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    Yuz Aleshkovsky

    Jew Score:
    12

    I4

    O4

    K4
    September 21, 1929 —

    In the 1960s, a poem entitled "Comrade Stalin, You're a Great Scholar" became very popular in the Soviet Union. Contrary to the title, it wasn't exactly complimentary of the mustached one. Therefore, its status as a favorite was not exactly official. (As we all know, talking ill of Russia's leaders has always been frowned upon.)

    The poem is a letter to Stalin, proclaiming his eternal greatness. The "scholar" in the title refers to Stalin's foray into the study of linguistics (that really happened). The poem goes on to make numerous allusions to Stalin's transgressions, some obvious, some not. Oh, and it was written from the point of view of a prisoner.

    Despite its popularity, few knew who wrote the poem. (Because of its subject, that was probably for the best.) It turned out that its author was another Joseph — Yuz Aleshkovsky, who spent four years in a prison camp for stealing a car. (Clearly, that gave him ample fodder for his poetry.)

    Aleshkovsky ended up doing what most clever Russian Jews did — getting out of the country. He settled on being a Russian literature professor at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

    No word if his famous poem was on the curriculum.

    Verdict: Jew.

    March 25, 2020

    See Also

    Vasily Aksyonov

    Joseph Brodsky

    Sergei Dovlatov

    Joseph Stalin

    Vladimir Vysotsky
    © Jew or Not Jew, 2006-2020.