Dmitry Bykov

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Dmitry Bykov
Dmitry Bykov in 2021
Dmitry Bykov in 2021
BornDmitry Lvovich Zilbertrud
(1967-12-20) 20 December 1967 (age 54)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
OccupationWriter, poet, journalist
Alma materMoscow State University
GenreBelles-lettres, documentary prose, biography
Notable awardsBig Book (2006, 2011, 2018)

Dmitry Lvovich Bykov (Russian: Дмитрий Львович Быков, IPA: [ˈdmʲitrʲɪj ˈlʲvovʲɪdʑ ˈbɨkəf] (listen); born 20 December 1967) is a Russian writer, poet and journalist.[1] He is also known as biographer of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky.


Born into a Jewish family, his father was a prominent medical scholar Leva Zilbertrud.[2][3][4][5]

Bykov graduated from the Faculty of Journalism of the elite Moscow State University. Dmitry Bykov taught literature and the history of Soviet literature in Moscow's secondary schools. He was a professor at the Department of World Literature and Culture of MGIMO, often considered the most elite university of the USSR. As a journalist and critic, Bykov has been writing for the magazine Ogoniok since 1993.[1] He has also periodically hosted a show on the radio station Echo of Moscow, which ran until 2008.[6] Earlier, he was one of the hosts of an influential TV show Vremechko.

Being one of the most prolific modern Russian writers, in recent years he has gained additional recognition for his biography of Boris Pasternak, published in 2005. The biography earned Bykov the 2006 National Bestseller (Национальный бестселлер) and Big Book (Большая Книга) awards. He later wrote biographies of Maxim Gorky and Bulat Okudzhava.

In 2008 a documentary called Virginity (Девственность) was released in which Bykov was a co-writer.

In 2009, Bykov was named assistant editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine Profile.[7] He is also the editor-in-chief of the monthly literature-focused magazine What to Read (Что читать).

Together with actor Mikhail Yefremov, he created project "Citizen Poet" (a pun on Nikolay Nekrasov's poem "Poet and Citizen"). Yefremov reads poems, written by Bykov, which are usually satirical comments on contemporary Russian society, politics and culture. Each poem parodies the style of a famous poet of the past, e.g. Pushkin, Nekrasov, Kipling, among others. It was originally broadcast on Dozhd TV channel, but the project was closed because the poems were too critical of the Russian government. Currently, the show is hosted in audio format by Echo of Moscow radio station.

In mid-April 2019, while aboard a domestic flight en route to Ufa, Bykov fainted and was hospitalized upon arrival. Initially, Russian media covered the story regarding Bykov's health status in different ways. Reports that he suffered a stroke were denied by Bykov’s friend Alexei Venediktov. Instead, Echo of Moscow reported that a chronic illness was responsible for Bykov’s condition, which was specified by online portal Otkrytye Media as being diabetes, and that Bykov suffering from a hyperglycemic crisis. In addition, a source told RIA Novosti that Bykov had experienced severe circulatory failures in his brain.[8]

However, the next week, on 25 April, Bykov denied having diabetes. After the doctors at the hospital in Ufa told him that they could not find the cause of his illness, he concluded that it was poisoning.[9] In early September 2020, Aric Toler, director of research and training at Bellingcat, suspected that a nerve poison was used.[10][11] The possible poisoning of Bykov by Russian government agents was reportedly investigated, along with other similar cases, by Christo Grozev of Bellingcat.[12][13][14] Bellingcat describes a "striking resemblance" between the poisoning of Bykov and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.[15]


Dmitry Bykov spoke at a meeting of the Federation Council, 8 November 2017

Prose fiction[edit]

  • Justification («Оправдание», 2001)
  • Orthography («Орфография», 2003)
  • In the World of Animals: A Children's Book for Adults, An Adults' Book for Children, with Irina Luk'ianova («В мире животиков. Детская книга для взрослых, взрослая книга для детей», 2005)
  • How Putin Became President of the USA: New Russian Fairy Tales («Как Путин стал президентом США: новые русские сказки», 2005)
  • Truth, with Maksim Chertanov («Правда», 2005)
  • Removal Service («Эвакуатор», 2005)
  • ZhD («ЖД», 2006)
  • ZhD Short Stories («ЖД-рассказы», 2007)
  • Listed out («Списанные», 2008)
  • Ostromov, or The Magician's Apprentice («Остромов, или Ученик чародея», 2010)
  • Farewell to the Cuckoo («Прощай, кукушка», 2011)
  • Male Carriage («Мужской вагон», 2012)
  • X («Икс», 2012)
  • The Signals, with Valeria Zharova («Сигналы», 2013)
  • The Block: A Walktrough («Квартал: прохождение», 2014)


