17 September 1912
Piĺkaŭščyna, Russian Empire
|Died||7 August 1995 (aged 82)|
|Resting place||Noviki, Miadziel Raion|
|Pen name||Maksim Tank, Aŭhien Bura, A. Granit|
|Occupation||Writer, journalist, editor, statesman|
|Period||Late 1920s – 1990s|
|Subject||Belarusian national liberation, social issues|
|Years active||more than 60|
|Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Belarusian SSR|
|Member of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR|
|Political party||Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
|Communist Party of West Belarus|
Hero of Socialist Labor
Maksim Tank (Belarusian: Максiм Танк, Russian: Максим Танк, real name Jaŭhien Skurko; 17 September 1912 – 7 August 1995) was a Belarusian Soviet journalist, poet and translator.
Childhood and activism in West Belarus
Jaŭhien Skurko was born into a wealthy peasant family in the village Piĺkaŭščyna (Belarusian: Пількаўшчына), now in Minsk Voblast, Belarus. In 1914, his family went to Moscow as refugees from the approaching First World War and lived there till 1922.
Because of the hunger in Russia, the family returned to its home village, which by then became part of the Second Polish Republic.
In 1928, Skurko joined an underground communist youth organization in his school in Radaškovičy. Despite good performance in the school, in 1929 he was expelled together with several other pupils for participating in a protest against closure of Belarusian schools by the Polish authorities. He was also expelled from his following school in Wilno for participation in student protests.
In early 1930s, Jaŭhien Skurko participated in the Belarusian underground communist activism, writing for Belarusian and Polish underground publications. In 1932, he was arrested and placed in the Lukiškės Prison in Wilno.
In late 1932, he illegally crossed the border with the Soviet Union and joined Belarusian underground group in Minsk. He was eventually arrested by the Soviet authorities, interrogated by the NKVD and deported to Poland. After his return, he was an activist of the illegal youth branch of the Communist Party of West Belarus in Wilno and Navahrudak. He was several times arrested and spent a total of two years in prison.
In 1936, Skurko was admitted into the underground Communist Party of West Belarus.
Career in the USSR
Since the late 1940s, Skurko held various senior positions in the Belarusian Soviet legislative system. In 1947–1971 he was member of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus; of which he was chairman in 1963–1971. In 1969 – 1989 he was member of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
After Belarus regained independence, Maksim Tank admitted being supporter of the Belarusian White, Red and White flag and opposed the controversial referendum to change the national symbols of Belarus organized by president Alexander Lukashenko.
Maksim Tank died in Minsk in August 1995.
Collections of verses:
- On Stages (Belarusian: На этапах, 1936)
- The Cranberry Colour (Belarusian: Журавінавы цвет, 1937)
- Under the Mast (Belarusian: Пад мачтай, 1938)
- Sharpen the Arms (Belarusian: Вастрыце зброю), Through the Fiery Horizon (Belarusian: Праз вогненны небасхіл, both 1945)
- In Order to Know (Belarusian: Каб ведалі, 1948)
- On the Stone, Iron and Gold (Belarusian: На камні, жалезе і золаце, 1951)
- On the Road (Belarusian: У дарозе, 1954)
- The Lightning Track (Belarusian: След бліскавіцы, 1957)
- My Daily Bread (Belarusian: Мой хлеб надзённы, 1962)
- The Gulp of Water (Belarusian: Глыток вады, 1964)
- Listen, the Spring is Coming (Belarusian: Паслухайце, вясна ідзе, 1990)
- My Arch (Belarusian: Мой каўчэг, 1994)
The Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University in Minsk was renamed after Maksim Tank in 1995.
- People's Poet of Belarus, 1968
- Hero of Socialist Labour, 1974
- Four-time laureate of the Order of Lenin
- Order of the October Revolution
- other Soviet and Polish awards
- Skurko, Andrej (17 September 2012). "Дубы Максіма Танка: пра Яўгена Скурко піша Андрэй Скурко" [The oaks of Maksim Tank: Andrej Skurko writes about Jaŭhien Skurko]. nn.by (in Belarusian). Naša Niva. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- "Біяграфія Максіма Танка" [Biography of Maksim Tank]. maksimtank.ru (in Belarusian). Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- "Жыццёвы i творчы шлях Максiма Танка" [The life and writing of Maksim Tank]. Official website of the Miadziel Regional Executive Committee (in Belarusian). Retrieved 13 October 2016.
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