Silva Kaputikyan

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Silva Kaputikyan
Silva Kaputikyan.png
Born Sirvard Kaputikyan
(1919-01-20)20 January 1919
Yerevan, Republic of Armenia
Died 25 August 2006(2006-08-25) (aged 87)
Yerevan, Republic of Armenia
Resting place Komitas Pantheon, Yerevan
Language Eastern Armenian,[1][2] Russian[3]
Nationality Armenian
Genre Lyric poetry[1]
Notable works «Խոսք իմ որդուն» ("A word to my son")[1][4]
Notable awards USSR State Prize
Mesrop Mashtots Medal
Years active 1933–2006
Spouse Hovhannes Shiraz
Children Ara Shiraz

Silva Kaputikyan[a] (Armenian: Սիլվա Կապուտիկյան; 20 January 1919 – 25 August 2006) was an Armenian poet and political activist. One of the best-known Armenian writers of the twentieth century,[5] she is recognized as "the leading poetess of Armenia".[1] Although a member of the Communist Party, she was a noted advocate of Armenian nationalist causes.[6][7]

Her first collection of poems were published in the mid-1940s. By the 1950s she had established herself as a significant literary figure in Soviet Armenia. Besides Armenian she also wrote in Russian and many of her works were translated to other languages. In the later Soviet period she frequently addressed political and other issues.

Biography[edit]

Background and early life[edit]

Born Sirvard Kaputikyan on 20 January 1919 to parents from the historically Armenian-populated city of Van (in Western Armenia, present-day Turkey), she was raised in Yerevan, the Armenian capital. Her father, Barunak, was a member of the nationalist Dashnaktsutyun party and died of cholera three months before her birth. She was raised by her mother and grandmother.[2] She attended the Faculty of Armenian Philology[8] Yerevan State University from 1936 and graduated in 1941,[2] and subsequently studied at the Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Soviet Academy of Sciences from 1949 to 1950.[9][10] She joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1945.[10][11]

Literary career[edit]

She made her literary debut in the early 1930s and published her first poem in 1933.[7] In 1941 she became a member of the Writers Union of Armenia.[12] Her first major publication, a collection of poems, appeared in 1945. Two main themes of her works were the national identity and lyric poetry.[1] Her well-known poem, "A word to my son", became a "standard verse in asserting national identity". The last verse goes: "Look, my son, wherever you are, / Wherever you go under this moon, / Even if you forget your mother, / Do not forget your Mother tongue."[4]

In 1962–3 and 1973 she traveled throughout Armenian diaspora communities in the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Egypt) and North America (United States and Canada).[10][13] In 1964 and 1976 she published two travel books, which are accounts of her visits to the Armenian communities of the Middle East, largely composed of genocide survivors and their descendants, and North America.[1] Her books of the 1960s and the 1970s focused on the history of the Armenian people and their future, which she always depicted in optimistic pictures.[13] She wrote several poems for children and two dramas (1961–2, 1976).[13]

In total, she authored over sixty books in Armenian and some in Russian.[3] Her works were translated by Bulat Okudjava, Yunna Morits, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Andrei Voznesensky, Bella Akhmadulina, and others.[14][15]

Death and funeral[edit]

Kaputikyan died at a Yerevan hospital on 25 August 2006[16][17] during a surgery for a broken leg.[15] Her wake was held at the Yerevan Opera Theater on 29 January,[18] from where her coffin was taken to the prestigious Komitas Pantheon, where she was laid to rest.[15][19] President Kocharyan attended neither her wake, nor her funeral.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Kaputikyan was married to the well-known poet Hovhannes Shiraz. Their only son, Ara Shiraz (1941-2014), was a prominent sculptor.[21] According to Vanand Shiraz, Shiraz's son from a later marriage, they split up because both were "[great] individuals".[22] Writer and art critic Levon Mutafyan expressed a similar view: "Hovhannes Shiraz and Silva Kaputikyan divorced later because it seemed as though the two powerful individuals couldn't live together, but Ara served as the bridge that linked them."[23]

