Georgy Pryakhin: "National literatures unite us"

In recent years, the topic of resumption of creative ties between Russian literature and literatures of the peoples of Russia and former Soviet Union, cut more than 20 years ago, has regained relevance in Russia. The country once again began to publish books, hold literary events aimed at strengthening ties between writers, stimulating their literary activity and promoting their achievements. Several days ago Moscow hosted reading of Dagestani poet and philosopher, member of the Russian Writers' Union, Abu Sufyan, who, however, writes in Russian. Chief editor of Moscow publishing house "Khudozhestvennaya Literatura" Georgy Pryakhin discussed the importance of such events in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.

- Tonight a lot was said about the fact that such events unite people. Why is it so?

- At one time, we, peoples of the USSR, scattered, and every nation tried to find its own identity. Perhaps it was a right thing to do. But now it is necessary to find what unites us. There was a single community - Soviet people. But this community can't be created by laws, it grows from within. Abu Sufyan is one of those poets who write in Russian, think in Kumyk, but, above all, write and think like human beings. Abu Sufyan continued the legacy that was actively developed in the USSR, but just suddenly stopped at some point. This is the legacy of national poets and writers writing in Russian, such as poet, writer, literary scholar and public figure of Kazakhstan, diplomat Olzhas Suleimenov. Recently I participated in a meeting with Olzhas Suleimenov at the Peoples' Friendship University, and this topic was actively discussed there. These poets have remarkable predecessors, good, strong present and a long future.

- Does "Khudozhestvennaya Literatura" promote this kind of literature?

- Yes. Our publishing house worked on very interesting national literature, we had translators, a huge scientific group. Then, over time, in the 1990s, publishing industry was on the verge of collapse. Now, thank God, it develops once again. We are not as great as we were before, but we are trying to restore it. We are assisted by a group of very serious scientists from different countries, including from Azerbaijan - my very good friends Ramiz Abutalibov and Ismail Agakishiev provide us great help in this matter. (In October, in Moscow, a book "Topchibashi. 1919-1940 Paris Archive in Four Books. Book Two 1921-1923" was published. This historical work, published by "Khudozhestvennaya Literatura" with the support of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, includes documents and materials of Paris archive written by the head of Azerbaijani diplomatic delegation in France, Alimardan Topchibashi, dated March 1921 - end of 1923. These documents are from personal archives of Soviet and then Azerbaijani diplomat Ramiz Abutalibova, who managed to collect unique materials about the life of Azerbaijani and Russian emigrants in France. Abutalibov worked in UNESCO ыince 1971 and became friends with many representatives of different "waves" of emigration. This allowed him to return valuable historical documents, art objects, which are now stored in museums and archives of Russia and Azerbaijan.)

Scientists have found and systemized Topchibashi's famous archive. We have already published two volumes, many people are interested in them. I think by 2017 we will publish another volume. These materials concern not only the history of Azerbaijan nad its statehood. This is a documental, historical, scientific encyclopedia of the early 20th century in the Caucasus. It concerns Azerbaijan, neighboring countries and, of course, Russia. This book will be fundamental for Caucasian studies. This is a big, serious, not only publishing but also scientific work.

- Which countries are you working with?

- We are actively working with former Soviet republics, especially Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Abuzar Bagirov, chief researcher at the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences' Nizami Literature Institute, is cooperating with us. We cooperate with People's writer of Azerbaijan Anar Rzayev. He is an amazing writer. We published his two volumes book. Also we published a wonderful book written by Kamal Abdullah. ("Khudozhestvennaya Literatura" published three novels written by modern Azerbaijani writer Kamal Abdulla. Formally, novels are not a trilogy: they have different stories, different characters and they happen in completely different times. At the same time, there is something deep that organically unites them.)

We are working not just with famous people. We are looking for literature, which is less known in Russia. We published several books like that in Russian, and we plan to continue doing it. I think this cooperation helps cooperation in spiritual, cultural and even political spheres between our countries, which is currently developing and strengthening. 

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