Colonel Maxim Arturovitch Pyatnitski

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Also known as Max Peters, Colonel Pyat. Born Kiev, Ukraine 14 January 1900. Died London 28(?) August 1977.

According to Byzantium Endures Pyat '...was born in 1900, on 1 January, in South Russia: the ancient true Russia from which the whole of our great Slavic culture sprang. Of course it is no longer called Russia, just as the calendar itself has been altered to comply with Anglo-Saxon notions. By modern reckoning I was therefore born in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on 14 January.

My mother was Polish, but from a family long settled in Ukraine. She told me that my father had been a descendant of the Zaporizhian Cossacks' who died in about 1905.

In his latter years, 'He was an old Central-European, swarthy, hunched, ill-tempered, slightly grubby, with a seamed face, large lips and a big nose. His skin was unhealthy. He wore out-of-date, musty suits or sports clothes and his dress was distinguished only by the white golfing cap he wore winter and summer.

[He] collapsed during the August 1977 Notting Hill Carnival when a group of black boys and girls collecting for Help The Aged in Caribbean fancy dress entered his shop (one of the few open) and demanded a contribution. His heart had failed him. He died at St Charles Hospital some hours later.' Notting Hill Carnival took place on 28th & 29th August that year.

In Breakfast in the Ruins is Old Pyat - A fat Georgian, dressed in a feather boa and gold-rimmed sunglasses, who rides Makhno’s train with Karl Glogauer, a young boy and the sailor with the “Death to Life” tattoo (pp. 104, 107 - Breakfast In The Ruins, 1971, Random House (1st ed. US)). However in the Phoenix Omnibus edition, the young boy is given the name Pyat and is described as a Ukrainian Jew - presumably to fit better with the Pyat of the Between the Wars sequence.

In the original version of The Steel Tsar was Lieutenant Pyatnitski, the first of the liberators met by the escapees from the civilian camp on Rishiri island. In the revised version this character is renamed Lieutenant Mitrofanovitch and Sikorski is renamed Pyatinski.

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