Kan litteraturen smelte en frossen fortid? Sergej Lebedev og Ilmar Taska besøgte LiteratureXchange i Aarhus

Af Katrine Overgaard Stevnhøj Pedersen, cand.mag. Østeuropastudier med specialisering i russisk

Aarhus internationale litteraturfestival LiteratureXchange løb for anden gang af stablen d. 12. – 23. juni 2019, og i år kunne festivalen præsentere hele to forfattere hvis litteratur beskæftiger sig med den sovjetiske kulturarv. Under overskriften ”Arven fra Sovjet – mød Ilmar Taska og Sergej Lebedev”, diskuterede de to forfattere sammen med DRs Ruslandskorrespondent Matilde Kimer den arv som det sovjetiske styre efterlod og dens forhold mellem fortid og nutid.

Det er Åbne Scene på Godsbanen, som danner rammer for aftenens samtale, og selvom solen stadig skinner udenfor, har en betragtelig flok af festivalgængere taget plads på tilskuerrækkerne for at blive klogere på, hvordan den sovjetiske kulturarv bliver behandlet i litteraturen. Fælles for de to forfattere er, som Matilde Kimer formulerer det, at de er ”børn af Sovjetunionen” og at de begge bruger netop deres opvækst og egne erindringer fra deres barndom som referenceramme om deres forfatterskab.

Den estiske Ilmar Taska, som muligvis er mest kendt for sit virke som filmmager, blandt andet i kraft af den amerikanske film Back in the USSR fra 1992, præsenterede ved litteraturfestivallen sin roman Pobeda 1946 som netop er udgivet på dansk ved Birgita Bonde Hansen af forlaget Jensen & Dalgaard. Den russiske forfatter Sergej Lebedevs roman Ved glemslens rand udkom i 2018 på Forlaget Palomar i Lotte Jansens oversættelse.

Ved glemslens rand er et fiktivt værk, men Lebedev tager udgangspunkt i sin egen familiehistorie samt sin professionelle baggrund. Ligesom romanens protagonist er Lebedev selv uddannet geolog og interessen for at grave i fortiden er afspejlet i hans forfatterskab såvel som i samtalen med Kimer og Taska. Lebedev beskriver, hvordan han på sine geologiske ekspeditioner i det nordlige Rusland havde fundet den frosne jord sammenlignelig med landets fortid. Permafrosten er i stand til at bevare, men også nedfryse og dermed fastlåse fortiden, forklarer forfatteren. Lebedevs litteratur kan på denne måde betragtes som en udgravning af den sovjetiske kulturarv.

Også Ilmar Taskas forfatterskab er tydeligt præget af hans opvækst i Sovjetunionen. Taska er estisk, men født i Kirov, Rusland, hvortil hans forældre var blevet deporteret efter Sovjetunionens besættelse af de baltiske lande. Taska er født d. 21. maj 1953, og blev, som han selv så billedligt beskriver det, i sin moders mave lidt for længe til at opleve Stalintiden. Dette forhindrer dog ikke Taska i at skildre netop denne æra i sin litteratur. Som det fremgår af titlen, udspiller handlingen af Pobeda 1946 sig i Estland netop efter afslutningen af Anden Verdenskrig. I efterdønningerne af den sovjetiske sejrsrus lever den allestedsnærværende, stalinistiske paranoia i bedste velgående, og romanen skildrer på én og samme tid barndommens nysgerrighed og tillid, samt et land, hvor den ene besættelsesmagt blot afløses af den anden. I Taskas skildring af Stalintidens Estland er ingen af karaktererne navngivne. At hverken ”drengen”, ”faren” eller ”moren” har deres egne individuelle navne er ikke blot et billede på, at der her er systemet, og ikke individet, som har styringen. Det er også et fortællermæssigt greb, som udvider læserens identifikation med romanens hovedpersoner.

