Born Gubovka, Ukraine, 1883; died Moscow, 1945
Born into a peasant family, Efim Aleksandrovich Pridvorov excelled in school and was admitted in 1904 to St. Petersburg University, where he remained until 1914, becoming increasingly involved in radical politics. In 1912 Pridvorov adopted the pseudonym Dem’ian Bednyi (Dem’ian the Poor) and became a member of the Bolshevik Party. In the 1920s Bednyi was close to the leadership of the Communist Party, occupying his own apartment in the Kremlin and publishing constantly in major newspapers and satirical magazines. He wrote many texts for propaganda posters, often in collaboration with the artist Viktor Deni. In late 1936, the prohibition of Bednyi’s satirical play The Heroic Knights, proved to be a severe blow to the writer. Soviet authorities determined that the play distorted and insulted Russian history. In 1938 he was expelled from the ranks of the Communist Party; unable to publish, he sold off his extensive library, one of the best in the country. By the beginning of World War II, Bednyi had been restored to official favor. He was recognized as one of the most productive and successful TASS poets.
Mikhail Mikhailovich Solov'ev, Viktor Pavlovich Sokolov, and Dem'ian Bednyi. A Sign of the Nation's Love, September 5, 1942. Ne boltai! Collection.