More than 1,300 Russians are reading Leo Tolstoy’s notoriously lengthy novel “War and Peace” aloud in a 60-hour marathon on national television and radio as well as in a live webcast.
The public readings, pre-recorded at locations all over Russia, from the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to remote Arctic islands, have been coordinated by Tolstoy’s great-great-granddaughter. They feature Russians from all walks of life, from schoolchildren, gas workers and sports personalities to scientists, armed forces staff and cosmonauts.
On Thursday morning, three-minute passages from the novel were read aloud by a pop singer in Moscow, a jeweler in Nepal, an airline company owner in eastern Siberia, an actor in Chechnya and a baker in the Far East.
The organizers invited French actress Fanny Ardant to read the numerous French-language passages in the novel, which describes both the Napoleonic wars and French-speaking high society in imperial St. Petersburg.
Among the upcoming highlights are the readings by Tolstoy’s descendants at the family estate south of Moscow and a recorded message from cosmonaut Sergei Volkov who is currently at the International Space Station.