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Lieutenant Kijé is the man who never existed. Lieutenant Kije and Young Vitushishnikov is a story written by Yurii Tynyanov about the Russian millitary around AD 1800. In it Tzar Paul I of Russia misreads a name on a military roll of honour as "Kijé". He inquires about him and not wishing to contradict the Tzar many great deads are invented for the Lieutenant. Eventually Paul decides that he wants to meet Kijé and his subordinates have to kill off the non-existant hero in an apropriate fashion.

Kijé became famous because of the Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Sergi Prokofiev. He was commissioned in 1933 to write a musical score for a film based upon the story by Lenfilm, the Soviet state movie production company. The music turned out fantastic, one of the great works of music. It illustrates scenes from the life of the imaginary soldier, his wedding, the sleigh ride where he dies, and the funeral. I particularly like the Troika (sleigh ride) that makes me think of cold weather and being bundled in furs.

Unfortunately it was decided the story was too anti-establishment and so the movie was never put into general release and can almost not be found today. A popular suite of music for a non-existent movie killed by bureaucracy about a non-existent person created and killed through bureaucracy. Wonderfully ironic.

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