YEREVAN/YABLONOVSKY, Russia — Few people in Armenia know Russian linguist and translator Alexey Lyubimov, despite his close ties with Armenia and the Armenian language. Recently, Vadim Arutyunov’s interview with him was posted on the Internet, which aroused great interest among our compatriots. Thank you to Vadim Arutyunov for revealing this friend of ours to the Armenian people and the Armenian language!

Alexey was born in 1983 in Novoshakhtinsk, in the Rostov region. He studied languages at the Rostov-on-Don Institute of Foreign Languages. He worked as an editor of Armenian articles in Nakhichevan of Don newspaper of the Armenian community of Rostov, and also taught Armenian at the Armenian Sunday school in Rostov. He lives in Yablonovsk, Republic of Adygea, with his Armenian wife and sons, Hayk and Daniel, and works as a freelance translator, translating from Armenian to English into Russian and from Russian to English.

Correspondence and telephone conversations started between me and Alexei. I admire his fluency in speaking and writing Armenian.

Dear Alexey, the website of Russian translators mentions that your native language is not only Armenian, but also Russian. And that is in the case when you do not have Armenian origin and did not grow up in Armenia. How is that possible?

As a child I had many Armenian friends and I already spoke Armenian, mainly in the Artsakh dialect. When I moved to Rostov-on-Don, I started attending the Armenian community in Rostov and learning literary Armenian. After some time, I decided to learn the Old Armenian, Western Armenian and many dialects of Armenian. The Armenian language has long been as dear to me as Russian, and Armenian culture, song, dance, cuisine have really become an integral part of my life.

How do you explain that despite the 200-year-old relations between Armenians and Russians, there are almost no Russian scholars possessing Armenian?

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To be honest, it is very surprising for me. Maybe the Armenian language seemed difficult and intricate to the Russians, and the Armenian alphabet is very unusual. However, it seems to me that due to the Internet and modern technologies, more and more people are interested in Armenia and Armenians in general and the Armenian language in particular. I hope the ranks of Armenian scholars will be replenished in the near future.

You say you know both Eastern and Western Armenian, as well as grabar and some dialects. What does this knowledge give you?

I am happy that I understand not only literary Armenian, but also all Armenian dialects, the living language of the Armenian people, I can feel the richness and depth of the Armenian language. Thanks to all this, I can also enjoy Armenian art and literature, which are a real treasure and an inexhaustible source of wisdom. In addition, my knowledge of Armenian dialects allows me to communicate and get closer to ordinary people who do not know the literary language.

What will it give to non-Armenians to learn Armenian?

Knowing Armenian will give non-Armenians an opportunity to communicate with the rich heritage of the Armenian people, the ancient, beautiful and unique Armenian culture, the history of the Armenian people. Knowledge of Armenian will allow them to easily communicate with Armenians living in different countries. People who speak Armenian will be able to read the works of Armenian authors in the original. For me personally, this is very important, because in my opinion, no translation is able to fully convey all the features of the original text,

You have translated two books from Armenian to Russian and a number of films.

In 2011 I translated the book Ak-Dagh: the Four-Year Struggle for Survival by Nazar Gabigian and Gulbenk Kalusdian, natives of Yozgat, one of the Ottoman Turkish provinces. During the Armenian Genocide, they hid in the mountains for four years, waging an unequal life-and-death struggle against the Ottoman army and numerous Turkish and Kurdish bandits. Among the works I have translated, there are also a number of scientific articles edited by Haykazun Alvrtsyan about the hidden Armenians in nowadays’ Turkey and their problems. Among the films I have translated are “Tigran the Great,” “Return to Ararat,” “Liberation of Shushi,” “Tevan Legend and Reality,” “Who is Monte?,” etc. The books were published with the support of the “People’s Memory” NGO and Yerkramas newspaper, after which they were distributed in the Russian-speaking environment of the Armenian communities. The Russian versions of the films were made with the support of Vadim Arutyunov, Arthur Gevorgyan, Vadim Badalyan and the editor-in-chief of Yerkramas newspaper Tigran Tavadyan and are distributed through YouTube and various websites.

You also speak Azerbaijani. Do any Azerbaijani speakers bother you?

Strange as it is, such cases have never happened in my life. I meet mostly good people, regardless of their nationality. Maybe I am lucky, I do not know. I have some acquaintances from Azerbaijan, who do not live in Azerbaijan, are far from politics, are not under the influence of Baku’s propaganda and treat Armenians and Armenia well. Some of them even have Armenian friends.

What does Armenia mean to you?

Armenia is my spiritual homeland. Armenia is the place where I feel free. Everything is dear to me there. I miss the kind, open-hearted, warm and hospitable people of Armenia, the wonderful nature, the high mountains, the fresh air and the water, I would like to visit Armenia often. I hope I will have such an opportunity soon.

You translate from Armenian on your own initiative, without material reimbursement. I wish that from now on our compatriots, in Russia or Armenia, use your translation skills, paying for your work, to support your family and visit Armenia often.

I have always wanted representatives of different nations to get acquainted with the Armenian culture, to study the history of the Armenian people, to know the truth about Armenia, to form an opinion based on facts, as opposed to the lies that are spreading everywhere today. It is a great honor for me to be useful to the Armenian people and Armenia. That’s why I translate from Armenian for free, but at the same time I understand that money plays an important role in our lives, because it allows us not only to keep our family, but also to achieve different goals, to do what we like. I am ready to cooperate with anyone to whom my knowledge can be useful.


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