Interaction Between Literary Traditions In Mustai Karim's Journalism


The paper is focused on studying relations between various ethnic literary traditions in journalism of Bashkir national poet Mustai Karim. A prominent place in Mustai Karim's journalism is taken by works dedicated to life and works of Russian Soviet writers as well as those of representatives of other ethnic literatures of the Soviet Union and, later, Russian Federation. Humanism and admiration fill creative portraits of his friends, Tvardovsky, Simonov, Mikhalkov, Dudin, Gamzatov and other famous Soviet writers. When Perestroika and democratization started in Russia, there was a change in journalism of the national poet, it started to sound passionate, ardent, insightful. New works appeared that reflect a new layer of thoughts and feelings of the writer, where a significant place is given to the topic of friendship between peoples, tolerance. To Mustai Karim, relations between various cultures and literary traditions represent bridges of friendship and mutual enrichment. Karim's journalism is characterized by a single style of writing. Whatever he was writing about, be it creativity, the fate of Bashkortostan and Russia, future of nation, events of tomorrow, you and us, he is deeply concerned with the fate of humanity. He has a special kind of warmth for the ethnicities whose representatives he shows in his works as characters and personalities. Karim's journalism is still relevant as it makes its reader think and reflect.

Keywords: Ethnic literary traditions, journalism, mutual relations, Mustai Karim


Development of each ethnic literature, being based upon social and historical processes, happens in a constant interaction with literary traditions of other ethnicities and nations (Mazhitayeva et al., 2016). History of world literature includes history of various all-encompassing links that resulted in mutual enrichment of different national cultures.

Studying various forms of links between literary traditions covers different aspects of the process. For instance, one of the forms is analyzing interactions between large artistic figures (Shadmanov, 2010). English spirituality and language: the interdependence of the linguophilosophical dialogue West-East, Fan, Tashkent.

Problem Statement

Mutual links, enrichment and interactions between various ethnic literary traditions is among the most relevant objectives of literary studies covering all the periods of literary development. Mustai Karim, national poet with global fame, made a great contribution to strengthening friendly links between different ethnic literatures not only within Russia but globally. Life and works of Mustai Karim, a writer, poet and playwright, have been studied to sufficient depth; his poetry and plays have been thoroughly analyzed. However, another area of his creativity has been evading attention of critics and researchers, namely, his journalism, where relations between brotherly ethnic literary traditions and creative portraits of their prominent representatives takes a significant place. Studies of this area of the writer's work would provide rich material for further research into typology and laws of development of various literary traditions.

Research Questions

In Karim's literary journalism, a central place is taken by the topic of literary brotherhood and unity of peoples (Gareeva & Mustafina, 2019). Mustai Karim's journalism is quite versatile in its genre and includes examples of portrait and problem-centered sketch, letters, conversations, travel essays and other genres (Alibaev et al., 2016). Here, we are going to consider some of them, namely, portrait sketch, travel essay, letter and memorial vignette. Each of the stated genres has its own problematics, genre and stylistic features and all of them work towards elaborating relations between Bashkir literary tradition and those of other ethnic literatures.

Humanism and admiration fill creative portraits of poet's friends, Tvardovsky, Simonov, Mikhalkov, Dudin, Gamzatov and other famous Soviet writers. It is the genre of artistic portrait that provides Karim with a possibility to tell about a person more than this person knows about themselves (Lomunova, 1985). In this aspect, succinct, specific details are getting a great force of literary generalization. For instance, when characterizing Rasul Gamzatov's laughter, the writer is like predicting longevity of the Avar poet: "Rasul Gamzatov knows how to smile, laugh, roar with laughter. But he never giggles. The one who can really laugh will live a long life"

When Karim writes about his colleague, Abdizhamil Nurpeisov, a Kazakh writer, he is showing him in an image of white snow (Khazretali et al., 2018).

Portrait of the character of by Sergey Mikhalkov contains interesting metaphors. Sobriety and self-control, abiding faith in good and justice – those are the paints used by the journalist in his portrait of this famous character.

The portrait of Gabdulla Tuqay is of high artistic merit. The journalist compares the Tatar poet to Aleksandr Pushkin. Tuqay is dear to Karim, he calls the Tatar poet his teacher. He is wholeheartedly admiring the talent of the poet. In his sketch, Karim shows Tuqay as a wise enlightener, a national poet of not only Tatars, but of Bashkirs as well.

The portrait of the poet Qaysin Quli is an expression of internal and external harmony of the poet. The writer shows Quli as a poet in the highest meaning of this world. The portrait finds uses for bright light and sunny colors. While reading this creative portrait, reader may feel the warmth of Quli's poetry and the light of his soul through the words of the writer. "In his poetry, a will for good and pleas for good overgrew into creation of good".

