Fadeev, Aleksandr

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fadeev, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich


Born Dec. 11 (24), 1901, in Kimry, in what is now Kalinin Oblast; died May 13, 1956, in Moscow. Soviet Russian writer and public figure. Member of the CPSU from 1918.

Fadeev was raised in a family of professional revolutionaries. In 1908 his family moved to the Far East. While studying at the Vladivostok Commercial School from 1912 to 1918, he was drawn to the Bolsheviks. Fadeev fought in the Civil War of 1918–20 and took part in the suppression of the Kronstadt Anti-Soviet Rebellion of 1921; he was wounded twice. Fadeev studied at the Moscow Academy of Mines between 1921 and 1924. From 1924 to 1926 he did party work in Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don.

Fadeev’s first published work was the short story “Against the Current,” also known as “The Birth of the Amgun’ Regiment” (1923). It was followed by the novella The Flood (1924).

The novel The Rout (1927; filmed 1931), which deals with the partisan war in the Far East, brought Fadeev national recognition. Equally opposed to naturalism and abstract, high-flown romanticism, Fadeev depicted real life, focusing on moral development and the formation of character. He described the theme of the novel in the following way: “In a civil war, human material undergoes a selective process. Everything inimical is swept away by the revolution. Everything incapable of true revolutionary struggle that has drifted into the camp of the revolution is weeded out, and everything with genuine roots that came from the revolution, in the teeming millions of people, is tempered, grows, and develops in this struggle. People are radically transformed” (Sobr. soch., vol. 4, 1960, p. 103). In the character of Levinson, Fadeev demonstrates the high level of the communist consciousness, as well as the profound influence of a Bolshevik on his fellow men. Literary critics in the 1920’s saw The Rout as an innovative attempt to depict a man of the revolution “from within” and to give a subtle and precise analysis of his psychology.

The unfinished novel The Last of the Udege (parts 1–4, 1929–40), like The Rout, is also set in the Civil War period; in this novel Fadeev attempted to render a broad social panorama covering several decades and to reveal the intellectual and emotional resources of Communists, that is, of those who are members of the party collective.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, Fadeev produced several sketches and articles on the heroic struggle of the people and published the book Leningrad in the Days of the Blockade (1944). The heroic and romantic tendencies increasingly evident in Fadeev’s works became particularly marked in the novel The Young Guard (1945; 2nd ed., 1951), which received the State Prize of the USSR in 1946 and was made into a film of the same name in 1948. The novel was inspired by the patriotic exploits of the Young Guard, an underground Komsomol organization in Krasnodon. The novel glorifies the struggle of the Soviet people against the fascist German invaders. The characters of Oleg Koshevoi, Sergei Tiulenin, Liubov’ Shevtsova, Ul’iana Gromova, Ivan Zemnukhov, and other members of the Young Guard embody the shining socialist ideal. Fadeev depicted his heroes in a romantic light and combined ardor and lyricism, psychological sketches, and authorial digressions. In response to criticism, Fadeev in the second edition added scenes showing the Komsomol members’ ties with older Communists in the underground, who were now portrayed in greater depth.

Developing the highest traditions of Russian literature as exemplified by L. N. Tolstoy and A. M. Gorky, Fadeev created classic models of socialist realism. His final work, the novel Ferrous Metallurgy, which has contemporary setting, remained unfinished. Fadeev’s literary criticism has been collected in the book Thirty Years (1957), which shows Fadeev’s evolving literary views and great contributions to the development of socialist aesthetics. Many of Fadeev’s works have been staged and filmed and translated into the languages of the peoples of the USSR and many foreign languages.

Succumbing to depression, Fadeev committed suicide.

For many years Fadeev was a leading figure in various writers’ organizations. From 1926 to 1932 he held a high position in the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers. From 1939 to 1944 and from 1954 to 1956 he served as secretary of the Writers’ Union of the USSR; from 1946 to 1954 was the union’s general secretary and chairman of its administrative board. He became vice-president of the World Peace Council in 1950. Fadeev was a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU from 1939 to 1956; at the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU in 1956, he was chosen a candidate member of the Central Committee of the CPSU. He served as a deputy to the second through fourth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and as a deputy to the third convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. Fadeev was awarded two Orders of Lenin and various medals.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1–7. [Introductory article by V. M. Ozerov.] Moscow, 1969–71.
Pis’ma, 1916–1956, 2nd ed. [Introductory article by S. N. Preobrazhenskii.] Moscow, 1973.


Bushmin, A. Roman A. Fadeeva “Razgrom.” Leningrad, 1954.
Bushmin, A. Aleksandr Fadeev: Cherty tvorcheskoi individual’nosti. Leningrad, 1971.
Zelinskii, K. A. A. Fadeev: Kritiko-biografich. ocherk. Moscow, 1956.
Nikulina, L. A. A. Fadeev: Seminarii. Leningrad, 1958.
Kiseleva, L. Tvorcheskie iskaniia A. Fadeeva. Moscow, 1965.
Beliaev, B. Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Fadeev: Biografiia pisatelia. Leningrad, 1969.
Ozerov, V. Aleksandr Fadeev: Tvorcheskii put’, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1970.
Zaika, St. O romane A. Fadeeva “Poslednii iz udege”: Istoriia sozdaniia, avtorskaia kontseptsiia, stil’. Moscow, 1972.
Sheshukov, S. I. Aleksandr Fadeev: Ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva. Moscow, 1973.
Knipovich, E. Romany A. Fadeeva “Razgrom” i “Molodaia gvardiia,” 2nd ed. Moscow, 1973.
Russkie sovetskie pisateli-prozaiki: Biobibliografich. ukazatel’, vol. 5. Moscow, 1968.


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