Aged 54, Véronique is the youngest of the Bogdanoff siblings. She was present at the hospital during Igor and Grichka’s last moments. Back to their childhood, their life choices and the reasons for their close relationship.
Sophrologist, Véronique wrote a book on personal development Welcome to the land of oneself (ed. Symbiosis). With sensitivity she describes the particular universe of the childhood of Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff, of two benevolent brothers, very protective, mischievous, who liked in part to invent their legend to better embellish a reality both exceptional and sometimes more prosaic.
GALA: Were you very close to the twins?
Véronique Bogdanoff : Yes. I am 54 years old and we had a big age difference, but they pampered me a lot. When our mother died of devastating cancer I was 15 years old. They made sure to protect me. They took me everywhere to their parties, to the television sets. They encouraged my passion for writing and my attention to words. They were born educators.
GALA: Did Igor know that Grichka was deceased when he died himself?
Véronique Bogdanoff : No. He was in a coma. He left without knowing. But it cannot be denied that there is this mystery of communication between the twins. Even though it sounds terrible to say, I’m relieved that they left us together. I can’t imagine Igor’s beautiful brown eyes following his brother’s coffin. One did not go without the other. My brothers died six days apart at almost the same time. Grichka at 13:38 and Igor at 13:20 Almost forty years to the day after our grandmother who left us in January 1982 and who had partly raised them. I was present at the hospital. I accompanied them until their last breath and both. It was very important to me.
GALA: Did you prepare for Grichka’s funeral?
Véronique Bogdanoff : It was in question, but there was anxiety in organizing the funeral of one of the two brothers without the other attending. We had hope for Igor and we dreaded he might wake up having missed it. Then, when the situation deteriorated for Igor, we were left with a sort of expectation. And then there you go… they will be buried together.
This disease allowed them to die together
GALA: How did your brothers get the Covid?
Véronique Bogdanoff : Stupidly. Like everyone. They had no commorbidities. They weren’t smoking – Igor once smoked Blue Rothmans but Grichka was engulfing him so he quit pretty quickly – they weren’t drinking, weren’t eating red meat. They ate slices of Poilâne bread with jam and fruit. They were very healthy. They trusted their bodies. I take that for a choice. This disease allowed them to die together. I was with them in the last moments and once again it couldn’t have been otherwise.
> PHOTOS – Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff: review of their physical evolution in 20 photos
GALA: You have the same father but your brother, François, who is 62, was born from a different relationship between your mother and a man. What was the family background like?
Véronique Bogdanoff : Mom met a Russian immigrant, Youra, from whom she became pregnant when she was 23. It was then that Igor and Grichka were born. But our grandmother was not necessarily very favorable to this story, she was very demanding and no one found favor in her eyes. My father and mother have separated. Ten years later François was born from another love story between my mother and a man. However, my mother had not forgotten Youra and vice versa. Finally they found each other and chose not to leave each other, giving birth to three other children: Laurence, 58 years old, Geraldine, 56 years old and and me, 54 years old. Youra was ultimately the man in my mother’s life. He was a discreet, rather silent, humble person who had left Russia at the age of eleven. My mother was brilliant, intelligent, spoke several languages and was very attached to her mother. She died three months after the latter’s death. As if our family really worked in pairs. The fusional tandem between my mother and her mother responded that formed by Igor and Grichka.
GALA: Grichka told a friend that she had a little sad childhood. Were you aware of it?
Véronique Bogdanoff : As the twins were born almost 20 years before me, I have never known them except as adults, but one day when there were four of us -Laurence, Grichka, Igor and me- like children who find themselves in the same room, Grichka s’ is confided in his fear of abandonment. The twins were raised by our grandmother mainly and without their father who then returned. It pained me to hear that, I don’t think we can explain their journey, their aspiration for singularity or to extricate themselves from contingencies without this key. Regarding Grichka, this is probably what explains why he did not start a family or that he did not get married. He couldn’t stand the thought of being potentially abandoned, it’s a fear he never healed. His only way to be sure of a connection was twinning. Igor and Grichka have seen each other all the time, every day of their lives.
GALA: Did your grandmother impose her rules?
Véronique Bogdanoff : She was an ambassador’s ex-wife. She belonged to one of the largest families in Gotha. A dying world mixing the Czech and Viennese high nobility whose splendor she had recreated in a perfectly restored Gers castle where she resided. She reigned over the commune of Saint-Lary. Our tribe, dominated by its matriarchy, fascinated locals quite a bit. Imagine right in the southwest… our grandmother Bertha who was a countess, our mother Maya, the twins, the building itself, all of this aroused interest. And then our grandmother was very cultured. She often received personalities. I think I remember that it was she who introduced Roland Barthes to Igor and Grichka.
GALA: The twins never really talked about racism, they had African American roots. Were they spared?
Véronique Bogdanoff : Yes. They did know, however, that it had happened to me. I could hear “Shut up you dirty negress” in the playground, not them. They subsequently identified more with the aristocracy than the rest of our siblings. Perhaps our grandmother had influenced them more, but it was also the result of a choice of life or a need to belong.
GALA: Have you seen an evolution in twins?
Véronique Bogdanoff : I would say that over the last twenty years they have looked for each other a lot. As I am a sophrologist and I am interested in different therapies, I tried hypnosis or NLP with them but they had brakes. They were as interested as they were uncomfortable with these practices. Igor and Grichka were very religious but they were afraid of death. Even though they were Catholics, they found it difficult to project themselves into the hereafter. They remained very attached to the present.
We were playing “I hold you, you hold me by the goatee”
GALA: A lot of rumors have circulated about their physique. What was it?
Véronique Bogdanoff : Their physique was a taboo. A mystery that they had fun watching us try to unravel. One day I asked them for two hours about cosmetic surgery. They took me around but it made them laugh deep down. I didn’t get anything out of it. We played at catching each other by the chin for the time of a “I hold you, you hold me by the goatee” and then there you go. They knew what I thought about it but I respected their choice. You had to be a little circumspect with them, know how to sort through the statements. I was surprised that they say they have Asperger’s autism or that Grichka claims to have an IQ of 180. I took that as a way of writing their legend. Once Grichka told me “I created a character”.
GALA: What do you think of the statements of Luc Ferry who spoke about the fact that they were not vaccinated or of Jean-Paul Enthoven who spoke of their lack of money?
Véronique Bogdanoff : I was a little surprised by certain remarks which seemed to me immodest. My brothers never spoke ill of anyone and they were very sensitive. They wouldn’t have liked to hear that. For them money came and went. In our family, we have a curious relationship with everything that is pecuniary. We always believe that there is money even when there is not. My grandmother never worked, she inherited. In any case my brothers were anything but crooks who left slates. Finally when I hear the controversy around the unvaccinated that generates their death, I who am vaccinated, I find that inappropriate. Their life, made of daring, imagination and projects, is not limited to that.
Photo credits: COADIC GUIREC / BESTIMAGE