Shukshin day in Srostki village. 22/07/2023. Photos: Valery Mostakov

Shukshin Days in Altai is an all-Russian festival in memory of the writer, film director, screenwriter and actor Vasily Shukshin. The largest cultural event in the Altai Krai.

It has been taking place since 1976 in the village of Srostki, as well as in Biysk, Barnaul and other cities of the region. It is held annually in the summer, so that the final day falls on the Sunday closest to July 25 – the birthday of V. M. Shukshin. Includes various literary, cinematic, theatrical and other cultural events.


A year and a half after his death, in April 1976, Vasily Makarovich Shukshin was posthumously awarded the Lenin Prize “for creative achievements of recent years in cinema.” Then, in his homeland, in the Altai Territory, the idea of an event arose that could serve to perpetuate the memory of Shukshin and express recognition of his contribution to the development of the literary and cinematic heritage of Russia. The idea of the Shukshin readings belonged to the head of the Srostinsky regional library D.I. Faleeva, the honored cultural worker, the head of the cultural department of Biysk A.G. Andronov and the associate professor of the Biysk Pedagogical Institute L.I. Muravinskaya. The initiative found support from the Altai Writers’ Organization and was ultimately approved by a resolution of the Altai Regional Committee of the CPSU.

The first readings were attended by relatives of V.M. Shukshin – mother Maria Sergeevna and sister Natalya Makarovna, fellow villagers, fans of creativity, representatives of party organizations in Biysk and the Biysk region. The famous Altai journalist, head of the Altai television studio Vadim Yavinsky, Novosibirsk poet Leonid Chikin, artists of the Altai Regional Drama Theater and Philharmonic performed. The event was initially held in Biysk, in the palace of culture of the local chemical plant, where, according to the journalist, the thousand-seat hall could not accommodate everyone. After the official part, those interested headed to the village of Srostki, to Mount Piket. The tradition of concluding all official events on Mount Picket continues to this day.

From the very first time, the Shukshin Readings became popular among local residents and began to attract numerous guests of the village, immediately going beyond the scope of a purely regional event. The Shukshin readings were widely covered in the press. A special section of the same name appears in the popular newspaper “Altaiskaya Pravda”. All this contributed to the growing popularity of the event. Already in 1980, several thousand people gathered on Mount Picket, including those who came from afar specifically for the “readings,” but no exact calculations of the number of those present were made. In 2014, the organizers of the now “Shukshin Days in Altai” counted more than 12 thousand participants at events in Srostki alone.

In 1980, the readings acquired official status; the executive secretary of the Altai Writers’ Organization, Lev Kvin, announced that the Shukshin readings would be held annually in the Altai Territory. However, the following year no events were officially held. This, however, did not prevent the spontaneous pilgrimage of numerous people to Srostki for the next anniversary of the birth of Vasily Makarovich. People came to Srostki, went to the museum, to the mountain, walked around the village, and relaxed on the banks of the Katun. Subsequently, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a debate arose in the Altai press about what the Shukshin readings should be like in the future, and whether they were needed at all. The controversy was caused by the formality and excessive pomp of the event. Shukshina’s sister Natalya Makarovna, who participated in the 1989 festival, also expressed concerns, worrying that attention to her brother might turn into “Shukshina fashion.” However, the story of how, even in the absence of an official part, numerous people still gathered and came to the museum, where the holiday was organized virtually spontaneously, put an end to the discussion.

In 1986, the holiday received the status of the regional event “Shukshin Days in Altai”; the Shukshin Readings became a literary part of the general event. In 1999, “Shukshin Days” received the status of the All-Russian festival “Shukshin Days in Altai”. In 2007, as part of the festival, the Shukshin Literary Prize of the Head of the Region was established, which is awarded once every two years.

In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all public events in the Altai Territory, including the Shukshin Days festival, were cancelled. Only in the fall did a film festival take place, where films were shown in open-air venues in Barnaul, and the opening and closing ceremonies were held online.

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