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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Alexey M. Lyubomudrov
  • Pages: 398–433
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
  • Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
  • Rights – URL: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: I.A. Bunin and his Time: Context of Life — History of Work
  • DOI:
  • Year of publication: 2021
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Lyubomudrov, A.M. “‛An Indecent and Shameful Story’. From the History of a Failed Transfer of Bunin`s Heritage to His Homeland (Based on the Archival Materials).” I.A. Bunin and His Time: Context of Life — History of Work. Ex. eds. T.M. Dvinyatina and S.N. Morozov; Eds. A.V. Bakuntsev and E.R. Ponomarev. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 398–433. (In Russ.)

About the author:

Alexey M. Lyubomudrov, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Makarov emb., 4, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


The paper deals with negotiations of the transfer to Russia of Ivan Bunin’s manuscript and memorial heritage, then owned by Leonid Zurov. The author traces the actions of those who supported the return of Bunin’s legacy, including L. Afonin, A. Baboreko, K. Fedin, S. Makashin, V. Manuilov and others as well as the role of L. Nikulin who convinced the authorities to abandon the acquisition. The publication reveals the position of the ideological departments of the CPSU Central Committee (L. Ilyichev) and the Soviet Writers Union (K. Voronkov) as well as the activities of the employees of the Ministry of Culture (E. Furtseva, V. Stepanov) and the Foreign Affairs Ministry (S. Vinogradov, V. Vdovin). The research is based on the archive materials. The most representative documents concerning the talks with Zurov are published for the first time in the Appendix to the present paper. The work also clarifies the position of Leonid Zurov, his psychological and moral portrait. The material reflects the struggle of Russian writers, scientists, museum curators against the Soviet bureaucratic machine for which Bunin and Zurov were always ideologically alien persons. The work paints a picture of the public opinion and the Soviet cultural policy of the 1960s.

  • Keywords: Leonid Zurov, Ivan Bunin’s archive, Russian emigration, Soviet cultural policy, Leonid Afonin, Alexander Baboreko, Konstantin Fedin.


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