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March 30, 1999

Life in Rostov

Massive Promotion on Pushkin

Russia is looking forward to the Pushkin Anniversary

by Julia Urakcheeva

Pushkin is really the most distinguished of the Russian poets whose name has become a symbol. He was the innovator in literature, having created the first Russian novel-in-verses, Eugeny Onegin, and a lot of lyrics, fairy-tales, stories, and dramas. His writings are deep and colorful, easy to read and understand. That's why the screen-versions of Pushkin' novels and cartoons based on his fairy-tales are released every year. His dramas are staged in theatres throughout the country. In short, there is plenty of Pushkin in our life. And this year there will be even more. The 6th of June 1999 is the 200-Anniversary of the poet.

A century ago, he was already a classic. On the 6th of June 1899, a great monument in his honor was put up in Moscow, and famous Russian writers spoke at its opening. Now that we have much more technical resources, there are special Pushkin-sites on the Internet as well as countless radio programs devoted to his literary heritage. A lot of TV-projects have already been arranged. It looks as if the main TV channels are competing against each other to see which of them loves Pushkin more. The ORT is leading. They made a serial called "Pushkin Forever." The cameramen ask people in the streets -- businessmen, beggars, children -- to cite a phrase from Eugeny Onegin into the camera. So, phrase by phrase, day by day, the novel is read aloud and those who don't care much about reading have a chance to learn the classic literature in a simple way - like comics.

Besides, each day they announce on TV how many days are left till Pushkin's birthday. It reminds me of the huge sign hanging on the Eiffel Tower counting the days till the Millennium.

However, the poetís celebration risks boring everyone before its arrival. Such a massive promotion on Pushkin already causes some arguments and disapproval. But a number of useful things will be done, including the restoration of the Pushkin Reserve (the district where he lived and wrote) and publishing books, which means there will be more people who know Pushkin's name as well as his works.

Editorís note: Julia Urakcheeva is a second-year university student in Rostov-on-Don, Mobileís sister city in Russia. Julia will be filing stories about life in Rostov periodically.

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