Oleg Tabakov

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Oleg Tabakov
Tabakov in 2015
Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov

(1935-08-17)17 August 1935
Died12 March 2018(2018-03-12) (aged 82)
Moscow, Russia
Occupation(s)Actor, theatre director, pedagogue
Years active1956–2018
TitlePeople's Artist of the USSR (1988)
Lyudmila Krylova
(m. 1960; div. 1994)
(m. 1994)

Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov (Russian: Олег Павлович Табаков; 17 August 1935 – 12 March 2018) was a Soviet and Russian actor and the Artistic Director of the Moscow Art Theatre. People's Artist of the USSR (1988).[1]


Tabakov was born in Saratov into a family of doctors.[2] His paternal great-grandfather, Ivan Ivanovich Utin, came from serfs and was raised in a wealthy peasant family under the Tabakov surname. His grandfather, Kondratiy Tabakov, worked as a locksmith in Saratov where he built himself a house and married a local commoner Anna Konstantinovna Matveeva. Oleg's father, Pavel Kondratievich Tabakov, worked at the State Regional Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology "Microbe" in Saratov.[3]

His maternal grandfather, Andrei Frantzevich Piontkovsky, was a Polish nobleman who owned lands in the Podolia Governorate and married a local villager, Olga Terentievna (surname unknown) of Ukrainian origin.[4] Oleg's mother, Maria Andreevna Berezovskaya (née Piontkovskaya), was a radiologist. She had a daughter Mirra from the previous marriage to Gugo Goldstern, a high-ranking Soviet functionary and intelligence officer killed in the line of duty.[3][5]

During the Great Patriotic War, Oleg's father volunteered for the frontline and served aboard a hospital train while his mother was evacuated to Ural along with children where she also worked in a military hospital. After the war, the parents separated.[3][6]

Theatre career[edit]

Tabakov studied at the Moscow Art Theatre School. Upon graduating, he became one of the founding fathers of the Sovremennik Theatre. He administrated the Sovremennik until 1982, when he moved to the Moscow Art Theatre, where he has played Molière and Salieri for over 20 years. In 1986, Tabakov persuaded his students to form the Tabakov Studio attached to the Moscow Art Theatre. Among those who studied at the studio were Russian actors Yevgeny Mironov, Sergey Bezrukov, Vladimir Mashkov, Andrey Smolyakov and Alexandre Marine, and American actor Jon Bernthal.[7]

Film career[edit]

Tabakov's movie career paralleled the theatrical. He was featured in Grigori Chukhrai's Clear Skies (1961), Sergei Bondarchuk's War and Peace (1966–67), TV series Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973) and D'Artagnan and Three Musketeers (1978), the Academy Award-winning Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears (1980), Nikita Mikhalkov's Oblomov (1981) and Dark Eyes (1986), and the mock red western A Man from the Boulevard des Capuchines (1987).

Voice-over work[edit]

Tabakov has lent his distinctive, purr-like voice to a number of animated characters, including the talking cat Matroskin in Three from Prostokvashino and its sequels. After the Matroskin role, he dubbed the character of Garfield into Russian in the feature film Garfield and its sequel.

Political activity[edit]

Oleg Tabakov, Nikolai Fomenko, and Vladimir Putin, 2012

In 1992-2008, Tabakov was a member of the commission on state awards under the President of the Russian Federation.

Tabakov was a supporter of the United Russia party.[8]

In 2001, Tabakov was appointed a member of the board of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.[9]

During the 2012 Russian presidential election, Tabakov was registered as a "Trusted Representative" (Доверенное Лицо) of Vladimir Putin.[10][11] In July 2012, by Putin’s Decree, Tabakov was included in the Council for Public Television.[12]

In March 2014, Tabakov signed a letter to President Putin in support of the annexation of Crimea.[13][14][15] In September 2014, Tabakov claimed that Crimea has no relation to Ukraine and upbraided Ukrainians for discussing it: "But all happened fairly. If our Ukrainian brothers were smarter, they would not discuss that topic. They had to say: "Forgive us for God's sake! We had encroached the gravy train." Because Crimea has no relation to dependent, nor independent Ukraine."[16] In December 2015, Tabakov was banned from entering Ukraine.[14]

