Arkadii Gaidar (1904–1941) is one of the most popular Soviet children’s writers and an undisputed part of the Soviet literary canon. The Pioneer organization used him as a symbol to mold young Soviet citizens, the characters from his books entered Soviet folklore, and generations of Soviet children have been brought up on his books. Nonetheless, his path from military commander to a classic of Soviet literature was far from ordinary. This paper reviews Gaidar’s work, focusing especially on the analysis of his short story The Blue Cup as the most representative of his oeuvre and of the political and literary context of the 1930s.
Associate professor at the Slavic Department of Stockholm University. PhD in Russian Literature from Stockholm University. Author of several books and works on translation, literature and semiotics.