Russian literature of East Kazakhstan: an intercultural dialogue
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №3 - 2011
Author: Abdullina Lutsia, East Kazakhstan State University in honor of S. Amanzholov, Kazakhstan
Russian literature in Kazakhstan reflects the unique historical
example of the state: for hundreds of years the people living here have
accumulated an enormous socio-political and cultural experience, an aesthetic
interpretation of which should be a top priority of our common cultural future.
According to N.A. Nazarbayev, "The Kazakhstan's geography itself creates
the image of the borderline country, the destiny born to live in two
dimensions: Europe and Asia – and framed by dozens of cultures, distinctive
traditions and customs" (1, 4). Among the strategic inter-state and
inter-ethnic development trends of the twenty-first century the preservation of
multicultural dialogue, of course, remains the priority. The Russian language
through its best pieces of art is intended to illustrate the unifying ideas of
Eurasianism. Eurasianism is primarily a cultural background, geopolitically
formed by Russia and Kazakhstan, including the East Kazakhstan region.
East Kazakhstan is a special area of
self-contained energy, formed by the ancient and modern marginalia, pristine nature
and industrial (close to ecological disaster) development. The situation in the
region at the junction of cultures is a place for the origin of the unique
artistic and moral experience. The writer feels the connection with this
geospace, organically becoming a part of the fiction and acquiring a
psychological, mental character.
The main objective of linguists, scientists and
teacher-practitioners is understanding literary process of Rudny Altai in its
historical, ideological and thematic coordinates. The literary history of our region
is rich in examples of the active development of the "Cultural Nest":
Ust-Kamenogorsk, marked by the cultural and educational activities of G.D.
Grebenshikov, A.M. Volkov, P.P. Bazhov; organization of the literary association
"Zveno Altaya" (1921). Following periods can be distinguished:
1960-70s - a time of vigorous flourishing clubs, associations, amateur poets,
1990s - creation of the journals "Vostok" and "Irtysh",
literary associations "Fenix", "Gorniy ruchei".
The study of literary life in close connection with the symbolic
representation of the territory allocated to the number of cultural priorities
of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the turn of the twenty-first century. Text
options illustrate the significance of the "marginal" factor in
shaping the artistic vision of the author; broaden understanding of the breadth
of literary development and the contribution of the author’s fellow writers.
Literary and cultural realities of the native land as a model of the art world
convey individual vision of the world and allow to build its own, based on the
art, world. The world, reflected repeatedly in specific artistic texts, is a
unified literary text culture. "Belovodye" as the chronotope of the East Kazakhstan cultural text, in terms of geographical and historical characteristics has
a very specific timing, built largely on the basis of the legend.
The first information about Belovodye as the Promised Land with
"milk rivers and honey-banks" refers to the reign of Vladimir I Svyatoslavich.
The ancient chronicle runs: "«Страна Беловодье не сказка, но явь. В сказаниях
народов она зовется всюду по-иному. В дивных обителях пребывают лучезарные, кроткие,
смиренные, долготерпеливые, сострадательные, милосердные и прозорливые Великие Мудрецы
– Сотрудники Мiра Высшего, в котором Дух Божий живет,
как в Храме Своем… Там Царство Духа Чистого, красоты, чудных огней, возвышенных
чарующих тайн, радости, света, любви, своего рода покоя и непостижимых
In the essay of A.G. Luhtanova "Bukhtarma Belovodye" these spatial-temporal characteristics turn into a specific mythical country: «Сверкающим яхонтом и
серебром водная гладь реки [Бухтармы] несется из края в край, пересекая горы,
укрытые изумрудными коврами лесов, извиваясь, спешит передать привет от
двуглавой царицы снегов Белухи седому Иртышу. Ласковая, умиротворяющая,
вспыхивающая блестками искр на гребнях волн в разгар лета, в июле, до краев
переполненная мутной полой водой в мае, грозная, несущая лавину грязных
ноздреватых льдин в ледоход. И не потому ли Беловодье, что в августе, в разгар
таяния ледников, вода в Бухтарме становится белой, будто подпустили туда струю
молока» (2). The East-Kazakhstan writer-naturalist describes
mountains, forests, two-top Belukha mountain, the Irtysh river, and finally, he
explains why the waters of Bukhtarma are called “white”.
The country of Belovodye is the land in which every person can live
in prosperity and happiness, the sacred land of Zion and the righteous in the
East, which is the storage of truth and spiritual knowledge. From the point of
view of folklore, the legend of Belovodye belongs to the type of socio-utopian
legends of distant lands and secret shelters of faith that unites it with the
traditions of the "kingdom of John" in the East, or the City of Kitezh. The Legend of Belovodye takes its place in the global utopia of a happy land among
several other legends of the "promised land" like "El Dorado", "Blessed Islands", "Jer-Uyuk", etc. The variety of
concepts about the wonderful country explains the existence of a large number
of synonyms defining "Belovodye": Promised Land, land of milk and
honey, Kitezh-grad, Shambala, Jer-Uyuk, the Kingdom of White Waters, the
Forbidden Country, Country of White Waters and High Mountains, Country of Light
Spirits, Wonderland, Country of Living Gods, Country of Living Fire.
