The Australian Dostoevsky Society
Jubilee Year – 200 Years since the Birth of F M Dostoevsky 1821-1881
STATEMENT BY THE AUSTRALIAN DOSTOEVSKY SOCIETY ON RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE
The President and Vice President of the Australian Dostoevsky Society lead the Society in their united and categorical condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
We stand with the people of Ukraine who have the right to live in a free and democratic society. We admire, in humility, the courage of the Ukrainian people who are resisting the Russian armed forces in defence of their nation’s existence. We appreciate the Russian people, who at risk to their own safety, are protesting en masse in condemnation of their President’s actions, reminding us that this was not done either with their consent or in their name.
Despite the terrible catastrophe we are witnessing, the ADS will continue to support Dostoevsky scholarship which is focused on studying Dostoevsky’s works as an aesthetic phenomenon, placing it in a social and historical context which critically examines the semiotic evidence of his fictional texts as well as his journalism, which are subject to different criteria of truth. As an ex-political prisoner, Dostoevsky was under police surveillance almost to the end of his life and always in peril of another arrest for sedition against the Tsarist Empire. In his journalism and even in his letters, he made assertions which are contradicted by the poetics of his novels – that is, he portrayed himself as a conservative nationalist when in fact his novels evoke a modern post-Euclidean scientific world, pre-empting the Existentialists’ vision of the universe.
In order to realise his creative vision, Dostoevsky appears to have adopted a public persona, with which he protected the part of his life which was dearer than life to him: his art. It is in his art that we seek the value of his legacy which, if examined hermeneutically and outside some of the received myths which have followed his life and work for 200 years, is still unsurpassed in the depth of the portrayal of the contradictions of the human being, with his reason and his unconscious drives which determine history.
In solidarity with ASEEES , we reiterate our support for the Ukrainian people who are currently suffering untold privations as well as danger to life, limb and property, and call on the Russian Government to stop the madness of war in Europe, to return Europe to peace and allow us all to enjoy the priceless heritage of our European civilization.
“The ADS promotes research into Dostoevsky’s links with the thinkers of his time, inside and outside Russia, and champions innovative theoretical approaches to the study of Dostoevsky’s works. The ADS supports The Dostoevsky Journal: A Comparative Literature Review as one of the main resources and publication outlets for international Dostoevsky research.”
Dostoevsky’s innovative poetics pre-empted the appearance of avantgarde movements such as literature of the Absurd and European Modernism. With his exemplary life as a political and social activist, political prisoner, philosophical and religious thinker, Dostoevsky can also serve as a window on the moral and political preoccupations of his time – not only those in 19th century Russia and Europe, but also in the New World (America) which was not beyond his horizon.
Who we are
The Australian Dostoevsky Society is a not-for-profit cultural organisation, promoting the study of the life and works of the Russian writer Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821 – 1881), who has made a lasting impact on the European literary canons and European aesthetics of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The ADS promotes research into Dostoevsky’s links with the thinkers of his time, inside and outside Russia, and in particular Dostoevsky’s declared interest in Hegel and the philosophy of history, which has been little studied to date.
The ADS is proud to be associated with the tradition of Dostoevsky studies in Australia, going back to the 1950s at the University of Melbourne and now in its 71st year.
Alexander (Sasha) Grishin AM, FAHA, Emeritus Professor, ANU
Slobodanka Millicent Vladiv-Glover (Monash U)
John Glover (Victorian Bar)
Members of Executive:
Edward Ascroft (Monash U)
James Jackson (Melbourne U)
Irene Zohrab (New Zealand Affiliate)
Natalia Batova (Melbourne U)