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Torch Bearer of Russian Culture. To 110th Anniversary of Dmitry Likhachov
November 30, 2016 10:11


Our history remembers persons who have never held high positions, but their spiritual authority and part in the country's life meant so much that Russia is just impossible without them. At the turn of the 19th-20th centuries it was Leo Tolstoy. On the decline of the Soviet era these were Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov. So was the academician Dmitry Likhachov.
November 28, 2016 marked the 110th anniversary since the birth of Academician Dmitry Likhachev, a world renowned scholar, eminent literary critic, the author of classical works on ancient Russin literature, publicist and public figure. In the history of modern Russia as well as in people's minds, Dmitry Likhachov remains an illuminer in the first place. A famous phrase by him says: "It is culture that largely justifies the existence of the people and nation in God's eyes."
He was a moral example and spiritual teacher to many in his lifetime. In the era of Perestroika, when landmarks were changing for people, Dmitry Likhachov appeared on television, and the audience came to catch  every word of his. He was referred to as "the conscience of the nation" and "the patriarch of Russian culture."
Dmitry Likhachov wrote: "I do not consider myself a show-case of breeding." Intelligent, wise, composed and infinitely kind - how could he have possibly remained such a person after going through the Solovki gulag camp, construction of the White Sea Canal and the war blockade of Leningrad? For over half a century Dmitry Likhachev worked in the Pushkin House as the head of the Department of Old Russian Literature, which he discovered for readers in many ways. The academician cared about preserving the Russian language.
Dmitry Likhachov wrote: "Intelligence is not merely about knowledge, but it is the capability to understand others, argue with respect, help others, and preserve nature."
His words were indeed fortified with deeds! Even at the age of 80 the academician took care of preserving the historic landscape and cultural monuments, and strove for the salvation of numerous churches and museums. In particular, Marina Tsvetayeva Museum in Moscow was founded thanks to his efforts.
As chairman of the board of the Cultural Foundation, Dmitry Likhachov initiated the process of returning memoirs, letters and books by Russian immigrants to this country. Dozens of cultural activities launched by him keep on going. He was one of the founders of the TV channel "Culture". "Culture is what turns population into the people and nation," - he said.
Dmitry Likhachev's works about culture are of exceptional significance for the national identity of the Russians.
One of his main findings was: "Russia is undoubtedly Europe in regards of religion and culture. You will not find  dramatic differences in its culture between  ... Petersburg and ... Vladivostok", - the academician wrote.
According to Dmitry Likhachov, this type of European culture is characterized with three fundamental features: it is the culture of personality with strong individual features; it is universal and appreciative of other spiritual realms; it is based on freedom of creative expression.
Those traits that Fyodor Dostoevsky in his famous speech at the ceremony of unveiling the monument to Pushkin in Moscow of 8 June 1880 attributed to the specifics of Russian mentality (all-inclusiveness, openness to the other, and emotional impressionability), were assumed by Dmitry Likhachev as inherent in European culture as a whole.
"Russia's mission ... is determined by the fact that it has united up to three hundred peoples - large, great and small - all requiring protection. Russian culture has developed under multinational conditions. Russia served as a giant bridge between peoples. A cultural bridge above all,"- Dmitry Likhachev said.
According to him, our strength lies in our culture. "Russia is a great country. Great neither in its territories, nor in military glory, neither in industry nor in commodity stocks, but above all in its millennial culture that has granted the world with immortal works of literature, architecture, music, and fine arts. This "greatness" of Russia may not cause hostility towards it. On the contrary, great culture is conciliatory in its nature", - Dmitry Likhachov said.

10 Commandments of Academician Dmitry Likhachov

Do not kill and do not start war.
Do not think of your people as enemy to other nations.
Do not steal and do not appropriate the work of your brother.
Seek only the truth in science, and do not use it for evil or gain.
Respect the thoughts and feelings of your brothers.
Honor your parents and grandparents and preserve and honor everything created by them.
Honor nature as your mother and helpmate.
Let your work and thoughts be the work and thoughts of a free creator, not a slave.
Let all living things live and all thinkable things be thought.
Let it all be free, because all is born free.

 

Read more about Dmitry Likhachov




Author: Vera Ivanova

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