ETHIOPIA is awaiting the imminent arrival of a decades-old statue of renowned Russian poet Alexander Pushkin – who allegedly had Ethiopian roots – from Russia, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Born in 1799 in Moscow, Pushkin, whose ancestry is claimed by both Ethiopia and Eritrea, is considered the father of modern Russian literature.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that the Pushkin statue would be transported to Addis Ababa from Moscow “soon.”
“It’s a gift to Addis Ababa from Moscow,” he said, noting that the two governments were currently arranging the logistics of the move.
The life-size, bronze statue has stood at the center Moscow’s Pushkin Square since being inaugurated in 1880 by world-renowned Russian authors Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
According to Mufti, Ethiopian and Russian officials discussed the process of transporting the statue during a recent visit to Ethiopia by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“This will further strengthen the ages-long friendship between Ethiopia and Russia,” the spokesman asserted.
Pushkin’s grandfather, Abram Gannibal, is believed to have been born in Ethiopia in 1679. The son of an Ethiopian prince, Gannibal was kidnapped and taken to Russia at the age of eight as a slave of Russian Czar Peter the Great.
In Russia, Abram climbed the ladder of Russian society, eventually becoming an aristocrat.
Eritrea, for its part, claims Pushkin had Eritrean blood, since Gannibal is believed to have been born in an area called Loggo Sarda in the modern state of Eritrea, which seceded from Ethiopia in 1991.
In 2002, the Ethiopian government built a bust of Pushkin, naming a square and avenue – located near African Union headquarters – after the great poet.
Seven years later, Eritrea erected its own Pushkin monument, likewise naming a street after him.
In both cases, Russian diplomatic representatives took part in the unveiling ceremonies.
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Alexander Pushkin’s Eritrean Roots and Russian Literature
Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin was the creator of modern Russian Literature and therefore, one of the greatest poet in European and Russian history.
Pushkin is comparable to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in terms of the cultural heritage he left behind for mankind and the world. As a person Alexander is described as a man who expressed his love for humans, nature and simplicity through his scripts, poems and written tales.
His liberal views mixed with a new style of story telling sometimes caused him trouble with the authorities of his time, nevertheless he managed to revolutionized and form Russian Literature as we know it today.
He wrote one of his biggest master pieces, the novel Eugene Onegin, around 1825. Pushkin was born in Moscow and was regarded as a talent, who published his first poem at the age of fifteen, before his academic education in Saint Petersburg had even started.
Alexander’s great grand father was Abram Petrovich Gannibal, who was born in 1696 in Loggo Sarda a place close to Dekemhare at the Mareb River in Eritrea.
Abram was brought by Emperor Peter the Great as a child to Russia and was baptized having Peter as his godfather.
According to historians, the boy was not the only black child to be taken from his native home in Africa during this era. Monarchs in Europe thought it to be fashionable to have black children at the royal courts.
Pushkin’s grand father enjoyed academic education in science, arts and warfare in Paris, under the umbrella of the Royal Tsar family.
As a high ranking monarch Abram later became a general, military engineer and governor of Reval, which is known today as Tallin the capital of Estonia.