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 Vladimir Bogomolov

Born:   3 July 1926
Deceased:   30 December 2003



The most famous works by Vladimir Bogomolov (novel Moment of Truth, stories Ivan and Zosya) have been translated into dozens of languages and have stood over a hundred reeditions. The writer feeling his great responsibility for his works always strived for historic precision. His books about war are beyond the power of time or currently fashionable trends. They have been justly reckoned among the world classics of the 20th century. However, the outstanding writer disliked it when he was written about, so some facts of his biography have avoided publicity.

Vladimir Osipovich Bogomolov (some sources state that Vladimir Voitinsky took his mother’s surname Bogomolets (translated as “God’s devotee”) in 1953 and in 1958 he became known as Bogomolov) was born on July 3, 1926 in the Kirillovka village of Moscow region.

In 1941, yet a schoolboy, he went to fight at the frontline. He went through wounding, was awarded with medals and honours, and met the victory over fascism as a company commander. Bogomolov resigned from the army only in 1952 to study at the Journalism Department of the Higher Party School, graduating in 1958. He was never a member of Writers’ Union.

Vladimir Bogomolov Bogomolov’s early story Ivan (1957) was screened by Andrei Tarkovsky, becoming the film director’s first full-length feature Ivanovo detstvo (Ivan's Childhood) (1962).

The story Ivan is narrated by a young lieutenant describing several occasional encounters with Ivan, a twelve-year old scout, who lost all his family at war. The black-and-white film by Tarkovsky shows the story from a reverse angle: the lieutenant, the war, and everything seem to be viewed with Ivan’s eyes. To put it more precisely, it is all shown from Tarkovsky’s viewpoint, but Ivan for him is somewhat like a lyrical hero for a poet.

Bogomolov is the author of a series of stories, such as First Love (1958), The Pain of My Heart, and Cemetery near Belostok (1965). The short story Zosya (1963) about love of a Soviet officer and a Polish girl in the last days of war was screened by Mikhail Bogin in 1967.

One of the most well-known works by Bogomolov is the dynamic novel In August 1944 (aka The Moment of Truth) (1973), the pseudo documentary texts (reports, dispatches, government wires, and so forth) made it considered a new approach to interpreting the events of the Great Patriotic War.

The Moment of Truth is the most famous Russian novel about counter-intelligence work during the Great Patriotic War”, - reads the preface to one of the editions of the novel. On the one hand, it is true, but on the other hand, it is not. The book is not as much about spies, as about man’s mind and soul.

The novel was republished over a hundred times and was twice screened. However, general public saw only the film V avguste 44-go (In August of 1944) (2001) directed by Mikhail Ptashuk, who died in a car accident on April 26, 2002. Discontented with that screen version, Bogomolov requested his name to be deleted from the titles.

Vladimir Bogomolov “I was fatally unlucky with film directors. I dealt with four film directors, two of them being very famous - Andrei Tarkovsky and Vytautas Zalakevicius... None of them had served in the army even for an hour. They do not comprehend this. They do not know this. And, what is most important, they do not even want to listen… What film directors want nowadays is action” – Bogomolov said.

Bogomolov’s another remarkable work is the story In Krieger published in 1986. The scene is laid in the Far East in autumn of 1945: a personnel department set up in a krieger (a carriage for the wounded) distributes unfortunate assignments to faraway garrisons among officers just returned from the front. The story gives a new look at the post-war reality.

Vladimir Bogomolov died in sleep, on December 30, 2003, and was laid to rest in Vagankovskoe Cemetery in Moscow.


Vera Ivanova and Mikhail Manykin

Tags: Vladimir Bogomolov Russian literature Russian writers   

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