  • Boris Pasternak («Борис Пастернак», 2005)
  • Was Gorky real? («Был ли Горький?», 2008)
  • Bulat Okudzhava («Булат Окуджава», 2009)

Books of essays[edit]

  • The Debauchery of Work («Блуд труда», 2003)
  • Chronicles of Immediate War («Хроники ближайшей войны», 2005)
  • In Place of Life («Вместо жизни», 2006)
  • In a Void («На пустом месте», 2008)
  • Thinking the World («Думание мира», 2009)
  • And Practically Everybody («И все-все-все», 2009, 2011)
  • The Calendar. Speaking of Essential Things («Календарь. Разговоры о главном», 2010)
  • The Calendar 2. Debating the Undebatable («Календарь-2. Споры о бесспорном», 2012)
  • The Secret Russian Calendar. Most important dates(«Тайный русский календарь. Главные даты», 2012)
  • The Short Course of Soviet Literature («Советская литература. Краткий курс», 2012). later republished as The Advanced Course of Soviet Literature («Советская литература. Расширенный курс»)


  • Declaration of Independence («Декларация независимости», 1992)
  • A Letter to a Young Man («Послание к юноше», 1994)
  • Military Coup («Военный переворот», 1996)
  • Reprieve («Отсрочка», 2000)
  • The Recruit («Призывник», 2003)
  • Chain Letters («Письма счастья», 2006)
  • Last Time («Последнее время», 2007)
  • The Report («Отчет», 2010)
  • New Chain Letters («Новые письма счастья», 2010)
  • Actually («На самом деле», 2011)
  • New and Newest Chain Letters («Новые и новейшие письма счастья», 2012)
  • Bliss («Блаженство», 2014)


  • The Bear («Медведь», 2010)


  1. ^ a b "Bykov author profile Archived 4 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine" (in Russian). Ogoniok. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
  2. ^ "Дмитрий Быков". ЛитРес (in Russian). Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  3. ^ Зильбертруд, Л. И. (1962). Аэрозольтерапия антибиотиками некоторых оториноларингологических заболеваний у детей: Автореферат дис. на соискание ученой степени кандидата медицинских наук (Thesis). Москва: б. и.
  4. ^ Retrieved 16 July 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Retrieved 16 July 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Дмитрий Быков — Персоны". Эхо Москвы (in Russian). Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  7. ^ RIA Novosti. "Леонтьев остается главредом "Профиля", его замом станет Дмитрий Быков" 21 January 2009.
  8. ^ Award-winning writer Dmitry Bykov hospitalized in critical condition,, 17 April 2019
  9. ^ Дмитрий Быков назвал отравление причиной своей госпитализации. BBC. 25 апреля 2019.
  10. ^ "Novichok nerve agent used against Russian dissident has dark history". 2 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Opinion | Did Putin order latest poison attack? What Navalny's Novichok diagnosis tells us". NBC News. On the domestic front, the poisoning of Pyotr Verzilov, an avant garde performance artist-turned-investigative reporter, is instructive. Two years ago, while working on an investigation into the activities of Russian billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin and his GRU-linked mercenary group in the Central African Republic, Verzilov was poisoned with an unidentified substance in Moscow and was later treated at the same Berlin hospital as Navalny. Fortunately, Verzilov recovered, but unfortunately, the poison was never identified, making direct attribution difficult even as the culprit seems obvious. A similar story can be found in the cases of other poisoned domestic opposition figures, including Vladimir Kara-Murza and Dmitry Bykov.
  12. ^ Следы не улетучились (Traces did not disappear), by
  13. ^ Журналист Х.Грозев выложил в публичный доступ информацию о поездках предполагаемых участников покушения на Навального (Hristo Grozev [of Bellingcat] posted information about the trips of the alleged participants in the assassination attempt on Navalny in the public domain), by Echo of Moscow
  14. ^ Associated Press in Moscow (9 June 2021). "FSB agents who tracked Navalny before poisoning also tailed author – Bellingcat". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Russian Poet Dmitry Bykov Targeted by Navalny Poisoners". bellingcat. 9 June 2021. Archived from the original on 9 June 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2021.