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Leonid Mikhalevsky — crossword genius!

2015 – 90th unniversary of crossword puzzle in Russia

Now Leonid Z. Mikhalevsky is 86 . He has been called Lenya for a long time (since 1936), although his passport name was Naum. Before school, at home he was called Nёnya and that was what he told the teacher when asked about his name. The teacher heard this as Lenya (short for Leonid) and entered this name into the list of pupils. Since then he has lived with the new name and has got used to it.
Leonid's family was cheerful, friendly and, by today's standards, large Nёnya was the fourth and youngest child. Before the war, he managed to finish 5 forms.


At the beginning of the war the family (his father was already at the front) with a factory "Trud" from Homel was evacuated to Kazan. Children's tenacious memory recorded everything: 1st Privolnaya Street, Akademic street near it, market Sukonka under the mountain, on the mountain – another market Sorochka, near that Bezymyanka area, where aircraft were built ...


Then maternal grandfather sent the call, and the family moved to Stavropol-on-Volga Kuibyshev region, where they lived till the end of the war. They starved. The boy was put on rations to the children's home, and that was 150 g of bread a day.


Back in Gomel, without completing 6 and 7 forms, Leonid went directly into the 8th, to the night school for working youth, where he did not stay long: on the basis of certificates from school he entered motor College (later it became mechanics and road College, now – Construction College) and graduated with honors.


After college Leonid was appointed chief engineer at Highway Administration of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Vitebsk. "What sort of chief engineer could I make? - Says Leonid – without any practice!" Leonid continued his career in the town of Dvina, as a chief mechanic for the reconstruction of the bridges on the river Dvina. From there he was drawn to the army. After 2 years in the rank of second lieutenant he returned to Gomel and worked as a mechanic in a garage. From 1953 to 1956 he worked as a chief of car pool operating, and from 1956 until his retirement (in 1988) faithfully worked at Gomel factory "Selmash." He started as a foreman of the assembly shop, then became a shift manager, and then - head of production department of the main conveyor. There were 22 workshops in "Selmash"! All heads - with higher education, with the exeption of Leonid ... Still everybody knew - Mikhalevsky was the best specialistand the accounting was the best in his workshop too, so for any kind of advice people went to him!


Once Leonid was sent to the training course in Lyubertsy. After the training, a letter came to the plant, where he was called an outstanding expert! The plant administration thought for a while and decided to give him an award ... His working day began at 8.00 but already at 6.15 every morning the foreman was already at work: walking around, planning the day. He worked with pleasure, with joy.
Mikhalevsky was respected, but of cause there were enemies. Once somebody reported that allegedly he was stealing rubber from the plant. Leonid was not a party member, but he went to a meeting of party control board to defend his honor. Victory! Once there was a conflict with one of the top manages of the plant. He summoned Leonid to a conversation and said: "One of us will have to leave!" To this Mikhalevsky replied: "What? Have you already got tired of working? "He knew his worth! 35 thousand people worked at the factory, but everybody said about Leonid: "He walks around the plant like a king! He can say anything to anyone, he is not afraid! "


Not surprisingly, the weaker sex had always singled him out, but it was in 1967 when he met the main woman of his life. It happened when he was holidaying at a health resort. Antonina worked, as it turned out, at the same plant "Selmash" as a design engineer. She was (and is!) not only beautiful, but also a highly skilled professional. The most difficult work, the most accurate calculations were trusted to her! She was really good at sciences! After retirement, she taught descriptive geometry and advanced mathematics for many years to evening and part time students! And she is a perfect houskeeper! Even after nearly 50 years, she never ceases to surprise her husband and guests (there are always a lot of guests in their hospitable home). Her home made food is amazing and extremely delicious!

Леонид Михалевский

Leonid knows how to appreciate it! He is able to appreciate all the beauty in this life! He's an amazing person! Energetic, creative, enthusiastic! He can singing and dance and play the guitar (this is from my mother!- he says). The repertoire is most versatile, but a special love - songs of Vladimir Vysotsky. He really appreciates him and knows deeply .... I think that this is because a lot of songs by Vysotsky are about true friendship and ability to make friends, to appreciate friendship, cherish the memory of it - this is another rare quality inherent to Leonid!

Леонид Михалевский


Since 1984 Leonid has developed a new passion – crossword puzzles! He has a huge amount of them: many volumes! Leonid composes them himself. The subjects are most diverse: theater, cinema, literature, painting, architecture, engineering, construction, household, features of character; geographical unit: the country, the capital, currencies, reliefs, deserts, rivers, mountains, lakes; Music: instruments, composers, opera, songs, conductors, musical terms; Literature: works, authors, characters; Moscow theaters: the old-timers (the actors), repertoire, etc. These are just to name a few!


His puzzles are published in the magazine "Ogonyok", newspapers "Gomel Pravda" and "Gomel Gazette". Leonid would not give up his favorite thing even for a day and is ready to share his experience with those who are just like him, fascinated by solving and preparation of crossword puzzles.


... .and that's great! After all, according to the researchers, crossword puzzles develop erudition, memory, perseverance. This activity contributes to the development of thinking in young people, and in older people - the preservation of brain activity.


All those who are interested in the publications of crosswords by Leonid Mikhalevsky, please, contact the organization "Life Energy".


Health to you, Leonid ! And, of course, new volumes of crossword puzzles!

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