Post-Soviet Literature

With the end of the Soviet Union and the opening of the borders, the political emigration of 20th century Russian writers has become history. Former emigrants either stayed abroad (W. P. Axjonow ) or returned – temporarily or permanently – to their homeland (Al Solzhenitsyn ). Quite a few authors chose to reside outside Russia for private or economic reasons: Michail Schischkin (* 1961) in Switzerland, Dina Rubina (* 1953) in Israel, A. Makine in France, Maria Rybakowa (* 1973) in the USA, Marina Palei (* 1955) in the Netherlands, AP Schipenko , W. Kaminer et al. in Germany. You write e.g. Some of them continue to use Russian or the language of the country of their choice.

Russian literature

Important works of Russian literature (selection)


  • A. Pushkin: “Evgenij Onegin” (1825–32, published in full in 1833; German “Eugen Onegin”)
  • L. Tolstoy: »Vojna i mir« (1868/69; German »War and Peace«)
  • F. Dostojewski: »Brat’ja Karamazovy« (1879–80; German »The Karamazov brothers«)
  • J. Samjatin: “My” (first in English and French 1924; German “We”)
  • B. Pasternak: “Doktor Živago” (first in Italian 1957; German “Doktor Schiwago”)
  • M. Bulgakow: “Master i Margarita” (1966–67; German “The Master and Margarita”)
  • W. Jerofejew: »Moskva – Petuški« (1973; German »Die Reise nach Petuschki«)

Short prose

  • N. Gogol: »Šinel ‘« (1842; German »Der Mantel«)
  • A. Solzhenitsyn: »Odin den ‘Ivana Denisoviča« (1962; German »A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich«)


  • A. Chekhov: »Tri sestry« (1901; German »Drei Schwestern«)
  • D. Charms: »Elizabeta Bam« (1928; German »Jelisaweta Bam«)


  • Anna Akhmatova: »Rekviem« (1963; German »Requiem«)

From the multitude of stylistic tendencies that have developed or newly emerged in Russian-language literature since the end of the Soviet Union, the following basic currents can be mentioned: On the one hand, the great realistic tradition of Russian literature continues. She will inter alia. used to shed light on the historical events of the 20th century, as in AI Solzhenitsyn (»Na izlomach«, 1996), WP Astafjew (»Prokljaty i ubity«, 1992–94) and GN Wladimow (»General i ego armija«, 1994–97; German »The General and his Army«). Oleg Yermakov (* 1961) made the Afghan war his theme. L. Ulitzkaja enriched the family novel. Further representatives of a new realistic narrative prose are Asar Eppel (* 1935, † 2012; »Travjanaja ulica«, 1994; German »Die Straße aus Gras«), Andrei Dimitrijew (* 1956; »Povorot reki«, 1995; German »Die Flussbiegung«)), Andrei Wolos (* 1955; »Churramabad«, 2000; German »Churramobod«), S. J. Kaledin , Anatoli Gawrilow (* 1946), Pyotr Aleschkowski (* 1957), Alexei Warlamow (* 1963), Mikhail Butow (* 1964), Oleg Pavlov (* 1970). Other authors alienate reality and include metaphysical elements in their narrative prose, according to Anatoli Asolski (* 1930; »Kletka«, 1996; German »The Cell«), Juri Bujda (* 1954; »Prusskaja nevesta«, 1998), Michail Schischkin (»Vzjatie Izmaila«, 1999), T. Tolstaja (»Kys«, 2000; German), J. W. Mamlejew , L. Petruschewskaja , AA Kim , W. A. ​​Pjezuch , Igor Klech (* 1952), Marina Palei (* 1955), Oleg Jurjew (* 1959), Alan Tschertschessow (* 1962) and Maria Rybakowa (* 1973). Analogous examples can be found in the lyric work of IA Brodski , S. I. Lipkin , Inna Lisnjanskaja (* 1928, † 2014), W. A. ​​Sosnora , Alexander Kuschner (* 1936), Oleg Tschuchonzew (* 1938), Jelena Schwarz (* 1948), Olga Sedakowa (* 1949) and others. Find.

