This article was first published in The eXile on February 10, 2000
So-called “Russian Liberal Intelligentsia” long time ago have excluded me from the world of literature. They
are behaving like I am not existing, maybe dead, maybe never born. It is interesting phenomenon, the only one other such case that I know is case of Jean Genet.
When I established myself in Paris
in 1980 I was surprised by total absence of that great writer from social and literary life of France. He wasn’t mentioned in newspapers, no literary critic would write an essay about Genet.
asked my editors and my friends about Jean Genet, is he alive, is he in Paris? Nobody could say with precision that he is living in Paris. They say that according to some rumors he lives in some cheap hotel, populated by Arabs, somewhere near Montmartre. But
I never succeeded in tracing him.
Then he died, and suddenly every newspaper been talking about Genet, even bureaucrats of Ministry of Culture started to worship him. I remember that I wrote his
obituary for French communist newspaper “Revolution”.Foreigner, I wrote about foreigner amongst the French.
Later I understand that all fault of Jean Genet was that he was not politically
correct. He supported “Black Panthers”, he supported struggle of Palestinian people for its own state, and so on… He rejected silly mode of thinking of his time. So he was living like in quarantine barrack, like a dangerously sick person,
isolated from the world.
I also live in my country isolated, as I am dangerously ill person. If I am mentioned in some context by journalist he always excusing himself adding something
like, “Of course now Limonov turned bad, but…” My colleagues-writers are looking through me.
Because I am presumably dead or never born, it’s easy for them to get their
stupid “Booker” and “anti-Booker” prizes, to quarrel at literary cocktails who is number one in Russian literature, to seduce girls… [But it also well known, that the best girls are fucking bandits, businessmen and politicians.
So, here I am superior to my colleagues-writers, because as a head of political organization I have better and younger girls than they have.]
It was only one man whose literary talent
I have measured as big one, although different from mine and less original than mine: Joseph Brodsky (Literature Nobel Prize 1987). But Brodsky have died
shortly after his readers died. His readers, that quiet Soviet men, have died somewhere between 1986 and 1991. So Brodsky wasn’t needed anymore, that is why he died. I feel little bit lonely because of his absence, I even wrote a poem about how am I
lonely without him in the world. It goes like that:
Died even Brodsky, my antipode and rival.
Nobody is here to look at me.
I left alone.
So I am bored without Brodsky. As a politician
I compete with Barkashov, but I guess I am winning that competition. In 1992 I have envied Zhirinovsky, but during these eight years Zhirinovsky steadily getting smaller and commonplacer (sorry for such English), that jerk is licking ass to the government.
So Mark Ames wasn’t right when he wrote four or five years ago that Zhirinovsky is punkier than Limonov. No way, Mark, I am leader of eight thousand strong young revolutionary party, while
Zhirinovsky is leader of 17 corrupted pot-bellied deputies of State Duma. My faction had it places in prisons, for the moment, 18 members of National Bolsheviks Party are behind the bars. Zhirinovsky is a jerk, point. I hope you now will agreed with me, Mark?
I always wanted to be a number one. But now, when I am number one, probably most interesting personality and of course most interesting writer of my country, now approaching 57, I am rather sad. Because
I need the rival eyes watching me.
Brodsky was a Master, we lived through complicated love-hate relationships. He didn’t like my book “It’s Me, Eddie“, but envied
pages of “Diary of a Loser“. I envied his “Ode to Zhukov”. When in 1998 my “Anatomy of a Hero” came out I physically needed Brodsky to read that book. Or somebody like Brodsky. But he was lying in the soil
of city of Venice.
Why you left me, Joseph? By the way, we both wrote about Venice, my book, “The Death of Modern Heroes” is better than his classical delights about that rotten
city-museum. He wasn’t very bright, Joseph, but he was a Master, he could appreciate, he could feel. It is rather rare occurrence, The Master, so who the fuck will read me?
will read me! Ukrainian poet, adventurer and soldier, Dmitro Korchinski was founder and leader of Ukrainian Nationalist Organization UNA-UNSO in 1990-97. I met him in April 1999 in Moscow, then last October some comrades from Kiev have sended me his book “Man
in the Crowd“. Book is about wars and his party struggle, that is some philosophical reflections in it. I read it with a great pleasure, and understanding. Because it is a book of a free man, cynical and beautiful. Look, what he wrote about Transdniestr:
“All of us, organizers and participants of that war made a great mistake. It was necessary to riot regions of Odessa and Moldova, to announce that Transdniestr is a land and refuge of Revolution. To our sorrow was materialized banal separatist idea.”
I agree with him. I took part in a war in Transdniestr. Sometimes he and I were on other sides of a same war as in Abkhazia. I participated in the battle for Shromi, where Ukrainians were fighting on Georgian side
and Russians and Chechens on Abkhazian side. My enemy Korchinski will read me. If he will survive, because he is wanted by the Ukrainian authorities. Me also, from March 1996.
Edward Limonov - 2000