Vladimov, Georgii (Nikolaevich) 1931-2003
VLADIMOV, Georgii (Nikolaevich) 1931-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 19, 1931, in Kharkov, Ukraine, Russia; died October 19, 2003, in Germany. Editor and author. Vladimov was an award-winning Russian novelist whose writings and other activities led to his being labeled a dissident and to his self-imposed exile to Germany in 1983. His early, happy childhood as the son of a teacher and a professor was destroyed by World War II, when his father was captured by the Germans and never returned; later, during the Josef Stalin years, his mother also suffered deeply after being imprisoned for two years by the Communist government. After attending Leningrad State University briefly in 1953, Vladimov left school and became a literary critic. From 1956 to 1959 he worked as a prose editor for the literary journal Novvi Mir, which was the first periodical to publish his fiction. Vladimov's novels began to appear in the early 1960s, beginning with Bloshaya ruda (1962; translated in 1963 as Striking It Rich). About this time, the novel A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn was gaining wide attention, and when Vladimov published his story "Sobaki" in 1965 many readers mistook it for a new work by Solzhenitsyn because of its similar social themes. Vladimov later expanded the story into the novel Vernyi Ruslan (1975; translated as Faithful Ruslan: The Story of a Guard Dog in 1979). By this time the Soviet government, already suspicious of Vladimov for his support of Solzhenitsyn's fight against censorship and Andrei Sakharov's human rights campaign, forbade Vladimov to travel to promote his book. Another novel, Tri minuty molchaniya (1969; translated as Three Minutes' Silence in 1985) had already been banned from publication for years. But Vladimov's novels found their way into underground circulation and became widely popular in the West. The government's harassment of Vladimov continued until he struck a deal with the government to grant him a visa if he promised to leave the country for good. He did so in 1983, moving to Germany, where he edited the Russian emigré magazine Grani. After winning the Russian Booker Prize in 1995 for his novel General i ego Armiia (1990; title means "The General and His Army"), and with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, tensions eased and Vladimov regained his Russian citizenship in 2000. Although he moved to a writers' colony in Moscow, he still spent much of his time in Germany. Other works by Vladimov include the play The Sixth Soldier (1981), the book Ne obrashchaite vnimanya (1983), and a number of short stories; a four-volume set of his collected works was published in 1998.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Independent (London, England), October 30, 2003, p. New York Times, November 16, 2003, p. A29. Times (London, England), November 3, 2003. 22.