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Konstantin Simonov (Russian: Константи́н Миха́йлович Си́монов; 28 November [O.S. 15 November] 1915 in Petrograd - August 28, 1979 in Moscow) was a Russian/Soviet author. His full name was Konstantin (born Kirill) Mikhailovich Simonov. He was a well-known war poet who wrote a popular poem called "Wait for me", about a soldier in the war asking his beloved to wait for his return. The poem was addressed to his future wife, the actress Valentina Serova. It was immensely popular at the time and remains one of the best-known poems in the Russian language. Simonov wrote many more poems to Valentina, subsequently included in the collection With you and without you.
He was born in Petrograd. His mother was born Princess Obolenskaya, of a Rurikid family. His father, an officer in the Tsar's army, left Russia after the Revolution in 1917. He died in Poland after 1921. His wife Alexandra remained in Russia with Konstantin. In the early 1920s his mother married Alexader Ivanischev, a Red Army officer and veteran of World War I. Konstantin spent several years as a child in Ryazan while his stepfather was employed as an instructor at the military school there. They later moved to Saratov where Konstantin spent the remainder of his childhood. After completing his basic seven-year education in 1930 in Saratov, he went into the factory workshop school (FZU) to learn to be a lathe-turner. In 1931, his family moved to Moscow, and Simonov, after completing the course in the factory workshop school of precision engineering, went to work in a factory, where he worked until 1935. During these same years he began to write poems. In 1936 in the journals Young Guard and October the first of K. Simonov's poems were published. After completing a course at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in 1938, Simonov entered a graduate course at the Moscow Institute of History, Philosophy, and Literature (IFLI), but he was sent as a war correspondent to the Khalkhin Gol campaign in Mongolia and didn't return to the institute until 1939.
In 1940 he wrote his first play The History of One Love, performed on the stage of the Leningrad Leninist Komsomol Theatre ; in 1941 - the second - A Lad from Our Town. He spent a year on the course for war correspondents in the military-political academy, and obtained the service rank of quartermaster of the second rank. At the beginning of the war he was posted into the army, where he worked on the newspaper "Krasnaya Zvezda"[Red Star]. In 1942 he became a senior battalion commissar, in 1943 - lieutenant Colonel, and after the war - colonel. Most of his war reports were published in Red Star. During the war years, he wrote the plays Russian people, Wait for me, So it will be, the short novel Days and Nights and two books of poems With you and without you and War. As a war correspondent he spent time on all the fronts; he served in Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Poland and Germany and was present at the Battle of Berlin. His collected reports appeared after the War: Letters from Czechoslovakia, Slav friendship, Yugoslavian notebook and From the Black to the Barents sea. Notes of a war correspondent.
After the War for three years he served in several foreign missions - in (Japan, the USA and China). From 1958 to 1960 he lived in Tashkent as the correspondent of Pravda in the republics of Central Asia. His first novel "Comrades in Arms" appeared in 1952, the longer novel - The Living and the Dead in 1959. In 1961 Simonov's play The Fourth was performed at the Contemporary theatre. In 1963-64 he wrote the novel "They are not born Soldiers". In 1970 - 71 he wrote a continuation - The Last Summer. In the postwar years Simonov's public career may be summarised thus: from 1946 through 1950 and from 1954 through 1958 he was the editor in chief of the journal New World; from 1950 through 1953 - editor in chief of the Literary Gazette; from 1946 through 1959 and from 1967 through 1979 - secretary of the Union of Writers of the USSR.
K. Simonov died in 1979 in Moscow.
Awards and honors
In 1974 he was honored by the Title of Hero of Socialist Labor. He was also awarded three Orders of Lenin, Lenin Prize (1974), USSR State Prize (1942, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950).
Movie adaptations of Simonov's works
Numerous films were released in the Soviet Union on Simonov's scenarios and based on his works:
- Lad from Our Town (1942), directed by Aleksandr Stolper
- Wait for Me (1943) , directed by Aleksandr Stolper
- In the Name of the Fatherland (1943), directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin and Dmitriy Vasilyev (play Russian People)
- Days and Nights (1945), directed by Aleksandr Stolper
- The Russian Question (1947)
- The Immortal Garrison (1956)
- The Normandy - Neman (1960), joint production by the USSR and France; together with Charles Spaak and Elsa Triolet)
- The Alive and the Dead (1964), directed by Aleksandr Stolper, starring Kirill Lavrov, Anatoli Papanov, Oleg Yefremov
- Retribution (1967), directed by Aleksandr Stolper
- Grenada, Grenada, My Grenada... (1967), documentary, co-directed with Roman Karmen
- The Polunin Case (1970)
- The Fourth (1972), directed by Aleksandr Stolper
- Twenty Days Without War (1976), directed by Aleksei German, starring Yuri Nikulin and Lyudmila Gurchenko
- From Lopakhin's Notes (1977)
- English-Russian site with translations of Simonov's poems and biography
- Konstantin Simonov at the Internet Movie Database