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 Vladimir Narbut

Born:   April, 2nd (14), 1888
Deceased:   April, 14th, 1938

Russian poet and man of letters


Vladimir Ivanovich Narbut was born on April, 2nd (14), 1888 into a family of a landowner in Narbutvka farm of the Chernigov Province. He was the brother of the outstanding graphic artist Georgy Narbut. He got his secondary education in the Glukhovsky grammar school. He graduated the history and philology faculty of the Petersburg University. He started to have his works published from 1910 in the Petersburg student's magazine Gaudeamus. In 1912 he joined the Guild of Poets.

In 1918-1919 he was the editor of the magazine Siren in Voronezh. In 1920-1922 he lived at first in Odessa, and then in Kiev. In 1922 he moved to Moscow, where he worked in the Press Department of the Central Committee of Communist Party, and founded and headed the publishing house Zemlya i Fabrika (Land and Factory). In 1928 he was expelled from the party for having concealed certain circumstances related to his stay in the south during the civil war.

Vladimir Narbut was the patron of a group of Odessa writers (Eduard Bagritsky, Yury Olesha, Ilya Ilf, Yevgeny Petrov, and others) formed in the 1920s in Moscow. According to Nadezhda Mandelstam,” Odessa writers ate their bread from hands of Narbut”.

In 1925 Vladimir Narbut together with the publisher Vasily Reginin founded the monthly journal “30 Days”. But the magazine has been closed by the beginning of the Great Patriotic War simultaneously with many other editions of that period.

In October, 1936 Vladimir Narbut was arrested. The writer was accused of a membership in the group of “Ukrainian nationalist men of letters”, who were allegedly engaged in anti-Soviet propaganda. Investigators claimed Igor Postupalsky as the head of the group. Along with Narbut, the group ostensibly included translators P.S.Shleyman (Karaban) and P.B. Zenkevich and literary critic B.A. Navrotsky. All the five were condemned to five years of imprisonment and were sent to a Gulag camp in Kolyma.

On April, 14th, 1938 Vladimir Narbut was sentenced to death by an NKVD troika (one of commissions of three persons who convicted people without trial) and shot down at the quarantine point 2 of Dalstroi trust.

There is a legend saying the Narbut was not shot down but together with several hundreds of convicts was drowned on a barge in Nagaevsky Bay.

The first posthumous collection of his verses prepared by Leonid Chertkov was published in Paris in 1983.

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