Kozhevnikov Petr Vasilievich
Journalist, pedagogue, ecology activist
Born on June 8, 1953. His great-grandfather, Petr Gotfridovich Ganzen, has come to Russia from Denmark and married a Russian woman – Anna Vasilievna Vasilieva. They began translating literary works together (Hans Christian Andersen, Henrik Ibsen, Lev Tolstoy, Ivan Goncharov, and many others).
Petr Ganzen had received a noble rank and the title of an actual counselor of state for his achievements. Anna Ganzen was the founder of the Leningrad Writer’s Union. Marianna Petrovna Ganzen-Kozhevnikova, his grandmother, was also fluent in several languages, and organized the department of Scandinavian languages in the Leningrad State University. The mother, Mariana Sergeevna Kozhevnikova, is also a translator and an educator; after the World War II she worked at the Nurenberg Trials. Inna Pavlovna Streblova, his sister, has translated many authors and has taught at the university for many years.
His first novel, entitled the “Melody of our Journals” came out in the international almanac Metropol at the Ardis publishing house in 1979. Its readings were broadcasted at Radio Liberty, BBC, and the Voice of America radio stations. In 1985 the novel was included in the American textbook of Russian literature. A few years later Evgenij Lugin had directed a film “Angels in Heaven” based on the novel. His first publication in Russia occurred in 1989 in the Youth magazine, which had printed his novel ”The Student.” It was followed by publications in various magazines and periodicals, such as “We”, “The Star”, “Petropol”, ”Russian World”, “University Bank”, etc. In 1991 a compilation of fiction in the anthology “The Island” came out, and in 1999 in the book entitled “Don’t Deny Me.” P. V. Kozhevnikov is a member of the Writers’ Union and the Russian Literature Fund, as well as of the International PEN Club. He is also an activist of the Christian Democratic Party and the president of the Christian Ecological Union. In 1990 he wrote the screenplay for the film “The Shell”, directed by Igor Alimpiev, where he had also played the principal role. In the film “The Smile”, directed by Sergej Popov in 1991, he had performed one of the main characters. In the 1990s he had directed a series of programs and videos for various television programs, and made several reports for the “Liberty” radio station.
Kozhevnikov has never considered himself as either a Soviet, or a Soviet writer. He did not belong to the dissident movement, although he was often thought of and referred to as a non-conformist. He thinks that the writer and his literature should be above these primitive classifications of contemporary political situations. The atmosphere in which the writer exists is the source upon which he draws his fictional characters and the story lines for his writings. He is always engaged in the lives of his surroundings. He acts according to his interests and passions, even though such life entails a certain degree of risk and danger. He thinks that his own life is the most adequate field for experimentation. During the course of his life he has changed several guises, has lived through several destinies, approached several sudden finales, and, enthusiastically, began playing new roles.