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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Larisa I. Tsvizhba
  • Pages: 491–500
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
  • Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
  • Rights – URL: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: Abkhazia in Russian Literature of the 19th — 20th Centuries: in 3 vols. Vol. 2
  • DOI:
  • EDN:

  • Year of publication: 2023
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Tsvizhba, L.I. “Pages of History in B.V. Shinkuba’s Novel ‘The Last of the Departed’.” Abkhaziia v russkoi slovesnosti XIX–XX vv.: v 3 t. [Abkhazia in Russian Literature of the 19th–20th Centuries: in 3 vols.], vol. 2, ex. ed. M.I. Shcherbakova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2023, pp. 491–500. (In Russian)

Information about the author:

Larisa I. Tsvizhba, PhD in History, Senior Researcher, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Rozhdestvenka 12, 107996 Moscow, Russia.


Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


The historical novel by B.V. Shinkuba “The Last of the Departed” is based on the confession of the hundred-year-old Zaurkan Zolak, the last of the Ubykhs, who lived out his days in one of the Turkish villages. The novel conveys documented military clashes between the Russian army and the peoples of the Caucasus in the 19th century. Comparison of individual scenes of the novel and archival documents makes it possible to identify the coincidence of artistic descriptions of the tragic history of the Ubykhs with real events: their place of residence, lifestyle, raids, including on Abkhazia, disagreements in Ubykh society on the issue of attitude towards Russia, the role of the main Ubykh surname Berzek, to which Hadji Berzek and his nephew belong. Both in the novel and in archival documents, much attention is paid to the ruler of Abkhazia, Mikhail Shervashidze, who acted as an intermediary between the Ubykhs and Russian generals. Solving the key question for themselves: to submit and stay to live where the Russian generals indicate, or to move to Turkey, the Ubykhs chose resettlement, which entailed their complete disappearance. The identified historical sources confirm the authenticity of the events described in B. Shinkuba’s novel “The Last of the Departed.”

  • Keywords: Caucasus, Turkey, Russians, Ubykhs, Berzeks, Zaurkan Zolak, Mikhail Shervashidze, oath, eviction, death of relatives.


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