Secret Journal 1836–1837
Region: Russia and Central Asia
Artist: Alexander Pushkin
Confronting Bodies: Soviet-Russian Government
Dates of Action: 1986 - 1999
Location: USSR - Russia
Description of Artwork: The famous Russian poet and writer Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), fatally wounded in a duel by his brother-in-law and rival, left a secret, ciphered journal, which was discovered and smuggled out of the USSR in 1976 by the Russian author Mikhail Armalinsky. There has been a lot of speculation and mystery surrounding this journal. According to legend, Pushkin's will stipulated that the journal not be published until 100 years after his death. Some people claimed that the Journal never existed at all. The Journal does exist and consists of explicit confessions about intimate relationships that Pushkin had with his wife, her two sisters, and other women, which brought him to his tragic end. These astonishing events and reflections reveal an unknown details of Pushkin's life - the life of a nineteenth century Russian Don Juan.
The Incident: The first Russian edition of Pushkin's Secret Journal was published in 1986 by a Minneapolis publishing house (M.I.P. Company), and it was banned in USSR till 1999. Some question the legitimacy of the book and there are mail-order publishers that still carry the work as fiction.
Results of Incident: In 2001 it was first published in Moscow by Ladomir Publishing House which created a scandal. In 2006 a bilingual Russian-English edition was published in Russia by Retro Publishing House. Now published in 24 countries. Staged in Paris in 2006.In 2011 new editions published in France by Belfond and in the USA by M.I.P. Company.In 2001 it was published by Moscow academic publisher Ladomir. Secret Journal was considered as a blasphemy because it depicted sexual life of Pushkin who was and is a symbol of Russian culture. Now book is published in 24 countries and considered as classic of Erotic literature