Vasily Lebedev-Kumach

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Vasily Ivanovich Lebedev-Kumach (Russian: Васи́лий Ива́нович Ле́бедев-Кума́ч) Moscow, 5 August [O.S. 24 July] 1898 — 20 February 1949) was a Soviet poet and lyricist.

Vasily was the son of shoe maker. He went on to work in the print department of the Revolutionary Military Council, moving on to ROSTO. He attended Moscow State University.[1] He adopted the nickname Kumach, a name for a variety of red cloth used to symbolize revolution. In time the nickname was added to his surname.[2]

His satirical verses published in such papers as Rabochaia gazeta, Krest’ianskaia gazeta, Gudok, and Krokodil led to his growing popularity.[1]

He wrote numerous songs, the most famous being probably Священная война (Svyaschennaya Voyna, 'The Sacred War'), Песня о Родине (A Song About Motherland) and Как много девушек хороших (Such a lot of nice girls!), later immortalized as the Argentine Tango song Serdtse (Сердце-Heart) by Pyotr Leshchenko. He worked closely with the composer Isaak Dunayevsky.

He was also one of the first persons to use the term blat (блат) in print, when Krokodil published the poem Blat-not.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kalashnikov, V. A. "Lebedev-Kumach, Vasilii Ivanovich". The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 279.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Alena V. Ledeneva (1998), Russia's Economy of Favours (Russia's economy of favours ed.), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521621747, OCLC 833245747, 0521621747<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>