Humanity will die of stupidity – this is the main conclusion of the moralist and thinker Alexander Zinoviev, who wrote a novel about seemingly quite intelligent people whose profession is to philosophize. And in general, as it turns out, this is a thin line – between wisdom and stupidity, ambition, and a truly high purpose, an ordinary inhabitant and a villain of a universal scale.
Alexander Zinoviev “Yellow House”
“There is in Moscow, consider that in the center, a yellow house. / It looks like a house, of which the surrounding area is full. / But in the middle there was a volume / World and epochal thought trust ”. Within the walls of this “trust” – the Institute of Philosophy of the USSR Academy of Sciences – Zinoviev worked for 22 years. The author has thoroughly learned the whole kitchen of what was happening under the roof of the mansion in Znamensky Lane, and now in the novel, he makes fun of the “zealous workers of idle talk and pen.” There are doctors of pseudosciences, intelligent idiots, leading idiots, semi-scientists and half-whistles, compilers, and plagiarists: They sit at meetings, stick out in queues, go to the village to harvest potatoes, and merge with nature in a boarding house near Moscow on a social insurance voucher.
Zinoviev painted a picture of morals at the peak of his fame in the West, which he was not yet disappointed in, was snapped up everywhere, read lectures, published in prestigious publications, and the European elite sang his praises. The book was published in Switzerland in 1980, but 40 years later it has not lost its relevance. “False doctors” have only increased today, while honesty in science and in society as a whole has decreased. There are many words, but thoughts are hard. So ask yourself what we are laughing at.
Roman Senchin “Petersburg Stories”
By the way, about Gogol. It is amusing to look for allusions between Nikolai Vasilyevich and Roman Senchin, who received the title of “initiator of new realism” from the eloquent critic. Frankly, judging by these stories and novellas, Senchin is still far from Nikolai Vasil’evich. Although the author also strives to introduce us to the “little man”. For example, the blockade woman Elena Yuryevna dreams of dying lonely and forgotten, and the niece, claiming to be the corner of her St. Petersburg room, seems to our heroine a crow. Almost Gogolian mysticism? In the legend about Arkasha Severny – either a prisoner’s tale or there was – the author plunges the reader into suffering almost like Akaky Akakievich because of his daughter cynically taken away by modern bureaucrats. A guy who is not able to fall in love with a girl compensates for his complexes with the help of a prostitute bought for an hour. Almost love …
Such is the carnival of the marginalized on the outskirts of St. Petersburg in the 21st century. The city is still cruel and selfish. But there is nothing in it of “Nose” or “Overcoat”. Rather, the current Senchinsky collection is close to the film stylistics of Alexei Balabanov. But here, too, the word “almost” is appropriate. Almost similar, for there was no hero of the level of Danila Bagrov.
Elena Rzhevskaya “Berlin, May 1945”
The name of this woman is known to everyone who is interested in military history. At a time when too much was a secret, and the original documents lay in the archives under the secrecy label, the memoirs of a military translator of the GRU General Staff and the 30th Army of the Kalinin Front looked like a sensation. And here are fragments of Hitler’s and Bormann’s translated Rzhevskaya papers, pages of Goebbels’s diaries, protocols of interrogations of their entourage. All this reproduces the picture of the end of the world that reigned in the spring of 1945 in the bunkers of the Nazi Reich Chancellery.
Perhaps the godfather of Stirlitz, Julian Semyonov, would describe these details more expressively. But it is not fiction that is important here, but the effect of presence. The writer who came to the front near Rzhev and lived for 97 years has her own intonation. Imagine, she was one of the first to see the remains of Adolf Hitler and for several days kept his jaw, which was used to check the authenticity of the body.
Memoirs in full version were republished for the 75th anniversary of the Victory. We already know a lot about that war. But it happens: the more you learn, the more questions remain open. And who knows what else the classified archives of the Third Reich keep?