Anwar Ibrahim first Arab to receive Dostoyevsky Medal

Reham El-Adawi , Thursday 9 Mar 2023

Russian ambassador to Egypt Georgiy Borisenko has awarded the Dostoyevsky Medal to Anwar Ibrahim – the under-secretary of the Ministry of Culture and former head of the ministry’s Foreign Cultural Relations Department – for his work in translating Russian literature into Arabic.

Anwar Ibrahim
Marat Gatin, Sherif Gad, Professor Anwar Ibrahim receives his medal from Russian ambassador Georgiy Borisenko, Fathy Toghan


The honouring ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Russian Embassy in Cairo on 6 March. It was attended by a delegation from the Egyptian Association of Graduates of Russian and Soviet Universities headed by Sherif Gad.


Ambassador Borisenko expressed appreciation for Ibrahim’s efforts in translating classic and contemporary Russian literature into Arabic, thereby promoting Russian culture.

“The Arab reader is lucky when he reads translated Russian literature through creative translators like Anwar Ibrahim,” Borisenko said.

Borisenko wished Ibrahim continued success in his literary career, which he described as part of the soft power between Russia and the Arab peoples.

The Dostoyevsky Medal was established by the Russian Writers Union to be awarded to translators on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who is one of the most iconic writers of the Russian literary canon.

For his part, Ibrahim said that "this honour is a new birth for me, and I am extremely proud of receiving the Dostoyevsky Medal."

Toghan, Secretary-General of the Association of Graduates, affirmed that the award for Ibrahim is a tribute to all graduates of the association, especially since Anwar is the first Arab to receive the prestigious medal.

Dostoyevsky, who was born in 1821 in Moscow and died in 1881 in St. Petersburg, gave up an engineering career early in order to write.

In 1849, he was arrested for belonging to a radical discussion group and was sentenced to be shot. He was reprieved at the last moment and sentenced to four years of hard labour in Siberia, where he developed epilepsy and experienced a deepening of his religious faith.

Dostoyevsky’s novels are especially concerned with faith, suffering, and the meaning of life; they are famous for their psychological depth and insight and their near-prophetic treatment of issues in philosophy and politics.

By the end of his life, he was acclaimed as one of his country’s greatest writers, and his works had a profound influence on 20th-century literature.

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