The Genre Of Portrait Sketch In Fiction Journalism Of Mustai Karim


The study subject of this article is the sketches by the national poet of Bashkortostan Mustai Karim, in which the author has an interested and friendly conversation about such masters of the poetic word of brotherly literatures as Rasul Gamzatov, Mirzo Tursun-zade and Shukurullo. The study relevance determined by the fact that the genre nature of prose, namely, the poet's journalism in modern national literary criticism remains a poorly studied area. The work novelty lies in the fact that it pays special attention to tracing the concept of Mustai Karim in revealing the portrait images of the poets of fraternal literatures. At the same time, M. Karim's open expression of his thoughts, views, position relates the hero as a specific exponent and bearer of the idea of the work, allows him to focus on one of the defining qualities in the hero personality, on his creative credo, life principles. The characteristic obtained in this way becomes the figurative and semantic image center, the core when transforming facts and situations into an artistic and journalistic image. Typological analysis of the content and structure of the sketches created by them, analytical and systemic-complex research methods allow us to define these works as an artistic and journalistic chronicle of the life of our people and country over the past seventy years or more.

Keywords: Journalism, Mustai Karim, national literature, portrait, sketch


Fiction journalism of Karim, like poetry, dramaturgy, prose, occupies a special page in the author's creative biography (Gareeva & Mustafina, 2019). He created about two dozen works in the portrait sketch genre. A complete list and sketch texts give in the book: Karim Mustai. Writings. VI volume: memoirs, literary portraits. These works represent a mosaic composed of personal and creative portraits of the author's contemporaries and friends – Tvardovsky, Simonov, Mikhalkov, Dudin, Kuliyev, Gamzatov, Tursun-zade and other Soviet poetry luminaries (Akhmadiev et al., 2021). In his journalism, Karim writes about those people who have a moral core. The world belongs to man – it is this thought that permeates the images of the heroes of Karim. Drawing creative portraits of talented individuals, the author seeks to reveal the personality of the creator to his readers (Akhmadiev & Kashfeeva, 2010).

Problem Statement

In modern national humanitarian science, more and more scientists devote their scientific research to the issue of multilateral study of the creative heritage of the national poet Mustai Karim. Although many Russian researchers have studied the poetry and dramaturgy of a talented writer quite fully and in many aspects, the genre originality of prose, especially journalism, as well as the concept of expressing the author’s artistic thought precisely in portrait sketches dedicated to representatives of other national literatures, remains a poorly studied area. In the field of view of Karim's journalism are the problems of continuity in the development of national literatures, their interaction, including the convergence of genres, the preparation of a young literary succession (Shadmanov, 2010).

Research Questions

M. Karim in the sketch “On Rasul Gamzatov” builds his narrative on the direct presentation of his thoughts and facts, and not on the polemical reasoning and not on the non-triviality of the conclusions. By this, the author relies on his own good knowledge of the life and work of Rasul Gamzatov, which gives the narrator reason to argue as follows. Karim (2015) notes that from Gamzatov’s poems one can feel not only the subtlest movements of his soul, but even recreate the appearance of the poet. The sincerity and authenticity of his poetry possesses such power and draws the following conclusion: “Rasul Gamzatov’s talent and skill sparkled especially because he sprinkled the so-called “eternal themes” with the living water of modernity: love, friendship, duty, fidelity…” (p. 243) Karim notes that early inspiration touched him with the wing of Pegasus, awakening in him the gift of a poet. Very early, Rasul followed in the footsteps of his father, the national poet of Dagestan Gamzat Tsadasi. Since then, the work of the soul and heart began, a work that subjugated his entire essence. Since then, Mustafa Safich amazed, as he himself admits, by his power over his violent, sparkling talent. He makes talent work, he is not afraid of overload. Labor does not give rest and respite and noisy feast, and for a quiet friendly conversation, and in a fleeting conversation, and in response to a random question. The peace of talent is a concept that is unacceptable for him. He sings like a nightingale, not revealing his whereabouts and, of course, not keeping track of his songs. How did it happen that in the interpretation of the publicist, the image of Rasul Gamzatov acquires a new, hitherto unknown quality is a nightingale-worker? With such verses, Rasul Gamzatov went to his native Avarian people, and they accepted him. Karim (2015) argues about this:

The work of Rasul Gamzatov is original, truly national in its appearance and warehouse. Its roots go deep into the spiritual life of the highlanders – the former and the modern. From complex systems of images to minor details, there is a vivid national thinking and aesthetic outlook in it. (p. 244)

