Edward Radzinsky: "Mehriban Aliyeva is an incredible woman"
Soviet and Russian writer, playwrighter, screenwriter and TV host, author of popular books and documentaries about the history of Russia discussed his connections with the Caucasus in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- Does the topic of Caucasus appear in your life, in your works?
- It's in my heart, in my "eyes", because there is nothing more beautiful than the Caucasian mountains - they're fantastic. There's a memory of feelings - Decembrists, exiled to the Caucasus, Lermontov's "The Novice" (Mtsyri), his lines.
There are people in my works, who went to the Caucasus - Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich (until March 1917 he was emperor's representative in the Caucasus, commander-in-chief of the Caucasian army); Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, son of Mikhail Nikolaevich Romanov, who was also emperor's representative (in the Caucasus and commander of the Caucasian army since 1862). My main Caucasian hero is Stalin. Now he is called "successful manager", but at that time, millions of people didn't know it, so they had to experience his "management". I'm very interested in him. I lived with him almost all my life. I'm the last victim of his personality cult. Now I can think and talk like him, I remember a lot of his speeches and all aphorisms. He's a huge figure, it's interesting to write about him.
- Do you plan any tours in the Caucasus?
- No. There's no need to hold tours there, you have to go there to look at this place and fall in love with it. I was in Baku, it's great. The Old City is magnificent. Wife of the President is extremely beautiful. When I first saw her, I thought that I could only admire and leave. She's great!
- Did you manage to talk to her?
- Yes! I talked about Stalin, about his last days during one creative evening. All the time I thought whether it's appropriate to talk about this exactly. Mehriban Aliyeva attended this event. There was a banquet by the end of it, she said that this day is the first time she organized banquets for anyone. She's incredible! President himself was not at the meeting, but after that he told me that he was not surprised that this topic was chosen.
- How do you assess Mehriban Aliyeva's contribution to the development of Azerbaijan?
- It's huge. I saw Baku Museum of Modern Art. There are works of my wonderful friend, artist, Tahir Salakhov. It's incredible how good people are towards him. He is a grandiose, genius artist. Salakhov is a phenomenon. But the most surprising thing is that this museum bought paintings of artists who had died long ago and didn't earn a penny during their lifetime. These works were bought from their widows, families for high prices.