Armenia is a special guest at the Moscow Book Fair

Armenia is a special guest at the Moscow Book Fair

Tomorrow the Moscow International Book Fair at VDNKh is to come to an end. The organizers expect that about 100 thousand people visited this exhibition, in which book publishers participated from 31 countries. Special guests of the fair became Serbia, Iran and Armenia.

In an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, Armenian Ambassador to Moscow Oleg Yesayan thanked the organizers for the honor of participating in the event as a spotlight guest: "Armenia with great pleasure accepted the invitation and participated in the regular, already the 28th Moscow international exhibition-fair dedicated to Its Majesty - the Book. We appreciate the book because it contains all the history of mankind. The attitude to books is formed over a lifetime for each person and throughout history for every nation. Every nation has its sacred things, which we have from ancient times. For us, Armenians, the attitude towards an alphabet, a book, and a written word is one of the sacred things.’’ 

According to Yesayan, ‘‘unfortunately, the history of Armenia has seen a lot of tragic cases when people saved books at the expense of their lives. But perhaps due to this fact they saved ourselves. When we speak about our ethnic culture, our ethnic identity, one of the most important elements of this identity, we considered and consider our attitude towards writing and our attitude towards books." 

According to the ambassador, "it is no accident that there is one of the greatest forms of preservation of ancient literature in Armenia – the scientific center of Matenadaran. It is no accident that Armenians managed to print books in the modern sense of this word more than 500 years ago."

"Today at the exhibition our writers and experts are working on the presentation of all that Armenia has uncovered, trying to introduce visitors to our themes, which have their own features – a feature of this year, the century of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. It is not only our national honor, but also our historical responsibility. Therefore, with love we invite everyone to visit the exhibition of books and the Armenian pavilion in particular," Oleg Yesayan said.

The Chairman of the Union of Writers of Armenia, Edward Militonian, answered the questions of Vestnik Kavkaza in the format of a short interview.

- Has interest in books decreased in Armenia due to the popularity of electronic books?

- There are some difficulties, but they aren’t so obvious. People read both electronic and paper books. 

- What is the current situation in the writers' ‘workshop’?

- There are very good poets, writers, translators and literary critics. Some good modern writers are represented at the fair. Today, as in the good times, we have very good talented writers.

- How do they get out of this difficult situation in Armenia? Does anybody help them?

- The Writers' Union helps them. We have a sanatorium where writers can have a rest free of charge. They can also write and publish their books there. This is help from our state. 

- Traditionally, Armenian writers maintained ties with other countries, particularly with Russia. What is the situation today?

 - It is very good. Every year we hold meetings in Moscow and Yerevan, where we make a presentation of translated books. We have a lot of translations from the Russian language, and we print books in Russian.

- Is there a need for Russian literature in Armenia?

- Of course, we have such a need.

- Is it being satisfying? 

- Yes, I think.

- There are few Armenian books in Russian in Moscow. What's the problem?

- I know a publisher here, who prints Armenian writers, a lot of classics.

- What is the situation with foreign writers, who are writing about Armenian themes? Will we see their books in translation into Armenian? 

- We translate and print in them Armenian. 

- How does commercialization affect the issue of literature? 

There are some problems, but the state allocates grants. The Ministry of Culture provides grants to publishers so that they could publish our contemporary writers.

- What is the attitude towards book publishing in Armenia? Is it a business, or a cultural phenomenon?

- This is a business for publishers. But for readers it is a cultural value.

- What people in Armenia like to read today?

- Every reader wants new, good books, fiction, and other publications. 

- Recently, the Roman Catholic Church made Narekatsy a teacher of the Universal Church. But as far as I know, there is no Book of Lamentations in the Russian language. 

- There are several publications in Russian in a beautiful design. 

- What are your expectations from today's book fair?

- We expect that Moscow Armenians and readers of other nationalities will know about our publications.

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