A MONOLOGUE OF ONE SEEKING SPIRITUAL BROTHERS
Text: Roksolana Chernoba
Photo: Maxim Masal'tsev
Yury Beloyvana's philosophy, the owner of "Korchma" restaurant chain, is like a patchwork quilt, where life experience and beliefs, doubts and contradictions, acquisitions and losses, rigidity and God-seeking, wealth and loneliness are mixed up and multiplied by search and determination and all this literally in the face of builds up the character in which everyone will find conformable motives.
I graduated from the school being a member of the Komsomol, and the education I received was the Soviet one. Anyway back then we were told right things that it was necessary to be honest and to have an active life position. In the course of time you start to notice that some non-senses which were inspired to you by parents (they weren't going to follow them), became your life belief and really helped to live. But once the understanding should come that we only own the information. It means that we have been informed of what the good is and what the bad is but why it is necessary to act this way, we don't know. Therefore I try to impose to nobody of the opinion.
My father told me: "There is no need of blood brothers but of spirit brothers". That's why I have respectful relationships with my relatives, I help them, but I am engaged with congenial people in affairs. When I was choosing the name for the restaurant, there were some variants. The first one, certainly, — "Vechera na khutore" ("Evenings on a farm"). I wanted a certain spirit to reign here which I could be proud of. Though nowadays in the Ukraine there are almost no such people as Taras Bulba, capable to kill his own son for treachery, there are no rather courageous people who aren't afraid to lose everything and can renounce everything. Recently people have got used to lie and to justify any act and any meanness. And I am grateful to Nicolay Gogol for his creation though, probably there never was what he wrote about. Perhaps we were serf slaves the whole life.
ABOUT ACTS AND INTENTIONS
Thank God, there is a possibility to make decisions independently, something to think out, do that is pleasant to you, instead of doing things that is "fashionable" or "prestigious". When I was in Italy, I took some lessons from a sculptor. There was a heat of forty degrees Celsius, and I was cutting marble with the puncher, even a mask couldn't be put on. And I am not sorry about it; one would say, such an idiot, he should have gone sunbathing, swimming or partying. Making any acts, even rash ones, I always know that I do the right thing.
ABOUT THE SOURCE LANGUAGE
In Kiev you begin to "shokat" (pronounce "sho" instead of "chto") because environment tightens. The Ukrainian culture is very strong. When Russians come with me, I translate to them from Ukrainian. And I am so sorry for them because even in the exact translation they don't feel the way I do. At time like this one would desire to learn, for example, Japanese, French or English to understand language in the original.
ABOUT IMPROVEMENT OF PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
This year I went to the Carpathians to pick a site there; I want to build up a camp site in the mountains. We periodically send Russian employees to the Ukraine for improvement of their professional skills. And they come back full of enthusiasm and different ideas. If Japanese restaurants in Moscow had a possibility to send their Buryats to Japan, I think their situation would improve much more as well. So our employees will call in in such cities as Lvov or Chernovtsy, and then to live on a camp site at the height of 1 500 meters above the sea level. We will organize hikes with tents so everything will be real. I could talk about it for so long but it'd be better to show once.
ABOUT SINCERITY AND FORMALITY
In Florence the average age of waiters is 55 years. All of them can execute their duties and are very nice in a dialogue. This is what it would be desirable to aspire. I don't open an expensive restaurant in Moscow because I won't be able to achieve the same level of service as in France or Italy. One can order wine for 20 euros there and there will be so much pleasure as if you have bought a half of the restaurant by having paid for a year in advance. Waiters are not scared if something gets mixed up because they know that in the beginning relationship might not work out and the main thing is to be able to admit one's mistake. As for men, it happens that the friendship begins with a fight and after they've sorted it out, they already are the best friends forever. As for Russian waiters they also start to learn the right language. For example, at "Pushkin" restaurant waiters say: "Sir, one instant …". It's pleasant of course but when it is said by a waiter, it reminds me of a song "Every instant has its reason …". It turns out to be slightly formal.
