Chekhov’s ‘White Dacha’ update
In recent days many people have wondered how the events in Crimea have affected life in Yalta and, more specifically, Chekhov’s house and garden.
The museum’s director, Alexander Titorenko, tells us that that daily life in Yalta goes on as usual; people go to work, walk down the streets, and don’t feel much difference compared to how things were a year, three months or a week ago. Irina Vinogradova, Head Gardener at the museum, has described to us,people in Yalta eagerly applying for Russian passports, with long queues forming for photographs and the submission of documents. Prices in shops and at the markets are now in both roubles (Russian currency) and hryvnas (Ukrainian currency). The staff of the Chekhov museum will receive their March salaries in roubles.
The museum is working on its normal schedule, with its staff continuing to carry out research into Chekhov’s work, as well as showing members of the public the interior of Chekhov’s house and the trees and shrubs he planted in his garden. Collaboration between the Yalta museum and the other Chekhov museums in Russia has intensified recently, and some new projects are now underway. The museum staff are currently preparing for the next ‘Chekhov Readings’, the international scholarly conference it hosts every year. This year it will take place from 23 to 27 April (more details about the conference in Russian)
Irina Vinogradova is keeping us informed about what is happening in Chekhov’s garden. Spring arrived rather early this year, and following the snowdrops which blossomed twice in February, daffodils and tulips are now in flower. Cherry and peach trees are expected to start blossoming any day now as the temperatures reach 22C. The seeds that were donated to the Museum by Derry Watkins have virtually all germinated, and Irina has been taking the potted seedlings out of the greenhouse for a few hours at a time to harden them. Some of the seeds were shared with Chekhov’s Dacha down the road at Gurzuf, much to the delight of the museum staff there. Irina would like to express her gratitude to all supporters of the museum and the garden.