As the author of the sketch admits, sometimes “it seems to him that the poet, with greed and passion, discovers his people for himself, knowing them selflessly, admiring them. And he expresses his personal, secret: “With his books and all his human being, Rasul entered my world, into the hearts of my relatives” (p. 245). Rapid and convincing was the rise of Rasul Gamzatov in poetry. The more stubbornly he continued his ascent, the deeper he penetrated into the thick of people's life, notes Karim, the closer the great and small concerns of the country and the world became, the more thoughtful and wiser his voice sounded. And any height was not an obstacle for him. At the same time, the peaks of the heights conquered by Rasul Gamzatov are the discovery of his people before the whole world, admiration and artistic recreation of his character (Sultanov, 2014). This is the main quality of the portrait, the citizen, and poet Rasul Gamzatov is a phenomenon in the Avarian, Russian and all world literature.

As it happened in relations with many writers, Karim, and this time, more specifically, begins his story about the Uzbek poet Shukurulla with a mention of his book called “Support”, published in Russian. “Support” is not the poet’s final or next book, the author of the lines notes, “it is his new book, he came to it through experience, through the gains and losses of those years that I could not help but remember.” The book “Support” is a good reason to talk about Shukurullo's poetry, and literary creativity, including translation. According to M. Karim, Shukurullo's path in poetry was uneven. The name of the Uzbek poet quite early reached the ears of poetry lovers outside his native land. This became a reality after the First All-Union Conference of Young Writers, when his poems began to be translated into Russian. But it turns out that what is very essential and enduring in the works of the young poet did not reach the multinational reader through translation into Russian (Shadmanov, 2010). Every so often a verse so brilliant in the original, its national flavor, became faded, its subtle irony and noble slyness, the metaphorical meaning, were obscured. Karim, who is well acquainted with the poet's poems in the original language and the language of translation, saw the reason for such negativity not only in the translation problems. He writes: It happened that the poet himself was not always even in his voice, picky in the choice of songs. But in general, the great original poet Shukurullo, who cannot be confused with anyone else and cannot be replaced by anyone, has existed for a long time. Further, Karim argues: “We were familiar with his poems. Did we just know each other? Not quite the way it should have been” (Karim, 2015, p. 250). The author of the sketch shares his thoughts on translation and its problems, which are of practical importance for the future and for all literatures, universally. Valuable is his observation about the relationship between two methods in the practice of translation are literal translation and free translation. In the translation, Karim considers the inadmissibility of none of these methods. Each extreme in its own way destroys the living fabric of the verse. But these extremes are less terrible than approximation. Approximation kills on the spot. Thanks to the excellent translation by Naum Grebnev, Rimma Kazakova, Yulia Neiman, Oleg Dmitriev of the poems included in the collection “Support”, this new book, by definition, has become a noticeable phenomenon not only in the work of the poet himself, but in all our multinational poetry. The book dominates by the maturity of the mind and heart, achieved both by the years lived and by the time experienced. The birth of a verse is not only the discovery of the world, but also its renewal, albeit a small one, but a renewal. This renewal process, through a constant reassessment of oneself and one’s relationship with life, is, in my opinion, the moral basis of Shukurullo’s work recently, the publicist concludes his story (Karim, 2015).

In some sketches about contemporary poets, M. Karim cites excerpts from the works of these masters of the word, the future heroes of the sketch, as an epigraph to the narrative. This happened in the sketches “About Rasul Gamzatov”, “Wise Heart” (M. Rylsky), “Memories at the Sea's Edge” (K. Simonov), "About Shukurullo" and others. This time is about “building a bridge” Mirzo Tursun-zade, with this epigraph:

Interlocutor of eagles,

You climbed the ridge

Holding in the palm of your hand

young star.

In the image of this poet, the interlocutor of the eagles, carrying on his outstretched hand the bright star of the new Tadzhik literature, he represents Mirzo Tursun-zade. A man whose word and name by that time had become part of the common spiritual conquests of our country peoples. The author of the sketch likens the arrival of Tursun-zade in literature to the reflection of a distant lightning, which informed the whole world about his fame, about his juicy and abundant poetry (Samirkhanova, 2021). “It was as if the poet did not come to us directly from his Gissar valley,” writes Karim (2015);

But first made a journey of many thousands and centuries ago, into the depths of the East, then, having again conquered the Himalayas, turned to the West. And he, having contained Tadzhik joy and Indian sadness in his heart, reached other, foreign-language limits. (p. 252)

The poet knows well

Crying is harsh,

Crying is cruel,

But nobody cries like that

How the East cries.