In his ballad "Chud" E. Kurdakov`s explains the title of
the ballad with an epigraph: «Чудь белоглазая в землю ушла…» (Altai belief)
whole the text of the ballad contains familiar to the reader name code:
…Нет имени, что
б не озвучила Чудь:
Светозар, Златогор, Беловодье, –
бронзы начало и путь (3, 56).
The Chronotope Belovodye in the art world of Michael Nemtsev,
representative of the older generation of poets of the East Kazakhstan
province, is filled with “voices and colors of blessed east Kazakhstan land surrounded by whie-blue tops of Rudniy Altai mountains”. To the Legendary Belovodye
Nemtsev dedicates his collection of poems "Voices of Belovodye"
(1996). The collections contains a cycle of poems of the same name, the jenre
of which is defined by the poet as “Voices of Belovodye: Altai menology”
(«Голоса Беловодья»: Алтайский месяцеслов»):
На предгорьях и
The famous Russian writer, the author of "literary geography"
borderlands of Russia and Asia, G. D. Grebenshchikov (1884-1964), who made a
great contribution to the preservation of ethnic culture of the ancient Altai,
was among the first researchers who studied the unique culture of the "Old
Believers", who lived along the rivers Uba and Bukhtarma. The poetic style
of the artist-chronicler is similar to the newsreel authenticity essays
writing. In his essay "Altai Russia" Grebenshchikov notes that a
beautiful legend about the existence of the rich and the free land – Belovodye
– attracted them to faraway Siberia. Rare ethnographic material about the
culture and the ethics of the "Old Believers" interlaces with the
poetic culture of the people who inhabited our region and formed the ground for
East Kazakhstan cultural text.
Synchronous and typological approach to the study of the
literary-historical process lets us consider works of G.D. Grebenshchikov, M.I.
Chistyakov, A.M. Volkov, P.N. Vassiliev, E.V. Kurdakov and others in the
context of spiritual and aesthetic pursuit of their time, determine the scale
of creative personality - "classics" of regional literature, their
creative initiatives, the significance of "marginal" factor in
shaping the artistic vision of the author. Сulturological potential of the
"East-Kazakhstan text" is most clearly manifested in the context of
history, geography, philosophy, relationships of Russian and Kazakh cultures.
Artistic individuality, difference in creative opinion, ideological views of
the authors make it possible to trace what was the situation of those years,
what were the spiritual and historical conditions under which the regional
literature was developed, how a national literary process modified in our region.
The literature of East Kazakhstan as an integral part of a unified
literary-historical process reflecting the social reality, and is based on
general cultural traditions, creating and storing the aesthetic, spiritual and
moral values. The literary heritage of writers and poets of the East Kazakhstan region directly reflects the very literary movement time in the history of
plots, built on the vital documents. Features of general literature and the historical
movement development on the basis of comparative analysis, encompassing not
only artistic contours of the "immediate homeland", but the vast
horizons of great literature, have helped to overcome the boundaries of a
terminological concept of «regionalism». The unifying internal impulse was the
fate of writers and poets, who, as a rule, entered the world of great literature
through journalism under the influence of objective laws of creative development.
This takes into account the objective nature of existence and literature of the
twentieth century, especially of its second half, the protagonist of which is
The Russian literature in Kazakhstan, considered as subject and
object of the multicultural dialogue, helps to solve problems of holistic
analysis of a literary text as a cultural text, the output of the level of
comprehension of key problems of general historical nature.
"Eurasianism" is a dialogue, access to the global cultural
space with its own vision of the world as a cultural text. A Eurasian component
of poetry is brought in primarily by the particular location of our region
between Europe and Asia. The Poetic perception of the geographical space of the
native land is perceived by the authors as a symbol that embodies an organic
combination of object-sensory and spiritual constituents, of historical past
and modern present. The Topic of the East and West, "an epic of
Altai" is interpreted as a Eurasian theme of the indissoluble unity of the
artistic world of Pavel Nikolayevich Vassilyev. He was born in 1910 in the heart of Eurasia, in Zaissan, located on a large caravan route, and introduced Kazakhstan
into the world of big Russian poetry, brought along unique, yet unknown to the
Russian poetry colors, smells, sounds of the Great Steppe. His first publication
"The Priirtyshsk village", later known as "Where Irtysh is
flowing", became geographical and, more broadly – the spiritual guidance
of artistic individuality of the poet.
In the E.V. Kurdakov's poems we can sense the dialogue at the level
of culture: the great Russian classical poets Tyutchev, Fet, Blok sound organic
and self-sufficient. In the world of art the image of the East-Kazakhstan land
is represented in a unique interweaving of the real life and the mythic,
folkloric elements, the historical fate of the region and the modern city life.
