‘Thirty Years Now Russia’s Lived In Fetters…’ by Georgy Ivanov

Thirty years now Russia’s lived in fetters,

in Magadan, in Kolyma –

but the Russia that will live for ever

is the one now dying in Kolyma.

 

by Георгий Владимирович Иванов (Georgii Vladimirovich Ivanov)

(1947)

translated by Robert Chandler


 

Fun fact: Due to the mention of Kolyma you might mistakenly think this is referencing Varlam Shalamov‘s Kolyma Tales but those were written from 1954 to 1973.

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They Played Pushkin On A Grand Piano by Sergey Chudakov

They played Pushkin on a grand piano.

They killed Pushkin in a duel one day.

He had asked them for a plate of cloudberries

and, lying near a bookshelf, passed away.

 

In icy water, full of frozen clods,

they buried Pushkin, hallowed be his name.

And we too tend to meet too many bullets;

we hang ourselves, and open up our veins.

 

All too often we are hit by cars,

get tossed down stairwells in a drunken state.

We live – and all our petty intrigues

wound little Pushkin in some way.

 

Little, cast in iron, celebrated –

in a park deserted thanks to frost –

he stands (his understudy and replacement),

bitterly regretful at the loss

 

of youth, and of the title Kammerjunker,

of songs, of glory, of the girls in Kishinyov,

of Goncharova in her white lace petticoat,

and of death that cannot be shrugged off.

 

by Сергей Иванович Чудаков (Sergeĭ Ivanovich Chudakov)

translated by Boris Dralyuk