Skliarenko, Semen

Skliarenko, Semen [Скляренко, Семен; Skljarenko], b 26 September 1901 in Keleberda, Zolotonosha county, Poltava gubernia, d 8 March 1962 in Kyiv. Writer. In the 1920s he worked as a journalist, first in Chernihiv and then at the Kyiv newspaper Proletars’ka pravda. He began to publish his poetry in 1918 and was coeditor of one of the first Soviet literary journals, Vyr revoliutsiï (1921), and, later, of the journal Zhyttia i revoliutsiia. Skliarenko published prose works from 1930; he wrote over 60 books of short stories, novelettes, and novels. During the 1930s he wrote a series of major prose works on the subject of industrial construction, including a novel about the construction of the Dnipro Hydroelectric Station, Burun (The Billow, 1932). The novel-trilogy Shliakh na Kyïv (The Road to Kyiv, 1937–40), an attack aimed at ‘Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism,’ distorts, according to the official Soviet interpretation, the historical events of the Ukrainian struggle for independence (1917–20). During the Second World War, Skliarenko was a war correspondent and wrote the war novels Ukraïna klyche (Ukraine Calls, 1943) and Podarunok z Ukraïny (Gift from Ukraine, 1944). Critics noted the formulaic nature of Skliarenko’s postwar novel Khaziaïn (Farmer, 1948), about the rebuilding of the co-operative farms, and, similarly, his adherence to a fixed socialist-realist formula and his lack of knowledge of pre-Soviet life in Transcarpathia in Karpaty (The Carpathian Mountains, 1952). Skliarenko’s greatest achievements are the historical novels Sviatoslav (1959) and Volodymyr (1962). Editions of his works have been published in five (1965) and three (1981) volumes.

Ivan Koshelivets

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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