Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Vladimir Voinovich: "I've allowed nobody to pin myself to the mat"


On September 26th the well-known writer Vladimir Voinovich, who is also known as “Satirist No.1” in the post-Soviet literature, will celebrate his 80th birthday.

Voinovich spent his pre-jubilee days in the Black Sea resort of Anapa, where he arrived to work: the writer headed the jury of the “Kinoshock film festival there. He saw several films every day, gave interviews, edited the texts, and actively swam. A year ago he demonstrated his courage when he decided to stand at the wheel of a plane - he did that and took off! In an interview with the Voice of Russia the writer says about this with pleasure.
Asked whether he would like to make a flight, Voinovich said: “Yes, of course.” “So we went to a place far from Moscow that proved to be a private aero club, and I took off. It came as a surprise to me that I can do that”, Voinovich continued.

Although Voinovich has not taken off for 60 years since he studied at the aero club, he was not afraid:

“When I was young I had a passion for wrestling but I had neither ambitions nor a dream to pin somebody to the mat. The main thing for me was not to allow others to do that with me. I have never had any wish to fight against the Soviet power either. It was the first to begin fighting against me, and the only thing I had to do was to offer resistance since I did not want anybody to pin me to the mat.”

Vladimir Voinovich was expelled from the former USSR in 1980 and was deprived citizenship. This is how his country took revenge on him for his letters in the defence of dissidents and for his wonderful satirical novel “The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin” that was illegally published in Germany and France. Later, when thanks to perestroika it was published in Russia, it caused a great interest here, and everybody read it with great pleasure.

More here.

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