The evening included a Theatre of Nations performance of an excerpt from Shukshin’s Short Stories, directed by Latvian director Alvis Hermanis.
Later, Vladimir Putin spoke with the writer’s family and friends, as well as actors in the performance.
The meeting was also attended by American film director Oliver Stone, whom the President spoke to after the show.
Vasily Shukshin (1929–1974) was a Russian and Soviet writer, film director, actor and screenwriter.
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Speech at evening in honour of Vasily Shukshin
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: You know, I was just sitting here and thinking how sad it is that I so rarely go to the theatre, and how great it is that I found myself here today, with you, at the Theatre of Nations, at a celebration of Shukshin’s works. It is wonderful that the evening honouring Shukshin’s memory was organised today, because both Shukshin’s works and today’s holiday – we are celebrating National Unity Day today – are united by a common thread. We all know what that common thread is: it is Russia.
Russia is a large and talented nation. We have our own heroes, our own great history, our own great art. We have great musicians and outstanding music. We have great military leaders and soldiers, as well as state figures that we are proud of. But Vasily Shukshin reminds us, through all his work, that an ordinary person is at the heart of everything. He represents the essence of Russia.
It is amazing how you can understand the soul of our people through the images of a simple man, through clear, understandable, straightforward but “juicy” language. Only a genius writer was able to achieve this: Vasily Shukshin.
I want to thank the director and the actors: they are a match for this brilliant writer. It was just outstanding. How sad that Vasily Shukshin is not with us today. We truly need people like him today – they are very much needed now. But nevertheless, we have his heroes, and they are Russia’s core.