Maria Zakharova and her daughter become prototypes for children's book heroine
This week the Moscow Chinese Cultural Center, which hosted the presentation of the book by Irina Zakharova, who worked in the Soviet and then Russian embassy in China for over 20 years, was attended by people, listening to which, you can understand why Russian and Chinese people are brothers forever, and why Beijing attracts dynasties of Russian intellectuals.
"The theme [for the children's book titled 'Magic Journey to Beijing'] was chosen by the professional way of my husband, who has spent more than 20 years in China. I was a supplement to his work and plunged into the world of Chinese culture, which is an extremely rich and mysterious. It is a country with a lot of tales and secrets. You can look at hieroglyphs, without understanding their meaning, but perceiving them as pictures, as a great graphic work ... My work would be impossible without the support of my family - my husband Vladimir Zakharov, my daughter Maria [the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova - VK] and granddaughter Mariana ... The book is only a press event, and we want our children to understand the Chinese culture, the history of this country. And our future world depends on our children, because today they are still kids, but tomorrow they will be diplomats, doctors, journalists, scientists and military. So, children's literature is a very demanding area," the honored worker of culture of Russia Irina Zakharova said.
The book was publishing by the 'Lingua-F' publishing house. Its CEO Elena Fesenko told about the prototypes fo the main character: "Irina Vladislavovna [Zakharova], having lived so many years in Beijing, passed on Masha her passion for this country, this city, and Masha is passing it her daughter Marusya. We can see both Masha and Marusya in the collective image of the girl [the book's heroine]. I think that's very important when a family live through something together, create together. We call on everyone to continue the tradition of family reading, read together with children, discuss book with them after reading, create things."
"The book is warm, interesting and very elegant, in many ways it can be correlated with the book style of the 50s and 60s. It is not like comics. The Zakharov family has given a lot of time, a lot of heart, a lot of effort to China, strengthening the multifaceted relations between the two countries, which have the character of a strategic partnership," the member of the Federation Council, the former Secretary General of the SCO, Dmitry Mezentsev, said. "It was defined by the national leaders, the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping. I think that the millions of citizens of our countries have one task - comply with the level of relations, set by our leaders. We must do our utmost that millions of people in every country will know about each other as much as possible, that Russians will keep a special memory of China in their hearts and their desire to learn about China will grow with each passing year."
"When I was 10, I came across a book by accident titled 'Chinese fairy tales'. I was shocked by this book. It is a completely different world, a dreamlike world, an enigmatic, mysterious, exotic world - pagodas, phoenixes, chopsticks, Taoist monks, Confucian scholars. So many things and everything was quite unusual and new to me. I fell in love in China thanks to this book and the next 60 years of my life I have studied China," the rector of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Yevgeny Bazhanov, said. "The book ['Magic Journey to Beijing'] made the same impression as the book I read 60 years ago. I'm really exited about it. I am shocked by this fabulous, beautiful, interesting world again. The book is an encyclopedia. There is a history, geography, culture, architecture, cuisine, attractions of Beijing and other cities, Chinese proverbs, Chinese traditions, Chinese fairy tales. In fact, the book is an encyclopedia, but in terms of its form and content, it is fiction. I will reread it 10 more times with great pleasure. This book should be a textbook in our schools. The Diplomatic Academy has already made it a teaching tool for Sinologists and Orientalists, and maybe we also will make it a textbook for anyone who study international relations. This book deserves it. Thank you for expanding our cultural horizons, making our lives more colorful, beautiful, contributing to the development of humanitarian ties between our two nations, our understanding of China, our respect for China. The humanitarian aspect is the most solid foundation for bilateral relations. "
"It is difficult to write about China, but it is insanely difficult to sincerely write about China," the professor of the Higher School of Economics, sinologist Alexei Maslov said. "There are very few books written about China in plain language. Today I knew about another one. I remember me and Irina Vladislavovna wandering through the evening dark alleys of old Beijing, when Irina told me, sinologist, the things that no expert knows, because she experienced it herself, and because it is not just a story, for her it is life. The life of these small shops where people sell their self-made toys, kettles, textile products. They do not sell, they present them, and you need to talk with them. Irina Vladislavovna knows how to speak with the old Beijingers. It is a special category of people. It is not so much a book as experience. It is a fairy tale, but China itself is a fairy tale. There are few people who sincerely feel this inner pulse of life. This life is not in the great China, but in a small Beijing, in a small Shanghai, in a small Hangzhou. "
"Probably no one lived like our family has lived in China at our embassy," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova recalls. "I do not remember any people like my parents, who enthusiastically studied the things with such a passion and interest, which in those years were not studied even by the Chinese themselves. Then it was not a trend, it was unfashionable. It was covered with a thick-thick layer of historical dust. My parents have made selfless, very important action, while opening the traditional China not only for our audience, but for the Chinese audience in many respects as well. Together with the Chinese they of were opening China's true colours through traditions. In the early 1980s there were no skyscrapers, there were hutongs, there were no apartment buildings, there were siheyuans. China has just started its way, which later became known as a break. The Chinese, especially the younger generation, sometimes underestimated the richness of their culture, which, unfortunately, was hidden for many years. And my parents discovered many things with the Chinese and for the Chinese.
I grew up in an amazing atmosphere, because my parents were not conformists, they never allowed external circumstances, the outside world, different situations affect them. They never adjust to comfortable, favorable circumstances. At the same time, my parents were never revolutionaries, because there is also a devastating moment in the concept of 'revolution'. My parents found their own, personal way to change reality both around them and globally. This path is called art and creativity. The unique, patented method of changing reality. I grew up in such an atmosphere, since my childhood knowing about a soft power. I do not know about it at the institute or work. Since my childhood I have realized that a soft evolutionary path can lead to big changes. This unique version of reality changing then was chosen by me. "