Ruben Filyan "The Ambassador of Your Country"
Ruben Filian was born in 1952 in Yerevan. He graduated from the Yerevan State University with a degree in Journalism.
Filian was frustrated by the soviet state, which was censoring the art and making it a tool for propaganda. By then he was one of the most prominent representatives of Yerevan’s bohemian circles, mastered several languages, had already been attracted by eastern philosophy, practiced karate and yoga and was doing translations from Sanskrit.
His first book The Unknown Self Biography was published in 1980. In the 70es Filian managed to flee from the Soviet Union. He set off to France, then travelled towards the Mediterranean, later to Egypt, Jordan and set down in Goa, India, where he taught yoga, karate, music and eastern philosophy. The last years of his life Filian lived in a hippy community in Goa and passed away on January 6, 1983, in a murder case, under unknown circumstances.
The book The Envoy of Your Country got published in 1992 and included the homonymous novel, short stories, and tales. In 2022 the second edition of The Unknown Self Biography got published․
Ruben Filian has also translated Vivekachudamani by Sri Adi Sankaracharya into Armenian.
The Ambassador of Your Country, a novel
The novel The Ambassador of Your Country is the most outstanding piece of
Filian’s prose. It was first published after his death in 1992, when the Soviet
Union didn’t exist anymore, and the independent Armenia had already regained its long-dreamed statehood.
Filian started to write his novel on December 10, 1975 and finished on December 26, 1978. In 1980 he leaves behind his finished manuscript of the novel in Yerevan and flees away from the Soviet Union.
The novel has unique place in the Armenian prose. It has the special flavor of modernism and eastern philosophy. In it he reflects on the most important political and cultural events in the history of Armenia. The narrator of the novel is represented by the pronoun “WE”, which also becomes the main character of the novel. The “WE” visits the Armenian History Museum and sees a photo of Winston Churchill, his assistant and a group of people who stand with their backs towards the viewer. As the guide explains, the photo appears to belong to the beginning of the century.
This is a photo which depicts a story on how Armenians (he uses the work “our countrymen”) visited Churchill to request his help in taking the country out of the crisis. Churchill doesn’t really understand who these people are and where they are from, and he unsuccessfully tries to find the country on the map. Churchill asks his assistant to find the location of the country and collect information about the people and their history. The next day the assistant brings a book with the requested information. The guide of the museum says that all the visitors will be presented with a copy of that book.
Receiving a copy of the book, the protagonist (WE) sets off to a trip around the country. Throughout the trip the mystical WE rediscovers all the important historical and mythical stories of the country – legends, paganism, acceptance of the Christianity, wars, genocide, poetical arts, etc. Throughout the journey WE reads extracts from the book about their own history, culture, self-identity, national characteristics and traditions.