Leonid Gurunts – “I Didn’t Make A Traitor”

Famous Armenian writer Leonid Gurunts was born in 1912. He began his creative career in Baku.

After the publication of his first book titled “The Karabakh poem” (Moscow), persecution of the author began. As Gurunts himself recalls, “the appearance of the ‘Karabakh poem’… was tantamount to the most unheard of crime. I ended up on the ‘blacklist’. And if I avoided expulsion, then only by chance…”

The usual methods of the leaders of Azerbaijan in their actions against the Armenians – to resort to the help of the Armenians themselves – did not work in the case of Leonid Gurunts. Gurunts refused, for example, to put his signature under a crushing article against Marietta Shahinyan, and then against Georgy Kholopov, the author of the novel “Bay Lights”. This novel was about Azerbaijan – at first, it was well-received, but people one day suddenly realized that its author was an Armenian…

“I didn’t make a traitor,” writes Leonid Gurunts, “In vain, it turns out, they had caressed me. Time to end it. Three days later, I was kicked out of office.” Further stay in Baku became dangerous, and Gurunts finally moved to Yerevan.

His collection of short stories “Tales of an Old Oak” (1980), select works in 2 volumes (1983), “The Clouds of My Youth” (1972), “The Legend of My Village”, and others would be published in Yerevan.

Many books of Leonid Gurunts were published in Moscow too, including “Karabakh Crossroads” (dilogy, 1981), “Stones of my hearth” (short stories, 1959), “Mountains high” (novel, 1963), “Yasaman – the touchy tree” ( collection, 1971), “Karabakh, native land: Karabakh notebooks” (1966), “The Karabakh poem”, and others.

After the death of the writer, manuscripts were found in his archive that hadn’t been published during his lifetime. He had himself written that many of the notes that he had made, “of course, would not see the light of day.”

“I am not writing them for today or for the press. I am like that astronaut who, having reached the orbit, is no longer subject to gravity. I am happy with such freedom – as if I had grown wings and can fly without regard for hindrances.”

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