Jacques Chirac — “friend of Pushkin and Putin”

In Paris, on 87-m to year of life has died the former President of France Jacques Chirac, whom the French called “the most humane leader of the fifth Republic”. The figure of Chirac’s policy is inseparable from the image of Chirac-a man with his uncommon fate, multifaceted interests and openness to the world in all its diversity. Chirac was known for a special attachment to Russia, friendship with Vladimir Putin and youthful translation of “Eugene Onegin”.

Love is the former President of France to Russia began with Sanskrit. “I was 13 or 14 years old, I was interested in Asia, especially India. I decided to learn Sanskrit, he told Jacques Chirac in his speech in St. Petersburg in 1997. Of course, I began to look for a teacher. It wasn’t easy, but once I found out that an elderly Russian gentleman, living in Paris, could teach me Sanskrit”. After two months of training, the ancient literary language of India Mr. Belanovich explained to the young student that, first, has no ability to learn Sanskrit, and secondly, to teach Sanskrit pointless, and offered instead to give Chirac Russian lessons.

Russian teacher

In the first volume of his memoirs, Chirac warmly wrote about his teacher of Russian language, Vladimir Belanovich, which, according to the ex-President, “has opened his Russian soul”, the attachment to which he kept forever.

Vladimir Belanovich was born in St. Petersburg; former diplomat of tsarist Russia, he lived and worked in India, and after 1917 was in France. He shared the fate of thousands of Russian immigrants – worked on the “Reno” was a taxi driver and in parallel gave lessons in the Russian language and Sanskrit.

Vladimir Belanovich died in 1960 and was buried at the Russian cemetery Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois, near the graves of Tarkovsky and Nureyev. Jacques Chirac has repeatedly come to the grave of his teacher, and in 2015, paid for the restoration of his headstone.

When Jacques Chirac began to study Russian, he read all of Pushkin and even (at the age of 19 years) has translated into French “Eugene Onegin”. Translation Chirac sent out to various publishers, but half of them didn’t answer him, and the other to publish Shirokovsky version of the novel declined.

In 1974, when Jacques Chirac became Prime Minister of France, he called the man from the big and known publishing house and offered to publish the translation. “I told him: “Listen, dear Monsieur, you do not want to publish my text, when I was 20 years old, you don’t get it today, because I was Prime Minister”. So ended my career as a literary translator,” joked Chirac.

In 1987, Jacques Chirac, once again took the post of Prime Minister, came to Moscow. In an interview with French journalists, filmed right in red square, Chirac thanked the Soviet government for the reception and told me he was impressed by the “spontaneous and lively wit” and “strength of belief” of Mikhail Gorbachev.

“Dialogue with him to not always just because he has his beliefs, but still quite comfortable. This is the man who listens to your arguments, responds, reacts, which is ready to accept contradictions,” explained the French Prime Minister.

Ten years later, Chirac in an interview to the Russian TV channel ORT was praised by Boris Yeltsin. “For the world he is, without a doubt, is the person who wants to carry out reforms needed to make Russia gained its former power and glory, but also, and most importantly, he is a man of peace,” said Chirac in September 1997, on the eve of his visit to Russia.

“We share a culture, the historical relationship and great mutual respect,” he said. “Great Russia,” Chirac saw “a modern, democratic, peaceful, developing hand in hand with the European Union”.

And ten years later the French journalists called Chirac “a friend of Pushkin and Putin.” “Chirac, a poet with Putin’s accent” — under this title was published June 13, 2008 article in the left newspaper Libération. This acerbic text came the next day after the former President, Jacques Chirac, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has awarded the State prize of the Russian Federation for 2007 in the field of humanitarian activities.

“For Chirac to Moscow is “a strategic partner”, essential in its concept of “multipolar world”. So he immediately tried to establish direct contact with Vladimir Putin”, — wrote in 2007, the French political scientist, specialist on Russia Tom Gomar (Thomas Gomart).

“As soon as Putin came to power, he immediately began to Paris man, “willing to go as far as possible in relations with the West while remaining a realist”. Six years later, for the French authorities, Putin remains the least worst solution” — emphasized the expert.

Jacques Chirac was one of the most beloved in France, presidents. To his fellow citizens he was a man who said “no” to the war in Iraq, although he loved him not for his political ideas and actions, but rather the human qualities, openness and proximity to ordinary people. In 2014, the French called Chirac “the most pleasant and agreeable leader of the fifth Republic”. “I don’t like armored vehicles, because they can not fully open the window, — he admitted in an interview with the Russian TV channel ORT in 1997. — I like to go out the window with your hand”.
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