ABOUT RUSSIA, THE UKRAINE AND GEORGIA
What is the reason for Georgians to fight with Russians? Two hundred million and five million people are such disparate things. The EU is connected to our oil pipe and the passion will cool down when they stop getting our gas. It's just normal trade. I would like leaders of the countries as Georgia or the Ukraine to understand that when they make some statements they create the universal negativity that tends to materialize into different bad situations. After all by and large all of them have kids. And none of the wars is not worth the tears of a child and even the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote about it. But I'm not just talking about the politics. Here comes a grownup man with his glasses on and in his own little "Opel" car driving his wife and a child. Suddenly it seems to him that a jeep impolitely has got in front of him. And he begins to "educate" the driver of a "Hammer" completely forgetting that he hasn't got that weight category as the first one has and that there is a child next to him who can get stressed out for a lifetime.
ABOUT FORBIDDEN FRUIT
They want to ban the Russian language in the Ukraine. It is nonsense nothing can be forbidden. All of us come from the childhood when everywhere it was heard "Do not go there, do not do that" … Now I say to my child "Let's go to the left" when we are going to the right and then he goes where it's necessary. Everyone wants to taste the forbidden fruit. But I have a lot of friends in the Ukraine who will not talk in Russian in any way because they do not speak it. That would be as relieve for their wounds.
ABOUT THE STRUGGLE WITH ONESELF
I run five kilometers every day it doesn't matter where either in the city or in the country side. I ran in Venice, I ran in Rome … By the way in Venice at 6 in the morning there are no people in the streets and it can be a completely different city to see. In sports there are two types of training: training one's strength and training one's endurance. As for me I'm training for the discipline. I wrestle with myself because I know that I am a lazy person, I can sleep till noon and at night I hate myself for that.
Arkady Novikov knows me in person and I have no idea whether he is aware that I am the founder of the "Taras Bulba" Inn. I've never seen Andrey Delossa but I really like his projects. By the way except for the trips to the Ukraine I arrange mandatory trips to "Pushkin" or "Zhiguli" restaurants for my employees where the real live music is played. After those trips the managers write essays to me on "How I've spent the evening in the "Zhiguli" restaurant". And when the managers had begun to enter some exorbitantly expensive dishes into the menu of the tavern such as lamb for 1500 rubles, I sent all of them to "Turandot" restaurant. They got sets for 1300 rubles there which included the starter, the main course and a dessert. They understood that they don't have a right to price dishes more than 700 rubles.
ABOUT THE KEY TO SUCCESS
I've written a brochure for the employees that is called "The Key to Success". It says: "We are working to become a dear hospitable home for every guest. To become a home where customers' health and safety is taken care of and the insight into idea of the Ukrainian culture is provided". Money is not our target. In the tavern there are many things that are made not to make money for. Here you can buy children's books in Ukrainian, take a picture in the national Ukrainian costume. The only pity is that it's difficult to teach the Ukrainian language to Russian.
Some people like to say about themselves "I am the master of a certain institution". I can hear just rudeness in saying it this way. It will be told not to offend them but there are some owners who one comes to and they have twenty places in the parking lot and there is no place to park because all the places for the owners. Or one asks to get the table and finds out that it's reserved for the owner. I'll never eat if I have a line in my restaurant I'd better stay hungry at all.
ABOUT MYTHS AND FRUSTRATION
If you idealize the world, you can become disappointed in people or lose your faith in some way. Here is one of the myths: Ukrainians are very generous people. In fact, they love others to give them gifts. Everyone likes to get more than to give. Even if you've got thousands of restaurants, you're still going to sell food and that's your feat. The real feat is not to sell products but to grow them.
ABOUT THE WORLD OUTLOOK
I do not eat meat but in my household a few heads are cut everyday day (50 tons per year) in order for others to eat it. Is it my fault? Will I be punished for that? Even if I know that everything is slaughtered with a right knife in the right shop, basically I don't feel better from that. On the other hand people drink vodka at the restaurant. From the perspective of an enlightened mind I do not bring them good, I'd better make them to read books. But being a co-founder of the publishing house, I can say that vodka is bought in the country in immeasurably more amounts than books. Here they'd rather buy a bottle of vodka for 1 000 rubles than a book for 200.
