Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Window on Eurasia: Russian Diplomats Really Do Write Poetry

Paul Goble

Baku, February 6 – Many who have dealt with Russian diplomats often feel that Moscow’s representatives write more than just non-fiction prose, but now the Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed those suspicions by putting on public view a collection of poems that 41 of its current and retired envoys have composed.
This week, the foreign ministry organized a poetry evening in its Museum of Diplomatic Service and presented readings from what Russian news agencies said was he fourth such volume of poems written by contemporary Russian diplomats, including the current foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov (
Other diplomat-poets included in this collection were Mikhail Kamynin, Yuri Andropov, and Aleksandr Bessmertnykh. Their verses, the news agencies said, are devoted in the words of Lavrov to “special dates about which the calendar is silent and the newspapers won’t report in the morning.”
So far, the current collection exists only in a single copy, but ministry officials say they plan to publish it in mid-February in an edition of 1,000 copies, 500 of which will be sent to Russian Federation embassies and consulates abroad for possible further distribution.
There, these poems will attract the attention of their diplomatic counterparts who will mine these verses for what they say about current thinking in Moscow. But judging by the excerpts provided so far, few of these readers will put current Russian diplomats in the same rank as their tsarist predecessors Tyutchev and Griboyedov -- at least as poets.

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