All cities of Russia seized by Bolsheviks were for a short time turned into a smelly, fetid and trushchobny bog. Smart hotels turned in dirty klopovnik, profitable houses in decent areas became brothels of criminals, and the central streets are filled up with the broken domonical furniture and rustic rags... Security officers shot all city yard keepers who were supported earlier by police... Dirt in the yards threatens today with general epidemic in the south of Russia... ".
(B. Solodovnikov. Volny Hleborob newspaper,
No. 6, 19.04. 1918 Elisavetgrad).
In the same row with actors
Article of the correspondent of the provincial newspaper testifies that Bolshevist revolution changed the settled life of the Russian province. Triumphal procession of the Soviet power led to cruel events in the empire cities. The crowds of inhabitants warmed up by revolutionary propagandists from workmen, salesmen and workers poured out on streets "to struggle with tsarism". First who got to them towards, were policemen, okolotochny supervisors and... yard keepers - an embodiment of autocratic oppression. The known Russian writer A. I. Kuprin in the autobiographical novel of "Cadet" gave the figurative picture of madness which captured people at the beginning of 1918: "The big crowd was divided into small groups and began to catch yard keepers and policemen. The yesterday's country men dressed recently in police uniforms, pulled out on the street and hung up on trees. Furious butchers knitted bearded men - yard keepers and beat number metal plates directly to a breast shod nails, then dexterously suspended for feet to gas lamps. Blood streamed on a beard and streams flew down along pavements... By the evening in all city didn't remain free lamps... ". The anger of crowd not incidentally addressed on yard keepers. Within several centuries they were an outpost of the state law and order and watched loyalty of citizens of the Russian Empire. All yard keepers had the lowest police rank and in Tables of ranks took a place in the same row with actors. The guarding vertical of the state began with them.One and a half centuries ago the yard keeper represented impressive small in the white apron, staying in constant cares. It carried wide black wide trousers and high boots. The undergarment, podpoyasanny a kumachovy belt was outerwear. In the winter instead of a cap to them the round lambskin cap relied, and at night they put on huge, to toe, black sheepskin coat watch with a big shalevy collar. On a neck the big copper or brass metal plate on which were around beaten out the name of the street, house number and police quarter hung. The yard keeper daily checked all not locked rooms, watched that none of residents didn't cover at itself(himself) not people known to police, and in case of appearance of suspects in the territory entrusted to it immediately reported about it to the local police officer. The yard keeper wasn't an informer in classical sense of this word. Except collection of information and transfer of its police, it was allocated with the right to detain criminals and violators of public tranquillity. The pickpocket caught in the act, he punished the power: I drew chalk a circle on a back at the pilferer and I handed over it a sweeper. The thief worked until the end of day, and then was delivered in a police station. Duty yard keepers gave help to those who needed it.
In police manual it is accurately specified: "The persons which have suddenly ached or sustained injuries seen on the street... are obliged to deliver immediately to the next private houses, and unconsciously drunk to transfer to the next watchmen for further in the same way of the direction on I move down". They watched that small children didn't remain in the yards without supervision, didn't allow beggars to the house to ask a handout, didn't allow to take out a thing without residents. After problems of night watch were assigned to yard keepers for supervision of order and public safety, they were carried to number of the persons which insult at execution of official duties by them was pursued on an equal basis with an insult of the bottom ranks of police.
Spiteful and vindictive
The remained sources don't give information on exact number of yard keepers in pre-revolutionary Nikolaev. However the quarterly report of the chief of police of March 4, 1879 kept curious statistics. The city in the XIX century was divided into 4 neighbourhoods (site) which served 78 bottom police ranks and 42 armed naval policemen.The document contains a request to the Nikolaev town governor "to find 248 manufactured sheepskins for tailoring of fur coats night patrol in inns of the Spassky neighbourhood". On one winter sheepskin coat about four sheep skins were required - means, yard keepers in the Spassky site was 62. We multiply this figure by four and we receive required result - 248 people. However in other neighbourhoods there were less inns, than in densely populated Spassk, respectively, a number of yard keepers in pre-revolutionary Nikolaev could fluctuate: from 150 to 170 established posts. It were, as a rule, healthy, not old peasants from neighboring villages which in search of earnings got over to the city. They lived in the kamorakh and received on 18 - 20 rubles a month. Yard keepers were appointed to the position only with the consent of police in which on each of them the registration form was got. Almost all of them worked as informers, for what received from police department of 10 rubles a month and bonus "following the results of a year".
