Dedicated to my grandfather Zinovii Balitskii, a talented railway engineer
who was shot without trial in 1937.
Life on earth is terrifying, gents,
in the land of ignorance, of violence and sloth
where, like a muddy river, life
washes away our forebears’ ashes
who, with true longing in their souls,
strove after light and freedom, joy and life,
whose names the muse of history inscribed
into her martyrology. Their burial
inspired no remembrance speeches,
they lie in mass graves. That’s Russia’s foul weather…
Others crowned their rabid henchmen
real fighters for people’s happiness.
That’s how we live in this country –
yesterday’s murderer’s a hero today.
Mouths are twisted with grief even now
but next door they worship and bow
to the monsters’ heirs at work in our time
in faithful-servants-of-the people’s guise.
That’s how we live. Foul weather’s near.
A gale in the making. And thunderstorms.
12 July 2016
Mark Vayner was born on Feb 21. 1937. Four months after his birth, his grandfather, Zinovy Ilyich Balitsky, a specialist in railway signaling, was arrested and accused of “treason and counter-revolutionary activity”, as were millions of innocent people in those years. Quoting Mark: “The trial was as simple as Lenin’s truth: the ‘judges’, smoking and talking about their private lives, signed the list [that, among many other names, had his name. That was all. On the same day, my grandfather was shot. The official verdict was “10 years without the right to correspond.” After the execution of his grandfather, his wife, Mark’s grandmother, was exiled. Mark’s two uncles (brothers of Mark’s father) were shot in the same year. In 1959 Mark graduated from the Russian State University of Oil and Gas. He published one paper book and four electronic-books.
Josephine von Zitzewitz is a scholar of Russian literature and translator specializing in Russian poetry. After working at the Universities of Oxford, Bristol, and Cambridge (UK) she is presently Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow at UIT The Arctic University of Norway.
This collection, compiled, translated, and edited by poet and scholar Ian Probstein, provides Anglophone audiences with a powerful selection of Mandelstam’s most beloved and haunting poems.
Four teenagers grow inseparable in the last days of the Soviet Union—but not all of them will live to see the new world arrive in this powerful debut novel, loosely based on Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.
Every character in these twenty-two interlinked stories is an immigrant from a place real or imaginary. (Magic realism/immigrant fiction.)
A book of poems in Russian by Victor Enyutin (San Francisco, 1983). Victor Enyutin is a Russian writer, poet, and sociologist who emigrated to the US from the Soviet Union in 1975.
This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!