It is no exaggeration to say that Dmitry Mindiashvili’s wrestling school is the same recognizable symbol of achievement and contribution our country to the treasury of the values of world civilization, like the ballet of the Bolshoi Theater. Remember – “… and also in the field of ballet we are ahead of the rest?” When it comes to the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Krasnoyarsk, interlocutors from other regions of the country immediately recall: Yenisey, Surikov, Astafiev, Yarygin, Lomanov, Saytiev … Along with them is the name of Dmitry Mindiashvili – a wise teacher and talented organizer. It is difficult to count the number of medals of his students, pupils of the entire coaching staff of ShVSM, won by Krasnoyarsk wrestlers at the most prestigious international competitions. Only ten Olympic gold medals. It is even more difficult to count how many young Siberians went through the school of wrestling and grew up to be real men. And this is no less significant achievement of a person for whom the Krasnoyarsk Territory has become as dear as a native mountain Khevsur village in the Caucasus.
– Dmitry Georgievich, you were finishing your military service in the Semipalatinsk region when Komsomol agitators came to your military unit with a proposal to go to the all-Union shock Komsomol construction site in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. For you, the main thing in making a decision was the opportunity to leave for demobilization early?
– Everything turned out the other way around, the order was read out in September, and I was demobilized only on December 25th. And two things were important for me: firstly, while serving in the Semipalatinsk region, I met my future wife there. Tamara worked in the accounting department of a mechanized column located near the unit. Having seen her once, he fell in love until he lost his pulse. We met at dances … Then, when 85 km from the place where I served, they began to prepare to test the hydrogen bomb, and the civilian population was forced to leave these places. Tamara and her family went to the construction of the Abakan-Taishet railway. I couldn’t find a place for myself. When representatives of the Central Committee of the Komsomol arrived at the unit, I not only agreed to go myself, but also about thirty Georgian guys persuaded to go to the Krasnoyarsk Territory. The second motive of my choice was that I was always active in all matters, and I wanted to work in Siberia. Even the fact that my elderly grandfather and grandmother remained in Georgia didn’t stop me – I won over Siberia. We arrived at the Krasnaya Sopka station of Berezovsky, now in the Nazarovsky district, and reached the village of Gorby, where mechanized convoy No. 12 stood and began to work.
The whole kingdom is for wrestlers
– How did the Siberians-chaldons meet you when a platoon of Georgian demobels arrived? There were no conflicts?
– You can talk differently about our past, but then there was a firm ideology: all people are brothers! We were received with such warmth, it is impossible to imagine now. The guys fell in love, together with the girls they put on performances …
– And you also went on stage?
– In one of the fairy tales he played the king. Tamara Mikhailovna also played – the countess, the prince’s bride. I also sang, danced, squeezed weights, and organized ten volleyball courts in the village with the guys. We played until dark. And all people of different nationalities loved and respected each other. If there were conflicts, they were not based on ethnicity, but on the basis of love and youth.
– Have you passed your conflicts?
– There was a funny case: one girl fell in love with me and her friends locked me with her in the library. But I didn’t even want to look at anyone except my queen Tamara. He jumped out the window and ran away. And in general, the atmosphere was wonderful, even though they worked 10 hours a day. True, the salary was high: I received 13 thousand rubles a month, excavators – 18, girls on the roll-up – 7. By the way, the car “Moskvich” in those years cost only 9 thousand rubles, “Pobeda” – 16.
– How did you exchange such a rich proletarian life for a problematic sports life?
– Yes, now it looks strange … Even then I was striving to Krasnoyarsk to do wrestling, sports – for real. Meanwhile, in Krasnoyarsk, a mechanized column No. 65 was organized, and our chief, Yefim Moiseevich Yakubovich, was appointed to lead it, and he called me to follow him. In 1956 he moved to Krasnoyarsk, worked as a driver – on the Achinsk-Abalakovo highway, on the construction of the Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric power station, the Communal bridge across the Yenisei. Soon he again became the secretary of the Komsomol organization of the mechanized column. And wrestling – classical, as it was then called Greco-Roman – began to study with Anatoly Alekseevich Solopov. The fact is that there were no free-style wrestling sections in Krasnoyarsk.
– Where did you get the time – to work and train?
– I trained during the day and worked in the evening. Or vice versa. Then Solopov, when the first successes began, says that, they say, it is impossible, Mitya, so on – to plow in two shifts. He began to work as a loader. And after five in the evening – to the gym. I was such a fanatic that now I am amazed at myself … I got up at six in the morning and ran in the snow – and where it is deeper, so that the load is greater – in the Bugach area. As soon as the bus departed from the final stop, I ran down the mountain to my stop in order to be in time. I tumble into the bus – sweaty, steam coming from me – the passengers look at me like a madman … Children’s skills acquired in the Georgian wrestling chidaoba also helped. In 1958 he fulfilled the standard of master of sports in freestyle wrestling – the first in the region. At the same time he became a public coach in the Pischevik sports community. The next year, the Trud society was organized and the first chairman of the Trud regional council, Anatoly Kishinevsky (formerly a boxer, then a good referee), invited him to the position of a coach. I have no education, no experience, so my salary after the 1961 reform was only 80 rubles.
