The Facsimile Edition of the Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island Book is the Best Book of the Year

The two-volume book “A. P. Chekhov. Sakhalin Island. Facsimile Reproduction and Optical-Electronic Reconstruction of the Manuscript” was awarded the Grand Prix of Best Books 2019, the earliest professional publishing contest.

This unique project was implemented by the Russian State Library and the Rebirth of Tobolsk Foundation and sponsored by Sakhalin Energy to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the writer’s birth and the 130th anniversary of his visit to Sakhalin.


The annual contest organised by the Russian Publishers Association is one of the national biggest and most prestigious contests. This year, the contest welcomed over 400 books by 128 publishing houses from Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Saratov, etc.

“We believed that the Chekhov’s legacy had been thoroughly studied, but this project told us even more about this writer’s extensive work. Before this edition was published, almost ten percent of the writer’s manuscript have not been seen anywhere. We are happy to come up with the fully-fledged resource, which gives us the opportunity to study the unknown Chekhov. Nowadays, it is a breakthrough and a real blessing! My sincere congratulations go to all our dearest readers and those, who have a hand in the manuscript publication!” − said Arkady Yelfimov, the Rebirth of Tobolsk Charity Foundation founder.

Preservation of the art values and promotion of the Russian classics are the main goals of this project on the facsimile edition of Chekhov’s “Sakhalin Island”. The reconstructed manuscript has revealed a huge amount of Chekhov’s ideas and plans back from when he was working on “Sakhalin Island”. The researchers have been working on this edition for almost ten years. They had to resort to “the Chekhov’s expertise” and photo-based forensics techniques to decipher the whole Chekhov’s crossed-out text, which includes over 10 thousand corrections.

According to Arkady Yelfimov, this acknowledgement is not the only award received by a large team of specialists involved in the reconstruction of the manuscript. Their monumental efforts have earned them the top prize of the Enlightenment Through Books contest organised by the Russian Orthodox Church Publishing Council and the Federal Press and Mass Media Agency. This award has been well-earned in the contest among 164 published books coming from various regions of Russia, as well as from neighbouring countries and beyond.

“We are happy to be included in this extraordinary media project, as nobody has seen anything like this before. It is even more satisfying that this unique edition is now available to all sorts of readers, including the Sakhalin experts and Chekhov’s admirers: the company has donated three books to the Association of Museums of the Sakhalin Oblast. We hope that this masterpiece is a worthy gift for the writer’s 160th anniversary,” said Marina Ee, Sakhalin Energy Head of Social Performance.

The digital version is available at the Rebirth of Tobolsk Foundation site.

28 December 2020