The poet repeatedly proclaimed that the true poetry "can not be tied to a
certain historical region" primarily because "poetry can only exist
in the language" [1, 110]. However, there
is no doubt, and all his works demonstrated that the very roots of the
East-Kazakhstan cultural text provided a
life-giving sap to his unique "metaworld" –
the art world of the poet with the geographical "location". In the
anthropology of the Kurdakov's text the image of Belovodye acquires features of
a mythological space and time, becomes an eternity chronotope: «Как будто мы
сами по свету блуждали, /Плутали, кружили в кругу вековом, /И дом свой забытый
едва узнаем…» [2, 58]. In the passage
from the Kurdakov's ballade "Kara-buran" a lyrical hero gives a
poetic description of the miraculous Belovodye:
Там птицы –
несметно, не считано зверя,
Там в вечном
цветении сказочный лес,
вера, там истинно верят,
благодать ниспадает с небес…
Belovodye in the context of the Kurdakov's work is perceived as a
synonym to faith: «Откроется взорам страна Беловодье, / Куда эти годы нас вера
вела…». Finding Belovodye for a man is equal to finding perfection, harmony and
balance, getting secret keys to the mysteries of life. Another ballade of E.V.
Kurdakov "Chud" is preceded by an epigraph – "Altai belief"
- «Чудь белоглазая в землю ушла…». During the development of plot it is clear
for the reader that this is another name of Belovodye: «сон Беловодья», «память
судьбы», «…Нет имени, что б не озвучила Чудь: / Алтай, Светозар, Златогор,
Беловодье, – / Андроновской бронзы начало и путь» [2, 56].
For Sergey Komov, representing a younger generation of poets of Kazakhstan (by the beginning of a professional career rather than by age), the image and
the theme are embodied in a specific country, in sometimes deliberately mundane
characters and everyday situations. "An aching and overwhelming sense of
common roots with his people" forced him to put pen to paper one day. The
poet feels an integral part of everything that surrounded him since his
childhood and his soul is in everything what appears to the eyes of the poet
"raised in Bukhtarma" . Komov sees his homeland as the
surrounding "camel-steppe", and at the same time "as a felt
mat" and as "a dome of the huge temple". Having learned
"hard love to Russia" at his mother's knee, by his own admission, in
a lyrical hero's feelings for the motherland the poet inextricably links the
two different and at the same time close cultures: Asian and European.
"The eternal yearning of an Asian for the sun and bright moonlight"
creates whimsical images of "a man, riding a zealous horse",
"Batu warrior" - "Nomad from the darkness of centuries",
"a song of distant princely warriors" and "calling namaz",
"willow song" of Russia and "the smoke of the dry dung".
где был я трижды русский…
Что в России
буду я кочевник,
И по нраву –
(«Прощание с Бико», 1, с 34)
The artistic world of Boris Anikin reveals to the reader mainly an
urban version of the native land.  "Walking the city at night"
shows the unfamiliar poetic image of the city: «В окно гляжу, как в продолженье
строк...». In the poetic collection "The Wanderer" (2010), the traditional
character (eg, Lermontov's hero-wanderer) and the motif do not interfere with
the individual features of a lyrical person. The Anikin's muse, the
poet-wanderer, his heart is in the eternal search – "heart is on the
road". As a synonym for the "wanderer" the author uses the word
"traveler" in which clearly there is the image and the theme of
"Road", the way of life of a man, the poet's career. The image of the
troubled souls both of a lyrical hero and the author corresponds to the absence
of strict chronology in the book. In the preface the author points out the
creative period of life, in which the poems were written. The Wanderer by Boris
Anikin has a geographic address. This is the place where he can come back and
where there always are the Ulba, the Irtysh, "my little town". The
poet-urbanist finds a unique lyrical imagery to convey his
"territorial" part of consciousness. In the "Ulba" poem
poetic meanings sound devoid of pathos: «Но сердцем я всегда с тобой, Ульба, /
Моей отчизны скорбная улыбка!» [4, 38].
The regional authors are trying to find a unique lyrical tone that
could reflect their inner world. The autobiographical character of the art
world in the works of the local artists, reliability, and reliance on real
events give rise to trust relationships between the author and the reader. This
is also a dialogue with time and space. Appeal of the poets to the biographical
prose can naturally be regarded as an awareness of responsibility for the voice
that you have. So, E.V. Kurdakov creates a special "metaworld" in
which the author initiates a dialogue not only with the reader, but also with
himself. Late essays of E.V. Kurdakov's
represent serious reflection of the poet about literature, about writing.
In our view, the typological dominants of the East Kazakhstan
literary text are the territorial self-awareness, the Eurasian perception of
the world and the autobiographical memory.
The analysis of the unique nature of the East Kazakhstan literary
text, its natural landscape, historical and anthropological data in the works
of the regional poets and writers, the study of the history of the literary
associations in the region define the context of the unified field of the world
culture. The cultural problems of the end of the second millennium AD are of
strategic importance. Cultural immunodeficiency defined the extension of the
notion 'text' and clarification of its meaning, including the global need for
dialogue. Literature as a universal art form has never wavered from its purpose
– to represent the literary text and the art world as a dialogue of cultures
and times. The East Kazakhstan literary and wider cultural text, preserving the
territorial uniqueness and individuality of the creative writers, reflects the
vastness of the text as a unified field of the world culture.
Russian literature of East Kazakhstan as subject and object of the
multicultural dialogue contributes to the holistic perception of a literary
text as a cultural text, of its general historical nature.
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №3 - 2011