Stalin Epigram

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Autograph of "Stalin Epigram" written down at the time of Mandelstam's interrogation in prison.

The Stalin epigram, also known as The Kremlin Highlander (Russian: Кремлёвский горец) is a satirical poem by the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, written in November 1933. The poem describes the climate of fear in the Soviet Union.[1]

Mandelstam read the poem only to a few friends, including Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. The poem played a role in his own arrest and the arrests of Akhmatova's son and husband, Lev Gumilev and Nikolay Punin.[2]

The "Kremlin Caucasian" in line 4 refers to Stalin's Caucasus Mountains origin. The phrase "Ossetian torso" in the final line refers to the ethnicity of Stalin, whose father's (Besarion Jughashvili) paternal grandfather was an Ossetian.


  1. ^ Translation by Dmitri Smirnov, can be reproduced if non-commercial
  2. ^ Vengeance of Kremlin's Highlander (Russian) by Semion Kiperman, publication of Russian Jewish on-line Center