Mikhail Koltsov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kol’tsov, Mikhail Efimovich


(pseudonym of Mikhail Efimovich Fridliand). Born May 31 (June 12), 1898, in Kiev; died Apr. 4, 1942. Soviet Russian author. Journalist, public figure, and corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1938). Member of the CPSU from 1918.

The son of a craftsman, Kol’tsov published his first work in 1916. He was an active participant in the February Revolution and in the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. From 1922 he was a regular contributor of topical satires and essays to Pravda. As a writer and publicist, Kol’tsov fought indefatigably for the ideas of October. He responded with energy and talent to the important and pressing problems of contemporary life. In many of his works he lashed out angrily at the negative phenomena of reality, mocked bureaucrats and time-servers (the satirical short story “Ivan Vadimovich, A Man Satisfying Requirements,” 1933, and the topical satires “Many Campaigners,” 1927, and “On the Question of Obtuseness,” 1931), and mercilessly exposed the enemies of Soviet power (for example, the topical satires and essays “Khlestakov at Gatchina,” 1922, “In the Beast’s Lair,” 1932, and “Dimitrov Accuses,” 1933). At the same time, Kol’tsov was a great master of the “positive” topical satire, which was stamped with the features of the new society and permeated with the struggle of the people for a new life (“145 Lines of Lyrics,” 1924, “The Birth of the First-born,” 1925, “Dacha—What a Dacha!”, 1929, and “A Brave, Strong Fighter: In Memory of N. Ostrovskii,” 1936).

Kol’tsov fought in the national-revolutionary war in Spain, and in 1936–37 he published a long series of essays in Pravda, which were included in the collection Spanish Diary (1938). The founder and editor of the journals Ogonek, Chudak, and Krokodil, he was the head of the Newspaper Journalists’ Association. He and M. Gorky prepared the well-known collection Day of Peace (1937). He was a deputy at the First Convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. Kol’tsov was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other Orders, and various medals.


Isbr. proizv., vols. 1–3. [Introductory article by D. Zaslavskii.] Moscow, 1957.
Pisatel’ v gazete: Vystupleniia, stat’i, zametki. Moscow, 1961.


Mikhail Kol’tsov, kakim on byl: Vospominaniia. Moscow, 1965. [Gural’nik, U. A.] “Mikhail Kol’tsov.” In Istoriia russkoi sovetskoi literatury, vol. 2, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1967.
Rubashkin, A. Mikhail Kol’tsov: Kritiko-biograficheskii ocherk. Leningrad, 1971.
Russkie sovetskie pisateli-prozaiki: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’, vol. 2. Leningrad, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As Hemingway's biographers have noted, Karkov is a thinly disguised version of Mikhail Koltsov. Though nominally a correspondent for Pravda and Izvestia, Koltsov was close to the center of Russian operations in Spain and was thought to have reported directly to Stalin; Martha Gelhorn called him, "Stalin's eyes and ears on the spot." (12) Just as Karkov mentors Robert Jordan in unsavory realities about the war, particularly its political aspects kept secret from the populace, so Koltsov--whom Hemingway called "the most intelligent man I ever met" tutored and cultivated Hemingway, part of a larger Soviet effort to win the prominent authors allegiance.
Equally important, Ivens brought Hemingway to Gaylord's Hotel and introduced him to Mikhail Koltsov and several Russian-trained generals.
(Mikhail Koltsov) He never gave any reason for, and no hint of this tragic end!
Clark (comparative literature and Slavic languages and literatures, Yale U.) situates her investigation into the production of Soviet culture in Moscow through the window of the activities of four "intermediaries" who represent the "cosmopolitan patriots" committed to the Soviet state, but pushing for more cosmpolitan culture: film and theater director Sergei Eisenstein; journalist and publisher Mikhail Koltsov; poet, novelist, and journalist Ilya Erenburg; and writer, photographer, and filmmaker Sergei Tretiakov.
His older brother, Mikhail Koltsov (1898-1940), became an editor of Pravda but was executed by Stalin as an enemy of the people.
But he had to be careful with Stalin, who had ordered the shooting of his brother, Mikhail Koltsov, a correspondent of Pravda, for anti-Soviet and terrorist activities in 1940.
English poet Stephen Spender has described how he crossed the Spanish frontier with a forged passport, under the name Ramos Ramos, obtained on his behalf by French delegate Andre Malraux, who also assisted other participants.(6) Pravda correspondent Mikhail Koltsov has outlined some of the administrative questions that had to be resolved in Spain itself, where the Alianza de Intelectuales Antifascistas had to negotiate with both the Catalan and the central governments, and three different ministries from each: Foreign Affairs, the Interior, and Education.
(7) Mikhail Koltsov, Diario de la guerra de Espana, Ediciones Ruedo Iberico (Paris, 1963), 429.