– Did you continue to earn extra money as a loader?
– There was no more time: it was necessary to train the guys, prepare for the competition myself.
– That is, I was pulling a family budget, did Tamara Mikhailovna feed you in the lean years?
– Yes, she earned much more as a cashier than me. After all the livestock were slaughtered during the Khrushchev reforms and the shelves in the stores were empty, the shortage of food was terrible. And Tamara Mikhailovna, working in the store, had the opportunity to always bring meat and other products to the family. So they got out of the situation. At the same time, never in her life Tamara Mikhailovna never once reproached me for leaving a good money job as a chauffeur for sports. I saw that I was passionate and always supported me. And then everything happened that you already know about: students, their successes, academic titles, awards …
– Interestingly, has anything changed in your perception of a Siberian-Krasnoyarsk since then, as you succeeded, you began to communicate not only with the proletarians, but also with the leaders of the city and the region?
– I must say that Siberians are docile, modest, calm, honest people. A Siberian can only be deceived once. And then – goodbye: he will not let you close to him. I am a Khevsurian by birth and we are exactly the same people. In this I found the similarity of my people with Siberians, whom I love with all my heart.
After Yarygin won the Olympics, wherever I was not invited: to Moscow, Kiev, abroad – to Turkey, Iran, the USA. And after Beijing there were invitations. But here I am so monogamous. I got used to Krasnoyarsk: there is fertile, good soil here. Found my place on earth. And I am here too – from the very first day. I have never been eager for big money: what you have earned is what you have. But you sleep well. Probably, that good soil on which Siberians lived has survived … Whoever has drunk the Yenisei water at least once becomes a Siberian-Krasnoyarsk forever. I think that I am a complete Siberian too: children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren were born here.
– Did anything surprise you in the first weeks of your stay in Siberia?
– I was always surprised by the simplicity, accessibility in communication and directness of Siberians. I liked that they are not ostentatious, but they know their own worth and feel self-sufficiency, which does not require embellishment, boast, and slyness. The Siberian seems to be saying: accept me as I am. I don’t like guile at all. And also – the Siberian has a strong character. Ivan Yarygin fully possessed all these wonderful qualities. In Siberia, no one ever counts, how many times you came to visit him, how many pancakes you put on a plate. Even in the vaunted, wealthy America there is no such thing. With all due respect to the Americans, among them I have many good friends, I cannot help but tell one story. Our team once did a tour across Canada and America. Sergei Khachikyan and I were accommodated in a house with an American family. Wealthy family, normal age people. And they fed like this: tea and a few sandwiches. We thought that they just lead such a lifestyle or their diet is so curative. Then Sergei and I went to the store, bought a variety of products – not to die of hunger? They came, fried potatoes with meat … How our owners began to throw all this from the table – more than ours! And later, an American neighbor came to see us. I decided to show myself and look at the Russians Khachikyan and Mindiashvili. And he brought with him an expensive bottle of vodka. We sat, talked, drank a little, poked fun. Then the guest said goodbye, took the opened bottle from the table and … took it with him. And Siberians, like us Georgians, always welcome everything that is the best in the house – on the table! And Siberians and Georgians are also related by disobedience to pressure and loyalty to friendship. It is not for nothing that we have lived together for so many centuries … And I am glad that in the Krasnoyarsk Territory they always said to me: “You are our man!”
– But you tried to return home to Georgia?
– Yes, in 1967 they still invited me to Georgia. By that time, I was already the senior coach of the Russian national team, I brought up a lot of good students. Tamara and I went to Rustavi. I had seven training groups there. I went into the gym early in the morning and just returned home at 11 pm. After the first year of work, I won the Georgian junior team championship. He worked hard like dad Carlo. And the fighters there were very capable, that’s why they began to show results so quickly. Almost the entire Georgian team came to Rustavi to train. And Levan Tediashvili as well. Moreover, students from Krasnoyarsk – Seryoga Khachikyan, Vanya Yarygin, Chelnokov and others came to Rustavi. But there is no rest. And the chairman of the regional sports committee Nikolai Dmitrievich Valov, his blessed memory, and the head of the department of administrative bodies of the regional party committee, the unforgettable Alexander Andreevich Yakovenko, are sending me letter after letter: come back. And all this together torments and itching my soul. Finally, a telegram comes from Valov: “The issue has been resolved with the apartment. We are waiting for you, Mitya! ” Returned. And there is no more thought to move anywhere else.
Wrestling is a capacious word
– What is the secret of the popularity of wrestling?
