August 28, Sherman, Connecticut - Representatives of Consulate General of Russia in New York took part in the festival dedicated to Leo Tolstoy's 190th anniversary. The festival was organized by Director of the Russian Center in New York Elena Branson and a family of local enthusiasts Robin and Elena Raybould who have recreated an exact copy of Leo Tolstoy's estate in Moscow district of Khamovniki. Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the US Anatoly Antonov sent his message of greetings to the organizers, participants and guests of the Festival:
Dear friends, organizers and participants of the festival!
September 9 marks the 190th anniversary of one of the greatest Russian writer and thinker whose name is enshrined not just in Russian, but also in the world’s literary heritage – Leo Tolstoy. His masterpieces had a huge impact on his contemporaries and continue to agitate souls of today’s readers. The very lifestyle of Tolstoy served as an example for many, and his humanistic ideas paved their way into doctrines of prominent political and public figures, such as Martin Luther King.
It’s remarkable that the festival is being held in the US. Though Leo Tolstoy had never visited this country, he had a keen interest in American literature and philosophy, studied and even translated into Russian the articles that affected him the most, and he maintained an intense correspondence with U.S. citizens.
Leo Tolstoy’s works won him great fame in the US as early as in the second half of the 19th century. They were printed and reprinted by all major publishers of the country. In his influence he was compared to Homer and Shakespeare. Tolstoy received numerous letters from across the ocean, he was admired, his advice and audience were eagerly anticipated.
It’s a well known fact that many American writers, journalists, politicians and even students came to Russia just to meet Leo Tolstoy in person and to have a talk with the “God of the Russian literature” – as he was called by journalist James Creelman who visited Tolstoy twice in Yasnaya Polyana. Quite a number of famous Americans were guests of this estate – traveler George Kennan, Ambassador Andrew White, writer and public activist Ernest Crosby, philosopher and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, US presidential candidate and former Secretary of State William Bryan, etc.
It’s a great pleasure to realize that Russia is the country that gave the world Leo Tolstoy, whose art remains vibrant almost 200 years after his birth. Please, accept my sincere congratulations and best wishes for a successful festival. I’m confident that it will become a significant milestone in promoting Leo Tolstoy’s rich literary heritage, as well as Russia’s great contribution to the treasury of the world civilization.