A Memorial “Not Made by Hands”
Again, Mr Yolkin uses a play on words using concepts familiar to every Russian. He uses the word нерукотворный in the original Russian title. The “Not Made by Hands” (Спас Нерукотворный) is one of the more familiar Russian Orthodox icons of Christ, and everyone’s familiar with it (whether Orthodox or not). This implies that Pushkin’s importance to the Russian language is similar to the importance that Jesus Christ has for Christianity. I quite agree. Before Pushkin there was a formless void… afterwards, we had a vehicle fit for the subtlest expression (it’s no coincidence that the great Russian novels and poetry followed soon upon his pioneering efforts). This is one of Sergei’s best “wordplays”.
In 2011, President Medvedev signed a decree on the annual celebration of Russian Language Day. This date wasn’t chosen at random… it’s the birthday of the creator of Russian literary language , the celebrated poet Aleksandr Pushkin. His language usage became the classical standard of the Russian literary canon, which is part of the cultural and spiritual heritage of our common world civilisation.
6 June 2012