Vladimir Voinovich: I don’t want to be a prophet.

Why famous Russian writer and human rights activist Vladimir Voinovich doesn’t want to be a prophet in his own country, how to bring back people’s interest in literature, and what distinguishes democracy from freedom of speech? On these and other issues in the eve of new year holidays, said the author of the adventures of soldier Chonkin at the meeting with readers in Washington.

How to make literature in Russia became again the mistress of doom? From this question began the meeting by Vladimir Voinovich with readers. Satirist replied with his usual irony: “the Recipe is clear: it should be banned. As soon as her ban, the interest in it immediately will increase dramatically”.

Authorities today are afraid of freedom on the television, not in the literature. That’s why, says the writer, his new satirical novel is now published freely in Russia.

“I wrote the novel “Gold Pelican”. If I wrote in Soviet times, this novel, I would have started to slack off. But it would go underground, people would read… on the one hand I’m glad I’m not poisoned, I live peacefully…” said Voinovich.

In Soviet times, it is the publication in the West of the novel-anecdote “the Life and extraordinary adventures of private Ivan Chonkin” was the verdict for Voinovich. First, he was expelled from the writers ‘ Union, and later deprived of citizenship and expelled from the country.

In an interview with “Voice of America” Vladimir joked that under Putin, the Soviet government still has not been restored: “we Have in Russia now, I would say that there is no democracy, and freedom of speech is some kind of stripped-down is.”

And still have the ability not to lie, says dissident and human rights activist. However, such a possibility was before.

“There was a famous writer Alexander Alfredovich Beck, — says Vladimir. — He was my oldest friend. And when he was offered some position in the writers ‘ Union, he said, “don’t go. Not much to grab and the obituary itself will spoil. So I also obituary don’t want to spoil. And I won’t.”

Voinovich says sadly that some of his prophecies about Russia, which he did 30 years ago in the novel-warning, “Moscow 2042”, came true and keep coming true: “For me the joy of this — sad to say. I would like to see Russia develop so that none of my prophecies have not come true…”

They say no man is a prophet in his own country. But Voinovich continues to live in Russia. However, performing on many TV channels basically do not go. But travels a lot, meets with the public. And reading her is not only satirical prose, but lyric poetry. A lot of them. For example, one of the early songs even became the unofficial anthem of Soviet cosmonauts. Remember the line: “On the dusty paths of far planets remain our footprints…”

This, by the way, remembered and Washingtonians who came to the meeting with your favorite writer.

“When he entered the literary Institute, he wanted to be a poet, — says Olga Printseva. Apparently, he was praised as a poet.”

And still the author of the poems Chonkin often ends his performances. For example, these:

All that was young age. Maybe

Die venerable and gray-headed and dimwitted old man.

Me to the cemetery will carry. And I still can’t hear.

A lot of words to say. And to heaven I will exalt. And classics record.

Novelist, poet, playwright has long been a “living classic”. And the audience welcomed him in Washington, he wanted it to remain that way many, many years.