Russia has been accused of abandoning its literary past after it recently emerged that the Kremlin has no plans to mark the centenary of Leo Tolstoy’s death this November, and an acclaimed Russian language film of “Anna Karenina” has failed to find distributors nearly a year after being made.
Some academics charge that Tolstoy is better appreciated in the west, where new translations of Tolstoy’s work are being published this year and Dame Helen Mirren and Christoper Plummer were nominated for Oscars for the English-language film “The Last Station”, which examines the last years of Tolstoy’s life.
The director of the as-yet undistributed film adaptation of “Anna Karenina” has been told by distributors that young people going to the cinema today do not even know who Anna Karenina is. He said he hoped the centenary of Tolstoy’s death might help skeptical distributors change their minds, but so far events to honor the writer in his native country are few.
Vladimir Tolstoy, the writer’s great-great grandson, is organizing an academic conference at the family estate 125 miles south of Moscow later this year and an informal gathering of the famous scribe’s descendants is also planned. Still, visitors to Russia this summer can make their own pilgrimage to Tolstoy sites, including the Tolstoy House Museum in Moscow and The Tolstoy Estate Museum in the countryside, which contains over 30,000 original items preserved exactly as they were in the fall of 1910, when Tolstoy abandoned the home and family to live as a wandering ascetic.