St. Petersburg officials have denied to extend registration of city’s branch of the world-renowned Dante Alighieri Society, insisting its members to receive an approval from the great poet himself, according to Fontanka.ru news website.
The society's members had the license for using the poet's name earlier, and in 2011 the cultural centre filed documents necessary for re-registration, a standard bureaucratic procedure in Russia. But the officials' answer surprised them.
"They want us to change the society’s name or get permission from Dante or his relatives to use it,” the society’s head Marina Samarina said.
It should be reminded that Dante Alighieri died in 1321. Unfortunately, the officials didn't explain how to contact to him or to his relatives.
"The possibility of finding the poet’s relatives is under a very big question. It’s the same as trying to prove that one is a relative of Homer", Marina Samarina said.
“This is not a final ruling. We need to fill in the papers and file them once again,” she added. The lawyers say the centre still has to prove the necessity of using Dante's name.
The same story was several years ago, when the society named after Taras Shevchenko, Ukrainian poet and writer, was forced to find the relatives of the Ukrainian national hero, who died 200 years ago.
The Dante Alighieri Society promotes Italian culture and language worldwide. It was formed in Italy in July 1889 and now has more than 500 offices around the world. The Russian branch has been working since 1992. The centre takes part in conferences, publishes books, hold lectures and organizes courses of the Italian language.
Author: Julia Alieva