Olga Jitlina:
Nasreddin in Russia

Olga Jitlina
© Alexey Kubasov

Nasreddin in Russia
newpaper, 3 issues, 2014

This newspaper recounts how Nasreddin Hodja went to work in Russia. Nasreddin Hodja is a folk character famous from Bukhara to the Balkans and renowned for his wit and talent for getting himself out of tricky situations. Or rather, it recounts how we, a group of artists and migrant workers, looked for Nasreddin’s qualities in each other and ourselves. Nasreddin has poked fun at Emir Timur and the Khan of Bukhara, Russian colonialism, thieving collective farm chairmen, and patriarchal mores in Central Asia and the Caucasus. With his resilient temper and sharp eye, we have great need of Nasreddin in today’s Russia. Maybe he can help us to renew almost lost cultural ties between the newly independent post-Soviet countries?
Can laughter make people forget, at least temporarily, what divides them? By way of finding out, once a week from March to July 2014 we met in Petersburg’s cafes, teahouses, courtyards, and parks to socialize and play a game of strategy. We imagined how Nasreddin Hodja and his sister (a character we invented) would react to situations in which migrant workers often end up. In the newspaper we publish the fruits of these meetings and our contest to find the best Nasreddin joke. The comics are interspersed with dispatches from the Utopian News Agency (“News the Way It Could Be!”). (Olga Jitlina, attenuated version)

Authors: Olga Jitlina, Aigul Abdirasulova, Dilmurod Amindjanov, Tillo Ashurov, Nodira Vafoeva, Nana Lalaian, Shukhrat Mansurov, Usman Masharipov, Alisher Rakhimov, Irina Smirnova, Otabek Turaev, Sairiddin Turdiev, Mukhriddin Tukhtaev, Mahmudjon Tukhtaev, Sona Stepanian, Natasha Khairullina, Khazratali Khamidov, Abdurakhim Khoshiev, Kuvontchbek Khoshiev, Olimjon Khoshiev, Hasan Khokhlov, Muhammad Shams, Husan Yarbabaev, Andrey Yakimov
Design: Anna Tereshkina
Editors: Olga Jitlina, Ogor Krabchuk

Olga Jitlina
b. 1982 in St. Petersburg, Russia
in cooperation with Anna Tereshkina

Artist, founder and editor of the agency of utopian news in Saint Petersburg. She works with such topics as migration, languages, translations, cultural politics etc. 2005 The University of Jewish Studies. 2007 Russian Academy of Art. Since 2010 she created a lot of works dedicated to migration in post-Soviet area: a video “From the 90-ies to Richmond” about the migration from ex-USSR, about children’s view on “abroad” and immigrant optics; a board game about the labor migration game “Russia, the Land of Opportunity” in collaboration with the human rights activist Andrey Yakimov; the project “Looking for N.” based on the journey to Tajikistan in collaboration with Alejandro Ramirez; during 2014 together with the artist Anna Tereshkina worked with the group of labor migrants and artists, among them basque artist Jon Irigoyen, on the project “Hodja Nasreddin Joke Contest”, as a result three publications of newspaper “NASREDDIN IN RUSSIA” and “MOBILE DISCOTHEQUE”.