November 7 marks the 60th anniversary of the Abaza writer, teacher, academician Peter Chekalov. The WAC Info portal publishes an essay about this enthusiastic person and outstanding scientist.

Bilal Khasarokov

Literary critic Vladimir Tugov wrote that Peter Chekalov entered the Abaza culture «brightly and distinctively», and spoke about a kind of «cultural memory» associated with the scientist's origins: «The son of a Greek who grew up in the Abaza village and an Abaza woman, Peter carries the gene pool of two the oldest cultures - Hellenic and Caucasian, for which there are deep historical connections. «Cultural memory» is reflected in all of Peter’s work: he is educated, and careful.»

Peter Konstantinovich Chekalov was born in the village of Kubin of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic on November 7, 1958. After graduating from high school in his native village and serving in the Armed Forces of the USSR, he entered the philological department of the Stavropol State Pedagogical Institute (now the North Caucasus Federal University - ed.), which he graduated in 1983 with a degree in Russian language and literature. From 1984 to 2017 he worked as a teacher in universities of Stavropol and Stavropol Territory, intensively conducted research work.

Currently, Chekalov is a member of the scientific department of the Stavropol Regional Scientific Library named after M.Yu. Lermontov.

Teacher and scientist

According to the observations of Professor Tugov, Chekalov shows thoroughness in his entire many-sided work, he needs to «study everything, compare, check, attracting a wide comparative material».

Chekalov always lived a rich, intense life. In 1984 he was invited as a lecturer at the Department of Soviet Literature of his native institute and since then for decades successfully combined teaching with scientific work at several large universities: Stavropol State University (now the North Caucasus Federal University), Stavropol State Pedagogical Institute, Stavropol Regional Institute for the Development of Education, training and retraining of education workers. In 1987 he entered graduate school at the Department of Soviet Literature of the Moscow Regional Pedagogical Institute, in 1991 he successfully defended his thesis on «Vladimir Mayakovsky and Abaza poetry.»

And the topic of his doctoral dissertation, which he defended in 2000 in the dissertation council of Stavropol State University, was called «Abaza versification: the origins and formation». March 22, 2006 he was awarded the title of professor.

He was a member of two dissertation councils, supervised the scientific work of graduate students and applicants, and opposed the defense of candidate and doctoral dissertations. Under his scientific leadership, eight graduate students and applicants defended their dissertations.

Today Chekalov has 225 scientific, educational publications in Russian, Abaza and Turkish, of which more than 20 are textbooks, teaching aids, books, monographs.

Chekalov and Abaza literary criticism

Of the total number of scientific works of Peter Chekalov, 122 are devoted to Abaza literature, although all his professional work is related to the Russian language and Russian literature. «At the very beginning of my scientific career, a well-known philologist, Professor Egorova Lyudmila Petrovna, who became my supervisor and spiritual mentor, advised me to pay more attention to the study of national literature, explaining that there is still a lot of unexplored material,» explains Peter Konstantinovich.

Chekalov followed this advice.

Therefore, he can be called a pioneer in many areas of Abaza literary studies: he introduced the materials of Abaza folklore and literature into scientific and cultural use, redefined the «relationship» of oral and written literature, the influence of Russian literature on the young written Abaza language (the young written languages are languages that received written language after 1917 - ed.), opened the unknown pages of the biography of many Abaza writers.

We list only a few of the works reflecting the sphere of Chekalov's scientific interests. These are «Abaza pre-war literature» (2008), «The fate of the Abaza literary intelligentsia in the pre-war and war years: in the footsteps of archival materials» (2017, in collaboration with Georgy Chekalov), «Nukh Abramovich Ozov: fate and artistic legacy» (2012), «Tatlustan Zakeriyevich Tabulov: creative portrait in research and memories» (2012), «Mikael Chikatuev. Life and work: essays, articles, interviews, memories» (2018).

Since the end of the 90s of the last century in his research a special place has been occupied by the work of the outstanding Abaza poet Kerim Mkhtse. Poetry of Mkhtse for a long time does not give rest to the scientist. Considering that it is in no way inferior to the best examples of world literature, Peter Chekalov made a lot of efforts to popularize it. He became one of the initiators of the publication of the complete works of the best Abaza poet, the author of the translation project «I Return» - as the compiler of the collection he himself prepared all the interlinear translations of poems and worked closely with the poet-translator Andrei Galamaga.

This collection is ready for publication and should be out of print before the end of 2018. In the book «I came here to stay... » (Pages of the creative biography of K.L. Mkhtse) (2016), the author summarized the materials about the life and work of Kerim Leonidovich Mkhtse, which he reflected in more than 60 literary studies for dozens of years. This monograph was the first life experience in Abaza literary criticism.

