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Birthday Swim for Russian Writing



The two shores of Coral Bay are separated by about 1 km. Photo by Lev Lobov


Andreas, the boss of Water Sports, Coral Bay (left), and Lev Lobov determine the final point of the first leg of the swim. Photo by Tatiana Makarova


Back stroke. Photo by Tatiana Makarova


Lucie Robson of Cyprus Weekly is checking the shots she has taken. Photo by Tatiana Makarova


Once his feet touch the rock, Lev sets on his way back. Photo by Tatiana Makarova


Coral Bay is a popular beach resort. Photo by Tatiana Makarova


Spurting at the finish. Photo by Ivailo Velkov


Well done, Lev! Photo by Tatiana Makarova


Reading the swim time: exactly 35 minuntes. Photo by Ivailo Velkov


The triumphant Lev is joined by Kira Vasilyeva, his wife and book’s co-author. Photo by Tatiana Makarova


Kira Vasilyeva is presenting the book to the journalists. Photo by Tatiana Makarova


The presentation was followed by refreshments. Photo by Ivailo Velkov


Kira Vasilyeva on the night of the same day 11th of July 2011. Photo by Lev Lobov


A Russian man has swam across Coral Bay in a celebration of both his birthday and the launch of a unique book related to Russian literature he has produced with his wife.

Lev Lobov swam two km across Coral Bay and back again on Monday to celebrate his 66th birthday and mark the launch of 'Peredelkino. A Tale of the Writers’ Village’, a book he has co-authored with his wife, Kira Vasilyeva on a famous literary village on the outskirts of Moscow.

                Lobov took 35 minutes to complete the swim in calm waters under blue skies. Afterwards he told reporters that he felt well and was happy to have completed the birthday celebration.

Lev swam crawl over the greater part of the 2 km distance. Photo by Ivailo Velkov

              "I swim the distance at least five days a week so was prepared and had some idea of what to expect. I usually swim more slowly and take about 45 minutes but felt so excited by the challenge of the day that I pushed myself.”

              Lev Lobov celebrated his 66th birthday by swimming 2 km across Coral Bay, Cyprus. 11072011. Video 1. Video 2.

  Lobov, who often swims with an inflatable shark attached to his leg in order to alert jet skiers and boats of his presence, was followed and protected by a press boat for his birthday swim.

                “I had a strange birthday. I was born in a small village on the Volga River in the log hut of my grandmother. My mother was there because it was 1945 and my father was in Germany with the Red Army after the Battle of Berlin,” Lobov reminisced.

                “Then the next day on July 12, my grandmother took me to a church one km away and had me christened. It was quite risky for my father’s career because he was a Bolshevik. Anyway, because of this I have two birthdays. One on July 11 when I was really born and an official one on the next day when my birth was recorded at the registrar of births as July 12.”


A rocky tip at the South-Western section of Coral Bay is the final point of the first leg of the swim. Photo by Ivailo Velkov

His birthday was only one reason for the swim across Coral Bay. Lobov, who trained and worked as a physical metallurgist until his retirement, has a love of Russian literature which inspired him to cooperate on Peredelkino with his wife Kira Vasilyeva who was born in the village and visited many of the literary homes in her youth.

                In the mid-1930s Peredelkino was handed over to the Union of Soviet Writers for development as a location for the writing elite of the day to live and work.

                Within a few years it became a home for writers such as Boris Pasternak of Doctor Zhivago fame, Korney Chukovsky and Arseny Tarkovsky, while Nobel Prize winner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn was sheltered there by fellow writers after he was expelled from the writing fraternity.

                The village also is the site of a cemetery where many Russian writers are laid to rest.

Lev was finishing at the shallow North-Western corner of Coral Bay. Photo by Ivailo Velkov

Vasilyeva’s personal connection to Peredelkino inspiered the couple to write a book on the village which covers its history, stories about its renowned inhabitants and photographs of its most prominent homes and architecture.

The hard-cover book has 600 pages and weights three kilos.

It is in album format with close to 400 images and sums up as an illustrated history of Russian literature in the 20th century.

Lobov supplied half of the pictures for the book with the remaining being sourced from image agencies and donations. The front cover shot of Pasternak’s house in an autumnal scence was donated by a St. Petersburg resident who was in love with Peredelkino.

Written in Russian, with sections in English including the introduction, table of contents, dual Russian/English image captions and abridged history, the book was produced in a limited edition of 1000. Showcased at the London Book Fair in the spring and on sale in Moscow bookshops, it is garnering interest from university libraries and readers who have special interest in Russian literature and culture.

The couple also hopes that there will be interest from the sizable Russian community in Cyprus.

“We had been gathering material for this book for 30 years,” Vasilyeva said. “When the finished book arrived I was crying. It was like having a child.”

The couple is now planning a new book which also be nonfiction and revolve around literary themes.

Lev Lobov with his Peredelkino book. Photo by Ivailo Velkov

Details about ‘Peredelkino. A Tale of the Writers’ Village’ are available at www.peredelkino-land.ru.

The majority of the site is in Russian with a link to several pages translated into English.

Presently the book can be ordered from Russia for Euro 149.00 plus shipping and handling costs which Lobov said are an additional Euro 30 to Euro 40.

Author: Lucie Robson

Source: The Cyprus Weekly, July 15-21, 2011


Оpen book pp. 1-23  /  Оpen book pp. 218-245

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