Gaidar, Arkadii

Gaidar, Arkadii Petrovich


(pseudonym of A. P. Golikov). Born Jan. 9 (22), 1904, in L’gov, in present-day Kursk Oblast; died Oct. 26, 1941. Soviet Russian author.

Gaidar was born into the family of a teacher, and he spent his childhood in Arzamas. He volunteered for the Red Army in 1918 and completed infantry courses in Kiev. When he was 16 he took command of a regiment and was wounded several times. Because of a contusion he left the army in 1924. His work was first published in 1925. The subsequent course of Gaidar’s life was in many respects determined by his short story RVS (1926); he had found his true calling in children’s literature, being able in his own way to impart to children his feelings about front-line solidarity and the lofty romance of the revolutionary fight. In his semiautobiographical novella School of Life (1930), Gaidar described the severe heroic training of the young generation of the revolution. In the novella Distant Lands (1932), the din of large-scale construction intrudes on a quiet out-of-the-way station, where the children are dreaming of distant lands. In the novella Military Secret (1935), Gaidar describes the lofty ideas of revolutionary internationalism and the brutal cruelty of the enemies of internationalism. He was also able to speak to children about life’s difficulties—for example, in the short story A Blue Cup (1936) and the novella Destiny of a Drummer (1939). His novella Timur and His Team (1940) won him genuine fame; his fascinating Pioneer fancy gave rise to a popular timurovtsy movement all over the country.

At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Gaidar was sent to the front as a special correspondent of Komsomol’skaia pravda. In the autumn of 1941 he was surrounded, and, finding himself at the enemy rear, he became a machine-gunner of a partisan detachment. He died a hero. He was buried in Kanev, where a monument to him was erected. Screen versions have been made of Gaidar’s best-known works, and his books have been translated in many countries. He was awarded two orders and also medals.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1-4. [Introduction by L. Kassil’.] Moscow, 1959-60.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1-4. [Introduction by L. Kassil’.] Moscow, 1964-65.


Emel’ianov, B. Rasskazy o Gaidare. Moscow, 1958.
Putilova, E. O. O tvorchestve A. P. Gaidara. Leningrad, 1960.
Smirnova, V, Arkadii Gaidar: Kritiko-biograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1961.
Kamov, B. Arkadii Gaidar: Biografiia. Leningrad, 1963.
Kamov, B. Partizanskoi tropoi Gaidara. Moscow, 1968.
Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo Gaidara: Sb. st. o Gaidare, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1964.
Maliugin, V. Povest’ o Gaidare. Gorky, 1964.
Kotov, M., and V. Liaskovskii. Vsadnik, skachushchii vperedi. Moscow, 1967.
Gints, S., and B. Nazarovskii. Arkadii Gaidar na Urale. Perm’, 1968.