Ivan Dub / Иван Дуб (1890s -1920s) was the alleged illegitimate son of playwright, Mikhail “Mikhailo” Nikolaievitch / Михаил Николаевич Кочубей (1863-1935) and born near his father’s estate Voronki. When he was a small 10 year old, Mikhailo brought him to the village of Kinoshivka which had been left to him by his grandfather’s brother, Alexander Vassilievitch / Александр Васильевич (1788-1866) when he died in 1866. Ivan Dub, who bore a striking similarity to his father was then taken into the care of a local estate manager, Ivanko. Locals attested to Ivan’s special status as he was allowed to eat at the same table as his alleged father Mikhailo and Ivanko. The estate of Kinoshivka was sold in 1907 after the terrible years of the peasant revolts by Mikhailo for 400,000 roubles and perhaps that date represented the last time he saw his illegitimate son. In any case, the existense of Ivan Dub was not discussed in the family and by all likelihood was not known to the five legitimate children of Mikhailo. Whatever, the facts he took his secret with him to France in 1913 and as he died without ever being in touch with his children from that point until 1935, he took this secret to his grave.
While, Mikhailo did not live in the village, he was elected Marshal of the Nobility of the Kozeletskyi region from 1896-1900 then in 1904, a year before the Revolution of 1905, he was elected Marshal of the Nobility in Borznyanskiy region where the village of Kinoshivka is located. The villagers knew and appreciated that he visited the village often and did much good in the area, including the opening of a school for girls.
While the estate was sold in 1906-7, Ivan inherited from his father several large plots of land, forest, fallow field and marshes. To this day, these natural places have been preserved and in honor of Ivan are called Dub’yanschyna.
Ivan was married to a girl in the village called Elena Malashenko and the young couple gave birth to Natalia Ivanovna Dub.
Of course in 1918, Ivan’s properties including his house were seized by the Bolsheviks and he lost everything. Local villagers remember the tragedy broke Ivan and he died after falling into a deep depression. His wife Elena died shortly after, leaving their daughter Natalia orphaned in a new world of class repression, economic warfare and famine. Like many “peasants” or “Kulaks”, Natalia left the village and moved south to Kiev. She studied to become a teacher and upon graduating taught German.
The family home, a brick house built in the traditional Malorussian/Ukrainian fashion with decorated windows was used after its confiscation as a farm office then a kindergarten, a school dining room and a home for the elderly. The home as of 2012 is in ruins.
Natalia’s fate, unlike many people who spoke multiple languages, especially German was directly tied to her work on behalf of the Red Army during the German invasion and occupation. Elders in the village attest to the legend that Natalia was actually a secret spy for the Soviet army and this is why she was not shot after the war. On the contrary, during the occupation, she returned to her native village and with an innate sense of responsibility for her people and took care of many of the local peasants. Indeed she had to withstand a great deal of bullying by the German soldiers. Tragically, she died swimming in the Dniepr and with her ended the story of Ivan Dub, the alleged illegitimate son of Mikhailo Kotchoubey.
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