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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Pushkin, Lenin and Stalin Live in India

Sometimes Russian names help those Hindu who bear them
Hindu bearing Russian names met in the city of Trivandrum in southern India. A 58-year-old man named Stalin was the oldest participant of the meeting and a schoolgirl named Pravda was the youngest. A man known by the name Lenin delivered a speech, then Khrushchev and Gorbachev came out as well. Pushkin read his verses to the audience.

The Russian cultural center in Trivandrum reports a really curious incident. A man named Lenin worked in Russia's Consulate General in Madras. Once, an official from the city administration invited Lenin for a great meeting, the official's name was Stalin. When the consulate official was asked where he was going at the height of the workday, he replied that he was going to Stalin. The answer caused turmoil at the Consulate, as some of the officials suspected that Lenin might be insane.

Director of the Russian cultural center in Trivandrum told Russia's newspaper Izvestia that an idea to organize a meeting of people bearing Russian names occurred to him when he learnt that a girl named Tereshkova (the name of the first woman cosmonaut) was living in the state of Kerala; then someone told that there was an actor Pushkin. So, the director of the cultural center decided to publish an advertisement and invite people with Russian names for a meeting. The event gathered 43 people.
 
Besides Hindu named after famous Russian politicians, there were two men named Pushkin, one Brodsky (named after poet Joseph Brodsky) and Bazhenov (named after architect Vasily Bazhenov). Two men were named Leo and Maksim, after the Russian writers Leo Tolstoy and Maksim Gorky. However, some names sounded really exotic even though they were actually Russian words. One participant of the meeting was named Sputnik (Satellite) and two girls were named Pravda. Many years ago, their parents lived in Russia and read the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. So, the girls were named after the Russian popular newspaper.
 
The remarkable day of April 12, 1961 when Soviet cosmonaut went into space is the birthday of a Hindu man named Gagarin. The man's parents were so overcome with emotion that they gave the name of the Soviet cosmonaut to their son. A peasant Hindu family named their daughter Tereshkova after Soviet woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. The father of Hindu named Pushkin was a writer keen on verses of the Russian poet.

Parents of majority of people at the meeting graduated from higher education institutions in Russia some time ago. When back home, they named their children after Russian friends they knew being students. This is the reason why there are girls named Olga, Tatyana, Svetlana in India. Names of political figures were traditionally given to people of the older generation whose parents belonged to the Communist Party and preferred such names because of ideology.

Sometimes Russian names help those Hindu who bear them. Once Gagarin came to an interview for a very good job. Dozens of other candidates were seeking the same position, however when the employers learnt that one of the candidates was Gagarin, they organized an individual interview for him. They asked the man to tell about the life of the first cosmonaut. As a result, Indian Gagarin was beyond comparison and got the employment. The man named Pushkin was often asked if he was a poet, so the man decided to write poems in English. After the unique meeting in the Russian cultural center the poet promised he would take up the Russian language.

Yeugeny Shestakov

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