Karim's sketch of Maksim Gorky is titled. While Gorky is not a hero of our times and he is not with us today, according to M. Karim, he stays a standard of human dignity and high spirituality.

In his journalism, Karim writes about people having a moral fiber. The world belongs to humans – this thought goes through the characters of Karim's sketches. While creating his portraits of gifted individuals, the writer is working towards revealing creativity in his readers as well. They are stories allowing for observations to be made on behalf of the writer and his readers alike.

In order to transmit his thoughts, impressions of things seen and heard during his travels through the world, Karim selects a genre of travel essays. The topic of friendship among people around the globe, independent of their ethnicity and religion was a starting point for writing series of travel essays titled... (Akhmadiev et al., 2018). In his essay, the writer is telling about people living thousands of kilometers away from our country, in far-away Vietnam, yet close to us in their spirit. Among the characters of the essay there is the writer himself as well. He invites his reader to take a mental walk along the roads that he himself had taken and to get acquainted with Vietnam people, their culture, daily life and traditions.

A prominent place in Karim's works is taken by works dedicated to life and works of Russian Soviet writers and representatives of other ethnic literatures of the Soviet Union and Russian Federation.

is a work penned by Karim about a book of poems of the same name, the last lifetime publication of Mikhail Svetlov. Meeting the poet created conditions to talk about this collection of poems and its author, Svetlov, a man and a poet, and about his creativity.

Karim notes that Mikhail Svetlov is from those people who saw their share of ordeal and whose triumphs were rare and far between, but who "felt easier with the additional load that his country and passing time were putting on his shoulders".

The poet holds that it also reflected in his will to use his last match to light the high fires of poetry in hearts of people. "Courage of thought, courage of feeling, they are the source of light in the first window of the Hunter's House".

In this book, according to Karim, there is a beating heart open to kindness and emitting kindness. "This is the light of the second window of the Hunter's House. Then, he adds: "This book by Svetlov is not limited to drawing conclusions from a longstanding moral experience of the poet. It is also pointing its winged and sharp eyesight to the future".

"The third window of the Hunter's House is shining with the tireless wishes for achievements, belief in human might".

Despite its shortness, the portrait sketch is full of examples of fusion between thoughts and feelings, and it impresses the reader, being one of the works by Karim infused with love to Svetlov as a person, poet and citizen.

– that is the title of a sketch dedicated to Tatar poet Khasan Tufan. Creating an image of a man of thorny destiny, a talented representative of a brotherly literary tradition is a non-trivial task, requiring an adequate communication of serenity of mind and creative psychological stability.

Karim met Kh. Tufan many times, up to the demise of the latter, in different locations and under various conditions, in noisy, one-on-one during trips, in the open, at Akmanay, at Swan Lake; sometimes there were conditions facilitating open discussion of life and creativity. Karim several times expressed his regrets about hardships of personal and creative life of the poet. Tufan's answer was always calm and similar: "Let us leave me being. Let us talk about our mother, Literature". Sometimes he added, "and about our beloved Poetry". It was a confession of love of life and of creativity at the same time.

Every time, Karim was convinced of the fact that in desperate hours and during dark years, Mother Literature and Beloved Poetry led the poet out of an existential crisis every time.

Poetry of Kh. Tufan is not noisy, while the poet himself admit their flight of thoughts and feelings, which were alien to Tatar writers of the previous generation. Through the years of their acquaintance, only once he has confessed of a unity between poetry and his life experience: "My thoughts and my feelings are kind of unrestrained. They are unaccustomed to following the paths where many people went before".

Karim could not evade talking about attraction of being schooled in poetry by such a master as was Khasan Tufan and his creative influence over the younger representatives of Bashkir and Tatar literature, including himself. He shows some interesting examples from his own experiments in adopting Tufan's style. Later Karim recollected his understanding that in order to write like Tufan one shall be Tufan.

Tragedy of Khasan Tufan is not an isolated case in the new history of ethnic literatures of Russia. Karim names Tuqai, Jalil, Tufan among Tatars, Babich among Bashkirs, Kuliev among Balkars.. Their ordeals returned to their peoples in the form of spiritual richness and moral treasures. "People shall know the price of this treasures", M. Karim pleads. These persons, who like Khasan Tufan were named enemies of the people, required a lot of spiritual and physical strength to protect their good name and reputation and write wonderful works. In the soul of a person having spent sixteen years in prison camps there was no grievance, to say nothing of revenge for evil deeds he experienced: "He brought only kindness with him", Karim writes. He was living and enjoying the air of long-overdue freedom.

