Moscow: Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin,
who had allowed legendary poet Rabindranath Tagore to visit
Moscow in 1930, was irked by his critical assessment of the
Communist system and had barred a daily from publishing his
interview, a top academic has said.
"On the orders from Stalin, Izvestia daily did not
publish Gurudev`s interview in 1930, which was published by
the same daily 58 years later in 1988 under Mikhail
Gorbachev`s perestroika," Prof Sergei Serebryanny of the
Russian State Humanities University here said.
He was speaking at a function organised in the Indian
embassy to initiate Gurudev`s 150th birth anniversary
celebrations in Russia.
Serebryanny said Tagore was impressed by the Soviet
system`s achievement in providing education to all, but irked
the Stalin regime by criticising the freedom of mind and
"Gurudev`s `Letters from Russia` were translated into
Russian and first published 50 years ago during his birth
century celebrations in USSR.
"But his letter number 13, critical of Communist
system`s lack of freedom and other shortcomings was not
published," Serebryanny recalled.
The function organised jointly by Jawaharlal Nehru
Cultural Centre (JNCC) of the Indian Embassy and oldest
association of Indians in Russia `Hindustani Samaj` was
presided over by new ambassador Ajai Malhotra.
Paying tributes to Gurudev as a multifaceted
personality, an outstanding humanist, educationist and patriot
Ambassador Malhotra pointed that Tagore`s interest in the
situation of the people of Russia, chronicled in his book
`Letters from Russia` after a visit there in 1930, was also
censored by the British rulers of India.
He appreciated that the school children of Art Studio
of the small Protvino town near here were also present at the
function attended by eminent Russian indologists at which
Indian and Russian artists performed Rabindra Sangeet and
Malhotra expressed confidence that in the changed
political scenario through the Tagore anniversary celebrations
in Russia, the younger generation of the country would receive
a wider exposure to his works and ideas.