History of Literature

Russian literature


Yuli Daniel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yuli Markovich Daniel (Russian: Юлий Маркович Даниэль; November 15, 1925 — December 30, 1988) was a Soviet dissident writer, poet, translator, political prisoner and gulag survivor. He frequently wrote under the pseudonyms Nikolay Arzhak (Николай Аржак) and Yu. Petrov (Ю.Петров).

Early life and World War II
Yuli Daniel was born in Moscow into the family of Yiddish playwright M. Daniel (Mark Meyerovich, Russian: Марк Наумович Меерович), who took the pseudonym Daniel. The famous march song of the Soviet young pioneers, "Орленок" (Young Eagle), was originally written for one of his plays. Daniel's uncle, an ardent revolutionary (alias Liberten), was a member of Comintern who perished in the Great Purge.

In 1942, during Great Patriotic War, Daniel lied about his age and volunteered to serve at the front. He fought in the 2nd Ukrainian and the 3rd Belorussian fronts, in 1944 was critically wounded in his legs and demobilized due to his pursuant disability.

Writing and arrest
In 1950, he graduated from Moscow Pedagogical Institute and worked as a school teacher in Kaluga and Moscow regions. He published his poetry translations from a variety of languages. Daniel and his friend Andrei Sinyavsky also wrote satirical novels and smuggled them to France to be published under pseudonyms.

He married Larisa Bogoraz who later also became a famous dissident. In 1965, Daniel and Sinyavsky were arrested and tried in the infamous Sinyavsky-Daniel trial. On February 14, 1966, Daniel was sentenced to five years of hard labor for "anti-Soviet activity". Both writers entered a plea of not guilty, unprecedented in the USSR.

Late years and influence
According to Fred Coleman, "Historians now have no difficulty pinpointing the birth of the modern Soviet dissident movement. It began in February 1966 with the trial of Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel, two Russian writers who ridiculed the Communist regime in satires smuggled abroad and published under pen names. They didn't realize at the time that they were starting a movement that would help end Communist rule."

After four years of captivity in Mordovia labor camps and one year in Vladimir prison, Daniel refused to emigrate (as was customary among Soviet dissidents) and lived in Kaluga.

Before his death, Bulat Okudzhava acknowledged that some translations published under Okudzhava's name were ghostwritten by Daniel who was on the list of authors banned to be published in the USSR.


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