Bim Bom

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For the song by João Gilberto, see Bim-Bom.
Bim Bom
Medium Clowning
Nationality Russian
Genres Circus

Bim Bom (or Bim and Bom[1]) was a Moscow circus clown duo consisting of Ivan Radunsky (as Bim) and various "Boms", active intermittently from 1891 up until at least the World War II.[2] The clown act was enormously popular, but often banned or censored due to its satirical political content. Each act would begin with an original song and dance performed by Bim. The duo has been called "the most popular entertainment in Civil War Moscow".[1][3]

Bim was always played by Radunsky, but Bom was played by several different individuals, among them Vitaly Lazarenko, Cortesi (a Russianized Italian), Stanevsky (a Pole), an accomplished musician Wilczak and Kamsky (a Russian).[2]

Radunsky had been a member of the Bolshevik Party and was a pledged member of the Futurist movement early on. However, after the October Revolution in 1917, the duo turned their wit against the new power. Bim Bom desisted from mocking the Bolsheviks only when their couplets so offended Latvian Riflemen in the audience that they shot up the circus and threatened to do the same to the clowns.[1]

In Andrew and Gordievsky's history of the KGB in 1990,[4] Bim Bom is identified as an individual (not a pair), who had been shot at by Cheka operatives during a performance in Moscow in 1918.

Bim Bom is mentioned in the 2007 documentary, "Russian Revolution In Colour", but the reference in the film is inaccurate.


  1. ^ a b c Von Geldern, James. Bolshevik Festivals, 1917–1920, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993, p. 114. ISBN 0-520-07690-7
  2. ^ a b Adrian Room (1 July 2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-0-7864-5763-2. 
  3. ^ Leach, Robert. Revolutionary Theatre, Routledge, 1994, p. 5. ISBN 0-415-03223-7
  4. ^ Christopher M. Andrew; Gordievsky, Oleg (1990), KGB the inside story of its foreign operations from Lenin to Gorbachev (1st ed.), New York, NY HarperCollinsPublishers, ISBN 978-0-06-016605-2  page 25