Round Table "Bulgaria and Russia (XVIII – XXIc.) - Stereotypes and Deconstructions"

"Bulgaria and Russia (XVIII - XXIc.) - Stereotypes and Deconstructions" Round Table, organized by the Institute for Literature - BAS and the Institute for Slavic Studies - RAS was held on May 17th at the Conference Hall of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research - BAS.

The event was opened by the Deputy Director of the Institute for Literature, Assos.Prof. Dr. Ana Stoykova who recalled that the "Bulgaria and Russia (XVIII – XXIc.) - Stereotypes and Deconstructions" project was the third in a row after the "Bulgaria and Russia (XVIII – XXc.) – ideas and reality" project and "Bulgaria and Russia (XVIII – XXIc.) - utopias, images and models" project. "It is significant to follow the topics of the projects," said Assos.Prof. Stoykova. “The first one is just testing the reception, the second already carries view of cultural relations in recent times.” Opening words also said Prof. Igor Kaliganov, Project Leader by the Russian side and Prof. Rumiana Damyanova, Head of the Bulgarian side. Professor Kaliganov welcomed the interesting reports in the program which promised an interesting future collection. Professor Damyanova said: "One of the achievements of the project is that we established respect for him. We are in the final stage with the third project. The intention of the first project was to follow changes in the paradigm and the attitude towards the problems of the Bulgarian-Russian influences, to understand whether mutual recognition was possible. The second project was already laid on a different conceptual basis: how much and how this changing paradigm entered utopias, could we find it in the artistic image. On the basis of this concept we organized a second, also interesting conference "Quo vadis", which was intended to explore the change in public perception and how it reflected in culture and literature. Theme of the third project is what really becomes a stereotype and what becomes a subject of deconstruction. In the concept of the project “deconstruction” is considered as “revalue”".

Professor Damyanova gave the floor to Professor Igor Kaliganov (Institute for Slavic Studies - RAS), who presented the paper: "The Formation of the Clichéd Images of Bulgaria in Russia on the Eve of Liberation." Prof. Kaliganov mentioned the need that Russia experienced by reports of the Bulgarian people on the eve of Liberation. This comprehensive compendium of knowledge about Bulgaria was provided by Elizabetha Nikolaevna Vodovozova, educator and writer, who in a three-volume fundamental work on the life of the peoples of Europe gave a detailed description of Bulgarian lifestyle and culture, ethno psychology and aesthetic concepts. The text "The Russian Emigration in Bulgaria and Bulgarian Reception of Russian Literature" by Assos.Prof.Dr. Hristo Manolakev ("St. St. Cyril and Methodius" University, Veliko Tarnovo) emphasized the need to rethink the idea of reception and in this direction, to rethink the negligeed presence of the vast Russian immigrant body in Bulgaria over a period of almost 20 years (1920 to 1944) and its influence on the formation of the Russian cultural figures in Bulgaria. In his report, "Once again on the Diversity of Images of Russia in Bulgarian Literature of the XIX century." Professor Nikolay Aretov (Institute for Literature - BAS) focused on the specifics of the Bulgarian point of view to the images of Russia in the figures of Dqdo Ivan (Grandfather Ivan) and Raina Kniaginia as also on the existence and the development of the images of Russia from the National Revival period culture and literature to the literature of the 40-ties of the XX century (Nikola Vaptsarov’s poetry). "Familiar images of Russia occurred later," he said, "imposed by education and propaganda."