– Such a craving of boys for wrestling as a sport, even if colleagues from other species do not take offense at me, you rarely meet anywhere else. Wrestling is a popular sport. And each nation has its own national struggle. In many countries, the struggle even becomes a kind of philosophy or religion, becomes an instrument of spiritual development and unification of the nation. And, which is very indicative and interesting, the varieties of struggle very visibly and clearly show the character of the nation, its cultural foundations, the temperament of people, their way of life, and mentality.
– For example?
– In Georgian chidaoba, it is strictly forbidden to bend, which is equated with cowardice. You have to be open on the carpet and open in life. By the way, I myself and Vanya Yarygin also fought in an open stance. That is, we seemed to say to the opponent: “Come out, fight, attack and let me also fight in an open battle. Let’s see which of us is more agile, stronger, more skillful. ” Live and let me live, if translated into common language. Also in chidaoba, if the opponent falls – even on his knees – he is not touched – they let him rise and continue the fight. And in Russia, by the way, the same rules were in effect when they fought on sashes or fought wall to wall. They do not beat someone who is lying down – that’s where it came from! So each type of martial arts, its rules, absorb the features of the national character of the people, its moral code. I must also say that no other sport has such a strong friendship as wrestlers. Why are the fighters friendly, if only because we cannot grow without each other. If you will not let me throw you on the carpet, I will not master the technique. And vice versa. We lick each other’s sweat in a fight, we breathe the same air. We come to any country in the world – local wrestlers accept us as brothers.
– Why do you love Krasnoyarsk Territory, Siberia, Krasnoyarsk?
– I speak from the bottom of my heart. First, for my youth. I was 23 when I arrived here full of hope. I thank Siberia for the happiness that I have found here – my wife Tamara, with whom we have been living for 54 years. Happy and have created a wonderful family. The results that we have are her credit. I haven’t been home for eight months, and she practically raised four children alone. I (smiling) only received telegrams: “Congratulations on the birth of a son or daughter – the weight is so many kilograms!” She understood everything and helped me. And our fighters, Vanya Yarygina, literally brought up. Like a real mother. They came to us from all over the region, lived at home on a debt at first. And further. Even if I were seven spans in my forehead, I would not have achieved anything alone. All the leaders supported me. Starting with the secretaries of the regional party committee Vladimir Ivanovich Dolgikh, Pavel Stefanovich Fedirko, and the city authorities – Vladimir Prokhorovich Kapelko, Leonid Georgievich Sizov, Pyotr Ivanovich Pimashkov, mayors of other cities and heads of regional administrations. And now, with the support of the governor of the region, Alexander Gennadievich Khloponin, we continue to raise the children of the region, help them become strong, sturdy men. And for this human atmosphere, where I also feel like a human being, I am also grateful to fate. I am grateful for the happiness, for the atmosphere thanks to which I went from a simple chauffeur to an academician, from a public coach to the best coach of the 20th century in our country. I am uncomfortable talking about this, but this is real fantasy. Everything was earned by honest work – mine and my pupils. And the contribution of the leaders of the city and the region cannot be overestimated – they are all participants in our victories at the Olympics and world championships. So it is, I am not saying routine phrases.
– Favorite student?
– Ivan Yarygin. Our first Olympic champion. Ivan fully corresponded to this title. It is no coincidence that he was the standard bearer of our team in Olympic Montreal. Yarygin climbed the sports Olympus twice, but as a person he was a ten-time Olympic champion. How he loved his Siberian land, what a small man he was. He moved to Moscow, but twice, three times a year, he returned to his homeland to hunt, go fishing. To breathe, see enough, gain strength, spirit. What a wonderful, friendly family Ivan has created ?! And how people were drawn to him – all over the world ?! When the name of Yarygin was pronounced at tournaments, everyone jumped up – a thunderous ovation. I have wonderful students. Buvaysar Saytiev even surpassed Ivan’s sporting achievements. I respect and love him, but let Buvaysar not be offended, even though I have been hanging around with him for 15 years around the world, tore my throat and heart, but Vanya is Vanya. Like a first love.
– Your favorite place in the city, region?
– Where we signed on March 13, 1956 with Tamara Mikhailovna and became husband and wife – Civil Registry Office in the Berezovsky district. And the number 13 was lucky. And I terribly love to look at the Yenisei-bogatyr and at the Communal bridge in Krasnoyarsk – at the bridge that I was building, like the whole city – there was a shock construction. I immediately remember how late in the evening after training in winter I moved from the left bank across the Yenisei along the arches of the bridge to the tram terminus. You will look down, and there are ice hummocks …
I would like to appeal to my fellow Krasnoyarsk people, first of all – to the young. We have a wonderful land, amazing, simply paradise nature, and beautiful, honest people live here. And we all need to do the same beautiful and honest deeds here: build, raise children, raise culture, sport … We need to sow Good and Love. And then your deeds, the memory of them, will become your eternal life after death.