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The last Robin Hood: "There is no longer doing such a thing!"

Vasily Solkin spoke about his new book, and hinted that he was already writing the following

Warning: There are spoilers in this article, but they will only whet your interest. At the end of winter, in Vladivostok, a long-awaited book was presented by Vasily Solkin, a well-known film director, environmentalist, founder of the Call of the Taiga film studio, and deputy director of the Amur branch of WWF Russia for public relations, in Vladivostok. "The Last Robin Hood" is a collection of exciting stories, short stories and toasts, such as "Leopards, with whom I personally know", "Year of the wild horse", "Year of the faithful dog", "Tmutarakan chronicles", and others. East Russia learned from the taiga chronicler and tracker that it did not make it into the cinema.

The last Robin Hood: "There is no longer doing such a thing!"
Photo: Alexander Hitrov
Information: His work in Primorye Vasily Solkin He began as a military journalist for the Pacific Fleet. In 80, he was the star of the author's song ("Waltz Dersu", "Summer has grown old", "Span of ducks on Lake Khanka"). I got into the scientific team of the Pacific Institute of Geography, which was the first in the region to master the methods of catching leopards and tigers for radio tracking. In parallel, Vasily Solkin founded the magazine, subsequently the film studio "Call of the taiga", which is popularly called Russian National Geographic. 

For 18 years, the film studio has released more than fifty films marked with the highest awards (All-Russian competition of environmental journalism, the national literary prize "The Golden Pen of Russia", etc.) He and his colleagues dedicated 7 films and a series to the Far Eastern leopard. Now in Russia there are about 70 "unique seaside animals", as Solkin calls them. In April 2014, the publicist was awarded the Order of Honor for his significant contribution to the development of Russia, achievements in the humanitarian sphere and active social activities. Now Vasily Anatolyevich works as Deputy Director for Public Relations of the Amur branch of WWF Russia. 

“The Last Robin Hood” is not the first literary experience of the author. At the dawn of 90's story of the same name appeared in the book series "In Exceptional Circumstances" by Dalizdat. Illustrations for the new book made by Far Eastern artist Alexander Arsenenko. The editors were writer Vasily Avchenko and journalist Andrei Ostrovsky. “Detective, fantasy, utopia, autobiographical and diary notes reveal to the reader a rich palette of copyright literary skill. It would seem that after Arsenyev, Prishvin, Basargin it is difficult to say a new word about our taiga. Solkin argues that this is possible, ”notes Andrei Ostrovsky in the annotation to The Last Robin Hood.

Sofya Okulovskaya.jpg
Photo: Sofia Okulovskaya

- Who is he - "The Last Robin Hood"? Is it a collective image, or was someone specific served as a prototype? Direct parallels in the spirit of "take away from the rich, distribute to the poor" is not worth looking for here, everything is allegorical?
- The image is absolutely invented. Although, of course, my friends, who received orders in Afghanistan (I was there only one day), left an imprint on this story. And I was amazed when a year after the release of the story (the author means the release of the story “The Last Robin Hood” in the “In exceptional circumstances” series from Dalizdat - East Russia) the special inspection “Tiger” was created.

- How was the thought of the creation of this book born, how long did you bear it?
- I had no idea was born. Ostrovsky came from Avchenko (journalist Andrei Ostrovsky and writer Vasily Avchenko - East Russia) and say: "You fucking add up immediately - and we will publish."

- How many parts, pages, how many copies came out "The Last Robin Hood"?
- This is a team hodgepodge. There both stories, and essays, and a series of toasts ... Circulation - just a thousand copies. So hurry to the bookshop "Nevelskoy" in Vladivostok. And it will not get it!

- How long did it take to work, what difficulties did you encounter in the process?
- One difficulty happened. In that part of the book, where about leopards, I suddenly realized that I was writing a huge number of obituaries, for cats live for fifteen years, and I already have sixty. I had to throw out sixty percent from the book.

- Where are the events unfolding?
“But where did they turn around?”

- What genre can be attributed to the novel? What definition would you give yourself?
- This is a salad from a completely different genre of works. And so he is interesting (if he is interesting to someone).

- Why is "Robin Hood" exactly the "last"? Sounds pretty hopeless.
“Because they don't make them anymore ...”

- Artist Alexander Arsenenko did illustrations specifically for this book?
- Specially. He was the first reader of the book, and read it from beginning to end. And I guessed with illustrations so much that I could not say anything. Only agree.

- This is not the first literary experience, but what were the stories about that appeared in the collections “In Exceptional Circumstances”?
- There were also a toy-book for children, the Amur Tiger and the Far-Eastern Leopard, reprinted five times each.

- What is the reflection in the Last Robin Hood that found the cause of your life - the preservation of the Far Eastern leopard?
- Well, in the book there is a piece of text dedicated directly to leopards. Maybe not very detailed - but I will add in the next book.

- How is the Call of the Taiga doing now?
- As a glamorous glossy magazine for taiga (the only one in Russia then), it existed 19 years. Today, only the “Call of the Taiga” studio has survived. However, its existence is also questionable, because Gena Shalikov, the most important operator, left us. He is now in the Valley of the Happy Hunt ... And others do not do these now. He was the best. Given the fact that he simply had no competitors, and could not be. 

And the point is not that it was only he who could freeze an ass at minus twenty with a seaside wind on a tree knot in a tent for eighteen days, waiting for the arrival of a leopard. And the point is not that having chosen the “sacrifice” for the kin — whether it’s a soft-bodied turtle or a sable — he devoted himself to the whole shoot, and the impossible became possible. And the point is not that he carried loyalty to the destroyed Daltelefilm through all our friendship, painfully continuing the traditions of Shepshelevich, Shatskov, Patrushev and others. And even the fact is that not a single bourgeois film about the wild nature of Russia ( National Geographik, BBC, Animal Planet, etc.) would not have taken place without its frames. And it’s certainly not the case that he made the two best films “Call of the Taiga”, contrary to my directorial vision, in his own way. 
The thing is different. He never lied to himself or others. Therefore, these others often considered him rude and politically incorrect. But in fact, there, inside him, was hiding a very, very kind, gentle and vulnerable person. Who took, tired - and left.

