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The present paper is devoted to the centenary of the remarkably popular poet and outstanding master of the Russian language, Alexander Tvardovsky (1910–1971). His artistic personality was marked by a peculiar double bind that caused him much anguish and risky conflicts despite all the honours he had received in his life. On the one hand, he cherished the idea of humanitarian communism compatible with democracy and the dignity of the individual; on the other, he was profoundly devoted to truth, and definitely insisted on his right and poetic duty to voice it. During the course of time he became more and more conscious of the illusory nature of his ideals. In his longer poems he represented the great turns in the life of Soviet society. Tvardovsky developed a flexible and terse style based on vigorous everyday popular speech; in post-war years this style has become loftier and more philosophic following (but not imitating) the tradition of Pushkin. Tvardovsky’s activities as the chief editor of the journal Novy Mir opened a significant turn in the literary life of his country promising the approach of an epoch of enlightenment and free speech.

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