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Sergey Mikhalkov
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    (March 13, 1913-August 27, 2009)
    Born in Moscow, Russian Federation
    Wrote the children's poems 'Three Citizens,' 'The Happy Hiker,' 'Me and My Friend' and 'Uncle Styopa'
    Wrote the fables 'The Fox and the Beaver,' 'The Drunken Rabbit' and 'Two Friends'
    Wrote the plays 'Special Task,' 'Ilya Golovin' and 'Three Plus Two'
    Wrote lyrics for the Soviet/Russian national anthem
    In a bit of self-contradiction, he declared 'I have never been influenced by politics. I have always served the state.'
    As chairman of the Soviet Writers' Union, he participated in campaigns against dissident writers like Boris Pasternak and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.
    His original anthem lyrics, praising Joseph Stalin, had to be rewritten after the dictator's death.
    The version of the anthem commissioned by Vladimir Putin ends with 'Thus it was, is, and always shall be,' which seems ironic for the third take on the song.
    His two sons became successful directors, with Nikita Mikhalkov winning an Oscar for 'Burnt by the Sun' (1994) and Andrei Konchalovsky winning an Emmy for the miniseries 'The Odyssey' (1997).
    His 'Uncle Styopa' remains a staple of Russian kindergartens.
    Having hailed Stalin in the first version of the National Anthem and Lenin in the second, he wisely avoided mentioning any leaders the third time around.

Credit: C. Fishel

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