Photo: Illustration from the book "The Last Robin Hood" 

- In the past You said to our agency: “Now we really want to have time to professionally grow those who continue our work so that they take upon themselves the new era of taiga stories” - do you already have these guys or girls?
- Neither in sight nor in reality there is ... There are a lot of people who want to travel through the taiga, to meet sunsets and sunrises in nature. But strain yourself to learn to think like a leopard - no ...

- If you fantasize what, in your opinion, will become with Primorye and the Far East in 20, 50, 100 years? What changes will occur, what scenarios are possible?
- I am sure that we will be able to save the unique phenomenon on the planet called “Ussuriyskaya Taiga”. Although for this saving, we, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Amur Tiger Center will have to fight.

- What are you dreaming about?
- Well, I have long forgotten how to dream. I will add it in the next book. That's how I'm made. As soon as a finished product appears - be it a movie, or, in this case, a book, thoughts appear: this is not the case, this needs to be rewritten, this is re-filmed ... So now I am frantically writing a new book. The truth about us. People who gave their whole lives to the Ussuri taiga.

Photo: Vasily Solkin at the camera trap

Reader reviews about the book The Last Robin Hood:  

Natalia Ostrovskaya:

“I read everything that was collected under the cover (before I read only something). Amazing reading. Like a lively conversation. Rare in importance and candor. Do you know how it is? They met, talked, and the feeling that zilch - there is no communication, trust, sincerity. And this book speaks to you, shares, calls, enlightens, entertains. Calls things by their proper names. Nonsense - nonsense. Heroism - heroism. But heroism is simply a necessity, routine, and therefore no heroism is. Not my God. “He wanted to kill me, but this is not my business. This is Ivan Ivanovich's case. ” Vasya, forgive me if I quote inaccurately. It is ridiculous to protrude the hero, when now everything is real, "eco-friendly", and the beloved taiga, including, is, alas, a leaving nature. And even bold and successful attempts to build a paradise in a separate “tundrasavan”, even your honest participation in these attempts - everything that you do ends in a general catastrophe. 

When everything is bad, good only with humor. So Solkin knows how to laugh like no one else. Everything is bad, but a new literary genre was invented: toast. Well, what a miracle these Vasiny toasts, collected in the "memoir" "Year of the Faithful Dog"! Read, read urgently, if you feel sad and dull at heart. Just "catch" the desired wave. And read, not noticing the time and own silly smile. 

Special, unique Solkinsky style. A special "material" ... What else is written in the reviews? What is there to write? I do not know, I do not know ... Let Solkin have new films and books, new familiar chipmunks, newts and leopards. All of us to the joy. Let it be. Vasya, thank you for "The Last Robin Hood." God forbid, not the last! "

Ekaterina Hidirova:

“The most pleasant aftertaste after reading" The Last Robin Hood "by Vasily Solkin. I am extremely grateful to Vadimych, Vasil Olegych and other initiators who persuaded Vasily Solkin to go to print !!! Reading, I'll tell you like a movie, but only on paper. And on this paper, not only images (to a greater extent, not two-legged) characters come to life. Our taiga comes to life on it. 

And yet, I really love the smell of freshly printed paper products (why don't perfume companies come up with such a line?) So, from the book by Vasily Solkin it originally smells like this typographic scent. But, starting to read, you feel the smells of ... taiga seeping through this typographic scent. And more and more with each page. In general, I recommend it. We read and enjoy. We also buy and give to friends! "

Valentina Voronova:

“What a modest circulation was published the book of our countryman Vasily Solkin - only 1000 copies. It seems that it will disperse in a few days. This is one of those publications that the Far-Easterners will disassemble into their home libraries and carry the gift to former countrymen. For myself, I have already scheduled recipients: I will send to France and Israel, to Spain, to Germany, to Ukraine - first of all.

Do you know the feeling of haste, when urgent domestic affairs distract from reading the book begun? Someone can wait, lie down and come back to her. And there are those, when you meet any distraction with irritation and eagerly awaiting a return to the tab between the pages? It was with such tension that I read a book by V. Solkin - an ecologist, journalist, filmmaker, researcher, tracker, popularizer of science, and, finally, a humanist. The story "The Last Robin Hood" - not so much and not only about the seaside taiga with its rare fauna, which has recently disappeared, but is being revived now. Now our tigers and leopards are not only on candy boxes and T-shirts, on the nose of an airliner, on postcards and calendars and in films. Now they are our equal neighbors in the common house. And thanks to the Internet of our beauties you can see even now - camera traps and cameras to help. And in vain, the author grieves at the end of the story about the disbanded detachment of "chingachguk". Having lost some, the detachment acquires new and new volunteers, and it is thanks to them that the Far Eastern taiga is being revived. And Vasily Solkin is her honest byte-writer. Although this story is still about people.

Someone may call the work an adventure story, someone a detective story. And she - about Russian life. About life, described in a good language, with a clear composition, excellent dialogues. In a word, take and read. And without much trouble, shoot the film: in the hands of the finished script. Summing up the thoughts about the book I read, I will quote the successful words of the Far Eastern journalist Vasily Avchenko: “There are Red Book animals. Solkin - Red Book Man. I'd add: and the writer. Simple, good, professional Russian writer from the Ussuri taiga. "

Photo: Far Eastern leopard. Vasily Solkin

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