Dmitry Aleksandrowich Strelnikoff (b. 1969 in Russia) – poet and prose writer who writes in Polish and Russian. A biologist by education, a graduate of the University of Warsaw. He participates in a TV show, appears in radio and television. He is also a musician – his songs were released in the series the
Bards of Russia. He has published a collection of poems: Homo Mirablis (2004), collection of short stories Night Life of Angels (2007), novel The Russian Month – book and audiobook (2008, W.A.B.) novel Nikolai and Bibigul (2009, W.A.B.) and novel Island (2010, W.A.B.).
Strelnikoff is also the author of “The great animal encyclopedia”, which appeared in 2006-2007 (Polish Media Amer. Com SA & Oxford Educational Encyclopedia Ltd. UK), as well as co-author of an illustrated book on good food “Bite the world” (G + K, National Geographic Poland, 2008).
Dmitrij A. Strelnikoff was born in Russia at the borders of the USSR, in Middle Asia, in the town of Almaty – the capital of Zhetysu (Seven Rivers’ basin – now the land of the sovereign country of Kazachstan). He is a graduate of the Extra-mural School of Mathematics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University as well as of the Faculty of Biology at the University of Warsaw. He currently lives in Warsaw.
An offer for English translators and publishers: three novels by Dmitrij Strelnikoff: "Island", “Nikolai and Bibigul” and “The Russian Month”
- 2010 – „Wyspa” (Island), a novel, Poland, Warsaw, W.A.B. Publishers.
The main character of Strelnikoff’s new novel is a successful, mature man. He is a well known photographer, satisfied with his job, enjoying wealth and high social rank. He has a loving family, a beautiful wife and a wonderful daughter. But he is haunted by his past. A photography from his childhood he accidentally„Island”is a dark novel taking place on the verge between reality and dream, between life and death. Strelnikoff shows his completely new writing incarnation. This novel is very different from his previous works and makes readers eagerly waiting to discover what author keeps up in his sleeve.
discovers, causes him to leave the house in the middle of the night and buy a ticket for a train to a small village. Is this a coincidence or maybe it is his destiny to board that train? If it is going to rain I will go there but if I see a motorcyclist I won’t – he thinks before leaving. This trip becomes a journey deep into his heart. A confrontation with his past which makes reach the border, he wouldn’t event expect to exist. He is all the time surrounded by the ghosts from the past. Is it possible that the woman who travels in his compartment is the girl, he loved once and then abandoned. The girl that tried to kill herself after she had had an abortion. Could the train conductor be her old fiancé? People said that he had drowned himself in the lake. The hero feels trapped. The atmosphere in the train, surrounded by the night and storm, with flashing lights and jammed doors intensifies his will to run away. The sleep brings only new
nightmares. Peace waits at the end of his journey, but the road is still long.
From reviews of the Polish press:
The latest mini-novel by this Russian author is just over one hundred pages long, but each of those is highly emotional. With his skillful use of innuendo in dialogues , Strelnikoff succeeds in keeping the suspence throughout the book until the reader is faced with the classical Dick's question: Is it the truth or just an illusion? A great writer in the making.
Sebastian Chosinski, Magazyn Kultury Popularnej Esensja.pl
Suspence, claustrophobic atmosphere and well-drawn characters in a dark existential story about self-discovery.
Jaroslaw Czechowicz, Portal Kulturalny G-punkt.pl
I highly recommend the latest book by Strelnikoff, „The Island”.
Ludwik Stomma, Polityka, Nr 35, 28 August 2010
Dmitry Strelnikoff is already a well-known writer in Poland, who published, among others, „The Russian Month”. This book is extraordinary! The editor and graphic designer have done a great job, too. In my case, „The Island” brings to mind Susan Sontag's „Death Kit”. Strelnikoff's nationality, on the other hand, warrants a comparison with Dostoyevsky and his „Crime and Punishment”.
Lukasz Grzesiczak, portal historyczny Histmag.org
Dmitry Strelnikoff's „Island” is a very mysterious novel. The story of a train journey combines elements of a philosophical fable and a whoddunit. The book is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's „The Lady Vanishes”.Kultura.PolskieRadio.pl
2009 – “Nikolai and Bibigul” (Nikołaj i Bibigul), a novel, Poland, Warsaw, W.A.B. Publishers.
