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Famous Russian writer Voinovich turns 70 - 26 September, 2002

On Thursday, September 26th, the famous Russian writer Vladimir Voinovich turns 70.

The writer's life if full of paradoxes. The future ardent anti-Stalinist was born in the town of Stalinabad /now Dushanbe/. He entered a Pedagogy Institute, but never graduated from it. He worked as a shepherd, a joiner, a metalworker, an aircraft mechanic, and an instructor of a village regional executive committee, an editor on the All-Union radio. He began writing in 1951, first poetry then prose.

To say that his work "was not to the liking" of the USSR leaders of that time means to say nothing. Voinovich's impartial criticism of the vices "of the most just society on the planet" and its "wit, honour and conscience, which was becoming bitterer with years, caused "the higher echelons" to feel real hatred towards the writer. As a result, in 1980, by Brezhnev's order he was expelled from the USSR and deprived of the Russian citizenship for "ideological incompatibility" with the party in power, for the novel "Soldier Chonkin's Life and Extraordinary Adventures" published abroad, for the story "Ivankiada" and, in general, for his sharp tongue. Voinovich left for Germany, he also worked in America for some time.

In 1989, Chonkin's author returned to Russia with triumph. Moscow shouted with laughter at the legally published adventures of the soldier, at the prophetic "Moscow 2024". The Sovremennik theatre still gathers full houses thanks to the play "Medium-Fluffy Domestic Cat" based on Voinovich's story "Cap".

In 1990, Gorbachyov returned Voinovich the bereft citizenship, which was followed by presenting him with the "Triumph" prize. In 2001, the writer was awarded the National Prize for the novel "Monumental Propaganda", describing the love of a regional committee secretary of Stalin's monument.

Voinovich's work remains controversial as his new book "Portrait against Myth Background", devoted to Alexander Solzhenitsyn's personality, has already caused wild debates among literary critics and the Nobel Prize winner's ordinary admirers.

Voinovich has firm political standpoints, but unlike many other intellectuals, he flatly refuses to politicize professionally. "I like and respect my job and rank it much higher than any political careers," the writer said. However, unexpectedly for himself, he revealed a talent in painting in himself. Voinovich takes serious interest in painting and has already held individual exhibitions.

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