Saturday, January 2, 2010


From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Boris Maximovich Kirov, (in Russian, Борис Максимович Киров) (b. Petrovichi, Smolensk Guberniya, Russia, 2 January 1920?) was a Russian scientist and literary figure best known as a writer of poems and short stories. Thoughout his life, he was a tireless champion of freedom of expression.

Kirov's parents, Maxim and Natalia Kirov, were Russian peasant farmers from the small village of Petrovichi. Kirov himself demonstrated a precocious intelligence, teaching himself to read at five and writing his first poems at eleven. He entered Smolensk State University at fifteen and earned a degree in chemistry in 1939. He was working on a Doctorate in biochemistry when the Second World War began in 1943, and Kirov was conscripted into the Russian Army. First serving in and later commanding an artillery unit, Kirov saw action in Poland and Germany. When the Denikin regime was deposed in 1951 following the atom bomb attacks on Petrograd, Odessa and Vladivostok, Kirov supported the restoration of the Tsarina Olga. Demobilized after the Treaty of Teheran, Kirov returned to Smolensk State University to complete his studies, earning a PhD in biochemistry in 1953, and joining the faculty of Volgograd University the following year.

Throughout his academic and military careers, Kirov continued to write a series of poems and short stories, which were published in various Russian literary journals. Following the easing of press restrictions in 1956, Kirov published his controversial story «подкидыш» ("Foundling"), about a Jewish couple leaving their baby to be raised by gentile neighbors before being arrested by the White Guards. Kirov claimed that «подкидыш» was based on stories his parents told him of the White Terror of the early 1920s, when a number of Petrovichi's Jewish families were arrested and executed for alleged Bolshevist tendencies.

Arrested himself in 1957 for sedition, Kirov became a cause célèbre among Russian intellectuals. Kirov was finally released after the fall of the Kulikov ministry in 1959 and the subsequent liberalisation programme of the Sakharov ministry. Kirov was restored to his position at Volgograd University, and resumed publishing.

In the 1960s Kirov worked on an ambitious cycle of poems inspired by Karel Čapek's R.U.R. called Я, робот (I, Robot), which deconstructed Čapek's theme of the perils of mechanisation. This was followed by the epic Основание (Foundation) trilogy, a set of three narrative poems describing the fall of a future Galactic Empire and the rise of a Second Empire from its ashes. The Основание trilogy was widely regarded as an allegory on the fall and resurrection of the Romanov dynasty, and it earned Kirov's appointment as Poet Laureate by Tsar Nicholas III in 1981.

Kirov's last years were spent in a series of hospitals as his health deteriorated. He died in a Moscow hospital of kidney failure on 6 April 1992.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I dig the "alternate universe" Encyclopedia Britannica- in this timeline, does the Russian scientific establishment dump Lysenkoism for Darwin-inspired evolutionary theory?

Johnny Pez said...

This is a timeline where the Bolsheviks lose the Russian Civil War, so unless Lysenko can somehow worm his way into Anton Denikin's confidence, there won't by any Lysenkoism for the scientific establishment to dump. I suppose it could happen.