Ales Adamovich

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Ales Adamovich
Алесь Адамовіч
BornAleksandr Mikhailovich Adamovich
3 September 1927
Konyukhi, Minsk Region, Belarus, Soviet Union
Died26 January 1994(1994-01-26) (aged 66)
Moscow, Russia
OccupationWriter and critic

Aleksandr (Ales) Mikhailovich Adamovich (Belarusian: Алесь Адамовіч/Alieś Adamovič, Russian: Алесь Адамович; 3 September 1927 – 26 January 1994) was a Belarusian Soviet writer and a critic, Professor and Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Doctor of Philosophy in philology, Doctorate in 1962 (a degree in Russia corresponding to habilitation); member of the Supreme Soviet (1989–92). He wrote in Russian and Belarusian.

He is best known for The Khatyn Story, The Blockade Book and writing the screenplay for the Soviet movie Come and See. He is highly regarded for his austere yet deeply humane antiwar stance, moral courage and uncompromising honesty.


Ales Adamovich was born Alyaksandr Mikhailavich Adamovich on 3 September 1927 at a village in the Minsk Region. Both his parents were doctors.[1] During World War II Adamovich, a teenager, still a school student, became a partisan unit member in 1942-1943. During this time, the Nazis systematically torched hundreds of Belarusian villages and exterminated their inhabitants. Later, he wrote one of his most recognized works, The Khatyn Story, and the screenplay for the film Come and See, which was based on his real-life experiences as a messenger and a guerilla fighter during the war.

Starting in 1944, he resumed his education. After the war, he entered the Belarusian State University where he studied in the philology department and where he completed graduate course; he later studied in Moscow at the Higher Courses for Screenwriters and in the Moscow State University. Starting in the 1950s in Minsk, he worked in the field of philology and literary criticism; later also in cinematography. Was a member of the Union of Soviet Writers since 1957. In 1976 was awarded the Yakub Kolas Belarus State prize in literature for The Khatyn Story. He lived and worked in Moscow since 1986 and was an active member of the Belarusian community of that city.

After the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, of which Belarus has suffered more than any other country, Adamovich started actively raising awareness of the catastrophe among the Soviet ruling elite.[2][3]

Ales Adamovich 100 Anniversary Cover of Belarusan Post (2002)

In late 1980s Ales Adamovich supported the creation of the Belarusian Popular Front but did not become a member of the movement. In 1989 Adamovich became one of the first members of the Belarusian PEN center (Vasil Bykaŭ was founder and president of the Belarusian PEN). In 1994 the Belarusian PEN Center instituted the Ales Adamovich Literary Prize, a literary award to the gifted writers and journalists. The prize is awarded annually on 3 September (Ales Adamovich's birthday) at the award ceremony that is usually part of the annual international conference.

In October 1993, he signed the Letter of Forty-Two.[4] Adamovich died on 26 January 1994.

Ales Adamovich's writings received translation into over 20 languages. Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarusian winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2015, names Adamovich as "her main teacher, who helped her to find a path of her own".[5]

Honours and awards[edit]

In 1997 Ales Adamovich was recognized (posthumously) with the "Honor and Dignity of Talent" award (“За честь и достоинство таланта”). Recipients of this noble award include Dmitry Likhachov, Viktor Astafyev, Chinghiz Aitmatov, Vasil Bykaŭ, Fazil Iskander, Boris Slutsky, Bulat Okudzhava.

Selected works[edit]

Novels and stories
  • The Partisans (in Russian, "Партизаны"), a novel (1960–63) and a film under same name.
  • The Khatyn Story, in Russian, "Хатынская повесть", published in 1972, in Belarusian, "Хатынская аповесць", published in 1976; English translation Khatyn published by Glagoslav, 2012; originally written in Belarusian.[6]
  • Out of the Fire ("Я з вогненнай вёскі"), Adamovich, Ales, and Yanka Bryl and Uladzimir Kalesnik, 1977; English translation, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1980.
  • Chasteners ("Каратели"), 1980.
  • The Blockade Book ("Блокадная книга"), in collaboration with Daniil Granin, 1977–81, written in Russian and later translated into Belarusian; in English translation: Peak Independent Publishers, Moscow, 2003.


  1. ^ Vronskaya, Jeanne (January 29, 1994). "Obituary: Ales damovich". Independent.
  2. ^ В блог. " - Новости Беларуси. Последние новости Беларуси из разных источников. Последние новости мира". Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  3. ^ Сяргей Навумчык. "Як БНФ дамогся праўды пра Чарнобыль". Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  4. ^ Писатели требуют от правительства решительных действий. Izvestia (in Russian). October 5, 1993. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  5. ^ "Svetlana Alexievich: Voices from Big Utopia". Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Timothy Snyder, Literary acts of memory, Times Literary Supplement, 17 July 2013, p. 10.

External links[edit]