Nikolai Oleynikov

Nikolai Makarovich Oleynikov (1898-1937) was born into a Cossack family. He graduated from a four-year high school and from a teachers’ seminary. During the First World War, he volunteered for the Red Army. He began to be published after the war, and became known as a children’s poet. However, in the 1920s and 1930s, he became close to Alexander Vvedensky and Daniil Kharms, and in 1927 they joined to create the Dadaist OBERIU Society (Association for Real Art). Oleynikov’s poems for adults were completely unacceptable to the Powers That Be in the Soviet reality of the 1930s, given their (the poems’) absurdist nature. Only three of his adult poems were published during his lifetime, and in 1937 he was arrested and shot. The work of Oleynikov the OBERIU-ite became known to Soviet readers only at the end of the 1950s.

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