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Google Doodle celebrates Sergei Dovlatov’s 80th birthday

Google Doodle celebrates the 80th birthday of a Soviet journalist and writer Sergei Dovlatov, who is internationally one of the most popular Russian authors of the late 20th century, on September 3, 2021.

Sergei Donatovich Dovlatov-Mechik (Сергей Донатович Довлатов-Мечик) was born on September 3, 1941 in Ufa, the Republic of Bashkiria within the Russian SFSR in the Soviet Union.

After 1944, Sergei Dovlatov lived with his mom in Leningrad. Dovlatov learned at the Finnish Department of Leningrad State University, however, failed after more than two years. There, he socialized with the Leningrad artists Yevgeny Rain, Anatoly Naiman, Joseph Brodsky, the writer Sergey Wolf, and the artist Alexander Ney.

Sergei Dovlatov was drafted into the Soviet Internal Troops and served as a prison guard in high-security camps. Afterward, he earned as a columnist in different newspapers and magazines in Leningrad and afterward as a reporter of the Tallinn newspaper “Sovetskaya Estonia” (Советская Эстония/Soviet Estonia).

Sergei Dovlatov enhanced his income by being a summer tour guide in the Pushkin preserve, a museum close to Pskov. Dovlatov composed prose fiction, however, his various attempts to get published in the Soviet Union were in vain.

Unable to publish in the Soviet Union, Sergei Dovlatov circulated his writings through samizdat and by having them smuggled into Western Europe for publication in foreign journals; an activity that caused his ejection from the Union of Soviet Journalists of the USSR in 1976.

The Western Russian-language magazines which published his work include “Continent” and “Time and Us.” The typeset ‘formes’ of his first book were destroyed under the order of the KGB.

In 1979, Sergei Dovlatov emigrated from the Soviet Union with his mom, Nora, and came to live with his wife and daughter in New York City, where he later co-edited The New American, a liberal, Russian-language émigré paper. During the 1980s, Dovlatov at long last achieved recognition as a writer, being printed in the esteemed magazine The New Yorker.

“The New Yorker” acquainted a mass readership with Sergei Dovlatov’s trademark brand of Russian humor. After this achievement, he composed a new book almost annually. This body of work incorporates “The Suitcase,” referred to in google Doodle artwork. This beloved 1986 collection of witty autobiographical short stories was inspired by the contents of the suitcase he carried with him to the U.S.

Sergei Dovlatov died of heart failure on August 24, 1990, in New York City and was buried at the Mount Hebron Cemetery.

Dovlatov published twelve books in the United States and Europe during his twelve years as an immigrant. In the USSR, the writer was known from underground publication Samizdat and broadcasting association Radio Liberty Channel since his works were not published in the Soviet Union. After his death and the start of Perestroika as a turning point in Russian history, various collections of his short stories were likewise published in Russia.

On 26 June 2014, the New York City Council named the intersection of 63rd Drive and 108th Street “Sergei Dovlatov Way”.

A biographical film about Sergei Dovlatov was released in 2018. This film competed in the Berlinale 2018.

On September 3, 2021, Google featured a Doodle on its homepage for celebrating Sergei Dovlatov’s 80th birthday.