ABOUT THE HARM OF MEAT
The Bible does not say that Jesus ate meat and the percept "Thou shalt not kill" applies only to the people. During the Lent it is impossible to eat dead food. The believers don't just purify the body as they say now but they clear their mind and spirit. From the age of 12 I helped to cut the cows in the village with my hands stained with blood. I was carrying a just taken out heart or liver dripping blood on my boots and I was drooling because I knew that the liver was going to be fried. At the same time I drank that cow's milk, the mother of the slaughtered calf. And in 1980 when I was 13, I was standing in the market selling meat. I was almost a Komsomolets, and I deceived people and I didn't feel ashamed because of it. So if it's destined then I will be a cow my next life.
ABOUT HOMO SAPIENS
I think that any pathway in life even working as a cesspool cleaner if it occurs in goodness not in ignorance in any way it is a pathway of spiritual development. People must become intelligent. Charles Darwin wrote that for a few cycles of a monkey it can become a man. I saw people who became monkeys in one lifetime.
ABOUT ONE'S MISSION
No person admits that he lives to eat, to have a sleep and to soil. Everyone considers that he has a high mission, everyone feels their divine nature. But we will never become the Gods, one should understand it. The last degree of ignorance is when a person wants to assimilate himself to the higher creations.
ABOUT LOVE AND PUNISHMENT
It is necessary to do the right thing then you will have a good future. And everything should be done with love because the greatest sin is to judge lest you be judged. The right to judge is owned by the parents of their children, by a husband of his wife and by the wife of her husband and even by bosses of their subordinates. Why is it so? It is because if you do not condemn them for it then you'll take the blame upon yourself. But when you punish you must have a twig in your hand and love in your heart. And everything should be done with the understanding of that this person is a man like you, he has done the job so thank him; he might not have done it at all or he could even burn down the office.
Everyone's goal is to be happy. When you realize what happiness is for you, it will come because you've already drawn for yourself a clear goal and know where to go. A lot of people think it would be great to earn a lot of money. When they get rich, they say this is not the happiness. They begin to dream about a beautiful wife, about a house, about a yacht and they get it all because actually the fate gives you what you ask for. Many people have the opportunity to go to Courchevel resort but they can't afford to travel to Tibet although it is a way cheaper. It is just nicer to them in Courchevel. Then we have to admit honestly that this is the happiness.
ABOUT THE PRIZE
All of us are the God's elects, we've already won. After all there could be born a red-haired boy instead of me or I would have been divided into two and twins would be born. From 200 million sperms only one gets fertilized. Can you imagine what kind of a lottery it is? Anything could come out of it but from a variety of options I was chosen. This means that all of us already have a stamp of well-being.
ON HUMAN IMPERFECTION
We are not able to do the things that we ask others to do. You cannot idealize yourself. Here are some of the "new Russians" who contact the recruitment agencies and ask them to find a babysitter who for money will love their children more than her own. Moreover, their wives don't love their children even for money.
ABOUT ONE'S OWN PLACE IN LIFE
We constantly see people who are not in their places. Maybe we are not doing our own business as well, it doesn't matter how hard we are trying to hide it. So if my son doesn't want to deal with a restaurant business, I will not try to make him do it.
I have a few friends left because the transition to a new level of material prosperity didn't let me maintain the relationship. When you earn $300 a month and your classmates have the same income it's easy to make friends. And when you start making five thousand … Marat Safin in despite of the great difference in the age (he is 28, I am 42) is one of a few of my friends. We were introduced to each other by the tennis player Volkov eight years ago. Marat is a frequent visitor in the tavern. Once we were in Tibet and when he was leaving, he said: "After I get home and I will come to you to eat some borsch".
