Bulat Shalvovich


Bulat Okudzhava was a Soviet and Russian poet, novelist, screenwriter, bard, composer. Laureate of the USSR State Prize (1991), participant of the Great Patriotic War. He wrote about two hundred original and pop songs, and is also known as one of the most prominent representatives of the genre of “author’s song” in the 1960s and 1980s. He was born on May 9, 1924 in Moscow. At the age of 13 he became an orphan, he had to move to live with his family in Tbilisi. During the Great Patriotic War, in 1942 Bulat Okudzhava, despite his young age, volunteered for the front. He was wounded in 1943, but returned to service after treatment. It was on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War that Bulat Okudzhava wrote his first song, “We couldn’t sleep in cold warmers.” Later, in 1961, he would write an autobiographical story about young soldiers, “Be Healthy, Schoolboy.” After the war, Bulat Okudzhava completed his secondary education and entered the Faculty of Philology at Tbilisi University. After graduation, he worked as a teacher in the Kaluga region. His works were published in the Kaluga newspaper Molodoy Leninets. In 1956, he published his first collection of poems, Lyrica. Bulat Okudzhava’s creativity flourished in the 1960s, becoming one of the famous creators of the genre of author’s song along with Yuri Vizbor and Vladimir Vysotsky. At this time Bulat Okudzhava wrote his most famous songs: “The song about Lenka Koroleva”, “Sentries of love”, “Duty officer for April”, “Oh, Nadia-Nadenka”. In 1958, the poignant poem “Goodbye, boys” was published, Bulat Shalvovich dedicated it to his friends who lived with him in the same yard on the Arbat, went to the front and died young in the war. Bulat Okudzhava also wrote prose: in 1976 the novel “The Journey of Amateurs” was published, and in 1983 the novel “A Date with Bonaparte” was published. Bulat Okudzhava was also a translator of literary texts (he wrote several songs based on poems by the Polish poetess Agnieszka Osecka), wrote scripts for the films Zhenya, Zhenechka and Katyusha (1967) and Fidelity (1965). In 1970, Andrei Smirnov’s film “Belorussky Railway Station” was released. Bulat Okudzhava wrote the words and music for the song “We need one victory.” A monument has been erected in memory of the outstanding songwriter on the Arbat.

Address: Moscow, Arbat str., 45