Vid finskryska gränsen 1976 – Okudzjava och en näktergal

Förra veckan var jag på en trevlig kväll med Cambridges ryskengelska sällskap där man berättade minnen från Sovjetunionen. Två sorters vodka och otaliga sorters zakuski (tilltugg).  Två damer som kunde berätta om att arbeta i sjukvården under sent fyrtiotal (då omtyckta läkare försvann i Stalins antisemitiska kampanj) var fantastiska bekantskaper, den andra damen om hur stalinterrorn slog i en by på landsorten.  Av någon anledning ombads jag delta och sedan önskade ledningen att jag skulle skriva ner vad jag berättat. Det gjorde jag på engelska och jag tror det går att förstå. Mina ursäkter för alla misstag i språket.

During the pleasant evening with the CamRuss Society in Blythe House with Soviet memorabilia, I told an episod from the Russian-Finnish border 1976. Marina Burrell has asked me to write it down.

I am a Swedish writer and translator, began to study Russian 1961 at the University of Stockholm, my Alma mater. I visited the Soviet union quite often. At one of the visits I met writers in Leningrad and Moscow, whom I had translated. One of the writers knew how much I loved Bulat Okudzhavas songs and gave me an LP, the first that Melodia produced with Okudzhava, and saw to it that Bulat wrote some kind words to me personally on the cover. By the way, how did he arrange it? In those days writers were very frequent guests in TsDL, Tsentralnyi Dom Literatora, the Writers’ House in Moscow, an oasis in the great city, with good food and pleasant company. I guess they met there. Everyone was there.

I later met Bulat Okudzhava with Swedish friends in Moscow 1980, he was disappointed that Sweden did not boycot the Olympic games in Moscow that year, and later my wife Masha and I had him and Ola as guests for a quiet dinner in our home in Stockholm. As Masha later has written in her memoirs, ”it was as if God had visited us”. She became friends with Olga and they met in Moscow a few times, engaged in charity.

Back to the year 1976.

Returning to Sweden, I travelled by train to Helsinki, and from there by boat to Stockholm. The border control between Russia and Finland was harder than any other, according to many sources. In my compartment a major from the border troups (pogranichnye voiska), with the green cap and the nice surname Solovey (nightingale, no, not Solovyov!) went through all the materials I had brought, plays and books, confiscating some (from the official Soviet Agency! but I knew better than to protest, I got new by mail later) and stating about some of the plays ”Yes, they are performing that in Leningrad now”. He looked for a while at the record with Bulat’s friendly words, Bulat was no popular with the more strict party people, but confiscating a record made by the Soviet company Melodia was not an option.

When all this silly business was over, the major had me sign a protocol and left. All the time a young customs official in uniform had been silent, and now I was supposed to show him some of my belongings and sign another paper. The major Nightingale had hardly left the compartment when the customs officer looked at me and said:

_ Do you KNOW Okudzhava?

I answered that well, we had met and had friends in common, but it was what Russians call a shapochnoe znakomstvo, that is you raise your hat when you meet.

The customs officer:

_ For me he is number one!

And I signed the customs blanks and thought: yes, there are differences and conflicts to come between generations in this country. Of course, if someone that year had told me that fifteen years later, the Soviet Union would implode and dissolve, I had just shook my head.

But it did.

  1. #1 av staffanskott på mars 8, 2011 - 19:13

    I don’t understand why I can not update. I wrote wrong year for my start with Russian studies: 1961 was the year that I came to the University of Stockholm and began my so far unfinished Slavonic studies, mostly in Russian. . .

  2. #2 av staffanskott på mars 8, 2011 - 22:15

    Nowq I managed to correct the year. Good Heavens, I have tried to study Russian for half a century!
    Mais, parmi les aveugles…

  3. #3 av Torgny Domeij på mars 8, 2011 - 22:18

    Noterade att du skrivit fel årtal, jo. Själv började jag på Viggan i januari 1961. Har en samlings-LP med Achmatova, Vysotskij och Okudzjava nånstans. Om du inte kan ändra på årtalet kanske det beror på att din dator först läser in data från cachen?

    Inte säkert, men kolla i så fall detta tips:

    ”Det är den vanliga Internet Explorer-buggen, den visar dig gamla bilder. Dvs bilderna är korrekta men din webläsare hämtar inte hem dem. Prova att ladda om sidan ett par gånger, alternativt ställ om webläsaren:

    Svensk IE: Se till att inställningen Verktyg -> Internet-alternativ -> Allmänt -> Tillfälliga internet-filer -> Kontrollera om det finns senare versioner av lagrade sidor är satt till Varje gång.

    Engelsk IE: Se till att inställningen Tools -> Internet Options -> Temporary Internet Files -> Settings -> Check for newer versions är satt till Every visit to the page.”

    Då kanske du kan ändra. Eller om du loggar ut och in igen? Ofta nåt som hänger sig i kommandoraden. Whatever. Annars kan du kolla med min bror Urban som också gått på Viggan. ”Urban Domeij” , han kan lösa det mesta.. 😉

    • #4 av Staffan Skott på mars 8, 2011 - 23:01

      Tack fr omtanken! Jo, jag har lyckats rtta. Sjlv gick jag p Viggan tio r fre dig.

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