ABOUT TRUE SERVANTS
Samurais write that one can't be a good samuraI if he doesn't respect his parents and doesn't show them his respect. It's not a big deal to love a good parent. The feat is to love a parent who constantly whines and complains on their child. Anyone who is able to do so will be a true servant of his master.
ON MAKING WISHES COME TRUE
Any quality can be developed in a person. So if something is not there and one wishes to have it, it is necessary not only to desire it but to work hard on oneself to get it. There is only one way and it is through the voluntary renunciation of something and voluntary desire to do something. The main thing is to have this wish to be a guide to action.
One of the main forms of ignorance is to deny one's faith in God, whatever it may be. Every faith is already true. What is the difference between the faith in ignorance and the faith in goodness? A believer in ignorance says, "Your God is bad, but mine is a good one". Because of this there are religious wars and conflicts. A believer in the goodness is convinced that it's very good that both of us believe. There is also a belief in passion, when people know all the precepts and don't follow them.
ABOUT ETHNIC ORIGINS
I would not be dividing people into ethnic groups at all; let the politicians look for the difference. In fact, all of us regardless to the faith or the race remain human beings. It doesn't matter how hard they've tried to divide the Ukrainian and Russian churches when one walks into it, it is difficult to tell which temple one has got into. It's like having two twin brothers: one of them lives in Moscow and the other one lives in Kiev, one of them will be saying "sho" and the other one "chyo". They would dress differently but that does not cease to be brothers.
ABOUT THE HARD-HITTING EPITHETS
I'm not offended if someone says "khokhlyatsky (a disdainful word for "the Ukrainians") restaurant" or calls me "khokhol" ("a crest"). The crests (long forelocks) were among the Cossacks that was why they were called this. Russians were called "Katsap" because of their beards that looked like a goatee meaning like a goat's one. Well, you never know how the neighbors call each other.
I will not deal with politics in any way. One of the blessings in life for me is to think, to do and to say the same thing. Politicians rarely manage to do it as they say one thing and think another and do the third one. On the other hand people deserve their politicians. Nothing can be changed in here. It is impossible to make all people be happy, all together they become only an unhappy crowd. As the saying goes "if you want to make a difference, start with yourself". "The Internationale" is a great song: "Nobody will give us deliverance, neither God nor king nor a hero …" Everything happens inside of an individual. Therefore everyone should understand that one is responsible for one's own world. So when I post my pictures, people tell me "What a beautiful world you have!". It is as if I've bought it or built it. But there is the same world in suburbs for example. In other words if someone wants to live in the mud he'll be there and the one who wants some light he will get the light.
There is no need of much money as long as it suffices. You can live on 10 thousand euros and thrive. Well, do not buy ripped jeans for a half thousand dollars. Yes, it happens that a person spends money on crap and he could give it to a kid who needs a surgery. Then the interaction with one's soul begins that is called conscience. And one feels ashamed. But if such thoughts occur, we should just go and help someone.
One person explained to me that all the people can see the future but just not everyone understands it. I don't know anything about my future otherwise I would not feel fear about it. I think we just implement our ideas about life and then we believe that we have anticipated the future.
ABOUT THE PURPOSES
The more you give the more comes back to you. When you create good or simply you commit any good acts: you spend a little and you receive handsomely. It is important to know what the purpose is and to remember that it is possible to become more reasonable not only at the age of five but at the age of fifty as well. There is no place for emptiness in a human's life at all. It all depends on your own choice. If you have decided that the life is empty it will be. If you say to yourself that you live in vain, it means that your personal belief and probably your mission are to bear such a cross. And one can love people. Everyone takes one's choice.
ABOUT TARAS BULBA
The portrait of Taras Bulba hangs in our every restaurant. I entrust it to the manager at the opening of a new tavern and he knows that on the back side it's hand written by me: "In the name of the man is called the place where you work at. For the affair he killed his own son. I advise you not to forget about it". We must try to make people happy at least within one project. But it is impossible to achieve it with low prices and big portions, nice interiors or icons on the walls. Everything will succeed only if you really love the people who you work for.
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