Anatoly Kuznetsov

Anatoly Kuznetsov

  • Russia

Anatoly Vasilievich Kuznetsov was a Soviet Russian writer. He was born in 1929 in the Kurenivka suburb of Kiev, next to Babi Yar. In his youth, he studied ballet at the Kiev National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, and it was during that period that he joined the Komsomol – the party’s youth organization. Later on, he left the theater and tore up his Komsomol membership card. In 1955, he joined the Communist Party and began studying literature at the Moscow Gorky Literary Institute. He graduated in 1960, joined the USSR Union of Writers, and began publishing short stories and novellas. His first novella, Sequel to a Legend, was received with critical acclaim and even translated into many languages. Kuznetsov’s writing was highly critical of the Soviet regime and its violation of individual rights. The war had greatly influenced his writing, and his most famous book is the documentary novel Babi Yar, which deals with the massacre of the Jews by the Nazis at the site, and with the atrocities of the Stalinist rule. At fourteen, he began documenting the events and testimonies he had heard about the Babi Yar massacre in a notebook, and the novel is based upon them. It was first published in the journal Yunost in 1966, in an abbreviated and censored form. In 1969, Kuznetsov fled to the West and lived in London until he died from heart failure in 1979. The full version of Babi Yar was published in Russia only after the collapse of the Communist regime.

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