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Yevtushenko felt alarmed about rising tensions between Russia, US — poet's widow

April 06, 2017, 15:31 UTC+3 NEW YORK

The poet believed that Russia had no future without America, and America did not have a future without Russia

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Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko

© Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

NEW YORK, April 6. /TASS/. Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko was very concerned about the tensions between Russia and the United States in the last years of his life, his widow Maria Yevtushenko told TASS in an interview.

"When we watched the (presidential campaign) debates, we were disappointed to see such hostility towards Russia. It was very unpleasant to follow the pre-election campaign, it’s always easier to find an external enemy and build your policy this way," she noted.

"But Russia, Yevgeny would say, Russia has no future without America, and America does not have a future without Russia, they must work together to solve pressing problems - disease, hunger, terrorism," the poet’s widow explained.

"All this tension, the current relationship, Zhenya always stressed that it is the minds of politicians, ordinary people neither Americans with respect to Russians, nor Russians towards American, they don’t feel it."

According to Maria Yevtushenko, recently, when the poet’s health problems became known, when there was news that he had been hospitalized, and then, passed away, all their American friends and acquaintances offered their help.

"We never heard them say ‘that Russian’. No one here thinks like that. All our friends, regardless of nationality, race and so on, absolutely everyone, rushed to help us - our students, current and former, their relatives, our children’s friends, their parents, neighbors - absolutely everyone whose lives have been touched by Yevgeny. They came, called, wrote, asked what they could do to help, how to help with the organization of a memorial evening at the university (University of Tulsa, Oklahoma)," she said.

Right now, Maria said, she is working to make sure that the memorial goes well, and everyone has a chance to say good-bye. Thinking ahead is just too painful.

According to his widow, the poet did not leave behind any special thoughts or a will. "He said everything in his poems, and he never renounced it," she stressed. "Yevgeny raised so many issues in his poems that I even told him, in jest, ‘your love poems, were never about love.’ He began to talk about love, but still immediately expressed other thoughts, described premonitions, fears, touched on new topics," she explained.

"Zhenya never ceased to love people, despite disappointments. In Yevgeny’s life there was a lot of injustice, betrayal, undeserved, unthinkable slander. And this despite the fact that he always helped a lot of people in difficult life situations, and did it himself, on his own initiative, and despite the betrayals, he continued to constantly help, he would say: What, I have to stop believing in people, stop helping them?"

Yevtushenko did leave behind many unfinished poems, and other assorted projects - handwritten poems, notes, and various texts in the computer. According to Maria, the poet’s biggest wish was to finish what he had started.

"I can’t even say what his last poem or prose was. Zhenya worked simultaneously on so many things at once. This was his way of life; all of him was in that. And even after learning about the disease, his main desire was to get as many things done as possible," she said.

"He kept saying ‘I need to work, I have a lot to finish.’ He was a strong person, a very strong person," Maria added.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko died of cancer on April 1, 2017 in the United States. A memorial ceremony in Moscow is scheduled for April 11.

Hundreds attended the funeral service took place on Wednesday evening at the University church of Tulsa city (Oklahoma State), where he had been a lecturer for the past 25 years.

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