Nikolai Menshikov, a wealthy, middle-aged Russian businessman, torn between Moskow and Paris, receives a personal birthday gift: a letter from a long-ago passed away ancestor with the message about a treasure that awaits him. He leaves for Almaty in Kazachstan – his childhood city. This journey becomes for him a hard confrontation with reality: people have changed, places have become foreign, he has difficulty finding the graves of his grandparents, and he must defend his family apartment house from demolition by a lunatic woman who, later on, appeares as a witch.
The pride of a past colonizer mixes in Nikolai with bitterness and the feeling of an all-embracing loss. However, this is but a beginning of a journey in his ancestors’ footsteps. In unfortunate (for him) circumstances he meets Bibigul – a young woman, who offers him a dangerous game...
In „Nikolai and Bibigul” a predominant intrigue of adventure coincides with accurate journalist observations and descriptions of an exotic country. Strelnikoff, the author of the bestseller „The Russian month”, this time battles the stereotype of a Russian and a Kazach, introducing
the reader to the postcolonial reality of the borderland of Europe and Asia.
A description of “Nikolai and Bibigul” in the catalogue of W.A.B. Publishers, fall-winter 2009:
Nikolai and Bibigúl 2009 NOVEL, 12,5 x 19,5 cm, hardback, 360 pages
In 1854 Russians built a fort Verniy nearby the Zailiysky Alatau mountain range. The wooden fort was later transformed into town welcoming merchants and craftsmen, and then re-named as Alma-Ata. It was almost completely destroyed in 1887 by a huge earthquake. Now it is called Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.
Nikolai is a Russian brought up in Almaty and living in Moscow. Almaty is his birthplace, the hub of his universe, a repository of childhood memories and a destination that draws him no matter how far he goes. On his thirty-fifth birthday Nikolai’s parents reveal to him a family secret. His grandfather left a treasure in a cave in the mountains near Almaty. The only one allowed to look for the treasure – according to the grandfather’s wishes – is Nikolai.
Nikolai takes a plane and travels to Almaty. He does not recognize the places he used to know so well. The streets have different names; the city is full of Kazakhs. Nikolai’s family tenement house is still standing but soon it is going to be demolished. It is inhabited by a strange old woman, apparently possessing some psychic powers, who refuses to leave the premises. On his way to
Balkhash, where a clue on the treasure is hidden, Nikolai attracts the attention of the police. Arrested he meets Abyz and Bibigúl, mysterious siblings who seem to remember the earthquake in 1887. Who are they? Why are they following Nikolai? Is their appearance connected with a threat he received in Almaty – leave or you’ll end up dead?
Nikolai and Bibigúl is a surprising novel. It has the suspense of a thriller, the plot of an intricate action novel, the background of an homage-to-the-city kind of story and magical – or even supernatural elements – that add an extra flavour to the grim post-soviet reality described. It can be compared both to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul, but it is more than each of the books. The plot is gripping, the world depicted –tangible, the characters are fullblooded and the language is flawless.
From reviews of the Polish press:
Strelnikoff’s novel delights with an excellent balance of politico-social issues and metaphysical plots. [...] „Nikolai and Bibigul” is a story that inspires deep reflections. It may perhaps inspire the reader to give thought to things of great value, or may perhaps only delight with its own, unique charm. Dmitri’s novel is a story, to which one wishes to return, and read multiple times. Every such journey with Nikolas reveals new treasures, and new elements of a riddle that is life and the feeling of one’s own national identity.
Magdalena Galiczek, Wortal Literacki Granice.pl
Initially this piece is read as a 19th century prose. Rich with descriptions, adjectives, and aromas. But soon after the reader realizes that he has succumbed to an illusion of order and solemnity. He is fed a thousand threads, every one of which leads to a different plot. The threads tangle, the reader’s attention draws stronger – it is absorbing.
Dorota Maj, Tygodnik „Wprost” (weekly newsmagazine „Direct”), nr 50, 2009
First, a Russian writer living in Warsaw and writing in Polish; which in and of itself is quite interesting. Second, his novel „Nikolai and Bibigul” is like a cavernous travelling bag, which fits quite a lot, and even more.
[...] This novel also entails something, which – seemingly – does not fit the climate of a light, entertaining story. However – I believe – Strelnikoff did not write this by chance. It is the meticulous recording of the relations between Russians and Kazachs that interests me most, as it is precise and merciless.
