Marietta Shaginyan

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Marietta Shaginyan
1988 CPA 5929.jpg
Soviet stamp featuring Shaginyan
Born (1888-04-02)April 2, 1888
Moscow, Russian Empire
Died March 20, 1982(1982-03-20) (aged 93)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Resting place Moscow Armenian Cemetery
Occupation writer and activist

Marietta Sergeevna Shaginian (Russian: Мариэ́тта Серге́евна Шагиня́н; Armenian: Մարիետա Սերգեյի Շահինյան, April 2, 1888 in Moscow – March 20, 1982 in Moscow) was a Soviet writer and activist of Armenian descent. She was one of the "fellow travelers" of the 1920s led by the Serapion Brotherhood and became one of the most prolific communist writers experimenting in satirico-fantastic fiction.[1]

In February 1912 Shaginian wrote to the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, signing herself "Re". This was the first of many letters written between them over the next 5 years, many quoted in Bertensson & Leyda.[2] Later in 1912, Rachmaninoff asked her to suggest poems he could set as songs. Many of her suggestions appeared in his Op. 34 set of that year (list of titles in Bertensson & Leyda). The first group, from Pushkin's poem "The Muse" of 1828, he dedicated to her. In 1913 she dedicated her first set of published poems, "Orientalia", to him. Rachmaninoff left Russia in 1917, never to return, and their correspondence ceased at that point.[3][4][5][6][7]

Shaginian authored the novels Miss Mend: Yankees in Petrograd (1923), Three Looms (1929), Hydrocentral (1930–31), for which she was criticized by Soviet literary critics who found her innovative fiction to be "decadent" and "bourgeois." She was forced to stop writing in this genre and turned to essay writing. For her novels about Lenin's life and activities she was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1972. Shaginian spent much of her time in Koktebel, Crimea, where she had bought a summer house for her family. The Russian bohemian elite gathered in Koktebel every summer and stayed there until September, spending time at the Voloshin house.

Marietta's daughter Mirelle Shaginian was a painter, who was married to Victor Tsigal, a Russian painter and sculptor. Their son Serega Tsigal is an artist in Moscow. His wife Lubov Polishuk was one of Russia's most famous actresses. Serega's daughter Marietta Tsigal followed her mother's steps into acting. She was named after her great grandmother. Marietta Shaginian has two great great grandchildren Anastasia Shaginian and her brother Andrei.

A minor planet 2144 Marietta discovered in 1975 by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Chernykh is named in her honor.[8]


  • Mess-Mend: Yankees in Petrograd. Trans. Samuel Cioran. Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1991.
  • Lori Len Metallist [Laurie Lane, Metalworker]. Moscow: Gos-Izd, 1924.
  • Doroga v Bagdad [The Road to Baghdad]. St. Petersburg, 1925.
  • Gidrotsentral [HydroCentral]. Leningrad, 1929.
  • Armianskaya literatura i iskusstvo [Literature and Art of Armenia]. Yerevan, 1961.
  • Taras Shevchenko. Moscow, 1964.


  1. ^ MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism. "Shaginyan, Marietta (1888-1982)". MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism. Retrieved September 7, 2007. 
  2. ^ Apetyan (ed.) S. Rakhmaninov. Literaturnoe nasledie / Literary Legacy. vols 1-3. Moscow 1978/80
  3. ^ See: Norris. Rakhmaninov. Dent. London 1976.ISBN 0 460 03145 7 (See Pages 47/8,50,etc)
  4. ^ Bertensson & Leyda. Sergei Rachmaninoff. A lifetime in music. George Allen & Unwin. New York 1956 (See chapter 11 for great detail)
  5. ^ Wehrmeyer. Rachmaninov. Haus Publishing. London 2004. ISBN 1-904341-50-0 (See pages 69-70, includes a photo of the young Marietta Shaginian)
  6. ^ M.Shaginian: "Vospominaniya o S.V.Rakhmaninove" (Reminiscences of S.V.Rachmaninoff)in Apetyan op. cit. Moscow 1978/80
  7. ^ Scott.Rachmaninoff. (see pages 93-99,109, 110, 151). The History Press. ISBN 978 0 7509 4376 5
  8. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (5th ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. p. 174. ISBN 3-540-00238-3. 

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