Information about the author:
Larisa I. Tsvizhba
Larisa I. Tsvizhba, PhD in History, Senior Researcher, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Rozhdestvenka 12, 107996 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6085-1964
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.”