Arkady Gaidar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Arkady Gaidar

Arkady Petrovich Golikov (Russian: Арка́дий Петро́вич Го́ликов; (22 January [O.S. 9 January] 1904[1] – 26 October 1941), better known as Arkady Gaidar (Арка́дий Гайда́р), was a Soviet writer, whose stories were very popular among Soviet children.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Gaidar was born in the town of Lgov in Imperial Russia, now in Kursk Oblast, Russia, to a family of teachers.[2] In 1912 the family moved to Arzamas where in 1914 Arkady enrolled into a local secondary school. In 1917 13-year-old, but now a local Bolshevik's club stalwart, he started to distribute leaflets and patrolling the streets. During one of such missions he received his first injury, got stabbed in the chest.[3] In August 1918, Gaidar became a member of the Bolsheviks, volunteering for the Red Army in December of that year, still aged only 14.[4] Later that year he applied for the Communist Party membership and started working for the local newspaper Molot as a correspondent. In December a 14-year-old joined the Red Army (having lied about his age) and went to the frontline as a Special Unit's commander's adjutant.[2]

As the Russian Civil War broke out, in January 1918 Gaidar joined a Red Army Special Unit engaged in fighting what the Soviet biographies refer to as the 'kulak gangs'. Having graduated the 7th Moscow Red Commanders' courses Gaidar was sent to the Ukrainian (later Polish) front as a company commander. In December 1919, injured and shell-shocked, he was sent home, but in March 1920 returned to the Red Army and was commissioned to the Caucassian Front's 9th Army, 37th Kuban division, as a company commander again. In summer 1920 Gaidar took part in fighting generals Geyman and Zhitikov units.[5]

In 1921, Gaidar participated in the suppression of several anti-communist uprisings, among them the Antonovshchina uprising. In 1922 Gaidar was moved to the Mongolian border (where the Red Army was fighting units let by Colonel Oloferov and Solovyov) but later that year got hospitalized with traumatic neuroses. He retired from the army in 1924 due to a contusion.[5][6]

In 1926 Gaidar's debut novel In the Days of Defeats and Victories was published, followed by R.V.S., Life For Nothing and The Mystery of a Mountain, a sci-fi novel. R.V.S. (1926) defined his further life in many respects: Gaidar found his vocation in writing children's literature, telling stories of front-line camaraderie and the romanticism of the revolutionary struggle.[5] In 1927 Gaidar moved to Moscow and a year later went to Archangelsk where he started working for a local newspaper Pravda Severa. Back in Moscow, in 1930 he published School novel (originally titled "The Ordinary Biography"). In the early 1930s articles on Gaidar's works appeared in the Soviet press, Konstantin Fedin being his major supporter and mentor. In 1939 Gaidar was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honour.[2] Short stories "Blue Cup", "The Military Secret" and the novel Blue Stars (1939) were followed by his most famous work, Timur and His Squad (1940) which made Gaidar famous. The character Timur was named after, and partially based on, Gaidar's son. A captivating account of an altruistic pioneer youth gave birth to the mass Timur movement among Young Pioneers and other children's organizations all over the Soviet Union.[5]


In the first days of the World War II, Gaidar was sent to the front as a special correspondent for the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. In the fall of 1941, Gaidar and other soldiers were surrounded by German troops. He joined the partisans and became a machine gunner. On 26 October, Gaidar died in combat near village Lyuplyava. He was interred in the town of Kanev, where a monument honoring him was erected in 1953. Gaidar was awarded two orders and several medals.[2][5]


Arkady Gaidar's father Pyotr Isidorovich Golikov, a teacher (after the 1917 Revolution a Red Army comissar), came from a working family. Mother Natalya Arkadyevna Golikova (née Salkova), also a teacher (after the Revolution a doctor), was a daughter of a Tsarist Army officer. Arkady was the first of the couple's four children; his three sisters were Natalya, Olga and Yekaterina.[2]

Russian economist Yegor Gaidar was Arkady Gaidar's grandson; Yegor Gaidar's father, Rear Admiral Timur Gaidar, was his son.


Three biographical movies about Arkady Gaidar were released in the USSR: Serebryanye truby (Russian: Silver Trumpets) (1970), Konets imperatora taygi (Russian: The Death of the Emperor of the Taiga) (1978), and Ostayus s vami (Russian: I'll Stay with You) (1981). The latter was a story of Arkady Gaidar's last days). And also a number of films was made based on his stories. Gaidar’s books have been translated into many languages.

English Translations[edit]

  • Timur and his Gang, Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, 1943.
  • School and Other Stories, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1967.
  • The Blue Cup, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1981.
  • Selected Stories, Raduga Publishers, Moscow, 1986.
  • The Drummer Boy and Two Other Stories, Anchor Press Ltd, Great Britain.



  1. ^ There are conflicting evidences as to the date of Gaidar's birth. In one of his diaries he stated it to be 9 February 1904 (old style), according to his sister Natalya's memoirs it was 9 January.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Arkady Gaidar. Biography. Timeline. Works by Arkady Gaidar in 4 volumes. Detskaya Literatura Publishers. Moscow, 1964. Vol. 4. Pp 261–272.
  3. ^ Kassil, Lev. Biography. Works by Arkady Gaidar in 4 volumes. Detskaya Literatura Publishers. Moscow, 1964. Vol. 1. Pp. 38.
  4. ^ Gribanov, Vladimir. "Аркадий Гайдар: романтика прицельного выстрела" ("Arkady Gaidar: Romance of an Aimed Shot"). Аргументы и факты (Argumenty i Fakty). 22 October 2002. Argumenty i Fakty. Retrieved 26 February 2009. (Russian)
  5. ^ a b c d e "Arkady Gaidar". Retrieved 2014-01-13. 
  6. ^ Arkady Gaidar. Biography. Timeline. Works by Arkady Gaidar in 4 volumes. Detskaya Literatura Publishers. Moscow, 1964. Vol. 1. Pp. 38.

External links[edit]