October 7, 2022

World War III has already begun, says Russian author Liudmila Ulitskaya

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (EFE).- Russian writer Liudmila Ulitskaya, highly critical of the policies of President Vladimir Putin, whom she considers a “hooligan”, believes World War III has “already begun” and says that they confirmed this on February 24, when the invasion of Ukraine began.

Ulítskaya (Dablekánovo, 1943), one of the most far-reaching writers of contemporary Russian literature, will receive the Formentor Prize for Letters tonight in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for the “powerful narrative breath” of her literature, a prize that stands for her ” a vitamin shot” in these moments of “downturn” for the world.

Meeting with journalists, the writer, who went into exile in Berlin when the invasion of Ukraine began after her son told them to leave, opined that Putin is capable of pressing the “nuclear button”, but points out that “by luck There is a chain of people between the Russian president and the button who trusts that they “maybe stop his feet”.

He sees the scenes of the Russians fleeing the partial mobilization announced by Putin as something very painful: “It reminds me a lot of my family, my grandparents and my mother, who left Moscow at the beginning of the World War II and this great sensation of a global and even universal catastrophe”.

For Ulitskaya, the Russian president is a character “with few talents, little grace, little humanity”: “His way of acting, of being, of dealing with others is the same as that of a ‘hooligan’, a criminal in a street slum” at night”.

But he doesn’t believe the protests that have taken place against him will have any effect, as the secret police are “very much in power and in society, which they have by the throat.”

The writer Liudmila Ulítskaya, one of the most far-reaching authors in contemporary Russian literature and critical of Vladimir Putin’s politics, during an interview with Efe before receiving the Formentor Prize for Letters in 2022. EFE/Quique Curbelo

He underlines the parallel between the 1920s, when after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, “huge masses of intellectuals and artists” were expelled, and what is happening today, something he would like to capture in a literary work.

The writer has expressed her deep sorrow that a Ukrainian did not want to participate in the translators’ meeting held in Las Palmas as part of the Formentor Literary Conversations because the prize was awarded to her, a Russian: “Politics is part culture and not the other way around.”

And he hoped that “understanding who is who will overcome these feelings and change the situation.”

Author of fifteen novels, children’s stories and plays translated in more than 15 countries and with more than 4,500,000 readers, she does not rule out her works being banned in Russia, but she says she is not in the least concerned because in his young people were all the books he read “and the more forbidden they were, the more attractive” they became.

Her name has sounded several times as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but she is absolutely convinced that she will not get it. “In addition, I have long been convinced that a second place is much better than a first”, he laughs.

“Don Quixote” was the first adult book she read when she was only 6 years old, an academic publication by her grandmother: “I don’t know what she understood, but I lived with that book for a year,” recalls the writer, who also recalls how Latin American literature caused a “huge explosion” in Russia in the 1970s and 1980s, such that it led to the discovery of world letters through translations from Spanish.

Liudmila Ulitskaya also confesses to having a “very difficult” relationship with the concept of feminism, explaining that she has never had a problem because of her gender: “I almost always succeeded and when I didn’t get what I wanted, I never thought it was because I was a woman”, indicates.

She also comes from a family of “strong and powerful” women, like her grandmother, who raised the family on her own during her grandfather’s 17 years in concentration camps: that has had a lot of influence on me. The quality of Russian women exceeds that of Russian men,” he says. EFE

By Carmen Naranjo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.