Paweł Smoleński, Gazeta Wyborcza (Election Gazette), 21.XII.09
In „Nikolai and Bibigul” the author battles the stereotype of a Russian and a Kazach, introducing the reader to an exotic for us reality of his own home town, embellished with an incredible, adventurous intrigue.Independent.pl
Sukces, N1, 2010
„Nikolai and Bibigul” is a story of a symbolic journey through the wilderness, about overstepping the boundaries we impose on ourselves. How in a magical way revive the past only to have a possibility to understand the present. Strelnikoff has written a quite serious existential treatise, however the book sparkles with unique sense of humour, entertains with broadness. The author gives the reader a wink in the most dramatic and exciting moments.
2008 – „The Russian Month” (Ruski miesiąc), a novel, Poland, Warsaw, W.A.B. Publishers.
„The Russian Month” is on the list of bestsellers in the Matras bookstores, the Merlin online store as well as within the 20 bestselling books of the W.A.B publishers.
March 2010 is the planned date of the opening night of a theatrical play on the basis of “The Russian Month”: director: Giovanny Castellanos, The Aleksander Sewruk Theatre in Elbląg, Poland. The theatre’s website (Polish)
Poland as seen through the eyes of a Russian living in Warsaw. “The Russian Month”, Dmitrij Strelnikoff’s first novel, is in many regards a revealing story, full of humour and verve. As early as in the introduction, the reader is informed that the author dedicates this book to tsar Alexander I, suggesting that it is him who is the founder of the first in history permanent federation of the European nations – The European Union. The Union, under the name “The Holy Alliance”, created at the initiative of the Russian monarch, came to being in 1815 so almost 200 years before the birth of the present EU.
Peter Smirnoff, the protagonist of „The Russian Month”, is for the Poles a very suspicious character. A young man from Moscow, who earns his income from strange sources – the selling of butterflies. A divorcee, and, as implied by his last name, surely also a lover of strong alcohol. An Orthodox Christian in the Catholic country of Poland, who, moreover, expresses a lively interest in the cult of indigenous Slavic deities – Svarog, Perun and Svantevit. Is it thus hard to believe that the Catholic Church refuses to allow for his marriage with the beautiful Polish – Barb? The issue may even brush against the Vatican!
From Peter’s perspective the entire situation presents as a stream of unimaginable absurdities, and the free and democratic Poland at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries is a country that never ceases to amaze him. Piotr cannot believe that Polish people show pride in their soldiers who invaded Spain, a country fighting for its freedom, as the mercenaries in the army of the French dictator Bonaparte. “It’s as if the Russians would be proud that they killed 20 thousand Polish officers and intelligence figures in Katyń” - wonders Piotr, the protagonist of Strelnikoff’s story. Contemporary Poland appears to him as a country of contrasts: on the one hand a wealthy culture and an incredibly strong national spirit, while on the other xenophobia and a perpetual struggle with the problem of defining its own identity. Piotr notes that although Poland is a free country, the minds of many of its inhabitants remain confined by – among others: a religious and morbid fanaticism and an inadequate fear of “Asia” – countries outside of the EU and NATO. While traversing Warsaw, Smirnoff ponders upon what the Russians and the Poles have in common and what separates them. He accurately pinpoints the stereotypes and phobias, on which both nations for years have been building their sense of worth.
The protagonist of „The Russian Month” is a world citizen. He finds interest in supranational values – love, seeking God and understanding nature. Smirnoff, however, is not an infantile dreamer, he is one who has his feet firmly on the ground. Exposing a hypocrisy in evaluating important historical facts through incessantly confronting countries of Eurasia divided into the so-called “East” and “West”, Piotr highlights that every man has his own private world, which does not necessarily fit within the boundaries of a nation, in which he was born. This character of “The Russian Month” is happy to have his Russia and his Poland, which represent, in his life, an inseparable whole, reinforced by his love for a woman and his consciousness of the fact that divisions are solely for cowards and fools.
Reviews from the Polish press:
Everyone in Poland who is able to laugh at oneself MUST read The Russian Month. I was fascinated with the novel. If I had money, I would found 365
Nobel Prizes for Dmitrij Strelnikoff to receive one every day of the year.
Polityka (no43/2008) Prof. Ludwik Stomma
The book is accurate in pinpointing stereotypes and mutual Polish-Russian phobias. It is also hilarious, innovative and vividly written. And of course it is a praise of the Polish girls.
Gala magazine (no.28/2008)
Dima Strelnikoff’s has become a popular figure in Poland because of his successful TV show. His first novel tackles what could be seen as a controversial topic, but in a sympathetic, humorous and entertaining way.
