Seifullin, Saken Sadvakas

Seifullin, Saken (Sadvakas)


Born June 12, 1894; died 1939. Soviet Kazakh writer and state figure. Member of the CPSU from 1918. Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Kazakh ASSR from 1922 to 1925; member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.

Seifullin was born in a nomad aul (village) in Nil’dy Volost (small rural district), now Zhanaarka Raion. He studied at the Omsk Teachers’ Seminary from 1913 to 1916. He began publishing in 1910. Seifullin took part in the struggle to establish Soviet power in Kazakhstan; he was a member of the Akmolinsk revolutionary committee. In the summer of 1918 he was seized by counterrevolutionaries and imprisoned in the “death car” of ataman Annenkov, from which he escaped. In March 1919, Seifullin joined the Soviet leadership in Akmolinsk; he moved to Orenburg in 1920. From 1925 to 1937 he edited the newspaper Enbekshi kazak (The Working Kazakh); he then became editor in chief of the journal Edebiet maidany (Literary Front). He helped organize the Writers’ Union of Kazakhstan.

Seifullin’s Red Falcons (1920) was the first Kazakh play about the champions of the socialist revolution. His verse collection The Untamable Steed (1922) included works written before the October Revolution of 1917 and during the Civil War. Permeated with love for the motherland and hatred for the enemies of the revolution, these works advocate the struggle for a new life. In the poetry collections Dombra (1924), Express (1926), and On the Waves of Life (1928), the themes of revolution and the new life become more concrete and realistic. V. I. Lenin is the subject of the narrative poems Sovetstan (1926) and Albatross (1933).

Seifullin created new forms of Kazakh poetry under the influence of V. V. Mayakovsky. He developed the best traditions of folk poetry in his narrative poems The Swans That Parted (1925), Kokchetau (1929), and Kzylat (1934). He is also known as the author of short stories, the historical novel of memoirs A Difficult Path, A Painful Transition (1927), and the novellas Aisha (1922; revised 1935), The Excavators (1928), and Fruits (1935). These works established socialist realism in Kazakh prose. Seifullin wrote works on the history of Kazakh literature and compiled anthologies of the best examples of prerevolutionary Kazakh literature. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Shïgharmalar, vols. 1–6. Alma-Ata, 1960–64.
In Russian translation:
Stikhotvoreniia i poemy. Moscow, 1958.
Ternistyi put’. Alma-Ata, 1964.


Karataev, M. Saken Seifullin. Moscow, 1964.
Kirabaev, S. Saken Seifullin: Kritiko-biografich. ocherk. Moscow, 1973.
Käkishev, T. Oktyäbr’ örkeni. Alma-Ata, 1962.
Ismailov, E. Aqïn zhäne revolyutsiyä. Alma-Ata, 1964.