Putin Appoints Sergey Lukyanenko to the Russian Federation’s Civic Chamber

Sergey Lukyanenko, Chengdu Worldcon guest of honor, is one of the 40 members added to Russia’s Civic Chamber in April by President Vladimir Putin.

The Civic Chamber (sometimes translated as Public Chamber) is a consultative institution with 168 members that has a role similar to an oversight committee. It analyzes draft legislation and monitors the activities of the parliament, government, and other government bodies in Russia.

A Parlamentskaya Gazeta interviewer asked Lukyanenko about his new role. (Translation by Google.)

Literature on a state basis
– Sergey Vasilyevich, do you already have any thoughts on the subject of what you will do in the Public Chamber? Maybe developments or concepts of proposals?

– There are no specific ideas – I’m just thinking about this topic. But I would like to deal with issues of literature, cinema, culture in the broad sense of the word. These are still the areas where I am the most professional, understand the deepest and can bring the most benefit.

– Have you already been to the meetings?

– Not yet – we will only have the first meeting in the updated composition in the summer. Now there is only a preparatory stage.

He received a brief mention in the Civic Chamber’s official article about the additions posted on April 6. (Translation by Google.)

…40 Russian citizens who have special merits to the state and society agreed to the proposal of the head of state to become part of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. Their candidacies were determined by the President of Russia based on the results of consultations with public associations, non-profit organizations, and Russian academies of sciences….

…According to Irina Velikanova, director of the Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, right now, taking into account the global threats that Russia has faced in the XXI century, the role of the cultural factor in ensuring state sovereignty and national security is steadily increasing, since it is culture that plays the role of the guardian of the civilizational code of the nation, its value basis.

“At the same time, the basis of the cultural sovereignty of the nation is historical memory. Together with our colleagues, we will continue to work on the protection of historical truth, we will be engaged in the popularization of the history and culture of Russia among young people,” she shared her plans.

In this activity, Irina Velikanova will be supported by the rector of GITIS Grigory Zaslavsky, who is a member of the seventh composition of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, and science fiction writer Sergei Lukyanenko, who entered the Public Chamber for the first time….

The Parlamentskaya Gazeta interview also probed Lukyanenko’s opinion about ways to use his position in the Chamber to promote sff.

– Nevertheless, how to popularize domestic science fiction? One gets the feeling that publishers, for example, have little interest in this.

– Publishing houses are absolutely commercial, capitalist, profit-oriented structures. It is clear that, first of all, they focus on ratings so that the maximum number of people buy the published book, select literature as simple and massive as possible. Therefore, it is quite problematic to demand that they publish some unusual, bright, risky things. But this is where the state could get involved. I see two ways – either subsidizing publishers, or the establishment of some kind of federal structure that would publish books that are niche, but useful, educating the reader in the right values and the ability to think. But this, of course, will be a long and difficult work. You need to be able to look for diamonds. You remember the textbook story of J.K. Rowling, who, with the manuscript of the first Harry Potter, went around eight publishers before she was told in the ninth: “Well, let’s try to publish your fairy tale, although we do not understand who will read it.” Plus, you need to think through and organize some kind of advertising campaigns, spend money on it – and serious money. But there is no other way.

– Do you plan to raise this issue in the Public Chamber? And, perhaps, could they themselves lead such a publishing house, if it appears?

– As for the Public Chamber – yes, I think the idea is sound, and it should at least be discussed. But as for my candidacy for the post of head – no, probably not. So far, I have more pleasure in writing books than in administrative activities. If I ever get tired of it, then I can talk.

In an interview on another topic, “Who should write books about the special operation”, published by Moscow Region Today on May 10, Lukyanenko was asked about the literary treatment of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, always referred to there as the “special operation”.  

…We talked to one of the most popular Russian writers, science fiction writer Sergei Lukyanenko. He told exactly how to transfer the history of the special operation to paper.

“It would be completely wrong to invent. There are a lot of good writers who have been at the front, participated in hostilities. It’s probably more their job to write about it. Because it is not entirely reasonable for the author to write about what he himself did not directly participate in,” Lukyanenko said in an interview with the correspondent of the online publication Podmoskovye Segodnya.

