24 September 2017, Sunday, 11:42

Svetlana Alexievich Quits Russian PEN-Center


The writer has stated members of the organization “lick the authorities’ boots”.

It was reported yesterday that Nobel Prize Winner Svetlana Alexievich planned to quit the Russian PEN-center. Nikolay Podosokorkiy wrote this in his blog at livejournal.com with a reference to the writer’s friend Rita Kabakova, Euroradio reports.

«The break in the writers-human rights organization the Russian PEN-center is getting deeper. After the unprecedented decision of the Russian PEN-Center’s executive committee to expel journalist Sergey Parkhomenko for the public criticism of the organization’s managing board, Lev Rubinshtein, Alexander Ilichevskiy and Boris Akunin quit PEN. 47 members of the Russian PEN came up with a collective appeal demanding to hold another general meeting of the organization in Moscow and expressed their mistrust for the current executive committee.

It has been reported today that Nobel Prize Winner Svetlana Alexievich is leaving the Russian PEN-center. Her friend Rita Kabakova has written this on her Facebook page: “Quoting yesterday’s correspondence with Svetlana Alexievich: “Rita, after they had expelled Parkhomenko, I decided to quit this now weird organization. An old acquaintance called me today, and I had the same feeling. We are getting divided, deeper and scarier. Now everything can happen to us… Svetlana.”

It is expected that Svetlana Alexievich will make the official statement on quitting the Russian PEN-center tomorrow. We remind, previously, the following famous writers and civil activists left the organization due to disagreement with the policy of the managing board: Sergey Kostyrko, Igor Irtenyev, Lev Timofeev, Liudila Ulitskaya, Natallia Mavlevich, Vladimir Mirzoyev, Liubov Summ, Irina Yasina, Olga Timofeyeva, Zoya Svetova, Irina Surat, Boris Khersonskiy, Nune Bargesyan, Grigoriy Revzin, Viktor Shenderovich, Vladimir Voinovich, Sergey Gandlevskiy, Dmitri Bavilskiy.

Svetlana Alexievich has confirmed she is about to quit the Russian PEN-center to the journalists of Nasha Niva today:

«The point is, the ideals of PEN’s founders are being defied. The conflict with Parkhomenko happened because the Russian PEN repeatedly refused to sign letters in support of those who suffer from Putin’s rule, — Svetlana Alexievich has told. — So now there was a concrete case with the imprisoned director Sentsov… PEN declared once again that it was not the writers’ business to defend someone, to stand up for something, the writer’s business was to sit quietly and write, which is, simply put, to lick the authorities’ boots.

I was persuaded not to leave for a long time, as dozens of decent people quit [the Russian PEN]: Ulitskaya, Voinovich and others. I stayed as some progressive people hoped they could win this fight, that the dark force would be defeated. It didn’t work out. I have no more reasons to participate in this game.

I can say that something similar happened to writers in Stalin’s times — when writers and writers’ organizations behaved so timidly. However, Putin will leave, and this page will remain in the history of PEN.”

Herein, Svetlana Alexievich will stay the member of the Belarusian PEN.