Moderator of the second session, Prof. Igor Kaliganov opened with the report of Assos.Prof. Kamen Mikhailov (Institute for Literature - BAS) entitled "Early Russian Military Memoirs." Assos.Prof. Mikhailov said that early Russian memoirs have never been studied by anyone, they were written by 147 authors and were this stereotype that was clearly abandoned because military memoirs inverted images of a row of luminaries in Russian history. Original perspective was developed also by Marina Smolyaninova (Institute for Slavic Studies - RAS) in her report "Bulgarian National Revival Writers for the Liberation War (1877-1878)”. The report of the Chief.Assist.Dr. Nicoletta Patova - "Rayko Jinzifov - Images of the Bulgarian" intended to explore the Bulgarian’s view to themselves in Russian cultural space and developed on how a Bulgarian would like to be seen by the Russian society. The author naturally got together the works by Rajko Jinzifov, the journalistic and fiction works by Luben Karavelov and Vasil Popovich’s story, mentioned previously in M. Smolyaninova’s report. Assos.Prof.Dr. Radostin Roussev recalled in his report “Myth Images of Russian Symbolism in the Poetry of Theodor Trayanov" Trayanov’s words which said that Bulgarian symbolism expressed the mystique of the land and the sanctity of blood. These words made Trayanov’s explorer – Stoyan Iliev suggest the proximity of the Bulgarian poet to the Russian version of Symbolism. Russev’s text made detailed parallels between some Trayanov’s works and some Russian symbolist texts indicating the need for further study of this similarity, which Iliev only highlighted.

The third panel moderator, Assos. Prof. Dr. Radostin Russev gave the floor to Professor Radoslava Ilcheva (Institute for Literature - BAS), who in the text "After 'Tihiq Don" (The Quiet Don). Sholokhov Heroes in Bulgaria" mentioned the stereotypes of the Cossacks reception that persist in Bulgaria, stereotypes that actually changed and stopped the Cossaks’ actual reception. "Cossacks lived in our land and in our history, starting with the first Cossacks who came in the 18th century, and whose resettlement was caused mainly by the series of Russian-Turkish wars," said Assos.Prof. Ilcheva. She recalled the mass migration of the Cossacks in Bulgaria in 1920. The report emphasized on those historical Cossack figures, related to Bulgaria who appeared on the pages of the epic novel by Sholokhov, fixed in the artistic speech. In his report, "Ivan Vazov for "Torguyushtim wo hrame (Merchants in the Temple)" by Leonid Andreyev" Prof. Sava Sivriev ("Episkop Konstantin of Preslav" University, Shumen) traced the reactions in Bulgaria against the article by Leonid Andreyev, one of the most widely read and translated Russian writers from the end of XIX - beg. of XX century, which called Bulgarians “merchants in the temple." The next report - "The Image of the Clerk in Bulgarian and Russian Literature" by Magdalena Kostova - Panaiotova (Southwestern University "Neofit Rilsky", Blagoevgrad) focused on the Russian and Bulgarian language picture of the world. It examined the traditions and the characteristics in the perception and portrayal of the state (official) power and, in particular, the clerk, presented in two types - small serving and wealthy bureaucrat. Panaiotova determined the perception of the officials, the public men of various ranks as images of the state, explored the archae typical and mythological nature of their reception as well as historical, traditional stereotypes of images that reflect the Bulgarians’ self consideration.

In her text "Georgi Kazakov and Stereotyping of Russian" Prof. Rumiana Damyanova (Institute for Literature - BAS) focused on the interesting topic of Georgi Vladikin personality - Russian nationality, teacher, writer, painter, who lived and worked in Svishtov. His personality gave occasion for reflection on some themes, concerning the Foreigner stereotype. First raised the issue of who are the Russian-Turkish wars that create a happy perception of Russia in Bulgarians (Kazakov participated in one of the Russian-Turkish wars), thus creating the stereotypical image of Dqdo Ivan (Grandfather Ivan), the Liberator. Prof. Damianova noted that in the period from 17th to 19th century there were eight Russian-Turkish wars. The second block of problems that interested Professor Damyanova in her report was connected to the personality of Georgi Vladikin (The Cossack), which created a stereotype of ethnic groups’ presence and behavior in Bulgaria by introducing innovative directions in the development of artistic culture in school, breaking strict canons in the image creating. "Vladikin was also one of the best Renaissance wood carvers," said Professor Damyanova. Released as a teacher according to the Cossack stereotype of hard drinking, he had betrayed many innovative methods of artistic representation to his students in Svishtov.