Paraguayan notes in Ñanduti style - page 2

K. Sapozhnikov
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1998.In case of any reproductions, reference to the site www.Tiwy.com is a must

It so happened that my first companions in Asuncion were my country-men. I met Leo Bazhenov, director of tourist firm from Kaliningrad, in a calm, disposing to conversation small hotel restaurant, the main decoration of which was a weaved picture of the knight castle and seven swans on the mirror-like surface of the lake.

- Vagrant plot of global decorative art, - Bazhenov made a joke. - Similar swans could be seen in Germany and Poland, Tambov and Rybinsk. There is something cosy, peaceful and ineradicably eternal in them...

Bazhenov came to Asuncion in connection with the company business, arranging “shocking” as he said, vehicle route for lovers of the “adventurous tourism”.

- The most important, he said with a smile, - it should appear dangerous, but be comfortable. We rely on individual clients out of new Russians and rich Balts. I am sure that for those, who live for more than three hundred days a year under continuous rain, such attractive trip on jeeps under the South American sun will seem tempting...

And another unexpected acquaintance.

I was saying good-buy to Bazhenov, who was going to Bolivia, when a young woman hesitatingly approached us:

Excuse me, are you Russian?

We started to talk and Tatiana (I'll call her so) narrated a sad story of her moving to permanent place of residence to Paraguay. She was among those Russians who used to live in Grozny, and was forced to escape from Chechen atrocities:

- We had to abandon everything: flat, personal things, family graves... They write to us – only ruins are there... For several months we could hardly make both ends meet, and then, my husband – he is a civil aviation pilot – received an invitation from his friend from Paraguay, who turned to be prudent and left the country earlier. We had nothing to lose in Russia, and without language, without any savings we risked and went to a completely unknown country. Now we got used in Asuncion and do not regret that we had left. At the beginning Russian colony helped us a lot. And then my husband confirmed his pilot licence and he works at local air lines. I managed to find a job at the advertising firm, try to work as hard as possible so that not to disappoint the owners... But still, we miss Russia. Still, everything has to calm down, return to the normal channel, doesn't it? What do you think?

... A lot has been written about the Russian colony in Paraguay. It, naturally, has lasting traditions and enjoys deserving respect. A very thick, smelling of fresh printer's ink encyclopedia book “Paraguay – country of miracles” contains the lines devoted to our countrymen: “After the revolution of 1917 “white” Russians came to Asuncion. They were not many, but presence of those people left a remarkable trace in the life of the country. Almost all of them were top-rank military. Their knowledge served the cause of creation of the first engineer department in Paraguay, then they bravely showed their worth in Chaco war. Tala – daughter of the tzarist general Ern, enrolled into the Paraguayan army in the same rank, was the founder of the first in the country ballet school”.

It is worth mentioning that the Jewish colony in Paraguay was set up basically by immigrants from Russia. “This community, - the encyclopedia says, - gave Paraguay such great painters as Olga Binder, Bernardo Krasniansky and Bernardo Ismahovich, who also revealed himself in architecture. Alfredo Seiferheld – historian and publicist – despite his premature death, managed to publish more than a dozen of books in the modern history of the country”.

Russian colony in Paraguay has always adhered to anti-communist views. Maybe that is why the German “charge to the East” was perceived by former tzarist officers with hope: there appeared the chance to return back to Russia; and then, the Germans could possibly be “taken care of”. Davis Monnet - the US consul general in Argentine - reported to the State department about such moods of the Russians in Asuncion in 1940. He received the information from Alejo Pelipenko, who, on the instructions of Uniate Church served the congregation in Argentine, Uruguay and Paraguay. Ukrainian nationalist Pelipenko could hardly be objective while calling generals Nikolay Ern and Ivan Belyaev “the Nazis”, who could not even conceive the idea of separation of Ukraine from Russia.

By the highest standards, practically all examples of pro-Nazi activity of the Russian colony in Paraguay, illustrated in the monograph “Nazism and Fascism in Paraguay” by A.Seiferheld, are connected with Ukrainian settlements, where the leading role was played by colonels Razumovsky, Podmogilny, Vassily Vorobey, Mikhail Kysliy, etc. FBI agents, spying upon the “fifth column” in Paraguay, could not get any serious information regarding pro-Nazi activity of the Russians and had to restrict themselves to statements that “they were more close to national-socialism than to liberalism”.

After the Second World war due to change of the situation at the international arena and the needs of the moment, the Americans started to look for “communist propagandists” in the same Russian colony.

Unfortunately, among the countrymen, who settled in Paraguay, no enthusiast could be found to give objective, thoroughly proved by documents history of the Russian colony. Old people go to non-existence, material evidence of the past is getting lost and decayed, generation gap is getting wider, and the youth do not speak the language of their ancestors at all.

Nevertheless, the interest to modern Russia is preserved with the representatives of all “waves” of immigration. The coming information is enormous: via satellite TV, Internet, Russian subscribed editions, and finally, live – through guests from Russia, who come to mysterious, earlier inaccessible for “sovieticos “ Paraguay more often and often. So far there is more curiosity in these visits than desire to implement certain projects of cooperation.

The Russian interests in Paraguay are represented by “by-working” Embassy of the Russian Federation in Argentine. We may hope that budgetary and financial difficulties of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs will end some day and full diplomatic mission will appear in Paraguay.

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