Christmas in Russia: the Church has announced a Christmas tree outside of the law

Everything is ready for the perfect Christmas: in the kitchen in full swing cooking food, wash up in the tub, and mom and dad enjoy the spectacle — classical ballet. For a Christmas full of happiness lacks only one thing — the Christmas tree with garlands. But the celebration was spoiled before it was delivered. One of the daughters began to brag about in the bath with his anatomical “charms”, and the nanny, without thinking, beheaded the baby with an ax. Mom and dad having sex next to the corpse. And only the dog and year-old baby saddened by sudden death; in their wonderfully eloquent conversations sometimes seen existential depth.

What appears to be a sort of “Christmas special” from the American animated series “family Guy” is actually a theatre production from the pen of the Russian poet Alexander Vvedensky, who in the 1920-ies in Leningrad together with Daniil Kharms became the founder of the absurd literature avant la lettre. The product is called “Christmas at Ivanovs”. It is written in 1938, during the “great terror”. In the Soviet Union, this play was not staged never. That in the harsh Stalinist times, like a hard place joke was not surprising. However, Christmas drama presentation makes you think about the present.

From animal sexuality to meaningless “rustle of happiness”

The style in which the people here under the guise of Convention, urinate, engaged in debauchery, and murder, is somewhat reminiscent of “King Ubu” by Alfred Jerry (Alfred Jarry). With this scandalous piece of French text Vvedensky United also madcap mix of puns, gags and parodies that do not stop to Orestiada and Dostoevsky, not to political propaganda. The apogee of this carnival game is in the madhouse, where the time goes nanny-killer. It runs paranoid doctor who shot the carpet and hit the nurse. In the corridors there moving back and forth in the crowd of madmen who imagine that they swim on the ship, and repelled from the floor of the oar that is, they did literally “ship of fools”.

Meanwhile the whole family is puzzled only one question: will they have this year’s Christmas tree? Cheers with calls to the tree becoming Vvedensky formula of salvation “screwed-up” world. When the end washed and clean children are on the verge of a decorated Christmas tree living room, and her mother plays piano, animal sexuality, previously dominating the narrative, melts to senseless “rustle of happiness.” “Bliss, bliss, bliss”, mutters one of his sons, and his sister echoed him: “Oh, tree, tree, tree”.

High society who lacked empathy

The action takes place in 1898, 30 years before the writing of the play. At that time, the Christmas tree and Orthodox Russia, where Christmas is celebrated according to the Julian calendar, two weeks later, symbolized the sacred world. In 1875, Fedor Dostoyevsky in his “Notes of a madman” gave Russian literature a Christmas Carol.

The “original” texts of the genre, making the ability of the society to the celebration of Christmas checking on her mental health, he wrote Irving Washington (Irwing Washington), and Charles Dickens. In his “a Christmas Carol in prose” Dickens “prescribed” Scrudu, stubbornly refused to recognize the Christmas holiday, even a kind of “Christmas therapy”, which was crowned with success at the third meeting: after Christmas dinner at his nephew Scrooge turned from a greedy misanthrope to philanthropist who for Christmas got a raise to a subordinate.

Dostoevsky in his story “the Boy at Christ’s Christmas tree” made Christmas eve a reason to indicate that St. Petersburg’s “high society” lacks empathy, which can be handled only by the imagination of the poet. The narrative ends literally in heaven the tree for all children-orphans of the city. However, the St. Petersburg really is the wonder of the unknown: the orphan’s feast was only a hallucination in the freezing Christmas night boy.

The destruction of cherished family values

And Boris Pasternak in “Doctor Zhivago” turned spoiled the Christmas holiday in a kind of “seismograph” social disruptions in Russia’s late Imperial times. The fact that in the winter of 1911 “tree Sventitskij” from time immemorial celebrated the same way, turned into a scandal and symptomatic of the instability of pre-revolutionary society, the collapse which happened only a few years later.

This is the utopian power of the radiation of the Christmas holiday that makes it so vulnerable. But what if the nightmare will not result in the collapse of the festival, and its success? Christmas during the time of the Restoration became the object of satire. Heinrich Boll (Heinrich Böll) in 1952 called the musty era of Anadora (Konrad Adenauer — Chancellor of Germany in the years 1949-1963 — approx. .) “the nightly mandatory Christmas zombie companies wax dolls.”

Under the lights of the Christmas tree on the top of which the angel whispers, “freedom, Freedom”, the war and the massive loss of life are similar to things in life. And in 2001 in the series “Christmas special” from the cult TV series “family Guy” was completely destroyed set by the administration of President Bush “family values”: the youngest son Stevie asked Santa Claus plutonium, and the police at the instigation of father shot and injured the mother of the family when she tried to get on the town tree.