Sukces, (no 7, 2008)
When into our hands lands a book written by a foreigner, a fear exists that it will be full of national comparisons. The author of “The Russian Month” is far from such dispositions. I found satisfaction in that he resides among the Poles, encounters new customs and traditions. Despite deep connections to his own roots, I have not noticed in the writing of Strelnikoff any glorification of Russia. His statements are very opinion-forming and not tainted with personal messages.
Despite the fact that it is a story written from the perspective of a Russian, its moodiness rather resembles well constructed pieces of Bohumil Hrabal. Much like the Czech master of the pen, Strelnikoff creates a text embellished with multiple digressions and sarcastic comments. He deliberately names the place where life currently brought him to exist – “a country, in which a delicacy is the grilled meat of a boar”.
The collection of paradox and unforeseen histories, gathered by Strelnikoff is a perfect medium of good, sophisticated sense of humor. Some will cry of laughter, while for others this book will prove excellent food for thought.
Damian Gajda, wortal literacki Granice.pl
A sad-funny-bitter approach to stereotypes regarding the relations with one of our closest neighbours. How complex of relations! However, this time we deal with a situation by all means contemporary and very joyful, namely a marriage. Is it easy in Poland to get a Catholic marriage? To an infidel? To a divorcee to make matters worse? How much bureaucracy does it entail, or maybe the sea of tolerance and openness in our country will facilitate the young couple to make the arrangement? One thing is sure – above all this floats a peculiar climate of Kafka-Chechov-Gogolev.
Aneta Sandecka, portal MerlinKsiazki.pl
Without beating about the bush, the author reveals the small-mindedness of the Polish people and of respectable institutions. But should we be laughing at this? The reality of the Polish servant – the civil one as well as that of the church – is a hard hit. We still continue to believe more in superstitions than to reach for books to supplement our knowledge. But Strelnikoff too has his mission, he wants to show the Russians as interesting people. When Poles sentimentally recall Napoleon, the Russians prefer to remember Borodino and tsar Alexander. Many such historical tastes exist and it is worth to acquaint oneself with them.
Service for Women, Fashiondoctors.pl
When the radio station „Trójka” asked Dmitrij Strelnikoff to comment about the presidential elections in Russia, the journalist replied that he is not a politician, but a biologist. The most known Russian living in Poland must have nevertheless come to terms with the thought that he will not run away from the role of a spokesman on Russian affairs. He devotes to them quite a lot of attention in “The Russian Month”, confirming that he is far from humility and the political correctness accepted in our country.
Successes of “The Russian Month” on the literary market:
“The Russian Month” is on the list of bestsellers in the Matras bookstores, the Merlin online store as well as within the 20 bestselling books of the W.A.B publishers.
The second improved edition of „The Russian Month” appeared in February 2009.
March 2010 is the planned date of the opening night of a theatrical play on the basis of “The Russian Month”: director: Giovanny Castellanos, The Aleksander Sewruk Theatre in Elbląg, Poland. (the theatre’s website (Polish).
10.1.2010 the German TV station RBB (Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg) emitted another part of the program “Kowalski trifft / and Schmidt”, in which Dmitrij Strelnikoff appeared recollecting about Poland and Polish people in the context of his own novel “The Russian Month”:
Der polnische Patient
„Bei uns hat nicht mal die Krise geklappt“, hört man jetzt oft an der Weichsel. Viele Polen würden lieber in einer französischen oder einer spanischen Haut stecken. Im Ausland versuchen sie oft ihre Identität zu verstecken. Laut New Economic Foundation gehören sie zu den größten Pessimisten in Europa. Der russiche Schriftsteller Dimitrij Strelnikoff und die deutsche Publizistin Gabriele Lesser leben seit mehreren Jahren in Warschau. Sie haben sich Gedanken gemacht, über die momentane Seelelage der Polen.
- 2007 – „Nocne życie aniołów” („The night life of the angels”), a collection of esseys, Poland, Warsaw, Nowy Świat Edition House.
- 2004 – „Homo mirabilis”, a poetry, Poland, Warsaw, Nowy Świat Edition House.
- His russian language poems are published in the moscow’s literary magazine „Знамя” („Flag”).
- 2006-2007 – „Wielka Encyklopedia Zwierząt” („A Great Encyclopedy of the Animals”) in 30th volumes, Poland, Amer.Com SA with the cooperation with Oxford Educational Encyclopedia Ltd UK.
- 2005 – „Российские барды”, диск 5 („Bards of Russia”, CD N5); Russia, Moscow, Moroz Records.