Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko (born July 18, 1933) is a Russian poet, whose work contains scathing attacks on the Russian bureaucracy as a legacy of Stalin.
Born in Irkutsk to a family of Ukrainian exiles, he moved to Moscow as a boy and attended the Gorky Institute of Literature. His first important poem was "Zima Junction," published in 1956. In 1961 he produced "Babi Yar," in which he attacked Soviet indifference to the Nazi massacre of the Jews of Kiev in September 1941. Despite its immense popularity, the poem was not printed in Russia until 1984. In the same year that he released Babi Yar, he also published "The Heirs of Stalin," claiming that the legacy of Stalinism still dominated the country. Published originally in Pravda, the poem was only republished a quarter of a century later, under the more liberal leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1963, Yevtushenko, already an international literary sensation, was banned from traveling outside the Soviet Union; the ban was lifted in 1965.
In the 1970s, Yevtushenko was closely associated with dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Nevertheless, when he was made an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters there was a flurry of protest, led by Joseph Brodsky, who complained that Yevtushenko's attacks on the Soviet Union were launched only in directions approved by the Party.
In the post-Soviet era, Yevtushenko has been active promoting the works of former dissident poets, environmental causes, and the memory of victims of the Soviet Gulags.