The youthful, rising happiness of the new East and the unshed tears of the old East have become the essence of the outstanding poet's work, says Mustafa Safich. His sincere words and deep thoughts, reasoning and conclusions, with discreet comparisons, inconspicuous colors, make it clear the truth of Mirzo Tursun-zade's poetry, its national, Tadzhik roots. Karim reflects: “When I listen with fascination to the rustle of the leaves of the poetry tree grown by Mirzo Tursun-zade, I certainly feel that its roots are in Karatag, in the Pamirs, the land of his fathers. This can only explain the nationwide fame of the name and work of the poet in his homeland, the love, and honor that surrounds his personality.” At the same time, the author of the sketch substantiates the happy creative fate of the Tadzhik poet by the fact that the love of compatriots for him turned into recognition of other peoples. Speaking about the poetry of Mirzo Tursun-zade, the publicist expresses such a cherished thought that it is perhaps not so difficult to compose poetry in a language that, thanks to the magic of the great masters, has become almost completely subject to the poetic style. Being a poet of the Tadzhik-Persian language, it is impossible to be like the great Rudaki, Saadi, Khayyam, Hafiz – these titans who penetrated the secrets of the human soul, comprehended the nature of passions, and knew the depths of the mind (Abdullina et al., 2016). But one cannot be a poet, in general, without remaining oneself are questions relating to all representatives of the literature of all times and peoples. Of particular value in assessing the work of Mirzo Tursun-zade, its significance in the literatures of the East, the words of Karim, developing the idea of the poet originality (Lomunova, 1985). The author is resolute on the issue that Tursun-zade did not become an epigon of the great poets of the East, and did not enter into an unequal battle with them, but became a magnificent and courageous signalman between two poetic eras. “From the shore of the past to the shore of the future, he did not swim, he did not even rush on a boat, but slowly and confidently walked along the bridge, pushing it ahead of himself.” Further: “Penetration into the pressing problems of our time, deep faith in the moral and aesthetic ideas, the ideological principles of his time – this is what helped and is helping Mirzo Tursun-zade to creatively master the poetic heritage of his brilliant predecessors, carefully, in a businesslike way to dispose of it.” Speaking about the poetic creativity style, the author of the sketch notes that the lyrics of Tursun-zade dispose the reader with their epic authenticity. In such poetry, there is no anguish of feelings, fussiness of thoughts. It is characterized by an indefinite tense calmness (Khakimov, 2016). But the external restraint, the slowness of the poet's inner gaze, is not so much openness, but the nakedness of his sympathetic, compassionate heart. In the poems of Tursun-zade, the author of the sketch finds, next to the lyrical hero, the constant presence of the author himself, his intervention during events, they make them lyrical, emotionally rich. Karim notes the scale of both mental and physical actions of the hero Tursun-zade. Wherever a balanced and sedate poet is, no matter whom he talks about with the voice of all Asia, he never remains indifferent to what he narrates or sings about.

Purpose of the Study

The article purpose is a deeper and more detailed study of the genre and style nature of Mustai Karim's artistic and journalistic sketches and tracing the author's concept in revealing portrait images of writers of brotherly national literatures.

Research Methods

A typological analysis of the content and structure of the sketches created by Mustai Karim, analytical and systemic-complex research methods allow us to define these works as an artistic and journalistic chronicle of the life of our people and country over the past seventy years or more.


Based on the study of the portrait sketches of Mustai Karim, his artistic and journalistic prose, we obtained the following results:

  • the analysis of the portrait sketches by Karim shows that the works written by Mustai Karim in the indicated genre form constitute an impressive layer in the writer's journalistic work.
  • the informational reason for their appearance was various events, circumstances of social life and a subjective-personal plan, which became decisive in the everyday life and creative activity of the characters. These are party congresses, writer's forums, significant dates, anniversaries of writers, joint work in creative organizations, discussion, and publication of new books, anniversaries of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, and sad moments are the death of certain writers.
  • referring to the creative heritage of Mirzo Tursun-zade, Rasul Gamzatov, Shukrullo, the author reveals their original national image in poetic lines.
  • the author approaches the disclosure of the creative portrait of each poet individually, adding new touches to them.


In the center of the narrative in the sketches written by Karim are creative personalities, to whose creative credo the author expresses the attitude of a writer who has become wise enough with a fairly large worldly experience and significant writing practice, besides being one of the leaders of the writer's organization in Russia. The author of sketch works tells with interest about the state of affairs in Russian multinational literature, pointing to the achievements of individual genres. It does not ignore the mistakes in creating a modern hero, mastering a creative individuality by young writers.


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23 December 2022

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Akhmadiev, R. B., Mustafina, R. D., & Gareeva, G. N. (2022). The Genre Of Portrait Sketch In Fiction Journalism Of Mustai Karim. 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.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization- ISCKMC 2022, vol 129. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 759-765). European Publisher.