The writer clarified that the theme of patriotism is not alien to him.

“The action of my works takes place, as a rule, not in our days. But in my books, the topic of patriotism and Russia is almost always raised,” the source said….

Lukyanenko, the best known writer who signed a 2022 open letter defending the invasion, has been an outspoken proponent of Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine for years. His statements sparked passage of a resolution at the Chicon 8 Business Meeting calling for the 2023 Worldcon to refuse him as a guest. Two months after Chicon 8 while Lukyanenko was being interviewed on television an RT presenter responded to one of his anecdotes by calling for the drowning of Ukranian children.

Sergei Lukianenko Hails Attacks on Ukrainian Civilian Targets

Russian sff author Sergei Lukianenko celebrated the October 10 mass attack on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure in a social media post. As translated by Ukranian fan Boris Sydiuk, he said:

“Finally, I wish it would be so in February, deliberately and ruthlessly, fascist scum should go to hell.”

February is the month that Russia invaded Ukraine.

A screencap of this remark was posted on Imgur, with a more colloquial translation: “Finally. Should have done this back in February. Methodically and mercilessly. Fascist scum must go to hell.”

Lukianenko, a 2023 Chengdu Worldcon guest of honor, has been an outspoken proponent of Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine for years. His statements sparked passage of a resolution at the Chicon 8 Business Meeting calling for the 2023 Worldcon to refuse him as a guest.

Update: The link to Lukianenko’s post is: https://vk.com/sergeylukyanenko?w=wall533470600_208712.

Sergei Lukianenko Defends Russian Policy Towards Ukraine

Sergei Lukianenko

Russian sff author Sergei Lukianenko1, selected by the Chengdu 2023 Worldcon as a guest of honor, has been busy in February extending his track record as an apologist for Russian policy toward the Ukraine. This includes a recent interview where he tries to blame the West, and the U.S. in particular, for Russia being “forced to intervene” there.

The author was asked about the crisis by an interviewer from the Russian-language EurAsia Daily (a product of the Jamestown Foundation, a conservative U.S.-based think tank with a board composed of Trump Administration veterans and CPAC speakers) for an article published February 5 with a headline that translates as: “The United States is trying to push Kiev against Moscow militarily: an interview with Sergei Lukyanenko”. (Via Google Translate.)

The famous Russian science fiction writer Sergei Lukyanenko was very excited when Crimea returned to Russia. Moreover, in his early works, this topic repeatedly surfaced. True, the science fiction writer described in his books a real, bloody war between Russia and Ukraine, which he managed to avoid. What he is sincerely happy about. But how to turn things around now, when the situation is tense to the limit?

A Russian writer who is visiting Yerevan in an interview with EADaily said that even now the war can be avoided, although today the situation is more explosive and there is a very active attempt by certain forces and circles, very far from both Russia and Ukraine, to arrange a military conflict. But, as Lukyanenko emphasized, Russian President Vladimir Putin confidently takes the blow.

– Do you think Ukraine needs it, Kiev really wants and, most importantly, is ready for war?

– Moscow does not need a war, I am sure that Ukraine does not need it either. But you need to understand that in Ukraine itself the situation has reached a certain point: the West does not want to sponsor it, and it is not even going to develop it, because the West never creates competitors for itself. Ukraine has always been important for the Western world as a kind of anti-Russia, a springboard against Russia and a source of its problems and headaches. And now they are trying to push Kiev against Moscow militarily, for example, by starting another conflict in the Donbass, where Russia will be forced to intervene. Because, besides the fact that there are many of our citizens there, no one in Russia itself will understand when the cleansing operations will begin there, and we will not intervene. Yes, this is not a military danger for Russia, but it will be a great reason to impose all sorts of sanctions on it to the very top. While we are trying to dodge this dubious honor – we are for peace, we do not need it. But will it succeed? Hope so.

— Sergey Vasilyevich, there is also an opinion that, in fact, the goal of the United States is not so much Russia as Europe, namely, to stuff it with American military bases and control it.

