The Platonov Award Ceremony as part of the Platonov Arts Festival was held in Voronezh cinema “Spartak” on Sunday, June 11. The award went to writer Alexey Ivanov. He is known for his novel “The Geographer Spent His Globe on Drink” (“Geograf Globus Propyl”). The prize was awarded to the writer by Governor Alexey Gordeyev.

In addition to the laureate diploma and the memorable sign of the Platonov Award, Alexey Ivanov received a certificate for 1 million rubles.

Photo – The Press Center of the Voronezh Region Government 

- This year, the Award Council had to take a difficult decision as there were six nominees, representatives of various areas of culture and art. A writer, a scriptwriter and a culture expert, Alexey Ivanov, became the laureate, and the argument was very correct: “for revealing the secrets of our country’s history,” Alexey Gordeyev noted. 

- Unfortunately, our history began for some reason since 1917 for many decades, and if something was considered in a more remote retrospective, it was always under severe censorship and built into ideological dogmas so that people would not perceive “wrong” the facts of our great history. It is important that today there are writings that tell about the people, the society, about how our state was established. Therefore, we can not only understand the mistakes and problems of the past, but also realize that we have something to be proud of.

Alexey Ivanov said that for him “it is very prestigious to stand in one line with the laureates of the Platonov Award of the previous years.”

“It’s nice that the Platonov Award is not competitive, you do not need to get beneficial acquaintances to get it, you just have to exist in culture, and not in the Moscow art clubbish set,” the writer added.

At the creative meeting that took place after the award ceremony, Alexey Ivanov explained his refusal to obtain literary prizes, appreciated the skill of actor Konstantin Khabensky, who played the main role in the film based on the novel “Geograf Globus Propyl” and shared his plans to write a book on the river fleet describing Voronezh realities.

Photo – Maria Lepilova

On literary prizes

- Literary awards are given to writers of three types – either members of the capital’s clubbish set, or people loyal to this set, or a compromise figure. I do not belong to any of these groups. Once, a publishing house persuaded me to take part in “Bolshaya Kniga” (“The Big Book”) Award. I participated in 2016, did not receive anything and understood that my decision was right. Another thing is when the jury decides itself, without asking the opinion of the laureate, like with the Platonov Award. A year ago, I learned that Sokurov received the Platonov Award, it could not occur to me that I would be next. I don’t lie, I am crossing my heart.

About Khabensky and Mironov

- The rights to the screen version of the book “Geograf Globus Propyl” “were walking” from one studio to another. When the question of the lead character arose, there were two candidates – Yevgeny Mironov and Konstantin Khabensky. Personally, I inclined towards Yevgeny Mironov. But when I saw how Khabensky played, I realized that the decision of the director, Alexander Veledinsky, was right. Yevgeny Mironov would have played on intelligence, and Khabensky played on charisma. As for cinema, the charisma play is more important, it’s not a scientific monograph, it’s a feature film. We must understand that screening is always associated with certain losses. They need to be approached adequately. The main thing is that the film turned out to be successful and strong. Although the character, played by Khabensky, does not quite coincide with the character, I described. I wrote the novel in 1995, Veledinsky filmed the movie in 2013. The times have changed, and Veledinsky’s Sluzhkin is different. The story differences are not so important.

About Voronezh and the river fleet

- Voronezh is one of Russia’s rare cities where I want to live. Last year, I came here at the invitation of the Platonov Festival, and I had a personal interest. I like the topic of the Russian river fleet. Voronezh is connected with this topic. The river fleet gave birth to the navy. I wanted to learn the history of the Voronezh shipyards, what remained. As for the book about the fleet, a non-fiction book is now written for your soul. I have a production center, which raises sponsorship funds for such projects. The Platonov Award money is not a decisive factor for me to start describing the river fleet. I’ll start writing when I mature for this. And then I will have a sponsor for this project. This topic is inexhaustible, I have collected a huge library, and I am mastering it now. When I feel that I have gained enough weight for this, I will start writing about the fleet. I will mention Voronezh, shipping, Voronezh shipyards, “Goto Predestinatsia.”

About writer Andrei Platonov

- Platonov is a complex person, his time is a terrible drama, this is the cessation of Russian tradition, that era can be compared with the centuries of early Christianity. Platonov sensibly and accurately reflected that era metaphorically, including in changing the language. For me, Platonov is an example of how a writer corresponds to his epoch not only with plots, biography, but also with his language. Platonov is the only one who found the language adequate to his time. In this sense, he is an example for me – I’m interested how you can feel the era. I do not know if anyone is now able to make the same revolution in language as Platonov did. But the example of this writer will remain in Russian literature for centuries.

RIA “Voronezh” note for information

The Platonov Award was established by the Voronezh Region Government in 2011. It is awarded to Russian or foreign figures of literature and art for a significant contribution to the development of the cultural heritage of Russia, for the creation of outstanding works in literature, theatrical, musical, and visual arts and the innovative development of humanistic cultural traditions. Writer Boris Yekimov, Artistic Director of the Maly Drama Theater – Theater of Europe Lev Dodin, Chief Conductor of the Russian National Orchestra Mikhail Pletnev, writer Andrei Bitov, film director and screenwriter Alexander Sokurov became laureates of the Platonov Award in different years.

Alexey Ivanov is a writer, a screenwriter, the author of popular books “Obshchaga-na-Krovi,” “Geograf Globus Propyl,” “Serdtse Parmy,” “Zoloto Bunta,” “Community,” “Nenastye” and others. In 2016, “Tobol. Mnogo Zvanykh” book was released. “Debri” book was released in 2017.