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Memoirs from Putin's Jewish high school language teacher


Vladimir Putin's German teacher died the other day in Israel, where she left back in 1973. What was little Volodya Putin like, what she taught him at school and why she was proud of him all her life - in the memoirs of Mina Yuditskaya.

Until 2005, she lived quietly and calmly in Israel, without attracting any attention to herself. A widowed woman of advanced age, who had neither children nor relatives, whiled away the time at infrequent meetings with friends. However, friends were also busy with their own concerns, so, as Mina Moiseevna Yuditskaya admitted, the former student Volodya became her only close person. Life brought them together again 35 years after their last meeting at the school graduation.

And immediately journalists from different countries visited Mina Moiseevna. All of them, as a rule, were interested in one question: could she then, at the dawn of the 70s, imagine that her student Volodya Putin would become the president of Russia? “I can’t imagine it even now,” answered Mina Moiseevna. “He was and remains Volodya Putin for me.” At the same time, she sincerely did not understand the interest that they suddenly began to show to her person, and to all the praises that, they say, not every teacher manages to educate the president of Russia, she repeated: “I was not the only one who taught him!”



Mina Moiseevna Yuditskaya - nee Berliner - was born in Ukraine, in the Chernihiv region. When she was still a little girl, the family moved to Leningrad. After graduating from school, Mina entered the Leningrad Institute of Foreign Languages ​​in 1938. At the beginning of World War II, the family from the besieged city was evacuated to the village of Sharlyk near Orenburg, where Mina, who had not yet graduated from the institute, worked as a German language teacher.

After the war, returning to Leningrad and graduating from the institute, she taught German at the Suvorov School, and then at the school where Vladimir Putin studied. “Gifted children from all over Leningrad and the region entered the 281st school, where I taught German. Volodya also entered there, - Mina Moiseevna recalled years later. - The school was with a chemical bias and belonged to the Institute of Technology. There were only 9-10th grades. If we talk about Volodya, then the word “very” can be used everywhere. Very modest, very reserved, very silent, very serious, very attentive. He did not play pranks and did not show off.



However, Vladimir Putin's student was not always so diligent. His first German teacher, Vera Dmitrievna Gurevich, recalled how her colleagues warned her when they learned that Volodya Putin had signed up for the German language study group: “Well, wait, he will show you more!” Years later, Vera Gurevich is recognized by the authors of the book “From the first person. Conversations with Vladimir Putin”: “They told me that he was too smart, disorganized. He wasn't even a pioneer. Usually in the third grade they accepted. And precisely because he was so frisky, they did not accept him. Volodya changed dramatically himself already in the sixth grade. He apparently set himself this goal; Perhaps, I realized that I need to achieve something in life. He began to study without triples, and it was easy for him. Then he was finally accepted as a pioneer. And immediately after that, he became the chairman of the council of the detachment.

One way or another, but by the time he began studying with Mina Moiseevna, who became his class teacher, the leader of the court and the first initiator of walks on the roofs, Vladimir Putin, became more than a diligent student and a promising athlete. “He was a calm boy, and he was not at all pugnacious,” Yuditskaya said in an interview. - He studied well, there were no problems with him. Sometimes he said embarrassedly: “Sorry, Mina Moiseevna, I competed yesterday and didn’t have time to prepare.” He didn't like to get out. And the next day already answered “excellent”. He really was very fond of sports, I remember this well. I studied well. I don't think he needed much effort to do so. He was noticeably distinguished by his memory, so he had an excellent one. Therefore, he now easily mastered English.



