Aleksei Surkov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Surkov, Aleksei Aleksandrovich


Born Oct. 1 (13), 1899, in the village of Serednevo, now in Rybinsk Raion, Yaroslavl Oblast. Soviet Russian poet and public figure. Hero of Socialist Labor (1969). Member of the CPSU since 1925.

Surkov graduated from the department of literature of the Institute of the Red Professors in 1934. He fought in the Civil War (1918–20) and in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). He began publishing in 1918. Surkov’s poems and songs written in the 1930’s, such as “The Red Army Song,” expressed the grim heroism of the Civil War; these works were published in the collections Introduction (1930), The Last War (1933), Contemporaries (1934), Land of the Brave (1935), and Thus We Grew Up (1940).

Surkov’s best poems written during the war, including the song “The Fire Rages in the Little Stove” (State Prize of the USSR, 1946), appeared in the collections December Near Moscow (1942), The Attack (1943), and Vengeful Russia (1944). In these works, Surkov overcame a mistrust of lyricism and incisively expressed the people’s anger and grief, the nation’s impulse toward victory, and the soldiers’ longing for home.

Surkov’s impressions drawn from numerous trips abroad, as well as his participation in the peace movement, were reflected in the verse collections Peace to the World! (1950; State Prize of the USSR, 1951), East and West (1957), Songs of Mankind (1961), and What Is Happiness? (1969). Surkov has also published translations of poetry, as well as the collection of articles and speeches on literature Voices of Time (1965). Many of his poems have been translated into national languages of the USSR and into foreign languages.

Surkov was editor in chief of Literaturnaia gazeta (Literary Gazette) from 1944 to 1946 and of the magazine Ogonek (Beacon) from 1945 to 1953. In 1962 he became editor in chief of the Short Encyclopedia of Literature. He was a member of the Central Auditing Commission of the CPSU from 1952 to 1956 and a candidate member of the Central Committee of the CPSU from 1956 to 1966. He was a deputy to the fourth through ninth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and to the second and third convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. Surkov has been a member of the World Peace Council since 1953. He has been secretary of the Writers’ Union of the USSR since 1949 and was the union’s first secretary from 1953 to 1959.

Surkov received the international Botev Prize in 1976. He has been awarded four orders of Lenin, four other orders, the Bulgarian Order of Cyril and Methodius, and several medals.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1–4. [Introductory article by A. Turkov.] Moscow, 1965–66.
Posle voiny: Stikhi 1945–1970 godov. Moscow, 1972.
Izbr. stikhi, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1974.


Kulinich, A. S. Aleksei Surkov. Kiev, 1953.
Vladimirov, S. V., and D. M. Moldavskii. Stikhi Alekseia Surkova. Leningrad, 1956.
Grinberg, 1. Poeziia Alekseia Surkova. Moscow, 1958.
Reznik, O. Aleksei Surkov: Put’poeta, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.