As part of the state program to support the national literatures of the peoples of the Russian Federation in 2017, two anthologies were published: «Modern anthology of the peoples of Russia. «Poetry» and «Modern literature of the peoples of Russia. Children's literature». An anthology of prose is currently being prepared for publication. In all three editions, Peter Konstantinovich is a compiler in the part concerning Abaza literature.

Taking an active part in the work of public organizations, Chekalov vigorously promoted the translation into Russian of the epic novel by Kali Dzhegutanov «Golden Cross», published by the National Cultural Autonomy of Stavropol Abazins «Abaza», identified and prepared for publication the priceless Abaza materials of the scientific heritage of Professor Anatoly Genko, to the serial publication of materials of oral folk art of Abazins in the framework of the programs of the International Association for the Development of the Abaza-Abkhaz ethnos «Alashara».

«We managed to publish two books,» says the scientist. - The first book includes two collections of folk tales, published at the time by Tatlustan Tabulov, the second - three collections of Vladimir Tugov. Currently, books by Vladimir Meremkulov and Nurya Tabulova need to be reprinted. In addition, a lot of unpublished material has been collected and stored so far: from the archive of Anatoly Genko, from expeditions Ketevan Lomtatidze and folklore practices of students of Karachay-Cherkessian State University. This is a very important job, and, if possible, I am ready to complete it.»

Another great work that the scientist plans to complete is the publication of a book about Abaza writers. In it, unlike the previous similar editions, for the first time materials about the Abaza authors writing in Russian are placed. Instead of the preface, a large article is published about the history of Abaza literature - its origins, formation and present state.

Abaza literature - to the world reader

Since 2007, Peter Konstantinovich has been collaborating with Doctor of the University of Berlin Steffi Hotiwari-Jünger as a translator from Abaza into Russian of folklore and author's works, followed by their translation and publication in German. Within the framework of this cooperation, firstly, the transcripts of individual works of Abaza women writers were prepared. As a result, in the German-Georgian magazine «Georgica», printed in Germany, were published poems by Mira Tlyabicheva, Fatima Apsova, Larisa Shebzukhova, and the stories of Valentina Kopsergenova and Rosa Pazova translated into German by Steffi. The next issue of the same magazine Chekalov’s article was published in German about the cycle of poems by Kerim Mkhtse «Abkhaz Notebook» dedicated to the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia.

Subsequently, two large projects were implemented: «Abaza Prose» and «Abaza Tales». In German, a book combining both of these publications was introduced in 2014. In addition to folk tales, it includes works by 13 Abaza authors. Today the work is on the third project - the author’s

collection of stories and plays by Mukhadin Daguzhiev called «Zemfira». Peter Konstantinovich completed his part - translated and published the book in Russian; soon it will be released in German.

The joint translation projects of Peter Chekalov and Steffi Hotiwari-Jünger are being implemented with the financial support of the House of Translator «Looren», located in Switzerland - in the village of Vernetshausen near Zurich.

Academician of the International Mariinsky Academy

In 2017, Peter Chekalov was accepted into the Mariinsky International Academy named after M.D. Shapovalenko in the status of academic secretary of sectoral Abaza literary criticism. This event was preceded by the participation of Chekalov in a competition dedicated to the fifteenth anniversary of the organization of the experimental activities of the International Mariinsky Academy named after M.D. Shapovalenko. The book «I came here to stay... » (Pages of the creative biography of K.L. Mkhtse) was presented for the competition by a professor-literary critic.

It should be noted that in the creative biography of a literary scholar there are many such achievements. So, he became the winner of the All-Russian competition for the best scientific book of 2005, the winner of the contests «Stavropol Book - 2009» and «Stavropol Book - 2013. In 2018, he was recognized the winner of the All-Russian competition among libraries of the Russian Federation and Russian-language library centers abroad «Literature of multinational Russia and abroad.»

Peter Chekalov is a prominent scientist, whose name is known in Russia and abroad. His life and scientific and pedagogical activity are reflected in many publications of magazines, newspapers, books and reference books. Here are some of them: «Peter Chekalov: Strokes to the creative portrait» (Kavbinalokt - Kavbina - Kubina. Materials dedicated to the Day of the village of Kubin. - Cherkessk - Karachaevsk, 1999), «Encyclopedia of the Greeks of the CIS» (Athens - Moscow - Stavropol, 1999), «Modern Caucasus Studies. Personality Handbook» (Rostov-on-Don, 1999), «Who is who in Caucasian studies» (Moscow: Akademiya, 1999), «Who is who» (Stavropol, 2001).

On the eve of the 60th anniversary of his merits in strengthening inter-ethnic peace and harmony in the Stavropol region, Peter Konstantinovich Chekalov was awarded the Diploma of the Committee of the Stavropol Territory on Affairs of Nationalities and Cossacks.