Russian literature as a chronicle of the past and the future


Zakhar Prilepin

June 5th, 2015

Zakhar Prilepin

Russian writer and political activist

Translated by Kristina Rus

KR: Everything that happens already happened before and will happen again. The best of Russian literature is a chronicle of the past, present and future. The answers are there for those willing to look. The eternal “syncretic truth” of relationships between people and societies transcends geography and history. 

Great philosopher Vladimir Bibikhin writes what the Russian literature had already assumed – that the ideologue, historian, poet and a statesman is one person.

Everything basically continued in this manner: Trediakovsky, Lomonosov, Derzhavin, Karamzin, Pushkin, Griboyedov, Gogol, Tyutchev, Dostoevsky, Gorky, Blok, Bryusov, Yesenin, Gumilev, Sholokhov, Simonov, finally, Prokhanov or Limonov.

Ideologue, historian, poet, periodically – a statesman. All in one person.

Further, Bibikhin talks about the possibility of a “syncretic truth”. One must see “the observed event as a whole, its sense, and the definition of the space that it will occupy in the life of the world”.

Thus, the Russian conservative literary tradition is so insightful and so applicable to any new events, in which many have gotten tangled, as in pantyhose. It is the bearer of “syncretic truth”. It looks from the inside, from the outside, stepping back a thousand years and jumping centuries ahead.

And its current opponents put in their eye a monocle of “European law” (or progress) and look at everything through its lens. And then retell us. And turn out interviews with Ulitskaya or Viktor Erofeev.

And “The Day of the Oprichnik”, where Sorokyn “foretold everything brilliantly”. Yeah, that’s it, all the lights out, oprichniki are at the front door.

Actually, a hundred times converted by “the will of Stalin,” the play of Alexei N. Tolstoy’s “Ivan the Terrible” has 40 times more  truth about the past and the future.

Everything was “foretold” and painted by roles by Pushkin in “Captain’s daughter” , Gogol in “Taras Bulba”, Dostoevsky in “Demons” and Sholokhov  in “The Quiet Don”.

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