Political views and activities[edit]

According to Mark Malkasian, Kaputikyan belonged to "a nimble-footed stratum of the Armenian intelligentsia. For decades they had tightroped along a fine line between Armenian nationalism and official Soviet internationalism. On the Karabagh question, the genocide issues, and other matters dear to the Armenian soul, they spoke with the voice of their people. At the same time, they kept themselves in good stead with Moscow and reached he upper crust of the Soviet intelligentsia."[7] Kaputikyan always pointed out the role of Soviet Armenia as the center of the Armenian nation, while relegated the Armenian diaspora to a secondary position.[4]

Armenian Genocide Kaputikyan called for "peaceful revenge" in regards the Armenian Genocide. In the book Midway Contemplations (1961) she wrote: "You must take revenge by continuing to live."[24]

On 24 April 1965, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide a large demonstration took place in Yerevan. Kaputikyan was among the speakers who commemorated in their speeches the Armenian intellectuals who were deported and killed in 1915.[25] Along with the famed poet Paruyr Sevak, she was one of the main figures during the demonstration. Subsequently, she and Sevak were invited to Moscow, where the Soviet government sanctioned the construction of an Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan, which was completed in 1967.[26] She later criticized the Soviet leadership for their policies regarding the April 1965 genocide commemorations in Soviet Armenia. She contrasted the "unrestrained commemorations" in the Armenian diaspora with the commemorations in Yerevan, which according to her, "lacked the necessary depth and breadth".[27] In 1966 she cited the independence of the Soviet Armenian government as a cause of the demonstration.[7]

Soviet language/nationality policy She defended the national rights and aspirations of the non-Russian peoples in a speech that was published in samizdat in 1965-66.[28] In 1980 she "fretted that Armenian parents felt compelled to send their children to Russian-language schools to broaden their career opportunities." In May 1987 she was the first non-Russian to publish an article in Pravda about the nationalities issue, in which she criticized the Soviet government of "steadily expanding the sphere of Russian-language usage at the expense of Armenian, and suggested indirectly that Russian chauvinism continued to mar relations among the peoples of the Soviet Union."[7] She added: "With every passing year, the sphere of our native language is narrowing in Armenia. True patriotism, inspired by a people's history and culture, is a reliable shield protecting young people from alien outside influences."[29]

Armenian armed struggle In the 1980s "she was asked whether the armed operations and bombings could be discrediting the Armenian nation in the eyes of the world. Her caustic response reflected the views of many Armenian observers: "And does staying silent, imploring the empire-worshiping Turk-defending powers on behalf of the Armenian Cause, groveling at their feet and being left empty-handed time and again do credit to our nation?"[30]

In 1983 Kaputikyan wrote a requiem for Levon Ekmekjian called "Night Requiem"[31] («Գիշերային ռեքվիեմ»), which was first published in 1987.[32] Ekmekjian was one of the chief perpetrators of the 1982 Esenboğa International Airport attack, for which he was hanged in Turkey on 29 January 1983.[30][33]

Kaputikyan was among Armenians intellectuals who expressed their support of Varoujan Garabedian, who was released from a French prison in 2001 and deported to Armenia in 2001.[34]

Karabakh movement She was one of the early leaders of Karabakh movement, along with Zori Balayan and Igor Muradyan. According to Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Armenia's first president and the later leader of the Karabakh Committee, Kaputikyan, Balayan, Muradyan, and others formed the "first Karabakh Committee", which had only one goal—unification of the Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) with Soviet Armenia "by using the Soviet system". Ter-Petrosyan suggests that "For them, issues like democracy or the independence of Armenia simply did not exist."[35]

At a 15 February 1988 meeting of the Writers Union of Armenia Kaputikyan spoke up in support of the Karabakh Armenians.[36] On 26 February Kaputikyan and Balayan met Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the Kremlin to discuss the Karabakh issue.[37] According to Thomas de Waal "Both Armenian writers combined loyal [Communist] Party membership with Armenian nationalism but were very different in nature."[38] He describes Kaputikyan as follows:

