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The best way out is always through. Robert Frost

 

MISHA PEDAN

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Kharkov

 

Kharkov is situated on the great Lopan river.

Kharkov is a very large city.

You be the judge.

A flight from its one end to the other takes 4 hours and 42 minutes. Kharkov is 16 times as large as New York, it has 200 million inhabitants (not counting suburbs).

 

Every other Kharkovian writes poems, every third is an artist, every fifth is a physicist, every sixth is an informer. 2174 Nobel, Lenin, Stalin and Shevchenko prize laureates live here. 168 generalissimos were born here, including Stalin, Franco, Chiang Kai-shek, Suvorov, etc.

 

It is not commonly known that it was in Kharkov, on Mount Kholodnaya Gora that Christ was crucified. Hence in Russian the initial letters of the great martyr’s name and those of the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic capital are the same.

 

At different times the following outstanding people have lived and worked in Kharkov: Lenin, Stalin, Voroshilov, Beria, Molotov, Brezhnev, Podgorny, Kosygin, Burliuk, Andropov, Ioganson, Sholokhov, Kozlovsky, Brusilovsky, Dunayevsky, Sapgir, Kholin, Daniel, Sinyavsky, Stesin, Chagall, Grobman, Breton, Miró, Morozov, Khalif, Chakovsky, Matusovsky, Dolmatovsky, Nixon, Belmondo, Limonov, Schapova, Rubinstein, Livshits, Kabakov, Bulatov, Patsuikov, Belenok, Len, Gubanov, Nekrasov, Pushkin, Aleinikov, Lermontov, Khlebnikov, Michaux, Ivanov, Peskov, Makarov, Topor, Kurits, Savitsky, Neizvestny, Voznesensky, Yevtushenko, Chichibabin, Filatov, Cherevchenko, Basiuk, Miloslavsky, Vernik, Kuchukov, Vilnitsky, Semernin, Kruchenykh, Sukhomlinov, Krynsky, Kharchenko, Shabelsky, Morgun, Kuznetsov, Yermilov, Scheglov, Landkof, Grigorov, Yudenko, Sizikov, Tomenko, Savenkov, Karas, Voronel, Asbel, Giterman, Goncharenko, Tanfilov, Motrich, Maramzin, Shemyakin, Kuperman, Statsinsky, Kuzminsky, Verkholantsev, Koliushev, Litvinov, Zhutovsky, Yankilevsky, Yakovlev, Rozhin, Talanov, Tselkov, Rabin, E.L. Krapivnitsky, L. Krapivnitsky, Krapivnitskaya, Nemukhin, Zverev, Plavinsky, Kalinin, Khvostenko, Pyatnitsky, Lorik, Picasso, Mamleyev, Dudinsky, Talochkin, Andreyenkov, Frolov, Reznikov, Suslov, Veselovsky, Tumanovsky, Goloborodko, Klimovich, Aksyonov, Slavkin, Savely Tsypin, Lyosha Pugachov, Kultayeva, Gubina, Rakhlina, Rozovsky, Gelazonia, Arkanov, Gorin, Brainin, Lipskerov, Vladin, Aleshkovsky, Terteryan, Elibekyan, Saryan, Babadzhanyan, Eiramdzhan, Avetisyan, Akopyan, Okudzhava, Igityan, Karalyan, Aznavuryan, Shemet, Brel, Bachurin, Chikovani, Kusurgasheva, Toptygina, Skripkin, Magritte, Lautréamont, Golovin, Tokarev, Singer, Stepanchenko, Adabashyan, Mikhalkov, Rumer, Tolya-with-a-sack, Melkumyan, Airapetyan, Martynenko, Bondarchik, Dudenko, Chigarin, Vysokov, Vorontsov, Rosman, Rublev, Tyurin, Plekhanov, Shapovalov, Minev, Pokidchenko, Rafael (the artist), Rafael (the singer), Basov, Besedin, Sooster, Sobolev-Nolev, Koshkin, Lavrov, Kondaurov, Yukin, Tyunin, Rozantsev, Dubov, Lipov, Solntsev, Tkachenko-Shepelenko, Yudin, Drapaliuk, Priymak, Voyna, Vlasiuk, Volkova, Sheyman, Traskina, Shar and Rabinovich.

 

Kharkov produces the best toy watches in the world.

 

There are as many as two garbage wagons in Kharkov.

 

It was Kharkovians who invented radioactive dust, landing scow, comestibles, and the like.

 

It is in Kharkov that numerous idioms and aphorisms such as “Cunts and pricks know a few tricks”, “Hard as nails”, “Turn off the lights when leaving”, “Keep you money in the saving bank”, “The Communist Party has rallied the peoples” have been given life and continue being conceived.

 

Kharkov boasts the largest man-made mound in the world.

 

In Kharkov children are given information on matters that are useless in sexual education.

 

Kharkovians daily take captive 100,000 soldiers of the adversary.

 

99% of Kharkovians stammer when reading aloud.

 

Carl Marx's quotation (he studied in Kharkov) “Go and take a look, if only to please me” is stamped in gold on a 100 by 200 meter marble slab at the city entrance.

 

All Kharkovians feed on fish.

 

Boiling water in Kharkov is icy cold.

 

All Kharkovians limp.

 

Last year Kharkov owed Chisinau $50.

 

From above, Kharkov looks like a chicken.

From the left, Kharkov looks like a heptagon.

From the right, Kharkov looks like Shakespeare (he was also from Kharkov).

From below, Kharkov looks like an axe with a short handle.

 

To conclude, let’s dwell upon the word Kharkov. In Kharkov criminal vernacular, ‘Khar’ means the imperative of ‘copulate’ and ‘kov’ sounds like ‘cow’ in English.

 

 

Vagrich Bakhchanyan vienna 1974

 

translated by Igor Manko

 

Copyright © Misha Pedan