Article by Oksana Chelysheva about famous russian opposition political figure and writer Eduard Limonov
Eduard Limonov is hated a lot. He is also admired a lot. What he can't complainabout is lack of public attention. He can't be ignored or neglected.
Instead of submitting to historical circumstances, he prefers to make history go his way.
Even those pure intellectuals who can't forgive Limonov's active involvement into politics can't deny that he is one of the most spoken of poets and writers of the temporary Russia. He is bold enough to compare himself to the classics of the past stating that he is the one who has introduced his own particular style in literature. The style which he has developed has nothing to with conventional trends. He always narrates from the first person singular creating the world which becomes his reality. He has the right as he has gained real-life experience of hard manual jobs, literary career, love of beautiful women, prison, betrayals and real friendship.
Eduard Savenko (Limonov) was born on February 22, 1943. His parents lived in the town of Dzerjinsk located near Nizhny Novgorod, which was Gorky at that time. Once resort suburb full of orchards, Dzerjisnk got its name in the Soviet time after the iron-fisted Felix Dzerjinskiy and turned into industrial area condensed with various plants. Soon after the Soviet army advances against German troops, the family moved to Ukraine and settled down in the liberated Kharkov. The devasted city needed working hands.
By the age of 23, Eduard Savenko had tried a lot of jobs, including a tailor. He also did a few years in the Pedagogical Institute of Kharkov but lights of the big city attracted him so much that he moved to Moscow.
The capital turned acceptive of a young newcomer. Eduard joined its bohemian circles, aquired a pseudonim of Limonov, married to one of Moscow beauties who was a fashion model with a gift to poetry. He started writing poetry. He also mastered his skills of a tailor to the extent that such Moscow celebrities as Andrey Tarkovskiy and Ernst Neizvestny were dressed from Savenko.
But then, in Moscow of the 60s, Limonov's life turned sharp. Eduard was taken to the KGB and offered to become their informer. He refused. Now the consequences would seem soft in comparison with the draconian time of Putin's Russia. The young couple was forced to leave the USSR for the USA. The emigree couple settled down in New York. But soon they separated.
The blow resulted in the first prosaic book by Eduard Limonov, ”It is me, Edichka”. He would not have been a rebelling Edichka if he had played according to the conventional rules. Unlike many ex-Soviets residing in New York, Limonov didn't automatically turned into a staunch critics of all USSR-related. He got in contact with leftist groups. His articles exposed the drawbacks and failures of America he encountered. Publishers refused to give him space. In protest he chained himself to the fence of the editorial office. The FBI ticked his name as one of ”trouble-makers”.
Soon Limonov moved to France. And once again he din't deny himself remaining an angry one. He was together with Natalia Medvedeva, another beauty, singer and poet. That's another peculiarity of Savenko (Limonov). No matter how poor his just another rented flat looks, his women share it.
Limonov was granted French citizenship despite concerns that the French police had. It was caused by Limonov's close ties with French leftist intellectuals.
In 1991 Limonov returned to Russia. And again he rushed into fighting against conventionalism. Limonov is one of the few who are not afraid of making his own choices. Even though some of them can have grave consequences for him beuing unaccepted by the opinuion of the majority.
When Yugoslavia was burning in the fire of inter-ethnic conflicts, Limonov joined the Serbian side. He became close to another controversial person, Radovan Karadcic. It looks as if Limonov saw him more as a poet than a murderous politician. Limonov's estimations of who is an oppressor and who the victim is are done according to his own logic and the truth he established for himself. The Serbian side was the oppressor in the eyes of the international community. The international community had proved to be dominated by hypocrytes, in Limonov's view. He rejected it again by joining those who the world detested.
Only now, very gradually, the truth comes out about responsility for ethnic cleansings and other horrific atrocities lying with all the sides.
But still Limonov's stand was biased. He didn't turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Serbs and refused to see Srebrenica.
In just two years, in 1993, Eltsyn nearly plunged Russian into Yugoslavia-type conflict by shelling the Parliament, The world preferred not to see the obvious curve away from declared democratic values taken by Eltsyn and Co.
Limonov rebelled again. In 1994 he created NBP, party of national bolsheviks. The name itself was a challenge to the soceiety. But Limonov challenged the society which stopped to value the meaning of words. Democrats shelling the Parliament. Liberal Democrats of Vladimir Jirinovskiy who have quite a lot in common with Le Penn...
Limonov, being a left-wing, allied with a right-wing phylospher Alexander Dugin and two alternative musucians, Egor Letov and Sergey Kurjokhin. They all had one common feature: they were creators of counter-culture. In the course of 15 years after creation of NBP, a lot had changed. Alexander Dugin has become a loyal serf of the Kremlin, developing eulogies to the imperialist Russia. Letov and Kurjokhin passed away.
Limonov has undergone imprisonment. In 2002 he was convicted for alleged attempt to overthrow the consitutional order. The Second Russia which was incriminated to him became reality in 2006 when the Other Russia united opposition movement was created by Limonov together with Garry Kasparov.
Limonov is still a challenge. NBP was banned as extremist group in 2007. Nazbols constitute the most persecuted political group in this Russia. Limonov has lost friends. Anna Politkovskaya was one of those who he, Eduard Limonov, looks up to. His own life has been threatened not once. He is 68 now. He has decided to run for the presidenship in 2012 ignoring sarcastic grinning of the conventional world he doesn't belong to.
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