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Aelita con | Brief Chronology
Chronicles of the first Russian Convent


Nobody was going to carry out a sc-fi festival at all. Writer Vladislav Krapivin, publi-cist Stanislav Meshavkin (the chief editor of "The Urals' Stalker" magazine those days), writer Yuriy Yarovoy and editor Vitaly Bugrov have simply invented to estab-lish a prize for Russian-writing sc-fi authors. And not more! The festival (or "Convention") had been emerged around of the awarding procedure absolutely spontaneously, so to say. And it became so that it was the first real sc-fi Convention at the territory of the former USSR.
In the course of time this action have accumulated its own traditions, its heroes (both from writ-ers' and fans' media), new prizes, and, no doubt, certain legends:


The first laureates of the "Aelita award" became Arkadiy & Boris Strugat-skiy and Alexander Kazantsev." Of course, the person of Arkady Natanovich, who came to Sverdlovsk as a member of the writers' duet to receive the beautiful statuette made of semi-precious stones and metal, had attracted the attention of numerous public - either local one and from another towns. People came from afar "to see Strugatskiy", and it turned out so that, in certain degree, they had given the birth to the Convention.


Gradually, the situation around the "Aelita-award" started to become more clear. The solemn ceremony with awarding procedure shifted into shadow, and to the first stage stepped the possibility to communicate: fans - with fans and writers, editors - with writers and readers. Those, who tried themselves in writing, got an unique chance to value their shy (or not so shy) creativity by qualified "judges", escaping annoying unnecessary tough editors in newspapers and magazines, which they were especially those days.
That was the real Convent already! The Festival! And someone thought that it'd been certain "symbolic" victory over "the System".
Well, of course, the figures of those who received the regular award no way were forgotten - just on the contrary: writers Zinovy Yuryev (1982 winner), Vladislav Krapivin (1983), Sergey Snegov (1984) and Sergey Pavlov (1985) stayed the main act-ing persons among this meeting of sc-fi fans.
But, as it turned out, the sense of something "unrealhad" appeared not only between the partici-pants of AELITA. It is necessary to remember that at those times the Soviet system still existed, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union couldn't allow any action or movement, which didn't followed any clear scheme, being controlled to the Party. Having suspected certain "evil intention" and "dark design", officials tried to cancel this "strange summit". In 1984 the chairmen and mem-bers of many Sc-fi Fan Clubs were called to come to local KGB departments, and the editorial staff of the "Urals Stalker" magazine had carried the Convention of 1985 semi-legally at all (without sending official invitations).


"Stop!" said sever officials to Convent organizers at last. That meant: "We've had enough of your uncontrollable actions. The USSR isn't something like shaming western society!"
And the Convent had been close by force - just for a whole year. There was no awarding of the prize that year, nor any guests.


But everything came quiet in some time - both the suspiciousness of the officials, and the activ-ity of kgb-men. The gear of the AELITA started to move again. Moreover, the Con had got new interesting awards: "The Memorial Award by the name of Ivan Antonovitch Efremov" ("The Efre-mov's award"), awarded for outstanding editorial, organizing and cultural activity in the field of sc-fi and fantasy, established in 1987, and the "Start" award, one for the best debuted book of the pre-ceding year.
The list of award winners during these years is as follow:
But it was felt already that the threat had been hanging over the Con. One could feel it by too of-ten appeals to "people of good will" for help, which originated from of the "Urals Stalker" editorial staff , by the stress, having condensed in the air, by the difficult financial situation in the country at all. In summer 1994 in addition to all troubles, the tragedy had happened: Vitaliy Bugrov died. And this man was the chief of sc-fi department of the "Urals Stalker" magazine and the leader of the public organizing committee of the Con.
Difficult times really came to AELITA:
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These years the Con hadn't been held at all.
Unfortunately, this world stands on money, and all the Cons as well. Money were needed for covering all the expenses on delivery and accommodation for guests of honor, for rather expensive prizes, for renting halls and transport for guests, etc, etc, etc...
It's necessary to say that AELITA is one of a few Cons in the country, which doesn't charge any fees from the participants - a person comes, and rents a room, and lives in accordance to his finan-cial possibilities. The prizes, rent of the halls for meetings, transport, and so on - everything is pro-vided by the Organizing Committee for the inpayments of sponsors.
From the very beginning the only financial base of AELITA was the "Urals Stalker" magazine. But just before this time the magazine itself had gone through twin bankruptcy of his bank and could not support the Con.
Just for two years nobody could say what would AELITA face in its nearest future - "to be or not to be".


1997 brought the answer, choosing "to be": the Con would exist! The Yekaterinburg's Book Trader's Association "Book Club" acted as a financial guarantor of AELITA and the organizing part was taken by the newly created The Regional Public Fund (RPF) - the festival "Aelita". At the head of the RPF had stood Igor Khalymbadzha, famous Russian bibliographer (mainly - in the field of sc-fi), bibliophile, publicist and simply wonderful person.
Reviled AELITA already had established a new award - "The Memorial Prize by the name of Vitaly Bugrov" ("The Bugrov's award") , the award for the outstanding editorial, biblio-graphical, literary critical and compilation work in the field of sc-fi and fantasy. The first laureate of this award became the editorial staff under the head of Vladislav Gakov, which created the first Russian "Sc-fi and Fantasy Encyclopedia".

Again, the sad fate followed AELITA with irreplaceable lost: just at the Eve of the Con in 1999 Igor Khalymbadzha died. First was Vitaly Bugrov, who died just in several days after "Aelita-94", and now Igor. It seemed as if somebody was going to leave the Con without its heart and soul.

In spite of continued difficult times the Con have survived and went on though not so crowded like 10 years ago (150-200 participants instead of 1000 and more as in the early 90's). During these passed years some other conventions appeared in Russia (those in Moscow and St.Petersburg most significant), but AELITA still was the most solid either by its awards (well, there are no analogues to "The Aelita award", "The Efremov's award" and "The Bugrov's" award in Russia!), or by its age. From certain time the judges of awards were numerous and international (20 persons from Russia and Ukraine).

"Aelita-2002" became the Con of considerable changes. For the first hand, the organ-izers (at the head of Eygeniy Perm'akov and Boris Dolingo), regardless of the deep-seated "tradition" didn't satisfied with the situation in which the Con had "frozen", and started to search new forms and additional possibilities and topics for the program of AELITA. For the second hand, Boris and Eugeniy found some connections with interested sponsors, who were ready to invest in the Con. New Organizing Committee nowadays tries to preserve this fact that there wouldn't be any fees for the participants and guests. At the same time the task is to con-vert the Con into the certain Event for the city of Yekaterinburg - not only for the most devoted sc-fi and fantasy lovers, but for the considerable part of the city dwellers.
In addition to existing awards one more had been added - "The Order of Sc-fi & Fantasy Knights" by the name of Igor Khalymbadzha. This award is given for the contribution in the devel-opment of the Russian fandom.
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2004 : ;
2003 : mouzes.
2004 :
2001 " " . .
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