Silva Kaputikian has a more calm and regal demeanor. With a flat nose, green eyes, and an elegant white bouffant hairdo, she looks like a grande dame from the court of Louis XV. Kaputikian is Armenia's most famous living poet and, as it emerged from the meeting, counted Raisa Gorbacheva as one of her fans. Despite her nationalist views, she has spoken up frequently for conciliation and dialogue with Azerbaijan.[39]

After they returned to Armenia, they persuaded the demonstrators to pause the rallies.[40]

Soviet politics Kaputikyan praised the prominent Russian human rights advocate Andrei Sakharov as "the conscience of the Soviet people".[41]

Environmentalism On an October 1987 demonstration organized by Zori Balayan Kaputikyan demanded the authorities to shut down all chemical plants in Armenia and warned: "Don't let the Red genocide be followed by this invisible genocide!"[42]

On a 26 April 1988 meeting at the Writer's Union building in Kiev, Ukraine commemorating the second anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster Kaputikyan's telegram "expressing solidarity in grief" was read at the beginning.[43]

In January 1989 Kaputikyan stated that the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia should be shut down and that "it had threatened to destroy the very genotype of the Armenian nation."[44]

Independent Armenia In 1996 Kaputikyan was among a group of 14 intellectuals who signed an open letter asking Prosecutor General Artavazd Gevorgyan to take action against Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, who, in the aftermath of the 1996 presidential election, stated that his ministry would not recognize the opposition leaders "even if they win 100 percent of the votes".[45]

Kaputikyan was increasingly critical of the government of independent Armenia's second president, Robert Kocharyan. On 14 April 2004, she wrote an open letter titled "Kocharyan Must Go" (Քոչարյանը պետք է հեռանա), where she called for his resignation and protested the violent crackdown on an opposition demonstration on 12/13 April, which left dozens injured.[46] She also returned the Mesrop Mashtots Medal she had been awarded by Kocharyan in 1999.[47][48][49][50][51] Regarding the beating of the opposition politician Ashot Manucharyan, Kaputikyan stated: "Beating in Armenia has become the basic means of politics and the most influential part of state terror. All cases when force has been used should be viewed from this standpoint." ArmeniaNow reported that she thus became "an opposition celebrity".[52] She also wrote that a responsible politician would have resigned after the 1999 shooting in the Armenian parliament when Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan and Parliament Speaker Karen Demirchyan were assassinated, among others.[48] In response, Kocharyan stated that the Mesrop Mashtots Medal is not his medal, but that of the Republic of Armenia. He added that he regrets that is how Kaputikyan's views the "essence of our state" and does not contribute to "our nation's respect for education of the young generation."[53]

Recognition and legacy[edit]

A bust of Kaputikyan

Kaputikyan is among the most notable Armenian women in history.[54] She became a classic of Armenian literature during her lifetime and her poems have been included in school literature programs.[15] Kaputikyan is often referred to in Armenian circles as Ամենայն հայոց բանաստեղծուհի,[55][56][57] which literally translates to "Poetess of All Armenians"[58][59] and imitates the "Poet of All Armenians" title given to Hovhannes Tumanyan, which itself derives from the Catholicos of All Armenians, the head of the Armenian Church. She was "one of the best-known and widely quoted Soviet Armenian poets".[6] An Armenian government press release on her death described Kaputikyan as "one of the most outstanding Armenian poets of the 20th century".[60] Aravot reported in 2004 that she is the "last of her kind."[61]

In 1989 journalist and political analyst Bohdan Nahaylo described Kaputikyan as one of the "highly respected non-Russian cultural figures" of the Soviet Union.[62]

At a February 1988 reception in the Kremlin, Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev said that his wife, Raisa, greatly admired Kaputikyan's poetry.[63]

A school in Yerevan was named after Kaputikyan in 2007.[64]

On 20 January 2009, on the 90th anniversary of her birthday, the Silva Kaputikyan House-Museum (arm) was inaugurated in Yerevan in attendance of President Serzh Sargsyan and her son, Ara.[65] The street on which the museum is located, formerly known as Baghramyan Lane 1, was renamed Kaputikyan Street.[3]

Awards and titles[edit]

Awards[9][13]

Titles[9]

In culture[edit]

Cartoonist Alexander Saroukhan depicted Kaputikyan in a 1963 caricature, now kept at the National Gallery of Armenia.[67]

Kaputikyan appeared as herself in the 1992 documentary, Parajanov: The Last Spring, about Sergei Parajanov, a film-maker of Armenian descent who was persecuted by the Soviet authorities.

