"Letter to the Russian Tsar" by Aksel Bakunts
Aksel Bakunts Ակսել Բակունց
Aksel Bakunts (1899 - 1937) was an Armenian writer, screenwriter, translator and activist. Born in Goris, he spent time in prison as a teenager for writing a satire mocking the mayor of Goris.
Following the Bolshevik revolution, Russian troops were withdrawn from the Caucasus leaving the region open to invasion by the Ottoman Empire. Bakunts joined the newly formed Armenian army and fought in the battles of Erzurum, Kars and Sardarabad.
He settled in Yerevan in 1926 where he made a name for himself as a writer of short stories.
During the Stalinist purges he was arrested, accused of being a “Bourgeois nationalist” and a “Trotskyist”. After 11 months in prison he was sentenced to death following a 25 minute trial.
Book length works by Bakunts available in English translation
The Dark Valley 2009 (Trans. N.Hakhverdi)
In our first issue of Sprachbund we are delighted to include Nairi Hakhverdi's English translation of Bakunts' 1926 story, "Letter to the Russian Tsar," an important work of Eastern Armenian literature during the Soviet period.
Nairi Hakhverdi is a literary translator specialising in modern and contemporary Armenian literature. Originally from the Netherlands, she has been based in Yerevan since 2009. Along with translating a book of Bakunts' short stories for Taderon press, she has published extensively in journals such as Words without Borders, In Other Words and Asymptote.
For more of Nairi Hakhverdi's translations of Aksel Bakunts check out the following links...
"The Demon of Dark Valley" in Ianyan
"In Akar (Part I)" in Ianyan
"In Akar (Part II)" in Ianyan
"Dark Valley" in Ararat Magazine
"Dancing Mania" in The Armenite
"Transit via Bayandur" in HAYP