I enjoyed reading Alexander Pushkin when I was studying at school, and even now I still remember quite a few verses written by him. These days I read the petition for the relocation of Pushkin’s bust addressed to the Mayor General and I was left with a bitter taste from the reading. I checked other sources to see if everything in the petition was true and “sadly” I found that to be the case. I even found out other sad things that made me sign the petition.
In the poem Iz pisima k Vigeliu Alexandru Pushkin curses our city Chisinau calling for the fire of God to fall on the city. Next, he makes a comparison between our city and Sodom, which he calls “pleasant town” and the sin of sodomy is called by the author “vejlivâi greh.” The poet shows compassion for Sodom by stating in his verses that Jehovah punished the city too soon. The poet calls Sodom “Paris of the Old Testament” and says that he would have gladly spent the time “v blistatelinom razvrate sveta” (in the bright debauchery of light). There are still ugly things in that poem that I don’t want to mention, but those who want to, can read the poem in its entirety.
Of the thousands of Moldovans who were deported during Stalinist repression, no one dared to curse Siberia in this way. Pushkin’s exile in Chisinau was also a holiday compared to the terrible torments suffered by the deported Moldovans. Pushkin’s curses are unfounded, and the Holy Scriptures speak to us on this subject:
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, so a curse without cause does not come to rest. (Proverbs 26:2 NASB)
Reading the petition to relocate the bust of Alexander Pushkin, then the poet’s lyrics about our people and city, then the answer given by Vasile Alexandri also in verse (it is quoted in the petition) we can only pray with the psalmist’s prayer:
“To You I have raised my eyes, You who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female servant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He is gracious to us. Be gracious to us, Lord, be gracious to us, for we have had much more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had much more than enough of the scoffing of those who are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud. (Psalm 123 NASB)
After reading the mocking lyrics, how will you feel when you cross the Alley of Classics in the Chisinau National Park?
Translated by Liza Birladeanu