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    Far From the War Front – Russia

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    by Soumyadev Bose
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    Russia in literature, art, theater, paintings and its relation with India.

    In recent times the obvious images that come to mind when we think about the name 'Russia' are S-400, Putin, War against terrorism, Nuclear superpower, etc… However, this is not the case when we enter the world of art and literature and start reading a notable piece of literary work and find it to be authored by some great Russian writer, artist or linguist.

    Russian writings have always served as one of the foundations of world literature, the literary world in incomplete without the Russian writings that consists some of the classic pieces of literature ever written by mankind. Literary translation into English of Russian writings opened the door of the intricate Russian stories to the outer world.

    In the academic field, one cannot imagine a degree course in literature offered by some very reputed Indian educational institutions without mentioning the contribution of the Russian Formalists, the writings of Trotsky, Plekhanov, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoevsky to name a few. Same would be in other parts of the world as well.

    Translation might never have given so much of mileage to any language other than Russian. The notable authors are known even by children who have access to school and with them the city of Moscow, Siberia, Crimea, Sevastopol, St. Petersburg have been softly etched in the hearts of crores of students across India and the world, who might not have any other idea about Russia at present apart from the stereotyped ideas about Russian winters and the media’s briefing about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Maxim Gorky’s Mother or Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin or Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, one just cannot travel into the depths of the artistic and literary universe without understanding the Russian aspect. Unfortunately, in the present time the mainstream news does not speak about the literary and artistic sides anymore, one has to do some research by himself in order to get enlightened about everything Russian other than military and politics.

    In India, people just love to do and see theater. In the 19th century in the state of Bengal, in present day West Bengal, the city of Kolkata was slowly evolving and with it, the concept of proscenium theater was gradually taking shape. At present, the city of Kolkata has plenty of theatre groups consisting from entry level to senior theatre personalities, but it was one Russian gentleman named Gerasim Lebedev, who not only commercialized Bengali Theatre but also gave access to ordinary Indians to take part, act and see theatres who were otherwise not allowed to enter a proscenium theatre that was reserved only for the British.

    In other words, it was Mr.Lebedev, who first made it possible for the ordinary Indians to enjoy drama in a proscenium theater. As such, the contribution of this Russian gentleman is of paramount importance in the field of Indian proscenium theater. Russian balled is also great to watch, but only a few people have access to it.

    Russia is much more than just chilling winters and military industrial complex and one can find the literary and artistic contribution of Russia in the pages and canvases of some of the best art ever created.

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    Tags:
    art, theater, literature, Russian culture, S-400, Maxim Gorky, Leon Trotsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Crimea, Siberia, Russia
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