Alina Vituhnovskaya, writer
When I wrote an article about the case of the Khachaturyan sisters, I also recalled my personal family history. Moreover, a little later I was forced to make it publicly available. And the recent scandal erupted around the name of the famous children's writer Eduard Uspensky raised a new wave of indignation that split some part of Russian society and exacerbated the already tense atmosphere in families forced to stay in quarantine apartments. In fact, a sharp surge in domestic violence during the period of “self-isolation” was not long in coming. But as it often happens, the multiplying tragedies quickly become everyday statistics, and therefore it is very important, in my opinion, to fix these trends in time so as not to allow them to become the norm, ordinary, to prevent them from drowning in a littered ocean of information.
The daughter of Eduard Uspensky, the author of the Soviet thriller for children, asks to refuse to establish a prize named after his father, explaining that he was a home tyrant and by no means such a noble God's dandelion as he portrayed himself in public. This is a typical tragedy of a typical Soviet family, where the conspiracy majors caressed by the authorities completely copied the behavior of their red bosses. Almost every Soviet ontologically is a latent totalitarian, to whom the family was virtually given to pieces. The writers blamed at the party committees expressed their aggression on their wives and children.
Part of the patriarchal intelligentsia, for which parents are something a priori sacred, strongly condemn the daughter. And in my opinion, she is not only right, but also must demand financial moral compensation for her distorted childhood. The false-bashful domestic habit of “not taking dirty linen in public” is a kind of victim imprint that only strengthens the authoritarian family by placing responsibility on the victim (classic victimization).
Ouspensky was not a good children's writer, but a poor children's writer, and even a Soviet one, which is generally unforgivable. Unlike Winnie the Pooh or the Moomin, which are ideal entities both metaphysically and externally, Cheburashka is an international mutant monster made, most likely, by special order for the Olympics-80. Something slurred, the same homosoveticus, only in miniature. Literally - a creature reduced to an animal, devoid of any specific subjective properties. Something soft, limp that you can kick, pack, lock in a telephone box, in principle - do anything. Is this not an ideal Soviet citizen, the future “vatnik” (a rag tag)?
In that cultural and mental space in which my childhood passed, there was nothing Soviet. I grew up in a vacuum of detached self-estrangement, drawing energy directly from the very Existence that I felt and expressed most fully already from my earliest works. My Grab was a kind of alternative to this reality, which seemed false and fake to me. The cartoons that I saw on TV seemed boring and ridiculous to me. Perhaps, among them was the same "Cheburashka", I do not remember. On the whole, the child’s theme is seen solely as the traumatic experience of a child - a disempowered being put into power by “parents who are not chosen.” And the more terrible it is to imagine specially invented plots for a small person in all senses, filed intentionally for the purpose of educating him, i.e. tough and neurotic dressing, resulting in an obedient adult something leading a dull, copied and multiplied by millions of similar fates imitation of life.
An ugly Soviet golem with round ears, as if ready to accept any amount of noodles and semolina, is strongly associated with the childhood of millions of post-Soviet people and if you begin to understand the details of the appearance of this image, begin to peer into the portrait of not only the hero, but also the author, real creepy and unpleasant.
In a close community of children's writers of the USSR, as in many other Soviet professional communities and collectives, a truly family-clan, in fact, mafia atmosphere dominated. So a number of excellent authors could not publish their books for children for many years, while the “selected” cohort of writers always gave a green light. And the point here is not so much in who was more in line with the party line, but in the mechanism of decision-making regarding a particular person. Often, the decision about whether the author’s creation will see or not be made is not made at the very top, but in a narrow circle of friends and comrades who have formed something like a “cartel conspiracy” - that is, for yourself, but against everyone else.
And here is what the writer Lyudmila Petrushevskaya writes about the scandal: “Everyone forgot how Uspensky proved in our court that he painted Cheburashka himself. He even showed a ticket to a member of the Union of Artists, obtained specifically for this purpose. And he sold abroad - in different countries - the rights to this hero, depriving a genuine old artist, Leonid Schwartzman, whose name was in the credits, of his livelihood. Then the whole Soyuzmultfilm raged, Norshtein went to court, it was a blatant deception. Nothing helped. Ouspensky was a zealous idiot, often filed complaints. He was also a TV star. And the judges judged him. I didn’t let him, whom I really didn’t like (his wife called me with a request) to use my song “Old Woman” in a TV program. So what? Performed, and even misinterpreted. In my place, he would definitely sue! So, I would categorically refuse a literary award with such a shameful name”.
Thus, the integrity of the Soviet children's writer is in great question. Not to mention the quality of Soviet literature in principle. What should be a separate and long conversation.