendler - a woman who became his faithful companion for life, giving birth to him 4 sons and 3-d daughters.
And before the war, his wife and younger children were staying in Germany, and Adolf Vasilyevich himself and his sons stayed in Vladivostok. With the outbreak of the war, a front line lay between the parts of the family, on both sides of which spy hysteria began. In the first place, Germans in Russia and Russian subjects in Germany fell under it. Despite the orders, which showered the distant homeland of Duttan and the title of German consul, he, like his wife, were Russian subjects. Russian subjects were children of the Far Eastern merchant. A wife living in Germany wrote to Vladivostok about constant attacks from her neighbors, about the arrest of her son Pavel on suspicion of spying for Russia.
A loving father takes action. He writes letters to Germany, familiar ministers. members of the reigning house, their "good friends", asking for protection for their family. Protection was obtained. There is a document signed by the prince from the house of the Hohenzollerns, confirming the "full trustworthiness of Frau Dattan and her children." But defending the family, the head of the trading house put himself under attack. The spy mania spread on the other side of the front. The German entrepreneur, and even the German consul, although hereditary nobleman of Russia, could not help but be under suspicion.
I have already read several materials on the low-value role in the further tragic events of Dattan's main competitors, the company Churin and Co., headed by A.V. Kasyanov. Although Kunst and Albers were based in Vladivostok, and Churin and Co in Blagoveshchensk, their interests were constantly intersected. Although there were joint actions, especially in the sphere of public charity. Despite the fact that these enterprises are not friendly, the accusations against them seem somewhat contrived. Their essence lies in the fact that it is Kasyanov, who lives in the capital by that time, hires journalist A.F. Ossendowski, with whom he made his acquaintance in Harbin, to attack Adolf Duttan, the consequence of this was the arrest and the reference of "the most famous German".
The point is that, after a short and not successful "revolutionary activity", enrichment with the help of Ostap Bender's method, vulgar blackmail, is rumored to be an important financial aid to the future associate of Baron Ungern and the famous Polish writer. Duttan himself referred to Ossendowski's "urgent request" to transfer 200 000 rubles in his name in order not to publish compromising materials. The role of Kasyanov in this situation seems to be superfluous. There is a beginning writer who does not mind making money on spy mania, there is a rich German, kindly treated not only by the Russian court, but also German, there is public hysteria. In these circumstances, correspondence with prominent dignitaries of Germany could well be interpreted as spyware. Moreover, Dattan increasingly spoke of his desire to retire and go to neutral Switzerland.
Be that as it may, in October 1914, despite huge donations, despite the fact that his son, Alexander from the first days was at the front, and stories about his heroism were regularly published in local newspapers, Adolf Duttan was arrested. The company's activities were terminated (most of it, indeed, passed under the control of Kasyanov), and Dattan's companion, young Alfred Albers, heir to Gustav, went private to the front.
For Dattan intervened, the facts of the espionage that discredited him were not found. But after getting out of prison, the nobleman and former honorary citizen went not to his home, but to exile, to the village of Kolpashevo, Tomsk province, "under the supervision of the police." For many years, there was a former first businessman, a hereditary nobleman and a real state councilor. Of the several thousand employees of the firm, out of hundreds of friends of the disgraced millionaire, only a Chinese servant and a governess remained with him. Cold and unsettled broke it. In 1919, a sick old man returns to Vladivostok. Of all the trading empire, only the branches in Ussuriisk and Khabarovsk have survived over the years. But, even in the seventh decade, having received two "funeral" from the front, he struggled for two long years, trying to restore the former financial position and partially succeeds. Finally, completely crushed, he returns to Germany in 1921 year, where he soon dies.
The firm remains on Alfred Albers, who escaped from the front and broke through Vladivostok through roaring Russia. Probably, something special was in these people. They fought to the end. In 1922, Alfred, like his competitor Kasyanov, is transferring his activities to North China, the KVZhD area. But already in 2 year is making an attempt to return to Russia. Again, although on a smaller scale, trade boils in the cities of the region. After all, despite the liquidation of the Far Eastern Republic, the Bolsheviks behaved much more modestly, and private enterprises and the free peasantry prevailed until the middle of the 30-ies. True, "elite goods" no longer reach the dying "trading palaces." More and more consumer goods are coming. But the centers of universal trade flourish in Harbin and Shanghai.
Only in 1934 year, due to the nationalization of all trade enterprises in the region, did Kunst and Albers finally leave the Russian land. Chinese branches existed longer. Until the very second world war. After the war, and Alfred Albers returned to Germany. The company continues to exist in Hamburg. It seems the story is over, closed.
But there were unique houses, decorating and today the cities of the Far East. They are building cities today, too. It is not by chance that one of the guests of Khabarovsk spoke about the "fashionable European city" in an incredible distance from Europe. Remained the experience and memory of the failed, but such a possible flowering of the Far Eastern lands, the Far East, once superior to the development rate of the "Far West". There remained the experience of unique, strong and beautiful people who invested in this land work, talent, strength. Remained a memory. We are left! Because - the sequel follows!