Transitions: Roosyan Klassiks

Since the beginning of Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, there have been calls to ban Russian culture in a number of European countries. The issue is particularly sensitive in Central and Eastern Europe, given the proximity to both Ukraine and Russia and the longtime presence of Russian culture from the times when Moscow imposed its control over the region until the late 1980s.

Global Voices interviewed Slovak writer, playwright, and comics author Daniel Majling to ask his views on the matter as his country has welcomed large groups of Ukrainians, while being a place where wealthy Russians have long been living. Majling is also known in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic for his unusual 2017 book called Ruzka klazika, which can be translated as “Roosyan Klassiks,” a collection of short stories, disguised as a translation, in which he invents humorous and sometimes grotesque fictional episodes based on the life of some of the most famous Russian classics. He does so by twisting their names slightly, turning for example Turgenev into Toorgenef, or Tolstoy into Tolsztoi, with great humor and irony. The book was voted Book of the Year and shortlisted for Slovakia’s most prestigious literary prize, Anasoft Litera. The first part of the book is available in English thanks to a translation by Julia and Peter Sherwood.

Read the article here