Valayev R. G.

Rustem Georgievich Valayev (1900 – 1977) was an Ossetian writer, historian, and playwright. He was born in the city of Grozny. Having graduated from Leningrad Institute of Linguistics in 1924, he remained in Leningrad, working as a full-time writer and publishing under the pen name Galiat.

In 1934 Valayev and his brother were arrested in conjunction with the murder of a prominent Communist Party member and close personal friend of Joseph Stalin, Sergei Kirov. Kirov knew Valayev’s parents, was a frequent guest at their house, and knew the Valayev boys since childhood.

While their participation in the conspiracy to murder Kirov was never proven, both brothers were sentenced to a prison term at the Solovki camps, where they’d experience every aspect of inhumane cruelty associated with political imprisonment. While at Solovki, the Valayev brothers met and collaborated with the famous Ukrainian film director Les’ Kurbas, becoming members of the so-called “Solovki theater”, where plays were written, staged, and performed by the inmates.

Valayev was freed in 1939, after writing a letter to the 17th Communist Party Assembly Board, stating he was innocent. After World War II, he worked as a geology researcher. After 1947, Valayev resided in Kiev. Despite his acquittal, none of the big publishing houses would accept his work until 1960, although Valayev was able to self-publish a few short pieces. After his acceptance to the USSR Writers’ Union, a few of his works, including collaborations with brother Rostislav, finally saw the light. Valayev died in October 1977 and was buried in Kiev.

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