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Sergey Mikhalkov

sergey mikhalkov, sergey mikhalkov poems
Sergey Vladimirovich Mikhalkov Russian: Серге́й Влади́мирович Михалко́в; 13 March  1913 − 27 August 2009 was a Soviet and Russian author of children's books and satirical fables who had the opportunity to write the lyrics of his country's national anthem on three different occasions, spanning almost 60 years


  • 1 Life and career
  • 2 Honours and awards
    • 21 Russian Federation
    • 22 Soviet Union
      • 221 Decorations
      • 222 Prizes and awards
    • 23 Religious awards
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Life and career

Mikhalkov was born in Moscow, Russian Empire, to Vladimir Alexandrovich Mikhalkov and Olga Mikhailovna née Glebova Mikhalkov stemmed from the noble family of Mikhalkovs and had tsarist admirals, governors, and princes among his grandparents Since the 1930s, he has rivalled Korney Chukovsky, Samuil Marshak and Agniya Barto as the most popular poet writing for Russophone children His poems about enormously tall "Uncle Styopa" "Дядя Стёпа" enjoyed particular popularity Uncle Styopa is a friendly policeman always ready to rescue cats stuck up trees, and to perform other helpful deeds In English, his name translates as Uncle Steeple

As a 29-year-old in 1942, Mikhalkov's work drew the attention of the Soviet Union's leader Joseph Stalin, who commissioned him to write lyrics for a new national anthem At the time, the country was deeply embroiled in World War II and Stalin wanted a Russian theme for the national anthem, to replace the Internationale

Mikhalkov penned words to accompany a musical score by the composer Alexander Alexandrov 1883–1946 that became known as National Anthem of the Soviet Union The new anthem was presented to Stalin in the summer of 1943 and was introduced as the country's new anthem on January 1, 1944

On the death of Stalin in 1953, the lyrics, which mentioned him by name, were discarded during the process of destalinization and the anthem continued to be used without words Mikhalkov wrote new lyrics in 1970, but they were not submitted to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet until May 27, 1977 The new lyrics, which removed any reference to Stalin, were approved on September 1 and were made official with the printing of the new Soviet Constitution in October 1977

During the Soviet era, Mikhalkov and his wife, Natalia Konchalovskaya sometimes worked for the KGB, for example by presenting undercover KGB staff officers to foreign diplomats, as in the case of French ambassador Dejean who was compromised by the KGB in 1950s His younger brother Mikhail Mikhalkov was also a notable writer as well as a KGB agent

Mikhalkov receiving the Order for Service to the Fatherland 2nd Class from President of Russia Vladimir Putin on 13 March 2003

Use of the Soviet anthem, with Mikhalkov's lyrics, continued until 1991, when it was retired by President Boris Yeltsin after the USSR disintegrated However, when Vladimir Putin took over from Yeltsin in 2000, he began to clamor for a restoration of Alexandrov’s music in place of Yeltsin's choice

Mikhalkov was 87 years old by this time and long since retired; in fact, he is better known in modern Russia or rather – by the new generation of Russians as the father of popular film makers Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrei Konchalovsky – who had dropped part of his name "Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky" when he left Russia But when Putin’s push to restore the old anthem began to pick up momentum, he picked up his pen once again, and wrote new lyrics to go with Alexandrov’s score The result was the National Anthem of Russia, which was officially adopted in 2001

Apart from the national anthem, Mikhalkov produced a great number of satirical plays and provided scripts for several Soviet comedies He also successfully revived a long derelict genre of satirical fable He was awarded three Stalin Prizes 1941, 1942, 1950 and numerous other awards

He resided in Moscow On his 90th birthday in 2003, Putin personally visited him at his home to present him with the 2nd class Order For Service to Fatherland, citing him for his contributions to culture of Russia Mikhalkov was also decorated with a Hero of Socialist Labor and the Order of Lenin, among others, for his work during the Soviet period