AR TV and Public Television of Armenia («Միայն ապրելը քիչ է ինձ համար», 2014) have produced documentaries on Kaputikyan.

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Also spelled Sylva, Kaputikian or Gaboudigian.

Citations

  1. ^ a b c d e f Bardakjian, Kevork B., ed. (2000). "Silva Kaputikyan". A Reference Guide to Modern Armenian Literature, 1500-1920: With an Introductory History. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 228–9. ISBN 9780814327470. 
  2. ^ a b c "Սիլվա Կապուտիկյան [Silva Kaputikyan]". writers.am (in Armenian). 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Events Marking 90th Anniversary of Silva Kaputikyan Held in Yerevan". Hetq Online. 20 January 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Panossian, Razmik (2006). The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 338. ISBN 9780231139267. 
  5. ^ Editorial Board (2006). "Սիլվա Կապուտիկյան [Silva Kaputikyan]". Patma-Banasirakan Handes (in Armenian) (2): 328–329. 
  6. ^ a b Pattie, Susan (2012). "Imagining Homelands: Poetics and Performance among Cypriot Armenians". In Bryant, Rebecca; Papadakis, Yiannis. Cyprus and the Politics of Memory: History, Community and Conflict. I.B.Tauris. p. 163. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Malkasian 1996, p. 49.
  8. ^ "Faculty of Armenian Philology". ysu.am. Yerevan State University. 
  9. ^ a b c "Սիլվա Բարունակի Կապուտիկյան". sci.am (in Armenian). Armenian National Academy of Sciences. 
  10. ^ a b c Aristakesian, A. (1979). "Կապուտիկյան Սիլվա [Kaputikyan Silva]". Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia Volume 5 (in Armenian). p. 268. 
  11. ^ Grigorian, Ar. (1973). "Капутикян Сильва Барунаковна [Kaputikian Silva Barunakovna]". Great Soviet Encyclopedia 3rd edition Volume 11 (in Russian). 
  12. ^ ""ԱՄԵՆԱՅՆ ՀԱՅՈՑ ՍԻԼՎԱՅԻ" ծննդյան օրն է". panorama.am (in Armenian). 20 January 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Կապուտիկյան Սիլվա [Kaputikyan Silva]". armenianlanguage.am (in Armenian). Institute for Armenian Studies of Yerevan State University. 2007. 
  14. ^ Hayryan, Z. G. (2011). "Любовная лирика С. Капутикян в переводах Б. Ахмадулиной [Silva Kaputikyan's Love Poetry in B. Akhmadullina's Translations]". Lraber Hasarakakan Gitutyunneri (in Russian) (3): 229–234. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Умерла Сильва Капутикян". Kommersant (in Russian). 26 August 2006. 
  16. ^ "Armenian Poetess Silva Kaputikian Passess Away". Armenpress. 25 August 2006. 
  17. ^ "Поэтесса Сильва Капутикян будет похоронена в Пантеноне в парке им. Комитаса в Ереване" (in Russian). REGNUM News Agency. 25 August 2006. 
  18. ^ Santryan, Vanik (29 August 2006). "Վերջին հրաժեշտը Սիլվա Կապուտիկյանին" (in Armenian). Armenpress. 
  19. ^ "Սիլվա Կապուտիկյան". hush.am (in Armenian). 
  20. ^ "Խաչվածին մահ չկա". Aravot (in Armenian). 20 February 2009. 
  21. ^ "Armenian Sculptor Ara Shiraz Dies at 73". Asbarez. 18 March 2014. 
  22. ^ Trvants, Anush (21 May 2014). "Վանանդ Շիրազը մանրամասներ է պատմում Շիրազի ընտանիքից". 168.am (in Armenian) (168hours). Սիլվա Կապուտիկյանի և Շիրազի բաժանման պատճառը, օրինակ, դա է եղել: Մի ընտանիքում երկու անհատականության ներկայություն դժվար է: 
