Mikhail Pavlovich, we know that the two writers’ unions – Russia and Belarus – are close friends and in 2009 even united in the Union State Writers’ Union. But all the same, I would like to know more about the common creative cuisine: what is this friendship that is expressed today?
Mikhail Pozdnyakov: Our common union, of course, has a work plan for each year, which includes the exchange of creative delegations, the publication of books by Russian writers in Belarus and Belarusian writers in Russia, and participation in various literary forums in both countries. . Authors from Belarus spend their literary evenings in Moscow and St. Petersburg, in Bryansk, Orel, some of our writers even reach Siberia.
Partisans, underground workers, frontline soldiers are the best people who have stood up in defense of the fatherland. What about mothers, sisters, children? Their fate can only excite the writer
And, of course, we try to present modern Russian literature in Belarus in various places in our country. So, the Russian delegation is still heavily involved in the Days of Belarusian Literature, and I myself have been repeatedly invited to the Gamzatov Literary Festival “White Cranes”: I traveled all over Dagestan, we We stopped in squares, in libraries, in auls, read poetry and spoke with connoisseurs of the word artistic. We also present the work of Russian authors, classical and contemporary, at the Minsk City Poetry Theater.
Aren’t the creative links between the writers of our two countries only of an official nature?
Mikhail Pozdnyakov: Of course. There is cooperation between trade unions, there are creative links between regional branches (for example, Vitebsk writers closely cooperate with the Belgorod and Oryol branches of the Writers’ Union of Russia), and there are also a personal friendship, thanks to which good projects were also born. We work closely with the Moscow branch of the Writers’ Union of Russia: mutual translations and publications in Moscow magazines such as Our Sovremennik, Velikoross, Molodaya Gvardia and Literaturnaya Gazeta. Together with the St. Petersburg branch, a two-volume “indivisible chain” was published, which included works by 92 poets and writers from Belarus and Russia. Together we are also organizing a literary competition dedicated to the poet and warrior Igor Grigoriev, an underground partisan who, after the war, led the Pskov branch of the Writers’ Union of Russia. We have good relations with the Kaliningrad branch of the Writers’ Union of Russia, with the Writers’ Union of Kalmykia… Every year we hold the international competition “Slavic Kaleidoscope”, dedicated to the unity of our peoples, for which hundreds of nominations are received. People write about our common roots, about the issues that concern us all now.
There is very little left before the opening of the XXX Minsk International Book Fair. Russia will be the guest of honor, which of the modern Russian authors will the Belarusian reader meet?
Mikhail Pozdnyakov: A whole group of Russian writers comes to us, who will actively participate in the work of the book fair: Alexei Varlamov, Leonid Yuzefovich, Vladislav Otroshenko, children’s writers Aya en and Ekaterina Timashpolskaya. Also, at the anniversary book exhibition, anthologies of modern Russian poetry and prose translated into Belarusian will be presented. Belarusian writers took part in this project. For example, I translated Alexander Prokhanov, Sergei Shargunov, Nikolai Ivanov, and many of our authors also translated Russian colleagues.
Are you active in translation?
Mikhail Pozdnyakov: I taught German at school, I translate from Russian, Ukrainian, by order of the Embassy of Kazakhstan, I translated a 4-volume book by Mukhtar Auezov. He translated from the interlinear Cervantes, as well as Walter Scott, and Selma Lagerlöf, and the Grimm brothers, popular tales – thirty volumes will be typed. Now I translate the works of Xi Jinping from the interlinear, it is a huge job.
On March 22 we celebrate a sad date – 80 years since the Khatyn tragedy. Belarusian literature as a whole absorbed the pain of the Great Patriotic War. Is this theme found in your work?
Mikhail Pozdnyakov: This is probably the most important theme of Belarusian literature – the courage of the people, their great losses and sufferings. I draw what I experienced from what was said in the family, from my biography. For example, my story “The Return” tells how the father came from the front and the children, all three, did not recognize him. Because my father liberated Western Belarus in 1939, in 1940 he participated in the Soviet-Finnish war, then the Great Patriotic War began … My mother was a partisan liaison, her brother was a pilot. He was shot down, he was injured when he fell from a parachute, but he went to his native land, to the Bykhov district, and became the reconnaissance commander of a partisan detachment. Our village was burned down, although people were not shot, but the nearby Studenka (it is immortalized in the Khatyn memorial complex) was destroyed along with the locals. 442 people were burned alive, including 295 children. And nine of my relatives. I come here with my children, with my grandchildren to bow.
Partisans, underground workers, frontline soldiers are the best people who have stood up in defense of the fatherland. Their fate can only excite the writer. And what hardships did those who remained in the occupation endure? Mothers, sisters, children… Their feat is not yet sufficiently realized, not exalted, but they need to erect monuments.
My mother made bread for the partisans at night. During the day she loaded the sled with hay, and hid bread under the hay, and placed the children on it. The police and the Germans stopped them, pierced the hay with bayonets, but the bread was soft… And if they had found it, they would have shot everyone. I say: “Mom, how risky you have been!” – “We had to”. There was such courage. Today it is especially important to remember this and to tell young people.
Photo: Egor Ermalitsky
< p class="">Mikhail Pozdnyakov - Belarusian poet, prose writer, translator. Author of more than a hundred books in Belarusian and Russian. Winner of literary prizes in Russia and Belarus. As a researcher, he compiled the "Dictionary of epithets of the Belarusian literary language" (1988), is one of the authors of the Russian-Belarusian and Belarusian-Russian spelling dictionaries (1992, 1994). Now it translates the works of Xi Jinping from the interlinear. Chairman of the Friendship Society "Belarus - Russia".