He was born into an Armenian banker's family in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, then part of the Russian Empire. His father, Arshak (Russified to Arkadi) Ureklyan, fled to Tiflis from the Ottoman-ruled Armenia in 1890s, and subsequently moved to Samarkand. He took the Bolshevik side during the Russian Civil War and the subsequent Soviet takeover of Central Asia. Embarking on a career as a reporter and writer, he adopted the nickname El-Registan, which was composed of a part of his first name and the Samarkand's most famous landmark, Registan. He worked in several prominent Central Asian newspapers, including Pravda Vostoka in Tashkent. He achieved prominence as a talented reporter and was invited to move to Moscow to work for the Izvestia. From there, he covered the massive Soviet construction and heavy industry-building campaigns and became a prominent propagandist, such as the White Sea – Baltic Canal, Uralmash, etc. He also wrote movie scripts and radio plays, and El-Registan is perhaps better known for his script of the Soviet film Djulbars (1935).
After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, El-Registan became a special war correspondent, frequently traveling to front lines. He attracted the attention of Joseph Stalin, and when he submitted his draft of the new Soviet anthem, written in collaboration with Sergey Mikhalkov, Stalin personally chose the draft and instructed the authors on the changes to be made. Eventually, it was adopted as the National Anthem of the Soviet Union in 1944.
- Bouis, Solomon Volkov ; translated from the Russian by Antonina W. (2004). Shostakovich and Stalin: the extraordinary relationship between the great composer and the brutal dictator (1st ed.). New York: H. Holt. ISBN 9780375410826. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
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