Curating Russian-Language Literary Projects in War Time

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Vitaly Lekhtsier


The essay considers the curators of Russian-language literary projects (editors, organizers of actions, publishers of contemporary literature, creators of literary study courses) implemented in war time. The text is based on an empirical qualitative study of the viewpoints and motivations of literary curators based both in Russia and abroad. Among the latter are literary curators who have lived abroad for a long time or who have emigrated from Russia in the last year and a half. The essay explores the reasons why curators closed or suspended their literary projects in Russia and their motives for creating new projects or continuing old ones. It reveals the literary curators’ point of view on the possible and real goals of Russian-language literary projects during the war. The study draws attention to the specificity of curatorial positions and actions depending on the location of the project (in Russia, abroad, in metropolitan or regional Russian cities), as well as the age of the curator. In addition, the study reveals the spectrum of literary curators’ opinions on “high-profile,” debatable issues related to the fate of Russian-language literary projects during the war: their attitude to cooperation with state cultural institutions, the practice of filtering project participants depending on the political position of the participants, their attitude to the thesis about the responsibility of Russian language and literature for military aggression, and their attitude to the demand for Russian-language literary projects to “shut up.” In general, the study showed that curators interpret the current situation of Russian contemporary literature as a “new underground” and see their task in psychological and professional assistance to the author, politicization of projects, and documentation of a new literary emigrant environment.

Text in Russian


Curator of Literature, Literary Projects, Sociology of Literature, Goals of Literary Curating, Literary Community

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