Ekaterina Petrovna Lachinova (Shelashnikova) (1813-1896)

Russian writer, author of the book “Tricks on Caucasus” published under pseudonym E. Hamar – Dabanov. She had the opportunity to get acquainted with the live of the Russian military on Caucasus being wife of the general N. E. Lachinov. The novel – pamphlet criticizing the disorder of the government of Caucasus and revealing the protectionism and bribing policy on Caucasus showed the hidden side of the Caucasus war (1817-1864 г.). The novel has been forbidden.

     Ekaterina Petrovna Lachinova was born in the family of the landlord from Samara province Petar Ivanovich Shelashnikov. In 1830 she got married to the aide-de-camp, Colonel Nikolay Emiliyanovich Lachinov who descentеd from an old nobility. From 1836 to 1840 he was on duty in the Caucasus special corps as general – quartermaster. Ekaterina Petrovna attended her husband on Caucasus. She lived in Stavropol and Tiflis and enter in the civil and military society. Her contemporaries describe her as a clever, beautiful, with dignified appearance woman. Her soсireеs were attended by educated employers, officers from the society of the poet Mikhail Lermontov and exiled in Caucasus Decembrists. From these societies she obtained facts, testimonies and experiences necessary for her realistic novel – pamphlet. In 1844 in Sankt – Petersburg was published the only novel of Ekaterina Lachinova “Prodelki na Kavkaze” (Tricks on the Caucasus)[1], under the pseudonym E. Hamar – Dabanov. In 1846 the book was published in Leipzig. As pseudonym the writer has chosen Decembrist’s symbol – the high mountain ridge Hamar – Daban through which the exiled in Siberia Decembrists had to pass.

In the book the hidden side of the Caucasus war (1817-1864) was revealed including that “on the Caucasus military were promoted not because of their service but because of connections with Petersburg and because of protections”[2], she payed also attention to the disorder in the government of Caucasus. Ironic were her descriptions of the so called “vodoianoe society”[3] (representatives of nobility arrived in the modern spa resort Pyatigorsk; representatives of the local and capital highlife by whose behavior she presented the characteristic features of the époque.  Visiting resorts became very fashionable in the 19th century when many mineral water sources were discovered, the quality of mineral waters were researched and bath-tubs were built. By that time visiting resorts continued three months. Initially the visitors arrived in Pyatigorsk, in July they moved to Zheneznovodsk and the healing ended in Kislovodsk. In the resorts the visitors relaxed, danced, made acquaintances, fell in love.  

The novel “Tricks on Caucasus” is interesting not only because of its critical pathos. Lachinova masterfully presented everyday life scenes, depicted events from the life of her characters, which can’t be defined as historical but they replied to the artistic task to present figuratively the époque, historical situations, and human characters.

The book of Lachinova marked the new development of the Caucasus topic expressing the moods of the Russian intelligentsia to present more objectively the war events and the life trajectories of many people affected by the historical transformation of the Caucasus region. The novel presented realistically the war events and the details of the military manner of living. A special place was devoted to the characteristic features of the life of the mountaineers, to the psychology of people living in permanent dangers and animosity.  

The satirical – exposing content of the novel revealing the tricks of general and officers on Caucasus interested only in promotion, ranks and medals gave motives of the war minister Alexander Chernishov to define the novel as harmful: “This book is harmful because every stanza of the book is true“[4]. The book was confiscated. The author of the book was put under police surveillance ordered by the emperor Nikolay I. 

Ekaterina Lachinova wrote a similar work “Two imams or the destruction of the Avarian home” which was not published. In the censorship proceedings was mentioned that Lachinova has more manuscripts which should be treated unfairly. The life and works of Lachinova is of special interest for the regional literature on Caucasus.

Ekaterina Pavlovna Lachinova died on 20th of January 1896 in Moscow. She was buried in Novospaski monastery under the Pokrovski cathedral in the family graveyard of Shelashnikovi.  



  1. Хамар-Дабанов Е. Проделкина Кавказе. Ч. 1—2, Санкт-Пертербург: тип. К. Жернакова, 1844;  Хамар-Дабанов Е. Проделки на Кавказе: роман. Серия: Библиотека ставропольской прозы  /Гл. ред. Л.В. Осипов – Ставрополь: Книжное издательство, 1986. – 256 с.
  2. Полонский Яков П. Сочинения: в 2 т. – Москва: Художественная литература, 1986. Т.2. С. 415.
  3. Русские писатели. 1800—1917: Биографический словарь. В 5 т. / Гл. ред. П.А. Николаев. Т. 3: К—М. – Москва: Большая российская энциклопедия, 1994. С. 294.
  4. Носков Анатолий. Шелашникова Екатерина Петровна 1813-1896. http://baza.vgdru.com/. Дата обращения: 19.02.2018.


[1] Хамар-Дабанов Е. Проделки на Кавказе. Ч. 1—2, Санкт-Пертербург: тип. К. Жернакова, 1844;  Хамар-Дабанов Е. Проделки на Кавказе: роман. Серия: Библиотека ставропольской прозы  /Гл. ред. Л.В. Осипов – Ставрополь: Книжное издательство, 1986. – 256 с.

[2] Полонский Яков П. Сочинения: в 2 т. – Москва: Художественная литература, 1986. Т.2. С. 415.

[3] Untranslatable game of words, in Russian the word “vodianoy” apart from the meaning “water” has folklore meaning “water spirit, water ghost”.  “