  23. ^ Mutafyan, Levon (19 March 2014). "The greats are leaving us...Ara Shiraz passed away". hayernaysor.am (Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia). 
  24. ^ Marutyan, Harutyun (27 November 2010). "Can Collective Memory of Genocide Lead to Reconciliation? A View from Yerevan". In Kharatyan, Hranush; Neyzi, Leyla. Prospects for Reconciliation: Theory and Practice (PDF). dvv international. p. 25. ISBN 978-3-942755-01-6. 
  25. ^ Hakobyan, Tatul (26 February 2015). "1965-ի ապրիլը Հայաստանի և ԽՍՀՄ մամուլում". civilnet.am (in Armenian). Civilitas Foundation. 
  26. ^ "2015 թվականից 50 տարի առաջ ի՞նչ է եղել. Հայացք Թուրքիայից". news.am (in Armenian). 18 July 2014. Միտինգը Սիլվա Կապուտիկյանի և Պարույր Սեւակի առաջնորդությամբ է տեղի ունենում: 
  27. ^ Dekmejian, R. H. (1968). "Soviet-Turkish Relations and Politics in the Armenian SSR". Soviet Studies 19 (4): 516. 
  28. ^ Geukjian, Ohannes (2012). Ethnicity, Nationalism and Conflict in the South Caucasus: Nagorno-Karabakh and the Legacy of Soviet Nationalities Policy. Ashgate Publishing. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-4094-3630-0. 
  29. ^ Jones, S. F. (1989). "Religion and Nationalism in Soviet Georgia and Armenia". In Ramet, Sabrina P. Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics. Duke University Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-0822308911. 
  30. ^ a b Kalaydjian, Tigran (2013). Sentinel of Truth: Gourgen Yanikian and the Struggle Against the Denial of the Armenian Genocide. Strategic Book Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-1625162717. 
  31. ^ Panossian, Razmik (1998). "Between Ambivalence and Intrusion: Politics and Identity in Armenia-Diaspora Relations". Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 7 (2): 189. doi:10.1353/dsp.1998.0011. 
  32. ^ "Սիլվա Կապուտիկյան. "Այդ դու՛ չմեռար, մենք ենք մեռածը"" (in Armenian). Noyan Tepan. 30 January 2012. 
  33. ^ Razmig, Avedis (10 February 2015). "Lեւոն Eքմեքճեանէն հռչակագիր` ձեռնոցը նետուած է". Ararad (in Armenian) (Beirut). 
  34. ^ Galoyan, Sergey (4 September 2003). "Оставьте этого человека в покое!". Azg (in Russian). В защиту Варужана Карапетяна выступили представители армянской интеллигенции Сильва Капутикян, Геворг Эмин, Перч Зейтунцян, Зорий Балаян и многие другие. 
  35. ^ de Waal 2003, p. 57.
  36. ^ de Waal 2003, p. 22.
  37. ^ Malkasian 1996, p. 48.
  38. ^ de Waal 2003, pp. 26–27.
  39. ^ de Waal 2003, p. 28.
  40. ^ Rutland, Peter (1994). "Democracy and Nationalism in Armenia". Europe-Asia Studies 46 (5): 843. 
  41. ^ Keller, Bill (23 January 1989). "A Sakharov vs. Yeltsin Ballot? Maybe". The New York Times. 
  42. ^ Shakarian, Pietro A. (19 May 2013). "Haze over Ararat: The Role of Environmentalism in the Rise of National and Civil Society Movements in Soviet and Post-Soviet Armenia, 1975 – Present". Gomidas Institute. 
  43. ^ Hosking, Geoffrey A. (1988). "A public meeting about Chernobyl; or glasnost in Kiev". Index on Censorship 17 (6): 8. doi:10.1080/03064228808534478. 
