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Marya Volkonsky

    "As for Marya Raevsky, a small, lively, mischievous, graceful brunette: Some say she was the secret passion of his life. Marya, however, who Carried the Decembrist leader Prince Volkonsky in 1825, firmly denied that Pushkin had ever felt anything but friendship for her. "As a poet," she said, "Pushkin felt obliged to fall in love with every pretty woman and every girl he met. In reality, he was in love with his muse, and transposed everything he saw into poetry!"»
    Pushkin himself wrote: "I have been more or less in love with every pretty woman I have ever met. All of them have laughed at me. All, except one, played the flirt with me."

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Russian literature / A. Pushkin

  Ruslan and Liudmila
  Tale of the pope and of his workman Balda
  Tale of tsar Saltan
  Tale of the fisherman and the little fish
  Tale of the golden cockerel
  Marya Volkonsky
  Natalya Goncharova

N.Kulandine. "The portrat of Marya Volkonsky"

N.Kulandine. "The portrat of Marya Volkonsky"
1983   Rostov enamel


This is for you - but will the rhythm
Of this dark music touch your ear?
And will your modest nature fathom
My heart's unruly striving here?
Or will the poet's bold submission
Of verse, as once of love, again
Pass by without your recognition,
As unacknowledged now as then?

Know it again, at least, the rhyme
That once, I think, was dear to you -
And know that since that parting chime,
Whatever changing fate I knew,
The memory of words last spoken
By you, and your sad wilderness,
Have been my only sacred token,
Sole refuge, ultimate redress.

A.Pushkine. "Poltava". 1828

    All except one: Perhaps he was thinking of Marya? Leaving aside the question of an exclusive passion, Pushkin must certainly have been attracted by this child who was unfolding and becoming Woman before his eyes. But the more genuine his affection, the more reticent his approach. He might pose as a Don Juan in front of less virtuous creatures, but he became tongue-tied in the presence of someone he sincerely respected. He said nothing to Marya; or if he did, she did not understand him. Too young, perhaps; in those days she was still in the care of her English governess and her nanny, and her ideas did not extend beyond climbing the steep mountain path or dabbling her feet in the waves.
    But later? No letter or document has survived to reveal the destiny of this unshared love; Pushkin's works alone attest to its strength and persistence. From this period date his first poems on the theme of the unknown, adorable and irreplaceable woman who has not responded to his love and whom he is trying to forget.* He immortalized Marya's childish play in "Eugene Onegin", gave her name to the heroine of "The Fountain of Bakhchisarai" and her features to that of "The Prisoner of the Caucasus"; to all appearances, his "Poltava" is dedicated to her as well:

        "Clearer than day,
         Blacker than night..."

Henry Troyat.  "Alexander Pushkin"      

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    Maria Volkonsky, daughter of the General N. Raevski, and a wife of General-Major Sergey Volkonsky, just had a baby when her husband was exiled in 1825. Forced to renounce all her possessions and titles, she even had to leave her infant son behind (the baby died 2 years after her departure). Without telling her family, she asked Tzar's permission to follow her husband to Siberia. In order to strike the Decembrists totally out of their lives, the Church and State passed a law whereby the Decembrist's wives were considered widows and allowed to remarry within their husbands' lifetime without an official divorce.
    However, Maria Volkonsky turned down this offer, and so did the other Decembrist's wives. When they departed for Siberia, they left behind their privilegies as nobles and were reduced to the status of exiled prisoners' wives, with restricted rights of travel, correspondence and property ownership. They were not allowed to take their children with them, and were not always allowed to return to the European part of Russia even after their husbands' death. Marya followed her husband to the salt, silver and lead mines where the workers toiled from six in the morning until 11 at night, in chains. She died in 1863, seven years after the pardon Tsar Alexander II finally granted the Decembrists.

Pushkin wrote in "Eugene Onegin":
"Love tyrannises all the ages; but youthful, virgin hearts derive a blessing from its blasts and rages, like fields in spring when storms arrive."