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Mykola Bazhan
Born September 26, 1904
Kamianets-Podilskyi, Russian Empire (today Khmelnytskyi Oblast)
Died November 23, 1983 (79 years)
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Ukrainian
Occupation writer, poet, academician

Mykola Platonovych Bazhan (Ukrainian language: Микола Платонович Бажан

9 October [O.S. 26 September] 1904 – 23 November 1983) was a Soviet Ukrainian writer, poet, highly decorated political and public figure. He was an academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1951), Merited Science Specialist of Ukrainian SSR (1966), Merited Art Specialist of Georgian SSR (1964), People's Poet of Uzbek SSR.

Bazhan was a People's Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union for two of five convocations (1946–1962), and the Supreme Council of the Ukrainian SSR for six of nine convocations (1963–1980). He was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and was elected to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Ukrainian SSR on several occasions at the party's congresses (17 of and 21 of 25). In 1943–49 Bazhan was a Deputy Chairman of the Council of Minister (Commissars) of the Ukrainian SSR.


Mykola Bazhan was born in city of Kamenyets, an administrative center of Podolia Governorate, yet his youth years he spent in Uman, Kiev Governorate. His father Platon Artemovych Bazhan, a native of Poltava region, was a military cartographer and a veteran of the Ukrainian People's Army.

In 1923 Mykola Bazhan graduated from the Uman Cooperative College and moved to Kiev where he studied at a cooperative institute at first and later at an institute of foreign relations. He was active in the Futurist literary movement, and his first poem was published in Kiev in 1923 and his first book "Seventeenth Patrol" in Kharkiv in 1926. In 1926 he married a Ukrainian writer and native of Kiev Hayina Kovalenko. They divorced in 1938, and he remarried, to Nina Lauer, shortly thereafter.[1] During the 1930s Bazhan work was viewed as "anti-proletarian" and became a subject of a number official anti-nationalist campaigns. In he felt his arrest was imminent and he rarely slept at home. In 1939 Bazhan was awarded the Order of Lenin for his translation into Ukrainian of the epic poem "The Warrior in the Tiger's skin" by the medieval Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli. Bazhan found out about this, from a newspaper, while hiding from his imminent arrest in a city park in Kiev. He was eventually told by Nikita Khrushchev that his arrest had been ordered, but Stalin was fond of his Rustaveli translation, and changed his mind.[2] In 1940 Mykola Bazhan was forced to join the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

During the Great Patriotic War Bazhan became a military reporter and the editor of the newspaper For the Soviet Ukraine. In 1943 he published a book, Stalingrad Notebook, for which in 1946 he received the Stalin Prize. In 1953-59 Bazhan headed the Writer's Union of Ukraine. During the "Khrushchev thaw", on July 2, 1956 he raised before the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine the issue of rehabilitation several repressed writers: Vasyl Bobynsky, Hryhorii Epik, Ivan Kulyk, Mykola Kulish, and many more.

In 1970 Bazhan was nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature, but he was forced by Soviet authorities to write a letter refusing his candidature.[3]

From 1957 and until his death, Bazhan was the founding chief editor of the Main Edition of Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia publishing. The publishing was not completed in his lifetime; the first edition was, however, as the initial Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia in 17 volumes was released 1959–1965. A second (and final, as events would develop) 12-volume work was released 1977–1985. The enterprise was additionally responsible for a large number of other major Ukrainian reference works. Bazhan also was one of co-authors of the Anthem of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. He died in Kiev in 1983.

Moisei Fishbein, a notable Ukrainian poet was Bazhan's literary secretary.

Awards and prizes[]

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  • This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Russian Wikipedia.

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