Other participants in the ceremony included the poet’s friends and relatives, Acting Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, Acting Head of Daghestan Ramazan Abdulatipov, state officials, artists and performers.
The monument was unveiled in the run-up to the poet’s 90th birthday anniversary, in September this year. The Rasul Gamzatov International Public Foundation was the monument’s initiator and sponsor.
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Speech at ceremony unveiling a monument to Rasul Gamzatov
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
Here, on one of Moscow’s most beautiful boulevards, we have just unveiled this monument to Rasul Gamzatov. It expresses our boundless respect for this poet, man of generous spirit and rare wisdom, son of Daghestan and great citizen and patriot of Russia. He was truly a national poet, a people’s poet, and as such he was a poet of our whole vast country, close to and understood by all who read his works.
Inscribed on this monument are words from The Cranes. No matter what our age, ethnic background or faith, our hearts all stop when we hear this song, when we read these words about love, friendship, dignity and honour, loyalty and duty, courage and valour. These values shine through all of his work and life. He held fast to the moral laws of human existence throughout his entire life.
Rasul Gamzatov loved his native Daghestan and called it his “first mother”. His heart was there, and his pain for the future of the land of his birth.
His “second mother” was great Russia and Moscow. Moscow was where he forged his identity as a poet. It was his years of study at the Literature Institute here that he learned “poetry’s unknown secrets.” “My two mothers are like two wings, two hands, two eyes, two songs,” he wrote. “To each of them I owe my duty as a son.”
”This monument expresses our boundless respect for this poet, man of generous spirit and rare wisdom, son of Daghestan and great citizen and patriot of Russia. He was truly a national poet, a people’s poet, and as such he was a poet of our whole vast country.“
Rasul Gamzatov was a true son of his people, a true man. His name rings with the clang of a sword and the wisdom of verse, and his poetry is filled with his forebears’ great traditions, and the majesty and power of the Caucasus’ plains and mountains and all its grand and tragic history.
Gamzatov carried a love of Russian literature through his entire life. His father and his first schoolteacher, a “good Russian woman”, he called her, first opened his child’s eyes to the works of Pushkin, Chekhov and Tolstoy. Later, he received invaluable lessons through his meetings and friendship with Russian poets.
It was his sincere conviction that love of the Motherland, true patriotism, and a sense of pride in his own people could not compete with each other, and that Russia’s many peoples would live well only if they live together.
He called on everyone not to heed irresponsible demagogues who attempt to sow discord and tear people apart from each other. Instead, he called on people to devote their strength and effort to preserving and developing the unique cultures of all of Russia’s peoples. This appeal remains just as strong and relevant today.
Friends, as was said, this year we are celebrating the 90th anniversary of this great poet’s birth. Nearly a decade has passed since his death, nearly a decade that we have lived without him, but his thoughts, poems and books are always with us. They are our source of council and wisdom in life, a measure for our acts, plans and goals.
It is very important that today’s young people know more about Rasul Gamzatov and his work. I therefore fully support the initiative to make a film about the poet. The film has been given a beautiful, lyrical name – Song of the Mountains. I wish the film crew success from all my heart.
Let me end with some lines by Rasul Gamzatov that read today like a testament to all of us, to all of Russia’s peoples:
May you live your lives long and upright,
Call the whole world as brothers to your side,
Of no land or people speak ill and blame,
Hold your honour high and never let it wane.
I am happy to have had the chance to personally know Rasul Gamzatov and be able to partake of that pure spring of his thoughts and moral values.
I congratulate you on the unveiling of this monument to a great son of Daghestan and Russia.