Another line of new Russian literature continues the art of the Moscow conceptualists. This group, which has been reflecting on symbols, rituals and myths of Soviet mass culture as well as their linguistic foundations since the 1970s, was only able to publish its works in Russia after the end of the Soviet Union (L. S. Rubinstein , Vsevolod Nekrasov [* 1934, † 2009], DA Prigow ). Also the stories, novels, dramas and film scripts by W. G. Sorokin that emerged from conceptualism which – like the novel “Goluboe salo” (1999; German “Der Himmelblaue Speck”) – led to violent disputes about what is feasible in literature and its limits, found their publishers late in Moscow. Comparable to the works of the conceptualists are the poetry and prose of the poets Genrich Sapgir (* 1928, † 1999) and Igor Cholin (* 1920, † 1999) from the Moscow suburb of Lianosowo as well as the Petersburg group of the »Mitki« around Vladimir Schinkarjow (* 1954). Similar methods were used by younger authors such as T. J. Kibirow (“Jubilej liričeskogo geroja”, 2000), German Lukomnikow (* 1962) and the head of the “Inspection of Medical Hermeneutics” Pawel Pepperstein (* 1966).

After all, contemporary Russian authors also use the patterns and methods of Western postmodernism. Pointing worked WW Jerofejew with decidedly provocative essays, short stories and novels (“Strašnyj sud”, 1996; German “The Last Judgment”) as well as the editor of anthologies (“Preparation for the orgy Young Russian literature”., 2000). J. A. Popow proved to be a genuine Siberian storyteller and a witty novelist (»Podlinnaja istorija Zelenych muzykantov«, 1998; German »The true story of the green musicians«). W. Pelewin found a large readership with imaginatively designed stories and novels (»Generation P«, 1999; German), whose fame continues. Also W. S. Makanin proved with the social novel “Andegraund, ili Geroj našego vremeni” (1998; German “Underground or A Hero of Our Time”) that he has mastered the themes and stylistic devices of postmodernism. They are also in plays by Nikolai Koljada (* 1957), in the drama and prose by Nina Sadur (* 1950) and A. Schipenko , with Michail Kononow (* 1958; »Golaja pionerka«, 2001) and Dmitri Bykow (* 1967), in the narrative prose by Sergei Dowlatow (* 1941, † 1990), Alexei Slapowski (* 1957), Sergei Bolmat (* 1960) and others. to be found in different forms.

The young Russian literary scene is making intensive use of the new possibilities offered by digital publications (»neterature«), which may be of very different artistic quality and are controversial, but in view of the changed perception of literature among the Russian public (which goes hand in hand with the decreasing prestige of literature) offer authors a new forum.

The entertainment literature, which has experienced a huge boom since the 1990s, uses v. a. the experiences of realistic and postmodern styles. Since 1998, the 19th century crime novels by B. Akunin (»Koronacija«, 2000; German »The Abduction of the Grand Duke«) have topped the bestseller lists. The historically stylized crime novels by Leonid Jusefowitsch (* 1947) as well as the »women’s crime novels « by A. Marinina and P. Daschkowa, which reflect current problems and are distributed in millions, achieved similar market success.

So far, five Russian writers have received the Nobel Prize for Literature: IA Bunin (1933), BL Pasternak (1958; could not accept the prize under political pressure), MA Scholokhov (1965), AI Solzhenitsyn (1970) and IA Brodski, who emigrated to the USA (1987).

New literary prizes have stimulated literary life in Russia since 1992, such as the Booker Prize, the Anti-Booker Prize (1995-2001), the Apollon Grigoryev Prize, the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Prize, the “Triumph” and ” Nationaler Bestseller ”as well as the Pushkin Prize awarded by the Hamburg Alfred Toepfer Foundation (1990-2005).

Post-Soviet Literature