Excerpt: Red Cross in Russo-Japanese War

posted Feb 28, 2013, 7:39 PM by Laura Meyerovich

Pyotr Fedorovich, the brother of the famous Professor Neil Fedorovich Filatov, and the father of the now even more famous ophthalmologist Vladimir Petrovich Filatov, also was a skillful physician, especially as a surgeon. After the sale of Mikhailovka he first practiced in Simbirsk, and later, when he became a widower, instead of private practice, he started taking medical positions in various faraway expeditions, for example, in Persia at the construction of the highway from Jolfa to Tehran, then in Manchuria at the railway construction. I met him there in 1903 at the Khingan Pass, when I was returning from the voyage on the training ship Okean (Ocean).

Russo-Japanese War began, Pyotr Fedorovich wanted to enlist in the army as a doctor. He procured recommendations from his brother Neil, from Moscow professors-surgeons, compiled a collection of his publications, and presented himself in either Mukden or Harbin to the Head of Red Cross, Prince Vasilchikov.

Prince received him while standing, and did not offer him a hand:

“What is your pleasure?”

“I am a surgeon, Your Illustrious Highness, I was a district doctor for 15 years, managed the hospital, later served in various expeditions and at the construction of the Manchurian railroad; I know Manchuria and would like to serve in one of the hospitals, here are my recommendations.”

“You know, so many desiring persons; I shall look, I shall think, all vacancies are taken. Allow me, however, to take these letters.”

He started reading silently, and then said:

“Filatov, Pyotr Fedorovich, were it not you who sold me Lebedka about 15 years ago?”

“That was I.”

“You should have said so,” the prince has seized both his hands, and put him in an armchair, “What a beauty she was, what pups came from her, I have preserved the breed until now, pure Machevarianov bloodlines.”

In half an hour, Pyotr Fedorovich left the prince as the chief surgeon of one of the largest field hospitals.

Describing that in the letter to my father, Pyotr Fedorovich has finished thus:

“Here, brother Nikolay, how Lebedka has helped me after 15 years, no comparison to Neil’s recommendation, whatever celebrity he is.”