In 1936 Mikhalkov married Natalia Petrovna Konchalovskaya 1903–1988, granddaughter of Vasily Surikov They remained married for 53 years until her death In 1997 Mikhalkov married physics professor Yulia Valeryevna Subbotina

Mikhalkov died in his sleep at the age of 96 in a Moscow hospital His funeral, held at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, was attended by family, friends, and government officials He was buried at Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow with full military honors

Honours and awards

From the corresponding article in the Russian Wikipedia

Russian Federation

  • Order of St Andrew 13 March 2008 - the highest Russian honour; for outstanding contributions to the development of national literature and for many years of creativity and social activities
  • Order For Merit to the Fatherland, 2nd Class 13 March 2003 - for outstanding contributions to the development of national culture
  • Order of Honour 13 March 1998 - for great personal contributions to the development of domestic multi-national culture
  • Order of Friendship 20 February 1993 - for great personal contributions to the development of arts and literature, and the strengthening of inter-ethnic cultural relations and productive social activities

Soviet Union


  • Hero of Socialist Labour 1973
  • Order of Lenin 1939, 1963, 1973, 1983
  • Order of the October Revolution 1971
  • Order of the Red Banner 28 February 1945 - for exemplary performance in command assignments at the front in the struggle against the Nazi invaders, and for displaying courage and heroism
  • Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Degree 1985
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour 1967, 1988
  • Order of the Red Star 7 March 1943 - for exemplary performance in command assignments at the front in the struggle against the Nazi invaders, and for displaying courage and heroism

Prizes and awards

  • Lenin Prize 1970 - for poetry of recent years for primary-school children
  • State Prize of the USSR 1978 - for the Russian satirical newsreel "Wick" latest edition
  • Stalin Prize, 2nd Degree 1941 - for poetry for schoolchildren
  • Stalin Prize, 2nd Degree 1942 - for the film script "Front-Girlfriend"
  • Stalin Prize, 2nd Degree 1950 - for the plays "Ilya Golovin" and "I want to go home"
  • State Prize of the RSFSR Stanilavsky 1977 - for the satirical play "Foam", performed at the Moscow Theatre of Satire

Religious awards

  • Order of the Blessed Prince Dmitri of the Russian Orthodox Church "For mercy" 1998
  • Order of St Sergius, 2nd Class 1993, Russian Orthodox Church 1993

See also

  • Novodevichy Cemetery
  • Three Plus Two


  1. ^ Mikhalkov, Sergey 2006 Я был советским писателем Приметы времени in Russian ISBN 5-9524-1884-8 Retrieved 11 September 2009 
  2. ^ Miriam Morton 1967 A Harvest of Russian Children's Literature University of California Press pp 4–5 ISBN 978-0-520-01745-0 
  3. ^ Ben Hellman 2013 Fairy Tales and True Stories: The History of Russian Literature for Children and Young People 1574 - 2010 BRILL p 386 ISBN 978-9-004-25638-5 
  4. ^ Harding, Luke 30 August 2009 "Sergei Mikhalkov Obituary" The Guardian 
  5. ^ Голованова, М П; В С Шергин 2003 Государственные символы России Москва: Росмэн-Пресс p 150 ISBN 5-353-01286-0 
  6. ^ John Barron, KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1974 London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1974 New York: Bantam Books, 1974
  7. ^ "Soviet and Russian anthem author Mikhalkov dies at 96" RIA Novosti 27 August 2009 Retrieved 11 September 2009 
  8. ^ "Sergei Mikhalkov buried at Moscow's Novodevichye Cemetery" RIA Novosti 29 August 2009 Retrieved 11 September 2009 

External links

  • Sergey Mikhalkov on IMDb
  • Sergei Mikhalkov, Obituary, The Economist, Sep 10th 2009
  • Encyclopedia of Soviet Writers
  • Sergei Mikhalkov - Daily Telegraph obituary

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