The radio is spewing crash and clangor,
The loudspeakers are thrashing on their stand.
“Citizens, the Motherland’s in danger,
Our tanks rolling through our neighbors’ land!”
It’s our tanks, our missiles, our artillery,
It’s our soldier watching through his sight,
Bombs rain down on city veins and arteries,
Carried by our warplanes day and night.
Sleep won’t come, and even if we sink
Into slumber on the other side of death,
Woven from our blood, our dead come whispering
In our ears their curses and their wrath –
Those who stayed on blood-soaked fields forever
Eighty years ago, now fill the skies,
Tactical white hornets, slice the air
Coming for our tanks with mournful cries.
* * *
Качество у звука безобразное,
Прыгают колонки на столе:
“Граждане, отечество в опасности*,
Наши танки на чужой земле!”
Наши танки, наша артиллерия,
Наш солдат сквозь визоры глядит,
Городские вены и артерии
Наша авиация бомбит.
Не приходит сон, а если все-таки
На изнанке смерти забытье,
Наши мертвые, из нашей крови сотканы,
Шепчут нам проклятие свое,
И, с полей кровавых не пришедшие
Восемьдесят лет тому назад,
Белыми тактическими шершнями
К нашим танкам с криками летят.
* This original poem by Yulia Юля Фридман is a riff on the famous 1968 text by Aleksandr Galich.
Yulia Fridman, b. 1970, is a researcher at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow. Her poetry and prose appear in various online journals. Her published translations into Russian, done jointly with Dmitri Manin, include several works of Dr. Seuss and a memoir of a prominent French mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck.
Dmitri Manin is a physicist, programmer, and translator of poetry. His translations from English and French into Russian have appeared in several book collections. His latest work is a complete translation of Ted Hughes’ “Crow” (Jaromír Hladík Press, 2020) and Allen Ginsberg’s “The Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems” (Podpisnie Izdaniya, 2021). Dmitri’s Russian-to-English translations have been published in journals (Cardinal Points, Delos, The Café Review, Metamorphoses etc) and in Maria Stepanova’s “The Voice Over” (CUP, 2021). In 2017, his translation of a poem by Stepanova won the Compass Award competition.
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!
“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.
Julia Wiener’s novels focus on those moments when illusory human existence collapses in the face of true life, be it spiritual purity, love, old age, or death.