0126 GMT February 21, 2019
West intends to make Iran and Russia subordinate to its culture and consequently change the concept of Iranian and Russian literature, observed Russian poet and author Aleksei Akhmatov.
Speaking to Iran Daily on the sidelines of the 31st Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF), he explained that Iranian and Russian literature emerged from their special identity which is rooted in their cultures, but West intends to overturn our literature and direct it towards its political ends.
In terms of technicality and structure, Iran and Russia enjoy special literature which distinguishes them from Western literature, he said. Classic works in both countries have many intricacies providing specific value and beauty.
Western powers make great attempt to steal what they don't have from other countries' literature and culture and show it to the world through the lens of their own politics.
He cautioned, "If we don't resist such ill-tempered action, we will lose all our cultural heritages."
Touching upon the point that world literature owes to Russian poets and writers such as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov, he said that Russian literary figures do their best to avert becoming oblivious.
"We are responsible for keeping alive the names of such prominent figures," he added.
Compared to the time of Soviet Union when literature was highly supported, current Russian literature is on the decline, he said, adding that although today there are so many advertisements about contemporary Russian literature, current literature is, to much extent, weaker than our classic works.
He pointed out that the above-mentioned distinction is highly dependent on social conditions, explaining that the young generation has distanced itself from literature and is more inclined to other subjects. Traditions are deteriorating and there would be no advancement in terms of contemporary Russian literature.
Speaking about TIBF, Akhmatov, who is attending with 10 book titles, said, "I was shocked with the quality of the exhibition but I was inspired by its size and great public support extended to it.
In another interview with Iran Daily, project manager of Russian pavilion Oparina Victoria said that various titles including educational, classic, contemporary literature as well as books for children and teenagers are being presented in the book fair.
Speaking about the popularity of Iranian literature among Russians, Victoria said that Russians are more familiar with Iran's classic literary figures such as Khayyam and Ferdowsi rather than contemporary ones.
She added that the same is true for Russian works among Iranians, and that is why Russia is presenting a large number of contemporary works at the TIBF.
"Another reason for taking part at the event is that many people believe that Russian literature is only limited to classic works and we want to introduce our contemporary works as well," noted Victoria.
Recently, one of Iran's major publishers undertook the translation of Persian books (such as works by Houshang Moradi Kermani and Mohammad Kazem Mazinani) into Russian to make the Russians more acquainted with Iranian books and literature.
TIBF opened to the public on May 2 and will run until May 12. In addition to Iranian publishers, representatives of 132 countries, including Germany, China, Italy, Oman, Hungary, Austria, Russia and Iraq, are presenting their books in the fair.
Serbia is the guest country while Tunis (the capital of Tunisia) is the guest city at this year's Tehran International Book Fair.