Nok er både Taska og Lebedev sovjetiske børn, men de er født ind i to meget forskelligartede perioder af den sovjetiske historie. Mens Ilmar Taska blev født ind i efterdønningerne af den sovjetiske krigssejr, blev Sergej Lebedev født i Moskva i 1981 og oplevede som 10-årig hvordan det samfund, den virkelighed, han var født ind i, kollapsede. Som så mange andre sovjetiske børn var Lebedev vokset op med en fortælling om en afdød bedstefar, som havde viet sit liv til socialismen. Det var ufatteligt, fortæller forfatteren, at netop hans bedstefar havde overlevet slaget om Stalingrad. Lebedev fortæller om skrinet med bedstefarens medaljer og ordner, og om hvor stolt han var over at have denne krigshelt til bedstefar.

Familiehistorien tager imidlertid en uventet drejning, da Lebedev som voksen arvede sin bedstemors lejlighed. Da han åbner skrinet med medaljer, opdager han, at ingen af dem tilhører bedstefaren, men i stedet bedstemorens anden mand. Ikke nok med det. Den geologiske udgravning i bedstemorens lejlighed blotlægger også den sandhed, at medaljerne som er givet i 1938, året efter Den Store Terror, hvor tusinder af mennesker blev anholdt, deporteret og henrettet.

Ét er at forholde sig til en traumatisk fortid, noget andet er at blive gjort bekendt med den kendsgerning, at en slægtning har bidraget til fortidens uhyrligheder. I sin litteratur konfronterer Lebedev netop denne historiske skyld. En konfrontation, som ifølge ham er nødvendig, hvis nutidens Rusland for alvor skal gøre op med den stalinistiske arv.

Er det nemmere at bearbejde en fortid som offer, end at bearbejde en fortid som forbryder? Og er det vanskeligere at tage afstand til en fortid som besættelsesmagt end til en fortid som besat? Den 12. juni kunne russerne fejre Ruslands Nationaldag. Denne årlige fejring markerer den Russiske Socialistiske Føderative Sovjetrepubliks uafhængighedserklæring fra Sovjetunionen d. 12. juni 1990. Begge forfattere ryster lidt på hovedet ad netop denne mærkedag, for hvad var Sovjetunionen overhovedet uden Rusland og hvilken værdi har en sådan uafhængighedserklæring?

Diskussionen om uafhængighed, historisk skyld og nationalfølelse bliver ikke lukket på Åbne Scene denne aften. Til slut tilkendegiver begge forfattere deres vurdering af nutidens debat om kulturarv og deres håb og forventninger for fremtiden. Sergej Lebedev giver først udtryk en relativt negativ prognose, og udtrykker sin bekymring for, at den diskussion der finder sted i nutidens kulturliv i Rusland i bedste fald kan sammenlignes med den der fandt sted under perestrojka. Han er ikke sikker på at det er en diskussion som vil få lov til at fylde i, og dermed ændre ved, det officielle historiske narrativ i Rusland. Ilmar Taska er derimod mere positiv, og udtrykker et håb og forventning om at særligt ungdommen vil engagere sig i en debat om fortiden og dermed være med til at forme en fælles historisk erindring om sovjettiden.

I sidste ende synes begge forfattere dog at være enige om, at man med skønlitteraturen kan tilbyde en arena for diskussion og fortolkning af fortiden.

Dette indlæg blev udgivet i Artikler og tagget , , , , . Bogmærk permalinket.

66 Responses to Kan litteraturen smelte en frossen fortid? Sergej Lebedev og Ilmar Taska besøgte LiteratureXchange i Aarhus

  1. Birgita Bonde Hansen skriver:

    Tak for den fine artikel.
    Men Ilmar Taskas forældre er nu næppe blevet deporteret under Den Store Terror i 1936-38, da Estland jo på det tidspunkt var selvstændigt.
    Deportationerne begyndte først efter den sovjetiske besættelse med junideportationerne i 1941.

    • Katrine Overgaard Stevnhøj Pedersen skriver:

      Hej Birgita.
      Tak for din kommentar. Det har du selvfølgelig ret i, det er nu rettet.
      Tak!
      Bedste hilsner,
      Katrine

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