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Russian Poet, Translator Anatoly Naiman Dies At 85

Anatoly Naiman, one of Russia’s most prominent poets, whose works were officially allowed to be published only after Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms, has died in Moscow at the age of 85.

Naiman’s daughter Anna Narinskaya said on Facebook on January 21 that her father died overnight, several days after being hospitalized with a stroke.

Naiman was born in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg. In the Soviet Union, his poems were only published in samizdat — an underground activity across the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War in which dissidents reproduced censored publications, passing them from reader to reader.

However, his translations of medieval French poetry were officially published.

Along with another of Russia’s most influential poets, Anna Akhmatova, Naiman also translated the works of Giacomo Leopardi.

Naiman was a friend of the late Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky, who was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 over his poems because they did not comply with Soviet ideology.

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