Putin set himself a life goal precisely in those last two years of schooling under the guidance of Mina Moiseevna: “Even before I graduated from school, I had a desire to work in intelligence, although it seemed unattainable, like flying to Mars,” he said. Vladimir Putin. - I read books and watched movies. True, soon I wanted to become a sailor. But then again a scout. What struck me most of all was how small forces, literally the forces of one person, can achieve what entire armies could not do. One scout decided the fate of thousands of people. So, anyway, I understood it. To find out how they become scouts, I went to the reception room of the KGB Directorate somewhere at the beginning of the 9th grade. Some uncle came out to me. Oddly enough, he listened to me. “I want,” I say, “to work for you.” “It's encouraging, but there are a few issues.” – “Which ones?” “First of all,” he says, “we don’t take initiators. Secondly, you can get to us only after the army or some civil university.” Naturally, I asked: “After which university?” He says: “After anyone!” He seemed to want to get rid of me. And I say: “Which one is preferable?” – “Legal!” - "Understood"".

So, after graduating from school, the future president of Russia, to whom many predicted a sports career, entered the law faculty of Leningrad University and graduated in 1975. Two years earlier, Mina Moiseevna left the Soviet Union for Israel. Already in the late 90s, while watching TV, Yuditskaya for the first time since working in a Soviet school saw the “boy” whom she had once taught. “I saw Yeltsin, and Putin was away from him. I ran to the TV to take a closer look, ”said Mina Moiseevna. From that moment on, she began to follow the life of her former student, not advertising her acquaintance with him, and certainly not looking for opportunities for self-promotion.



The idea of ​​a meeting appeared only when Vladimir Putin announced his upcoming visit to Israel: “I learned on TV that Volodya was coming to Israel, that there would be a meeting with veterans of the Great Patriotic War. True, I am not a veteran, I was evacuated, but I decided to try my luck. I took all my documents and went to the Russian consulate. Somehow there was a queue. I went to see some official. I stood for a long time, and they sent me back quickly and rather categorically. Even harsh."

Not despairing, Mina Moiseevna decided to go not to the consulate, but to the embassy: “There is a smaller queue, and the conversation turned out longer. They talked to me in such a restrained way, they didn’t really say anything and politely said goodbye. And two days later, a beautiful car drives up, and such a chic uncle comes to me, puts me in this car. I also thought what a representative driver they have. It turned out the consul. Brought to the embassy. We were received warmly and told in detail when the meeting would be with President Putin. They took me home. I was terribly worried. Before the meeting, the car was again given, and they brought us all to Jerusalem, to the King David Hotel. We were led into a huge hall. I asked one of the guards where the president would sit. He replies: “In front of a vase of flowers.” And there are nameplates, and I look, I find myself in front of him. Suddenly Volodya enters! You know he hasn't changed much. The same facial expression, the same springy, athletic gait. Even the manner somehow in his own way to get up from the chair remained. He approached, shook hands with all the veterans, and kissed me. Photojournalists and cameramen flew in.”



For many years after that memorable meeting for her, Mina Moiseevna remained the subject of interest of journalists, to whom she again and again told the details of her communication with the President of Russia. About how, after the official part and farewell to the rest of the veterans, they drank tea together for a long time and recalled their school years. How Putin introduced her to the President of Israel and gave her a watch with a commemorative engraving. As after that meeting, a representative of the Russian embassy continued to visit her.

After the Russian diplomatic mission realized that Mina Moiseevna lives in a house without an elevator and with pain in her legs overcomes 50 steps up and down every day, she was presented with a new apartment. Yuditskaya did not agree to accept this gift for a long time. And after much persuasion, she chose the simplest and most modest of the several proposed options, which, according to her, is “cheaper to maintain and easier to wash.” She handed Putin a short note: “There is an amazing word in the vocabulary of the Russian language. Addressing you, I pronounce it. This word is "thank you". Nevertheless, you remain the most valuable gift for me. I live and I'm proud of it. I wish you a lot of strength and energy. Take care of your health. It's only now that I realize how important it is."

Meanwhile, Yuditskaya's serious illness progressed. However, few people knew about this - the former teacher did not complain about anything and was not treated in expensive clinics. Mina Moiseevna quietly passed away at the age of 97. All these years, she continued to follow the speeches, actions and decisions of her most outstanding student: “I will see Volodya, listen and start thinking for hours how my other students will react to these words of his, how they will be perceived.”