The real Pushkin: how to live in the US, the descendant of the famous Russian poet

The city of Santa Fe, new Mexico – one of Pushkin centers in the United States. Here is the Pushkin Fund, there’s Pushkin art gallery. The explanation for this too. Here, in one of the oldest and most exotic cities in the United States, founded by the Spanish in 1610, is living his American Pushkin — Kenneth Alan Pushkin. This writes the “Voice of America”.

Настоящий Пушкин: как живет в США потомок известного российского поэта

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Kenneth says that he has a very distant kinship with the Russian writer Alexander Pushkin, but it is still there.

“In short, I’m not a direct descendant of Alexander, but we have common ancestors on the paternal side since the 18th century. They were brothers. And my family is directly related to a noble family Rzhevsky, which were in direct relationship with Pushkin,” he told Kenneth.

He knows that in Russia the Lieutenant Rzhev is a folk character, it is still walking jokes.

“Yes, I heard about it. But this fictional character of literature, film, theater, folklore, was a real historical prototype, says Kenneth. — My own grandfather, Isaac Pushkin,who left Russia after the revolution. He fought in the White army, then in China fell in the United States. I was born in Baltimore. In the 20th century, my family lost ties with Russia and lost the Russian language. However, in childhood I was told that Russian poet Pushkin is our distant relative. But I confess that little was interested in it. In the States the surname Pushkin is no surprise, few people know, and then during the cold war to relations with Russia in the United States wary”.

First Rzhevsky, who bore the title of Lieutenant, was Yuri, who studied seamanship in Italy, by Decree of Peter the great. Rzhev was one of great-grandfather Pushkin.

And interest in the personality of Alexander Kenneth manifested by the interest in the culture of the Eskimos.

“By profession I am an ethnographer. For many years I lived in Alaska, studied the culture of the Inuit and other peoples of the Arctic. A couple of times I even had accidentally crossed the Soviet border. One time it happened during our sea hunting for whales, another time on the plane in terrible weather, when we have gone astray. It was unintentional violations of the border. But now I realize that this could end very tragically – it was the “cold war”.

Russia and Pushkin he discovered through the Bering Strait and Chukotka.

“In 1992, when the cold war ended, I have officially visited in Chukotka, in Providence Bay. There I met with the Russian scientists. They were amazed to learn the history of my family. They began to tell that in Russia Pushkin knows everyone. One of the scientists, a great expert on eskimo culture, Michael Bronstein invited me to visit him in Moscow. And already there I got acquainted with Alexander Pushkin, with whom we became friends,” says Kenneth.

“I’m talking about modern Russian rear Admiral, unfortunately, the late commander of the submarine, Alexander Pushkin, the founder of the international Pushkin society — says Pushkin. Is was a remarkable man: smart, educated, sincere. He sang, painted, wrote poetry, spoke perfect English and French. When I got to his Moscow apartment, he from the first sight recognized me as his: “Here is the real Pushkin!”.

“Admiral became for me a kind of “godfather” in a totally unfamiliar and incomprehensible to me Russia. Thanks to him I have been to many places Pushkin in Moscow, in Petersburg, at the Mikhailovsky, in Boldin. And the Admiral inspired me to become a collector of contemporary Russian art. And now I’m in Santa Fe has a “Pushkin gallery” is a magnificent collection of paintings by Russian artists of the 20th century,” says Kenneth.

In the family Pushkins is possible to meet talented people in various fields of art. Kenneth’s passion is painting and not only.

“I compose music in the style of jazz, Blues, pop, writing songs. Record your discs. But that being said, for the soul, not for sale and not for the glory,” says Kenneth.

The most favorite product of Kenneth calls Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin”.

“However, I read it only in English. But in different translations. For example, in the translations by Walter Arndt, Vladimir Nabokov, says Kenneth, adding that the Russian language he does not know. — Do not read and barely speak, but sometimes I sing and still remember some of Pushkin’s lines. These, for example: “I remember a wonderful moment…”.

In addition to poetry, Kenneth read, and the prose of Pushkin.

“Read “Captain’s daughter”. Also, my Pushkin, the Fund produced a production of the musical on this story on the very popular Russian composer Andrei Petrov. In the musical participation of well-known Broadway actors. We set the show in Boston, and then in the Hermitage theatre of St. Petersburg. On our first night in St. Petersburg, specially came from Moscow at the time, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow,” — says Pushkin.

According to Kenneth, Fund its activities in Russia had to be stopped.

“After Russia had adopted restrictive measures against the Western non-profit organizations, so-called foreign agents, I realized that not going to work, I will be forced to pursue reporting. You know, the bureaucracy in any country is the problem. But in Russia it can turn into a big problem. Especially if to this is added the policy,” says Kenneth. But in the US, my Foundation continues to operate. I have a lot of archival work. From time to time I organize exhibitions in my “Pushkin gallery”, and we hold events together in the Russian-speaking community of new Mexico and with the local University”.

“The most recent and important my initiative on the theme “Pushkin heritage” is participation in the UN project on human rights, which promotes international goodwill through the arts. Every year in December in Geneva, in the framework of this project, held a concert in the Great hall of the Palace of the United Nations. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, many cultural projects have been postponed, but we are not losing optimism,” added Kenneth.

Kenneth also did not forget to celebrate the birthday of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin 6 June. In 2020, it was already 221 birthday of the writer.

“Even now there are restrictions related to the outbreak of coronavirus. This Saturday I worked in my garden, engaged in the Pushkin archive. There is still a lot of content you want to digitize. says Kenneth. Back in the day I usually try to call my fellow scholars in other countries, in Russia first of all. Now is not the best relations between our two countries. But I would like to do something important, useful for preserving Pushkin’s heritage. I think the great Russian poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin deserves in the 21st century”.

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