The ACF is a UK registered charity (No 1128310) whose goal is to honour Anton Chekhov’s literary and humanitarian legacy through a variety of cultural and charitable projects.
UKRAINE UPDATE: At this appalling time for Ukraine our thoughts are with the victims of the war.
We are deeply concerned for the well-being of colleagues employed at the Sumy Chekhov Museum, and for our former colleague who is resident in another part of Ukraine.
Chekhov loved Ukraine. His paternal grandmother was Ukrainian, the Ukrainian language could often be heard in his southern Russian family home in Taganrog as he grew up, and he spent two summers at a dacha near Sumy in the late 1880s. Save for the death of his elder brother in Sumy in 1889 (he is buried in the cemetery there), it was a gloriously happy time, as the many ecstatic letters he sent to friends and colleagues are testament.
From 13 to 20 June 1888, Chekhov hired four horses and travelled south through Poltava province in an enormous ancient coach belonging to his landlords to visit friends in Sorochintsy, stopping along the way in Shpylivka, Mezhyrich, Lebedyn, Prystailove, Vepryk, Hadyach, Sary, Rashivka, Bakumivka, Khomutets and Mirgorod.
Chekhov to Nikolai Leikin, 21 June 1888, Sumy:
I received your second letter, dearest Nikolai Alexandrovich, yesterday, upon returning from Poltava province. [...] I have been in Lebedyn, Hadyach, Sorochintsy and many places extolled by Gogol. What places they are! I am completely
enchanted. I had the good luck to have wonderfully warm weather the whole time, travelled in a comfortable sprung carriage and arrived in Poltava province just when they had started haymaking. I travelled over 250 miles in the carriage, stayed overnight in ten different places... Everything I saw and heard was so new, good and wholesome that throughout the journey I could not dispel the bewitching idea of abandoning literature, which I’m fed up with, settling in some village or other on the banks of the River Psyol and practising medicine. If I lived on my own, I would stay in Poltava province, as I don't feel any attachment to Moscow. I would spend my summers in Ukraine and come to lovely St. Petersburg in the winter. Apart from nature, nothing about Ukraine astonishes me more than the feeling of general contentment, people's good health, and the high level of development of the peasants here, who are clever, devout, musical, sober, morally upright, and always jolly and well-fed.
Translated extract from Chekhov's letter to Nikolai Leikin, 21 June 1888, Anton Chekhov, Complete Collected Works and Letters in 30 volumes, Letters, vol. 2, Moscow, 1975, p. 286