  44. ^ Remington, Thomas (July 1989). "A Socialist Pluralism of Opinions: Glasnost and Policy-Making under Gorbachev". Russian Review 48 (3): 302. 
  45. ^ "Պետք են նախագահական նոր ընտրություններ". Aravot (in Armenian). 1 March 2008. 
  46. ^ "Cycle of Repression: Human Rights Violations in Armenia" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. 4 May 2004. 
  47. ^ Kalantaryan, Karine (6 July 2004). "Սիլվա Կապուտիկյանը հետ է վերադարձնում "Սուրբ Մեսրոպ Մաշտոց" շքանշանը". azatutyun.am (in Armenian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 
  48. ^ a b c Ter-Grigoryan, Ashot. "Известная армянская поэтесса Сильва Капутикян вернула президенту Кочаряну орден Месропа Маштоца в знак протеста против событий 13 апреля" (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. 
  49. ^ "Timeline of unrest". Hetq Online. 17 April 2004. 
  50. ^ Hakobyan, Julia (9 July 2004). "A Week in Seven Days: Matters that made the media since last Friday.". ArmeniaNow. 
  51. ^ Poghosyan, Syuzanna (3 July 2010). "Ամեն ինչ, բացի Քոչարյանի տված մեդալից". Armenian Times (in Armenian). 
  52. ^ "Random or Planned?: Attack on former politician raises questions". ArmeniaNow. 23 April 2004. 
  53. ^ Hakobyan, Gohar (21 April 2004). "Խորհրդարանը չի լուծարվի, վարչապետը կմնա նույնը". Aravot (in Armenian). 
  54. ^ Boghossian, Rima (28 December 2010). "Հայ Կինը Մայր Եւ Հասարակական Գործիչ". Asbarez (in Armenian). 
  55. ^ "Կապուտիկյանի հիշատակին". Aravot. 21 January 2009. 
  56. ^ Muradyan, Lilit (20 January 2014). "Այսօր Ամենայն հայոց բանաստեղծուհու ծննդյան օրն է" (in Armenian). Public Radio of Armenia. 
  57. ^ "Հայ Կին Գրողները Տարիներու Ընդմէջէն". Aztag (in Armenian). 13 October 2014. 
  58. ^ "Silva Kaputikyan would turn 93 today". Yerkir Media. 20 January 2012. 
  59. ^ Vavyan, Ashot (2 September 2011). "Karekin I: The All Armenian Catholicos of blessed Memory". theorthodoxchurch.info (Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society). the 'poetess of all Armenians' Silva Kaputikyan 
  60. ^ "Official News". gov.am. Government of the Republic of Armenia. 26 August 2006. 
  61. ^ "Մեծարեցին Սիլվա Կապուտիկյանին". Aravot (in Armenian). 23 December 2004. 
  62. ^ Nahaylo, Bohdan (1989). "Why the Empire's subjects are restless". Index on Censorship 18 (5): 25. doi:10.1080/03064228908534642. 
  63. ^ Barringer, Felicity; Keller, Bill (11 March 1988). "A Test of Change Explodes in Soviet". The New York Times. p. 2. 
  64. ^ "The schools subordinated to the municipality of Yerevan". yerevan.am. Yerevan Municipality Official Website. School N145 after Silva Kaputikyan was founded in 1969. It was named after the Armenian poetess in 2007. 
  65. ^ "Երեւանում բացվեց Սիլվա Կապուտիկյանի տուն-թանգարանը". azatutyun.am (in Armenian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 20 January 2009. 
  66. ^ "Про нагородження відзнакою Президента України "Орден княгині Ольги"" (in Ukrainian). Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. 1 October 1999. 
  67. ^ "Սիլվա Կապուտիկյան (1963)". gallery.am (in Armenian). National Gallery of Armenia. 

Bibliography

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]