With approach of twilight the guard of the yard supplied with a whistle and a metal plate with number on duty, having closed on the big lock of a collar, I came to a porch of a front staircase and vigilantly I peered at passersby. The strangers, wished to enter the house, I asked to whom go, I was interested in the visit purpose. Yard keepers in Nikolaev differed from the Odessa and Kherson colleagues. They were famous for the vindictiveness and gonorovy character. In 1889 officers of the shlyakhetsky case Arseny Zhivotovsky and Pavel Sinelnikov were compelled to interrupt business trip and literally to run from the city, escaping from "knights of a sweeper". Engineers had imprudence to return to the hotel late at night and... offended the yard keeper, without having paid tip that he opened them doors in inopportune hour. It was an inexcusable mistake. Young people began to receive in the morning wet firewood, long the fireplace, office mail of lodgers mysteriously why couldn't kindle where - that vanished, and signal from a staff of fleet couldn't find the addressee in time. At military engineers "friction" on service began. They couldn't дозваться the yard keeper to order the carrier or to call the laundress, they had to inflate a morning samovar and to go to the milk seller. The patience of officers ran low when "the chief of the yard" refused to let to them on the apartment of guests - two "the bespachportnykh of ladies without ticket". Angry lodgers pulled out the impudent fellow from kamor and began to beat him in the face of prostitutes.The disturbing whistle forced to run together yard keepers from the neighboring houses, a fight expanded and thrown on the street. Forces were unequal. Officers grabbed the weapon, but was late: the called squad of naval guards arrested all. Yard keepers delivered in a site, and military engineers saw off on a guardroom. In three days, having received on office collecting, young people wrote the official report about transfer to Odessa. Archival funds of the Nikolaev police contain data of expeditious actions for the facts of the become frequent robberies of a rooming house near streets Petty-bourgeois and Sevastopol the Moscow police neighbourhood. Lodgers of hotels during the summer of 1897 endured a series of the same thefts which painfully struck under the budget of residents. Unknown persons got in broad daylight on attics of houses and removed the washed linen from ropes. Bedding at the end of XIX was liquid goods and cost very much, on sheets monograms of owners were embroidered, linen sets for years were saved for a dowry of future bride. Thieves acted impudently. Police ambushes, mass searches at ragmen didn't yield results. Linen began to steal not only on attics, but also in open verandahs. Data on these thefts quickly turned into a city joke and became property of newspapers. The chief of police screwed up the face and told off supervisors, supervisors - policemen, policemen... yard keepers. Thieves didn't give in on primitive provocations. They avoided the yards where at night sheets defiantly dried, and took away production where there was no ambush. In August of theft suddenly stopped, and... all calmed down. However detectives didn't give in to the general euphoria, soon they caught criminals red-handed. Yard keepers Stepan Getsov (registration counter No. 56) and Vasily Dudko (counter No. 59) were detained with a cart of bed linen at the Kherson customs. Stolen they wanted to sell all silently in deaf villages of the province. The city history recorded one more significant event from life of the Nikolaev yard keepers. In 1912 on the occasion of 300 - the anniversaries of House of Romanovs there was the royal order to award all bottom police ranks and yard keepers a commemorative medal in honor of a significant event, but... to the Kherson justice 12 representations came to a high award only. Yard keepers were afflicted. Their deputation carried the lower application addressed to the town governor counter - the admiral Alexander Ivanovich Myazgovsky "...not to leave attention and to petition before department for rewarding loyal for faultless service for the benefit of the Fatherland not sorry for... ". In a year the request was granted. Each Nikolaev yard keeper from now on was at a medal and regularly bore police service.
Bolsheviks very quickly understood that during revolution "went too far" with yard keepers. In 1925 they revived this institute at house committees. The person with a sweeper began to serve faithfully to the new power, but already "for free of charge" and on pain of "vychistka" from an occupied living space. In the years of mass repressions because of house managers and yard keepers in GULAG there were tens of thousands of innocent people. And here cases of repressions against yard keepers met extremely seldom. In Brezhnev's times this profession found new social sounding. ZhEKI provided to yard keepers a departmental living space. The freedom-loving bohemia went to sweep streets to avoid administrative article for parasitism. Musicians and poets perceived janitor destiny as a non-obedience symbol to the social promotion, an existing way of life and thinking. Leaving in yard keepers or firemen meant for intellectuals public designation of the status "internal emigrants", on the one hand, with another - gave a lot of free time for creativity. Through the Nikolaev ZhEKI passed many talented people: Kim Breytburg, Alexander Serov, Alexander Topchy and other known poets, musicians, journalists took with a sweeper to the streets of our city. All managed to visit yard keepers and firemen practically known fate - musicians of the middle 80-x. Today the Person with a sweeper lives in other world, it has pleasures and grieves. But, however, it absolutely already other history.