“Clean-up” language to death

But nowhere is the desire for a Christmas idyll did not disavowals as Vvedensky. On the background of the plays written for 14 years to the satire of her and over 60 years until the “family Guy”, and he and the others look just “small children”. In “Christmas at the Ivanovs” describes the complete triumph of cliché over reality. This is indicated by the very name: Ivanov is the most common Russian surname. Philistine happiness under the tree, to which the family is committed, despite all the troubles and adversity that overshadows absolutely bestial existence in reality.

Truth, justice, love — all this is nothing more than “dummy”, with the purpose of the ritual repetition of which people boldly behead each other and come together in sexual intercourse. Pedagogy means education in lies and euphemisms. Only animals and child-baby have a more or less pleasant experience, but their environment considers them to be silent.

Ivanov don’t like it when things are called by their names. So, when one of the daughters in the midst of the holiday took to the bathroom, the nurse told her to call a toilet a toilet. Language “trimmed” to the absurd, and obscene expressions in the work of Vvedensky of it is etched all the “power”, and there is only some kind of sentimental nonsense. A happy ending can not be called. At the end of “Christmas Tree at Ivanovs” all the family members dying one after the other: a complete harmony is not compatible with real life.

Tysyacheletie the lights on the tree

Play Vvedensky and now easy to read as a satire on the bourgeoisie. Thus, it is ideologically in common with the atheistic campaign, which the Soviet government led to the 1930-ies against the “old world”. Over religious traditions, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim — were arranged shaped court in which they were sentenced to death. Title page of the journal “Atheist at the bench” was that the Christian holidays encourage drunkenness and domestic violence.

It is the Christmas became the main target of sacrilegious attacks. In January 1923 there was organized by the “Komsomol Christmas,” during which the Christ was fooling around with a naked woman. Soviet schoolchildren were taught that Santa Claus — hidden spy through the chimney seeking to get to the heart of the Soviet family. The object of the attacks was the tree: in one of the Soviet poems the candle on the Christmas tree derided in comparison with tysyacheletii lamps. In 1928, itself a Christmas tree, back in 1916, when still the First world war, called the Orthodox Church a German symbol, was in the USSR under the official ban.

“Grandpa” Stalin offered blonde happiness

At Vvedensky, who in 1931 in the popular children’s poem ridiculed the Christmas tree, the play “Christmas at the Ivanovs” is set in pre-revolutionary Russia. However, on 28 December 1935 in the newspaper “Pravda” published an appeal by Soviet party leader Paul Postysheva one of the main organizers of the Holodomor in Ukraine.

“Let’s organize for our children a good Christmas tree,” wrote Postyshev declared and thus master password “invented traditions” which have remained up to the time of the Soviet collapse: “the Christmas tree” has become a byword and synonym children’s holiday. And to avoid Association with Christmas festivities were timed to the New year. And soon the whole country began to celebrate the New year with a Christmas tree. And the posters are good “grandpa” Stalin was depicted next to the tree and surrounded by many children, thanking him for his “happy childhood”.

“Christmas decree” Stalin was a reflection of the General trend for Restoration. After radical experimentation with various forms of human coexistence classic example was proclaimed a “Soviet family” as a social unit. At the same time began the cult of personality of Stalin, proclaimed the “father of Nations”, to educate the younger generation of Soviet people in severity, but of justice, to those grown-abiding citizens of their socialist country.

Against the decadent “>”

However, it can be, “Christmas at the Ivanovs” Vvedensky ridiculed not so much of bourgeois life in the comfort of how Stalin’s social-conservative turn, which in the conditions of terror that shook the country, proclaimed the stability? And here is a convincing delicate detail. From the list of actors of the play we learn that seven children Ivanovs different names and the age of the “girls” and “boys” is from one to 82 years — that is, in the play displays all the Soviet people! Ivanov as the offspring of a dysfunctional family, crimes which are covered with glitter Christmas tree — then the audience could interpret the contents exactly.

“Methods of education” “grandfather” entrance of the Theotokos Stalin had to face in December 1931, when he along with his friend Daniil Kharms was arrested as the ringleader of the “anti-Soviet literary group.” After the liberation Vvedensky together with his second wife moved to a remote Kharkov, and devoted himself entirely to the family. However, it did not become him to salvation. In early 1941 he was called to the kindergarten because his stepson said priukrasheny the portrait of Stalin looks like a cock. In August in Leningrad was once again arrested Daniil Kharms. On September 27, Vvedensky was arrested on charges of counterrevolutionary activities. December 20, he died in Kazan under mysterious circumstances.

Because of the works of Vvedensky was published as samizdat, to thank one of his friends, who risked his life, saved his work in the besieged Leningrad.

April 10, 1964 Alexander Vvedensky was rehabilitated because of “lack of evidence”, as said the standard wording in official documents. As for the investigation of crimes committed by the “father of Nations” Stalin in modern Russia, which positions itself as the Keeper of “family values” as opposed to the decadent “Geyrope”, it constantly runs into obstacles. It is possible to say that the time has now come for a new “Christmas Tree at Ivanovs”.