Russian poet and Putin critic Lev Rubinstein dies after car crash

Connie Queline

Russian poet and Putin critic Lev Rubinstein dies after car crash

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Russian poet Lev Rubinstein, a key figure in the Soviet underground literary scene and a critic of President Vladimir Putin, has died six days after being hit by a car in Moscow, his daughter announced.

Mr Rubinstein, 76, was hit on 8 January and spent several days in a coma before his death.

“My papa, Lev Rubinstein, died today,” his daughter Maria wrote on her blog.

Mr Rubenstein was was known for co-founding the conceptualist movement.

In the 1970s and 1980s, it used art in its many forms to subvert traditional Soviet era norms and critique the official doctrine of socialist realism – an ideology prominent during the Soviet Union that pushed the political agenda using art.

Reacting to news of Mr Rubenstein’s death, the Memorial human rights organisation described Mr Rubinstein as “shakily poetic, astute and ironic”.

The group is one of the oldest civil rights groups in Russia, but in December 2021 it was forced to close as Moscow intensified its crackdown on opposition to the war in Ukraine.

Described by Memorial as a close friend, Mr Rubinstein also took a strong stance against Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine, as well as the Russian government’s attitudes towards LGBT rights.

Memorial said he chose to stay in Moscow for the past two years “despite everything”.

“Not just for himself, but for others who were trying to find the words through which to find themselves again, and maybe, just maybe, resistance through that”, they said on a statement shared on X.

Related Topics

  • Europe
  • Russia
  • Poetry

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