Demyan Bedny

Demyan Bedny Poems

Bedny, whose real name was Efim Alekseyevich Pridvorov, was born into a peasant family. From 1886 to 1900 he studied in a school for military medical assistants, and from 1904 to 1908 he studied history and philology at St. Petersburg University. He began publishing poetry in 1899 and became one of the most popular poets of the Bolshevik press, writing a great number of folklore-like topical verse satires which were politically sharp-edged and whose primitive contents were easily accessible. After the Revolution he actively produced antireligious propaganda. During the Civil War, Red Army soldiers carried his pamphlets in their pockets.

Lenin described him thus: “Rather crude. Follows the reader, whereas one ought to lead.” Bedny was elected to the presidium of the Writers Union in 1934, but he was strongly criticized for his slanderous treatment of Russian history and his satirical perversion of the introduction of Christianity in ancient Rus, which led to his being excluded from the Communist party in 1938. During World War II he published rhetorical antifascist poems in Pravda.