Pasha Antipov

Name: Pavel Pavlovich "Pasha" Antipov or Strelnikov

Gender: male

Age: unknown (early 30's) b. 1889 d. (in the 1920's)

Fandom: Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak



Quick Biography

Pavel Pavlovich Antipov's father was a radical instigator who was arrested after a series of railway strikes in Moscow. The boy wound up living with family friends, the Tiverzins. From school, he knew Larisa Feodorovna Guishar (aka Lara), and worshiped her. He developed a very strong attraction to her, which she unconsciously used ruthlessly to manipulate him.

When Lara's bad luck and passions landed her in deep trouble over money and Komarovsky, it was Pasha who came to her rescue. Despite her sordid confessions, he held to his conviction to marry her, though he was beginning to see that she wasn't as clever as he originally had thought.

They married and moved together to Yuriatin near the Ural Mountains in deep eastern Siberia, where Lara had been born, to teach school. His discontent grew stronger, though at first he blamed his pretty wife and tiny daughter and even their provincial life. So after the beginning of the war with Germany, he enlisted and left, over Lara's protests and tears.

This was not the solution he'd hoped for, so he again tried to remake himself into an officer, possibly to be slightly wounded and be granted a leave to see his family. Instead when he was wounded, he was captured by the Germans. When he later escaped, Russia was already deep into the Bolshevik revolution, so it wasn't Pasha Antipov who returned from the front, it was Strelknikov, "the shooter."

Strelnikov earned himself the post of commissar in the new regime by his hard-nosed brutality and willingness to execute or burn out counter-revolutionary Whites. If nothing else, Pasha was a survivor. He knew what his ultimate goal was and was prepared to do anything to survive and reach it. He was a man of strong conviction, but seldom ever to what he professed out loud.

Eventually, even Strelnikov isn't a good enough cover, and Pasha, determined to return to his wife and daughter, breaks with the Bolsheviks and heads for Yuriatin. But it's already too late. Lara has left Siberia in the company of Komarovsky, taking Pasha's daughter with her. She is, by that time, possibly also pregnant with Yuri Zhivago's child, with whom she has had an off and on affair for many years since Pasha went missing from her life.

So Pasha only finds Yuri. They'd met once before, in Strelnikov's train, when Yuri was traveling to Siberia with his family. Outwardly, the only thing the two men have in common is their relationships with Lara. But inside, they are both walking dead men, having lost what was most vital to them somewhere along the way. They are Russians though, so they drink and talk hours into the night. Then Yuri goes to bed. Pasha takes a walk, and shoots himself in the head. Yuri finds his corpse in the morning.


Pasha is a tall, broad-shouldered athletic man. Think of a veteran soldier. He has red hair. But unlike Tom Courtenay in the film version, he doesn't wear glasses or have a scar on his face.


As a child, Pasha was shy but an extraordinary mimic. Think of the class clown, because he didn't mind the attention he got from being silly. But he was a smart boy, more serious under the surface than anyone gave him credit for being. Others called him girlish. Tragedy had shaped him into knowing he'd have to take care of himself, so he developed an ambition to do well academically and get a teaching post.

But as many books as he absorbed, he couldn't quite shake his attraction to Lara. So while he developed a cold, didactic manner with almost everyone else, he still deferred to her. But the coldness still was as much a mask as the clowning around had been before. He believed very deeply in certain things about himself and the world. And he didn't think he measured up to the man he wished to be in his mind.

Even as a married man, a father and a teacher, he couldn't reconcile this unhappiness. Thinking it had to do with Lara, he resolved to leave her to prove himself worthy. But in the army, he was as unhappy as ever.

It's never clear what went on his mind while he was in the German prison camp, but outwardly Strelnikov is about as different from the child Pasha had been as can be. If anything, the elder Antipov might have been proud of him. He had made himself into a man who was feared and respected. Strelnikov was dangerous, the rabid wolf that the Bolsheviks loosed upon rebellious White villages in deep Siberia, to put the fear of the Reds into them.

But Strelnikov was yet another role, another mask, to ensure his survival. Pasha was never satisfied where he was. He was a dreamer, always looking for that green patch to be content in. During the last part of his life, when he was apparently such a ruthless enemy of all things beautiful and domestic, he told himself inside that he wanted nothing more than to be a father and husband again.

In the end, there was nothing more for him to hope for, no more masks to wear. So when he heard from Yuri that Lara was out of his reach, probably forever, he gave up and ended it all.


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RP Canon


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