Artur Smolyaninov as Adjutant Colonel Kozyr in the TV movie “White Guard”. Photo: TK Russia
Quite often, literature not only comprehends reality, but also constructs the future. So it was with the works of Mikhail Bulgakov – in particular, with the novels “Running” and “The White Guard”, which have become especially relevant right now. But cinema often models the fate of artists who play ambiguous roles. This happened to Artur Smolyaninov – in 2012 he embodied the image of an uneducated adjutant Sashko Boyko, hung with shoulder straps and ready to kill Russians under the Petliurist banners, and in 2023 the actor admitted on camera that he was not opposed to joining the Armed Forces of Ukraine and observe Russia in the form of nuclear ashes.
“KP” spoke with the St. Petersburg director Sergei Snezhkin, who filmed the “White Guard”, where Arthur played. And he looks with condescension at the statements of Smolyaninov.
Sergei Snezhkin (center) on the set of The White Guard.
“I would not call the series prophetic, there is no need to bring the great Bulgakov to such an absurdity as a comparison with the position of Smolyaninov,” Snezhkin believes. – As a single case – it is possible. That’s why Mikhail Afanasyevich and a brilliant writer showed us how it happens. I never get tired of repeating – both to my students and to everyone else: Bulgakov now needs to be re-read, not read. It was him, and not some kind of Ulitskaya. Unfortunately, citizens do not turn to culture and art; we have such victims as Smolyaninov.
— Well, how? It’s largely not his fault that [после распада СССР] was fed in this way [на русофобии и поклонении западу]. That’s how they were brought up. Whole generations. Do you think this is a special case? There will be even more of them. And we warned. Mikhail Bulgakov and your obedient servant.
So he doesn’t even know what he’s talking about?
– What are you talking about. This is a victim of anti-Russian policy. There are terrible victims on the battlefield, but there are those like Smolyaninov. He doesn’t even dare to call him an asshole. It seems to him, the poor fellow, that this is how one should live, one should think this way. Why? Because for thirty years in a row he was supported in this. Enemies were brought up – institutes, the environment, film festivals, Kinotavry, all that. And the problem is not even that Smolyaninov and his ilk commit nasty and mean things.
— In what? Is it that people like him are darkness?
– And that when all [спецоперация и опала России] over, they will come back and continue doing the same. And everything will be the same as it was. And there are no signals from the Ministry of Culture in this regard. Because we are [твердости по отношению к артистам] afraid like fire. But all of them [кто уехал и поливает страну] will be back! As for Smolyaninov, how can he live now? He, the poor fellow, knows nothing …