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Tuvan archive of a Polish journalist

The home of  the journalist Ryszard Badowski in Warsaw is decorated with souvenirs from all the continents - evidence of a life filled with trips and encounters.

"Six continents" - that is the name of Ryszard Badowski's long-running show about various countries and cultures on Polish TV. "Six continents" -  repeat all the cab-drivers, as soon as they recognize the man on the porch of the house.

When I returned from a trip to Poland in early January, I realized that the house in Warsaw with its hospitable owners has become one of my beloved places on Earth. Memory of Mr. Ryszard, enhanced by photographs, TV films, journal articles, scenarios of broadcasts and letters make up a time-travel machine which takes the visitor decades back, from one country to another, and offers the opportunity to hear about nuances of historical events from an eyewitness.

When Stalin died, the young journalist took a train to Turkmenistan to undergo practice at the offices of "Iskra" newspaper.

-  Nobody else asked to go to Turkmenistan except for my husband! - exclaims Mrs. Ursula with a smile.

And another story from the other end of the world: Badowski managed to cut sugar-cane in a team with not just anybody, but with the well-known Argentinean Ernesto Che Guevara.  Then there is a photograph of a reed boat "Tigris", signed by Yuri Sienkiewicz and Thor Heyerdahl. A female Japanese journalist in a khaki soldier's hat - young, cheerful face - is riding a Soviet BTR. That is already a TV film about the departure of Soviet army from Afghanistan. The author, of course, is Ryszard Badowski. I would listen to Mr. Ryszard without end, examining the albums to Mrs. Ursula's commentaries. Everything is interesting. But the contents of a small box - one of two hundred, sorted by countries and themes - lures me with a special strength.

Far away not just in space but in time as well, Tuva appears before my eyes, as Mr. Ryszard gets the neatly labeled files. Everything there is about Tuva or from Tuva: letters, scenarios, newspaper clippings, photographs and negatives with notes about the location.

In the middle '60's of last century, the Polish journalist visited Tuva twice.

An excerpt from an interview with Ryszard Badowski, published in "Center of Asia" (#26 from 2 July 2010): "I flew in the TU-104, changing planes in Sverdlovsk and Abakan, where I changed to a tiny airplane AN - "Annushka".  "Annushka" was built in Poland.

I get off the plane in Kyzyl, and there is a whole delegation to welcome me. Apparently they were the most important people in the republic. And I thought that probably they called from Moscow that a Pole is coming, but did not say that it was only a simple reporter.

But it turned out that the Tuvan administration knew that a reporter was coming. Salchak Toka, who was the First Secretary of the regional party committee, told me: "First we'll have dinner. Then I will explain why we are welcoming you like this." And he explained: "You are the first Pole  since Felix Kohn. And Kohn is very respected in Tuva, because he wrote about Tuvans with respect."

During the first trip to Tuva in 1965, Ryszard Badowski shot three TV films. Film "Ostatniy shaman" , "The last shaman" was shown on Tuvan TV on 24 July 1966. Then there was "The sword Bagira" and "The valley of a thousand kurgans".

A list of addresses for greeting telegrams sent  on 1 January 1966  falls out of one file: Salchak Toka, Mikhail Mendume, Kuzhuget Shoigu, S.D. Maady, Yuri Aranchyn, Tamara Norbu, Alexander Grach, Kyzyl-Enik Kudazhy.

A short message from Kyzyl-Enik Kudazhy, who was then the head of Union of Journalists of Tuva. Kyzyl-Enik Kyrgysovich wrote that he was recovering from injuries incurred in a car accident, and shared the news about a publication of annotation to his book in the "Soviet press" magazine in a section "Books written by journalists".

An excerpt from a typewritten letter from archeologist Alexander Grach, dated 1969: "Gustav Golubek just left. He caught me literally by miracle. It is because I got back from Tuva just hours ago, where I went to celebrate an anniversary - 25th jubileum of our republic. As a matter of fact, we remembered you in Kyzyl with friends: with premier Mendume, and with out union head Tamara Norbu. And in all respects the world is getting smaller. Now we show films right at the unit. And "Anyyak Tuva"  just recently looked at a film ordered by me, a very subtle and intelligent film "Gangsters and philanthropists". And not even three weeks went by, when Golubek, the father of archeology showed up at my Kryukov canal, and, what is most important, sent by  the Badowskis. Gustav Golubek is a famous actor, who played in many films, some of which were shown in USSR: "Manuscript found in Saragossa", "History of the golden slipper", "Marysya and napoleon" and many others. Including the main role in "Gangsters and philanthropists".

-  This correspondence - at some point it should be sent to Tuva. I am not eternal…And someone might just grab it and throw it out, - said Mr. Ryszard.

He is busy now - writing books about the history of Polish journal "Poznai Swiat" ("Know the world") after that, he will deal with the Tuvan archive. For starters, he will compile the bibliography of his works dedicated to Tuva. Then the time will come for a major work - a work about Tuva, as a Polish journalist saw it almost half a century ago.

Viktoria Peemot, "Tuvinskaya pravda"
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