"The major wealth of Sakhalin, and its – possibly enviable and happy – future……
A.P. Chekhov, «Sakhalin Island»
On April 27, a lecture «On the Island of the Outcasts» was given for the students of the Sakhalin College of Service in the Lecture Room of the Sakhalin Regional Museum. The lecture was delivered by Zhanna Konstantinovna Belonosova, Guide of the Scientific and Educational Department.
During the lecture, the audience learned about the peculiarities of Anton Pavlovich Chekhovs trip to Sakhalin Island in 1890 such as that the writer was motivated by a sense of responsibility and he did his civic duty to the people of the country. He overcame difficulties and undertook the journey to the island even after knowing that he was ill with tuberculosis. The lecturer also noted the important role of Chekhov’s personal organization and his self-learning before the trip the writer had read many books on history, ethnography, criminal law, meteorology.
The lecturer quoted words from Chekhov’s letters to A.S. Suvortsev, his friend and publisher of his works as well as quotations from the book «Sakhalin Island», which contained Chekhovs reflections on Sakhalin, convicts and conditions of their lives, people and life of this remote region. Zhanna Konstantinovna told about how Chekhov compiled questionnaires of convicts. Much attention was paid to the plight of women in penal servitude.
In addition, students have looked at copies of photographs from Anton Chekhovs personal collection and a photocopy of his reporter ID of the newspaper Novoye Vremya with which he traveled to Sakhalin.
In conclusion, it was noted that the information contained in the book «Sakhalin Island», published five years after the end of the trip, led to a real awakening of public opinion. It may be noted that Chekhov’s book has to some extent prepared public opinion for the abolishment of Sakhalin penal colony.
There have been many events since then in the history of Sakhalin, but Chekhovs arrival on the island left a special imprint.