Burevii, Kost

Image - Kost Burevii

Burevii, Kost [Burevij, Kost'] (pseud of Kost Sokolsky), b 2 June 1888 in the village of Velikaia Mezhenka in Voronezh gubernia, d 15 December 1934 in Kyiv. (Photo: Kost Burevii.) Political activist, publicist, writer, and critic. Burevii became involved in revolutionary activity early in his life and was, for the most part, self-educated. From 1903 to 1922 he was active in the Russian Socialist Revolutionary party, becoming a member of its central committee in December 1917. Prior to 1917 Burevii had been arrested many times and exiled several times. In 1923 he became active in the Ukrainian national rebirth and was one of the organizers in Moscow, where he lived, of a Ukrainian club, a society of friends of Ukrainian theater, and the Ukrainian publishing enterprise Selo i Misto. In 1926 he wrote as a contribution to the Literary Discussion then occurring in Ukraine the brochure Evropa chy Rosiia? (Europe or Russia?). In 1929 he moved to Kharkiv, where he was active in literary and community life.

Burevii began his career as a publicist in Russian, with works such as Kolchakovshchina (The Kolchakov Regime, 1919) and Raspad (The Collapse, 1923). In Ukrainian he wrote the novel Khamy (The Boors), excerpts of which were published in the journal Chervonyi shliakh in 1925. His Ukrainian poetic parodies of ‘proletarian’ literature, the panfuturism of Mykhailo Semenko, and the constructivism of Valeriian Polishchuk in Nova generatsiia (1927–8) and the poem ‘Zozendropiia’ in Avanhard (1929), which were all published under the pseudonym Edvard Strikha, were some of the finer examples of the parodic poetry of the time. Burevii also contributed to the journals Literaturnyi iarmarok, providing editorial comment in the form of Aesopian fables (intermedii), and Prolitfront. He wrote the plays Oportuniia (1930) and Chotyry chemberleny (Four Chamberlains, 1931), which were staged by the Berezil theater, and the historical drama Pavlo Polubotok (published abroad posthumously in 1955). Among Burevii's works on literature and art are Try poemy (Three Poems, 1931) on the poetry of Pavlo Tychyna, M. Semenko, and V. Polishchuk, and Amvrosii Buchma (1933). Official criticism of Burevii began in 1929, and in 1934 repressions were such that he was forced to flee to Moscow. In early December 1934 Burevii was one of 28 leading Ukrainian cultural figures arrested and executed by firing squad in Kyiv.

Strikha, Edvard. Parodezy, Zozendropiia, Avtoekzekutsiia (New York 1955)
Lavrinenko, Iu. Rozstriliane vidrodzhennia (Paris 1959)

Ivan Koshelivets

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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