How should be understood "открещивался от своего" in the following excerpt (from Bulgakov's diary, quoted by Alexey Varlamov):

«Ужасное состояние: все больше влюбляюсь в свою жену. Так обидно – 10 лет открещивался от своего… Бабы, как бабы. А теперь унижаюсь даже до легкой ревности. Чем-то мила и сладка. И толстая».

My interpretation is something like: I spent 10 years saying what is mine does not matter (i.e. claiming some king of independence, refusing being jealous). Women are just women. etc

I feel in trouble with the understanding of своего here. Does it refer to "everything which is mine" (including my wife)?

3 Answers 3


You are almost right but with one exception. The aforecited phrase is to be related to his wife only. For no visible reason he had been shrugging her off for 10 years when he suddenly arrived at an understanding that he loved her even despite her being a fatty but to-him-belonging dear fatty. For example: I've just married a girl I fell in love with at first sight. And now I'm saying that I got to believe right there on the spot she was the essence of mine (я понял, что она - это мое).

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    Thank you for this useful explanation! Actually, the first sentence refers to Bulgakov's first wife, while the second refers to his second wife... which explains this change. Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 14:48

"Открещиваться" it's sort of to intensely or demonstratively refuse to accept, so in this particular case the narrator has denied for 10 years what was actually his.

Originally it was a word for person crossing him or herself in order to be protected from evil.

That said, your interpretation is not completely correct (but it wouldn't been a severe crime had you translate it that way).

Своё is a tricky word in this context. It's about something being very personal. Something that one likes the most and feels strong emotional connection with.

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    I fully agree with @shabunc `s comment on the tricky word "Своё". To better illustrate the point, I would cite the Russian translation of John 8:44: "Когда говорит он ложь, говорит свое, ибо он лжец..." Also recall the saying "твердит своё" (persistent in chanting his opinion). Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 18:07

The matter is that it seems to be written about Bulgakov's first wife, after they divorced having been married for about 11 years.

So, he had been refusing to appreciate what (or whom) he had.

своё = "everything which is mine" (including my wife)

Well, yes and no. Here своё is anything from what is mine. Or something which belongs to me or I belong to (Быть учителем - это моё).

The neuter gender is the most general in Russian (Всё вокруг колхозное, всё вокруг моё (с)).

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