Literary roundup: Hugo-Bader and handicapped-equipped Potemkin villages

Polish writer and journalist Jacek Hugo-Bader will be appearing at the Oxford Literary Festival on March 28 to recount “his journey through one of the remotest and baddest parts of Russia” in an event titled “Kolyma Diaries: A Journey into Russia’s Haunted Hinterland”:

Hugo-Bader travelled the 2,000km Kolyma highway hearing the tales of those who live in the region and being plied with vodka. The stories are of the descendants of prisoners eking out a living, of miners digging for gold and finding mass burials, of conmen and corrupt politicians, and of sportsmen who have run away to Russia’s remotest region to escape their troubles.


To get a taste of Hugo-Bader’s writing you can read his “Once I Was a Dog”, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, who also translated his book White Fever into English, on the English PEN website. The article is described as being about “the scavenging life of the journalist” as well as “how living down and out in Moscow and Warsaw prepared him for his bicycle and Volvo journeys across Central Asia.”

Read more about Jacek Hugo-Bader here


Russian literature on film

The final days of the Slovo Russian Literature festival presents some literary films, including Viktor Ginzburg’s Generation P, based on Victor Pelevin’s novel, a documentary on the ever-elusive Pelevin himself entitled In Search of the Writer P by Boris Karadzhev and Grigorii Riabushev, Alexei Balabanov’s Morphine, inspired by the short stories of Mikhail Bulgakov, and Roman Liberov’s animated documentary Ilf and Petrov on the great Russian writers of The Twelve Chairs and The Golden Calf.

For more information and tickets go here

From 'Ilf and Petrov'

From ‘Ilf and Petrov’

Snegirev on Sochi

At New Eastern Europe there is an interview with the author of the novel Petroleum Venus, Alexander Snegirev, a book about a father of a son with Down Syndrome, titled “The Sochi Paralympics Are a Potemkin Village”. Snegirev points out how little these paralympics had to do with helping people with disabilities and how bad the situation is for the disabled in Russia.


One telling and bizarre fact he recounts is how elevators were added to the Sochi subways for the games but they forgot to add switches at the exits: “So it is possible to go up from a subway, but there is no possibility to go down. This absurd and sad fact demonstrates that the organisers have no understanding of what they do and why they do it.”

Photo – Generation P directed by Viktor Ginzburg/Slovo

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