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The case against Alexander Ginzburg


Alexander Ginzburg
Tomas Venclova Poet
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And the other thing – which was also an element in shaking the foundations of the system – was that a youth by the name of Ginzburg from Moscow came to Vilnius, Alexander Ginzburg, whose friends called him Alik. Alik Ginzburg who, at that time, edited a samizdat, so to speak – unofficial, secret, although not entirely secret – but a samizdat literary journal. He called the journal Sintaksis or Syntax and published it in an edition of 100 typed copies. He used to send one copy to the state security authorities so that they would really know that there was nothing secret about it and that there was nothing there against the government. That there were only poems in it that were freer than it was acceptable at that time to publish – poems which would not be passed by the censor – not because of any political considerations, but only because of their artistic form. Well, he had already published several numbers of Sintaksis and came to Lithuania and said, 'I would also want to publish national works, Republican works. The most interesting poetry in the Soviet Union is Georgian and Lithuanian. I'd like to put out a Georgian issue and a Lithuanian issue. Please choose poems which wouldn't get past the censor, which can't be published openly. I'll publish them in Sintaksis. We'll translate them into Russian and we'll put out a bilingual issue with the texts in Lithuanian and the translations in Russian next to them'. I got really fired up about that because nobody was publishing my poems. I gave him several copies, several, several of my texts in Lithuanian, and then with literal translations into Russian so that some translator... he said he would find a translator to have translations into Russian. Well, but Ginzburg was arrested soon after that.

O antras momentas, kuris buvo irgi toks sistemos klibinimo elementas... buvo, kad į Vilnių atvažiavo jaunuolis iš Maskvos pavarde Ginzburgas, Aleksandras Ginzburgas, kurį draugai vadino Aliku, Alikas Ginzburgas, kuris tada Maskvoje organizavo savilaidinį, kitaip sakant, neoficialų, slaptą, net ir nevisai slaptą, bet savilaidinį literatūros žurnalą. Tą žurnalą jis pavadino "Sintaksis" arba "Sintaksė" ir jo leido 100 egzempliorių mašinraščiu. Vieną egzempliorių siuntė į saugumą, kad saugumas tikrai žinotų, kad čia nieko slapto ir nieko prieš valdžią ten nėra. Yra tiktai eilėraščiai laisvesni negu buvo tada priimta spausdinti. Eilėraščiai, kurie negali praeiti cenzūros, ne dėl politinių sumetimų, o tiktai dėl savo meninės formos. Na, ir štai jisai išleido jau keletą to "Sintaksio" numerių ir atvyko į Lietuvą ir pasakė, kad ‘aš noriu leisti taip pat ir tautinius numerius, respublikų numerius. Įdomiausios dvi poezijos Tarybų Sąjungoj yra gruzinų ir lietuvių. Aš norėčiau išleisti gruzinišką numerį ir lietuvišką numerį. Prašom parinkti tokių eilėraščių, kurie negali praeiti cenzūros, kurie negali būti spausdinami viešojoje spaudoje. Aš juos išspausdinsiu "Sintaksėje". Išversime į rusų kalbą ir padarysime tokį dvikalbį numerį, bus lietuviški tekstai, o greta rusiški vertimai’. Aš tuo labai užsidegiau dėlto, kad mano eilėraščių niekas nespausdino. Daviau jam keletą egzempliorių, keletą, keletą mano tekstų lietuviškai, paskui ir su pažodiniais vertimais į rusų kalbą, kad vertėjas koks nors, sakė jis suras vertėją bus ir rusiški vertimai. Na, bet Ginzburgas netrukus buvo areštuotas.

Born in 1937, Tomas Venclova is a Lithuanian scholar, poet, author and translator of literature. He was educated at Vilnius University and later at Tartu University. As an active participant in the dissident movement he was deprived of Soviet citizenship in 1977 and had to emigrate. Between 1977 and 1980 he lectured at University of California, Berkeley, where he became friends with the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, who was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at the school, as well as the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. He is currently a full professor at Yale University.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Sintaksis, Syntax, Alexander Ginzburg

Duration: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012