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Book Festival 2020 is the first mass event in Moscow

Anastasya Shkitina, correspondent: «Just look, there is almost a crowd, and my soul is rejoicing! We are not used to so many people on the streets. After all, there has not been such a mass event since Moscow went into lockdown. And even if it hasn't been canceled yet, the “Red Square” Book Festival is out of quarantine. However, in order to get here, you need to be, so to say, in full combat readiness: it is necessary to wear medical gloves, a face mask - they are checked at the entrance –and have your temperature measured».

Only after this ritual one can touch the knowledge. Moreover, it is absolutely legal. The publishers were the first to agree on a mass event in the capital. According to them, this shows once again that Russians are a reading nation, and Russia's soul is poetic. The poetess Vera Polozkova could not ignore the "Red square" Book Festival and personally came to congratulate colleagues on their publication, as well as to award the winners of the "Lyceum" Literary Prize for young authors. The winners were announced from the main stage.

Vera Polozkova, poetess: «It is one thing to make an impression about a person based on the text they wrote, but it is quite another thing to get acquainted, thank them personally, and wish them good luck. Despite the fact that all these people are successful writers, they have publications in various magazines and have their own activities for a long time, they, of course, need to be encouraged, to be told some important words. I am very happy that I was able to do this personally».

The opening of the festival was scheduled for a symbolic date – the birthday of Alexander Pushkin.

Vladimir Grigoryev, Deputy Director, Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation:

«Let`s conduct the “Red Square” book festival. And the publishers agreed after two and a half months of abstinence. Everyone understood that the regime would be limited, that we would be hindered, that some measures would be extreme, but the book should live. Under this motto, that the book opens and the book continues, we are here».

If last year the festival took place on eight venues, hosted four hundred publishers and lasted almost for a week, this year it has lasted only for three days, and collections have been placed only in four pavilions: "Fiction", Non-fiction or Documentary Prose”, "Children's literature" and "Museum line". But publishers are even happy to have such freedom.

Evgeniy Bogachkov, Editor-in-Chief, Literaturnaya Gazeta (Literary Newspaper): «This time we were given much more space, usually it is only half a table, but now we can show our assortment more widely. Since our newspaper is old, it was founded in 1958 and known in Soviet times. And now many people ask if it is still alive. To prove that we are alive, we still exist, we publish an interesting newspaper, magazines-I want to share this perfect news with you».

Even if the literary marathon may not be safe for your health, it is a real balm for the soul and the mind that is tired during the lockdown.

Yan Dzyubinsky, visitor of the festival: «I came here because I need literature. I'm a historian, studying to be a historian. The deadlines have not been canceled, there are still articles, conferences. I tried to order books online several times, but it doesn't always work out. And here it is such an event, conducted not for the first time. The results are obvious».

Despite the popularity of online markets, according to the Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, 70 percent of the publishers` income comes from printed products. That is why the industry lost about 17 percent of its revenue from the pandemic. But the publishers are not discouraged and invite readers for a new portion of "food for the mind". During the quarantine, all the delayed movies and TV series have been reviewed, and now it is high time to start reading books.

Anastasya Shkitina, correspondent
Kirill Palmovskiy, cameraman