Nikolai Minskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Minskii, Nikolai Maksimovich


(pseudonym of N. M Vilenkin). Born Jan. 15 (27), 1855, in the village of Glubokoe, in present-day Vitebsk Oblast; died July 2, 1937, in Paris. Russian author.

Minskii graduated from the faculty of law at St. Petersburg University in 1879. In 1883 the censors destroyed Minskii’s first poetry collection, which reflected the ideas of the Narodniks (Populists). In 1884, Minskii published the first declaration of the decadents in Russia, The Age-old Controversy. In 1905, Minskii published the St. Petersburg newspaper Novaia zhizn which was actually directed by V. I. Lenin. It was here that he published “The Workers’ Hymn” (”Workers of the world, unite”) and an abridged translation of the “Internationale.” As an editor, he was arrested and accused of “calling for the overthrow of the existing order.” After his release from prison, Minskii went abroad. While residing in Paris, he wrote the dramatic trilogy The Iron Specter (1909), A Small Temptation (1910), and Chaos (1912). After the October Revolution of 1917, Minskii lived in Berlin and London, where he worked in the Soviet embassy, and in Paris.

Minskii translated Homer’s Iliad, and the works of Verlaine, Shelley, Byron, and Flaubert. During the last years of his life he gave up literature.


Polnoe sobranie stikhotvorenii, 4th ed., vols. 1–4. St. Petersburg, 1907.
Religiia budushchego: Filosofskie razgovory. Paris, 1905.
Iz mraka k svetu: Izbrannye stikhotvoreniia. Berlin-Paris-Moscow, 1922.
Kogo ishchesh’? Berlin, 1922.


Blok, A. A. Sobr. soch., vol. 5, Moscow-Leningrad, 1962. Pages 277–84, 593–98.
Evgen’ev-Maksimov, V., and D. Maksimov. Iz proshlogo russkoi zhurnalistiki: Stat’i i materialy. Leningrad, 1930.
Meilakh, B. S. Lenin i problemy russkoi literatury XlX-nachala XX vekov, 4th ed. Leningrad, 1970.
Plekhanov, G. V. Literatura i estetika, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1958.
Istoriia russkoi literatury kontsa XIX-nachala XX veka: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’ Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.


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