Anna Anatolyevna Zabiyako is Doctor of Philology, Professor, Head of the Department of Literature and World Culture at Amur State University.
E-mail: sciencia@ yandex.ru
The origin of the spy story in Russian literature coincided with the process of shaping of the genre abroad in the XIX–XX centuries, and, simultaneously, with the foundation and strengthening of counter-intelligence services per se.
A. Kuprin and his masterpiece "Captain Rybnikov" (1906) signified the commencement of the trend. Due to the psychological depth of the story, metaliterary camouflage and plot twists, the espionage story depicted against the Russian background immediately went beyond pure detective canon. The subsequent stage of spy literature was introduced during the years of the First World War. Along with the novels by Breshko-Breshkovsky, performed in "kitsch" style of mediocre detectives, there were pieces by A.N.Tolstoy who also contributed to this genre ("Retribution", 1916, "Beautiful Lady", 1917). This writer drew on the erotic potential of a spy story, but this resulted in the prevalence of neo-naturalistic discourse, and the detective fiction proper was only a secondary element.
After the revolution, the fate of espionage literature in Russia did not develop that smoothly; in the Soviet Republic other subjects were in demand, such as the glorification of the Civil War. However, starting from late 20's and up to mid 30‘s spyware mania seized the European menatlity and, consequently, entered the life of provincial emigrant Harbin.
Harbin citizens were inclined to view detective and spy stories as a source of recovery for literature (N. Schogolev "About Detective Novels"). A. Nesmelov created the whole "trilogy": "Gold Tooth", "Counter Spy", "Meeting on the Bridge". "Woman of Counterintelligence" by Ya Lowicz is a kind of ironic remark on the erotic tale of espionage by A. Tolstoy's "Retribution". "Sherlock Holmes' Mistake" by B. Yulskii tied together the elements of spy story, detective story and newspaper article.