– Europe is one of the competitors of the USA, and the United States has huge problems – internal, political, social, economic. Now the United States is at risk of losing the status of the greatest economic power – China has already ousted them from this Olympus. Therefore, yes, the United States needs someone who can be both taxed and robbed, thus breathing new strength into itself. Russia was clearly planned for this role, but it doesn’t work out: it turned out that it was too dangerous to touch us. China is also not suitable for this role, the European Union remains, which is still under them. So yes, it is quite possible that the purpose of the conflict in Ukraine is to completely quarrel Russia with Europe, and to draw as much juice out of it as possible….

To leave no doubt where EA Daily is coming from, a sidebar survey asks readers, “Do you support the operation of the Russian Armed Forces to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine?”

Lukianenko’s first Facebook post since the war started, dated February 23, does not even hint at any opposition to the invasion, but rather praises Putin’s government for allowing protesters. Following a series of remarks about dissent during the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, the First World War, and the Great Patriotic War (WWII), he says:  

…Russia is a unique country. Only we can curse our army during the war, oppose the authorities – and at the same time calmly walk the streets, receive salaries in state institutions and even work in the media and for the defense industry. Do you know any other such country? I don’t. And they say we are bad with democracy.

He has been a go-to source of comment supporting Russian policy toward the Ukraine for some time. In 2014 he gave Komsomolskaya Pravda, a Russian tabloid, an interview published under the colorful headline, “Sergey Lukyanenko about the events in Ukraine: ‘Forced de-Russification is as much a crime as forced sex reassignment’” where he “explained why he banned the translation of his books into Ukrainian.”

More recently, Lukianenko claimed there is no Ukraine, it was created artificially, in a Q&A posted March 3, 2020 in Ukraina, published by an agency of the Russian government: “Science fiction writer Lukyanenko: Russians deserve to enshrine their status in the Constitution of Russia” (Google translation.)

– How do you feel about the statement of Vladislav Surkov from his interview, which he made immediately after his resignation to the site “Actual Comments”: there is no Ukraine, there is only Ukrainianism? He thereby wanted to say that Ukrainians do not exist, and those who are called “Ukrainians” are in fact one people with Russians. Do you agree with Surkov’s thought?

– I partially agree, because the Ukrainian national identity was formed artificially. It was intensively formed both before the revolution, and by the efforts of outside forces, and after the revolution – thanks to the unintelligent national policy under the communist regime. It was formed at that time. It’s a fact, it’s known.

As a result, we got what we got: a nation that is being created before our eyes. It is actually created by artificially severing ties with the Russian people. If earlier it was part of a single people, now it is a separate people, which is now being formed.

– In 2019, you were in Donetsk, where you took part in the festival of literary fiction “Stars over Donetsk”. Will Sergei Lukyanenko continue his creative cooperation and cultural patronage over the DPR in 2020?

“Donbass is the region that has earned its right to self-determination with its blood. Of course, this is a complex process and a long one. It does not depend on Russian writers or even on ordinary ordinary citizens of Russia, but it seems to me that it is necessary to support the people of Donbass at the cultural and national level.

If any events are held in Donetsk, I, of course, will come to a meeting with my readers. People who gathered in Donetsk for this fantastic event and came to meet with science fiction writers, and not only with me, they were happy and really deeply touched that they are not forgotten, including in such cultural events, which Donbass is largely deprived of.

Donbass, an oblast of Ukraine that was recognized as an independent republic by Russia earlier this week, was paid a visit by the author in 2019. The Analytical Service of Donbass, a Russian-language website that reports on such things as the “criminal-oligarchic regime in power in Ukraine”, covered his appearance — “Sergey Lukyanenko visited Donetsk for the first time” — and how he responded to a question from the audience about his prediction of the war in Donbass.

…Donetsk journalist and cameraman Timur Kolesnik asked about references to the modern Ukrainian state in Lukyanenko’s new novels, where the writer subtly, playing with metaphors, ridicules the Ukrainian so-called jingoistic patriots. The writer noted that it is not for nothing that he was included in the lists of enemies of Ukraine on the scandalous website “Peacemaker”.

Lukianenko has over 40 books published and has received 32 literary awards.

1 The spelling of Lukianenko here follows the usage of the author’s official site. However, his name is commonly translated on Amazon and in news articles as Lukyanenko.