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Andrei Volkonsky


From Vilnius to Moscow
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Well, but that wasn't our aim anyway, we were even proud that we were so far from that whole system. I continued doing translations, I made a living from that, publishers would pay me a fee, as I've said, in those times they paid quite well considering the Soviet system. You won't make a very good living out of translation work now but then it was possible. And... but I decided to leave Vilnius, to more... for at least some time, for Moscow. My idea was that Moscow was a very large city, state security had more than enough work there and had much more important work than to take an interest in a person of, so to speak, no consequence. And it was possible that I would be able to disappear from their sight. In Vilnius, I was under scrutiny since I was the son of my father, a quite well known person. Vilnius is a small city, it was very easy to find out where I was, what I was doing, and so on. Whereas in Moscow, that would be more difficult. And that turned out to be the right decision. In fact, the state security people in Moscow left me alone and I lived, more or less, as I wanted to. Well, and I married a Muscovite by the name of Marina Kedrova, she was a lecturer in English language at Moscow University. Later we separated but even now we are still friends. Whenever I'm in Moscow I meet up with her, she's my age – to put it another way, she's not a very young lady – but we're still good friends.

Na, bet mes to ir nesiekėme, mes netgi didžiavomės, kad mes tokie nuošaliai nuo tos visos sistemos esame. Aš ir toliau užsiiminėjau vertimais, iš to gyvenau, leidyklos man mokėjo honorarus, kaip sakau, tais laikais jos mokėjo labai neblogus pagal tarybinį supratimą honorarus. Dabar jau iš vertimų nelabai pragyvensi, o tada buvo galima. Ir... bet nusprendžiau iš Vilniaus išvažiuoti, persikelti bent kuriam laikui į Maskvą. Mano idėja buvo tokia – Maskva labai didelis miestas, saugumas ten ir taip turi darbo ligi kaklo, ir turi daug svarbesnio darbo negu sekti mano menką, taip sakant, asmenybę. Ir galimas dalykas man pavyks išsprūsti iš jų akiračio. Vilniuj aš esu pastebimas, kaip savo tėvo sūnus, iš viso gana žinomas žmogus, Vilnius mažas miestas, labai lengva atsekti kur aš esu, ką aš veikiu ir taip toliau. O Maskvoje tai bus sunkiau. Ir tai pasirodė teisingas sprendimas. Iš tikrųjų Maskvoje manęs saugumas nelietė ir aš gyvenau maždaug taip kaip norėjau. Na, aš vedžiau maskvietę vardu Marina Kedrova, jinai dėstė Maskvos universitete anglų kalbą. Vėliau mes su ja išsiskyrėme, bet mes ir dabar dar esame bičiuliai. Kai būnu Maskvoje aš su ja pasimatau, ji jau mano amžiaus, kitaip sakant jau labai nejauna ponia, bet mes tebesame geri draugai.

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: Vilnius, Moscow, Moscow University, Marina Kedrova

Duration: 1 minute, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012