In July 2015, Tabakov made comments to the Ren-TV channel regarding the list of 117 Russian artists who may pose a threat to the national security of Ukraine,[17] prepared by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. He made a number of statements about Ukrainians advocating for a blacklist,[18] saying that they

are not very enlightened. It's like my grandmother sometimes said: "Don't bother with them, these are dark and illiterate people." The trouble is that normal people will suffer from the fact that normal information does not reach them... I feel sorry for them. They are in some sense wretched.[18]

In the same comments, Tabakov stated that "at all times, their best times, their brightest representatives of the intelligentsia were somewhere in second and third positions after the Russians."[14][18] He was accused of xenophobia and chauvinism.[18][19]

Honours and awards[edit]

A 2019 stamp of Russia featuring Tabakov and his Order of Merit for the Fatherland
Theater of Oleg Tabakov in Malaya Sukharevskaya Square in Moscow.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Peter Rollberg (2009). Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema. US: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 676–677. ISBN 978-0-8108-6072-8.
  2. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (23 March 2018). "Oleg Tabakov, Revered Russian Actor and Teacher, Is Dead at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Tabakov, Oleg; Smelyansky, Anatoly [in Russian] (2000). My Real Life. Moscow: Eksmo-Press. p. 22—48. ISBN 5-04-005401-7.
  4. ^ Солнечная система Олега Табакова
  5. ^ Interview at Echo of Moscow, 11 September 2004 (in Russian)
  6. ^ Stage Worker interview from the Itogy magazine №36, 6 September 2010 ISSN 1027-3964 (in Russian)
  7. ^ "Blockbuster 'Fury' Star Jon Bernthal Learned to Act in Moscow". The Moscow Times. 22 October 2014.
  8. ^ Ценный список — пригодится. Сергей Шинкарёв
  9. ^ Распоряжение Правительства Российской Федерации от 03.05.2001 г. № 624-р
  10. ^ "Олег Табаков – о Путине, который вне конкуренции" [Oleg Tabakov - about Putin, who is beyond competition]. Radio Liberty (in Russian). 6 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Список доверенных лиц кандидата на должность президента Российской Федерации Путина Владимира Владимировича" [List of proxies of the candidate for the post of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin] (in Russian). Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Утверждён состав Совета по общественному телевидению" [The composition of the Public Television Council has been approved] (in Russian). Official website of the President of Russia. 18 July 2012. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Деятели культуры России — в поддержку позиции Президента по Украине и Крыму". Ministry for Culture of Russian Federation. Archived from the original on 11 March 2014.
  14. ^ a b c Veselova, Viktoria (13 March 2018). "Кот Матроскин из базы «Миротворца»" [Cat Matroskin from the Peacemaker base]. krymr (in Russian). Retrieved 11 August 2023.
  15. ^ "Деятели культуры России поддержали Путина по Крыму" [Russian cultural figures supported Putin on Crimea]. BBC News Russian Service (in Russian). 12 March 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2023.
  16. ^ Табаков ждет от «украинцев-халявщиков» извинений за Крым (in Russian). DePo. 9 September 2014
  17. ^ "Безруков, Гребенщиков и Стивен Сигал «угрожают безопасности Украины»" [Bezrukov, Grebenshchikov and Steven Seagal “threaten the security of Ukraine”] (in Russian). Komsomolskaya Pravda. 9 July 2015. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d Strelnikova, Yelena (11 July 2015). "Олег Табаков — об украинцах: «Они и так не очень просветлённые»" [Oleg Tabakov - about Ukrainians: “They are not very enlightened anyway”] (in Russian). Komsomolskaya Pravda. Archived from the original on 20 September 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Олег Табаков: «Если Украина в сердце — то, вырывая её оттуда, ты вырываешь и сердце!»" [Oleg Tabakov: “If Ukraine is in the heart, then by tearing it out from there, you are tearing out the heart!”]. Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine. 12 July 2015. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Олег Табаков стал офицером Ордена Почетного легиона". ТАСС (in Russian). Retrieved 15 October 2020.

External links[edit]