Karim admits: "I cannot say anything about the previous period, but during the last quarter century of his life, Khasan Tufan was intimately linked to Bashkortostan" (Karimov, 1999, p. 24). He became a true friend of not just Bashkir writers, but that of our whole multicultural literature.

According to Karim, Tufan lived through new achievements of Bashkir literature and worried about its blunders. The poet was an admirer of the local nature and dedicated his poems to it; he always willingly visited Ufa and Bashkortostan, and was always unwilling to leave. All this was caused by his love to Bashkir land and its people, the love full of humanism and freedom.

In his works, the author tells about phenomena, events and people using a bright metaphorical language. Narrating, he is reflecting and confessing, so sometimes the border between the author and his journalistic self is erased, resulting in authorial thought enriched with imagery is becoming the main character of the text.

Sketches dedicated to bright and original talents of S. Danilov, Marcinkevičius, Nurpeisov and others follow the same creative criteria. Especially notable is a text titled. It is a special case, as while by form this is a review, it is truly a representative example of scholarly literary analysis of a work.

Imaginative, aphoristic thought as a typological property of works in creative journalism is found in Karim's articles based on metaphoric generalization. A miniature article titled may be brought up in support of this thesis. Civic and creative example of the poet Miassar Basyrov practically forced the journalist to come to conclusion (that seemed surprising to himself): "It seems that we are getting only cursory acquainted with the works of our younger colleagues while they are still alive. When we revisit them, sometimes they may become a source of a true discovery".

A vignette on Aleksandr Filippov is ending with a thought: "Recently, in his poems there are more bitterness and tang, there are notes of anxiety and agonizing reflections. So it goes. Poetry is an echo of times. You have an explosion, you then have its echo. Poet's hair is graying more from worries of his country, than from those of his own. Let us respect this grayness as evidence of sacred ordeals".

Creation of sketches and vignettes is a main line in journalism of Karim. They are as poetic as his poetry and as epic as his prose. There, authorial thought, author's self, being a major character is rich in forms and possibilities for expressiveness.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this article is to study literary journalism of Mustai Karim in order to reveal interrelations between ethnic literary traditions and identify the role of his journalism in strengthening literary friendships between peoples of Russia and the world.

Research Methods

The research is based on analytic method, used to analyze literary and journalistic genres in the writer's creative output, and comparative method, used to compare general literary phenomena.


Research Results are as follows:

The authors studied journalistic output of the poet during the second half of the 20th century, that included examples in such genres as portrait sketch, travel essay, memorial vignettes, letters written through the years;

The following results on reflection of interrelation of literary traditions in creative journalism of Bashkir national poet Mustai Karim were obtained by the authors with the application of analytic and comparative methods:

  • showing creative portraits of literary artists pertaining to different ethnic literatures, the writer emphasizes such traits common for many of them as humanism, abiding faith in good and justice, allegiance to one's Motherland and unlimited love to one's native land. Poet's portrait sketches show individual style and talent of each wordsmith; he is especially keen on telling about long and strong friendships between writers going beyond their creative life into private life.
  • the topic of friendship between people around the globe independent of their ethnicity and religion was a starting point, motivating to the poet to writing a series of travel essays. There, Mustai Karim transmits his thoughts, impressions of seen and heard during his travels through the world
  • the poet, while painting a creative portrait of a representative of a single ethnic literature and admiring their talent, calls them masters of not just their ethnic literary tradition, but of the global multiethnic literature.


Thus, the conducted analysis of M. Karim's journalism shows that his journalism is still relevant as it makes its reader think and reflect. Mustai Karim's journalism is a set of poetic, artistic texts. His journalism is a spiritual page in our being. It raises important issues of life and eternal problems. The writer reflects on life, soul, dream, duty, place under the sun, moral origin together with his readers. Often, the talk smoothly changes into a talk to himself, to his own heart (Abdullina et al., 2016).

With the beginning of Perestroika and democratization of society, journalism of Karim found a new sound – passionate, ardent and insightful. New works appeared that reflect a new layer of thoughts and feelings of the writer.

Karim's journalism is characterized by a single style. Whatever he was writing about, be it creativity, the fate of Bashkortostan and Russia, future of nation, tomorrow, you and us, he is deeply concerned with the fate of humanity.


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29 November 2021

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Akhmadiev, R. B., Mustafina, R. D., & Bayguzhina, A. R. (2021). Interaction Between Literary Traditions In Mustai Karim's Journalism. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in The Context of Modern Globalism, vol 117. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1110-1116). European Publisher.