Lebedev-Kumach, Vasilii

Lebedev-Kumach, Vasilii Ivanovich


(pen name of V. I. Lebedev). Born July 24 (Aug. 5), 1898, in Moscow; died there Feb. 20, 1949. Soviet Russian poet. Member of the CPSU since 1939. Son of a shoemaker.

Lebedev-Kumach worked in the Printing Bureau of the administration of the Revolutionary Military Council and in the war department of the Russian Telegraph Agency (Agit-ROSTA). He studied at Moscow State University. In the 1920’s, Lebedev-Kumach was known primarily for his satirical verses, short stories, and feuilletons that appeared in the newspapers Rabochaia gazeta, Krest’ianskaia gazeta, and Gudok, in the magazine Krokodil, and in other periodicals. They were published in the collections Divorce (1925), Tea Leaves in the Saucer (1925), From All Districts (1926), Sad Smiles (1927), and Little Men and Little Deals (1927). He wrote for the variety stage and for sound films, including lyrics for the film comedies Jolly Boys and The Circus.

Lebedev-Kumach is a creator of the genre of the Soviet popular song imbued with deep patriotism and joie de vivre; many of his songs have gained national popularity, including “Song of the Motherland” (1936) and “March of Jolly Boys” (1934), both with music composed by I. O. Dunaevskii. He served in the navy during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, writing numerous songs and verses calling for struggle against the enemy—for example, “The Holy War” (1941; music by A. V. Aleksandrov). Lebedev-Kumach received the State Prize of the USSR in 1941 and was awarded three orders and several medals.


Lirika, satira, fel’eton. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
Pesni i stikhotvoreniia. Moscow, 1960.


Ardov, V. “Put’ V. I. Lebedeva-Kumacha.” Krasnaia nov’, 1938, no. 6.
Bekker, M. “Tvorcheskii put’ V. I. Lebedeva-Kumacha.” In his book O poetakh. Moscow, 1961.