The modern Hellenist, philologist and translator, Honorary Professor of the University of Ioannina, Sonia Ilinskaya, died in Athens, on Friday January 19, 2024, at the age of 86. Ilinskaya was a graduate of the Department of Classical Literature of the State University of M.B. Lomonosov of Moscow and wife of the writer Mitsos Alexandropoulos.

Her research interest was focused from a very early age on modern Greek and Russian philology. She worked as a researcher at the Institute of Slavic and Balkan Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1971 she defended her thesis entitled “Contribution to the study of post-war poetry in Greece. The fate of a generation.”

She was the first professional philologist-modern Hellenist to deal with the translation and publication of Modern Greek literature for the Russian readership, and, for more than 60 years, she had associated her name with the substantial and fruitful study and presentation of Greek literature in Russia and in former USSR: introduced Cavafy for the first time (1967), systematized the presentation of Ritsos, anthologized Greek poetry and short stories, presented novels, wrote a series of scientific works (monographs, articles, scientific announcements) always on the subject of modern Greek literature.

As editor of publications she collaborated with most of the already known translators, trained the next generation of younger translators who have taken over the baton today, aroused the interest of great Russian poets, especially the Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky, in modern Greek literature (mainly towards Cavafy), and published a series of today’s classic translations of Modern Greek writers, especially poets of all generations, presenting them for the first time in Russian (A. Kalvos, K.P. Cavafis, K. Karyotakis, Gr. Xenopoulos, M. Alexandropoulos, G. Ritsos, N. Vrettakos, A. Terzakis, G. Seferis, O. Elytis, M. Anagnostakis, M. Sakhtouris, E. Kaknavatos, V. Vassilikos, T. Patrikios, G. Dallas, L. Poulios, M. Ganas, G. Markopoulos, G. Yfantis, K. Dimoulas, K. Kyrou and many others). We can say with certainty that thanks to her contribution, the Russian-speaking reader today knows Cavafy, Karyotakis, Seferi, Ritso, Elytis and the post-war generation of Neo-Greek poets.

In 1983 he settled in Greece. She was elected professor of modern Greek philology at the University of Ioannina.

In Greece, she published as an author and editor many articles and books, such as: “K.P. Cavafy. The Roads to Realism in 20th Century Poetry.” (Athens 1983), “Michael Lykiardopoulos. A Greek in the field of Russian symbolism” (Athens 1989), “Notes. From the course of Greek poetry of the 20th century” (Athens 1992), “K.P. Cavafy and the Russian poetry of the silver age” (Athens 1995), “The Greek Revolution of 1821 in the mirror of Russian poetry” (Athens 2001), “K.P. Cavafy, All the Poems.” (Athens 2003), “Greece-Russian correspondences” (Athens 2004), “Russian literature in Greece. 19th century” (Athens 2006). He especially dealt with issues of comparative Russian and modern Greek literature.

After her permanent settlement in Greece, she continued to translate and present modern Greek literature in modern Russia. The most emblematic achievement of this period was the publication of the entire poetic work of K.P. Cavafy in Russian (including rejected and unfinished poems) in 2009, based on the 2003 Greek edition.

Sonya Ilinskaya will be buried on Tuesday, January 23 at 11 am from the Second Cemetery. The Society of Authors issued a statement of condolence.