January 01, 2007

Pushkin's Death

“Pushkin is our everything,” wrote nineteenth century critic Apollon Grigoriyev, who spent his life contemplating beauty and the ideal, and died an impoverished drunk. 

“Is there any other guy in Russian culture besides Pushkin?” I was asked by a Dutch woman who often visits Russia. Cultural programs were arranged for each of her visits, and they all consisted of Pushkin, Pushkin, and more Pushkin. 

We see what she means. In Russia, unfortunately, we love to put ourselves down. But Pushkin is the object of our universal love and admiration. Everyone knows him, everyone has read him – at least in school, where we had to memorize his works. We still remember them, which is something Pushkin could surely take pride in. 

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