A Voice Against Represion:A Russian Poet Who Criticized Putin and His Regime Has Died

Rubinstein is considered one of the greatest poets of Russian literature and was killed when he was hit by a car at high speed in Moscow

by Sededin Dedovic
A Voice Against Represion:A Russian Poet Who Criticized Putin and His Regime Has Died
© Masha Trotzky / Youtube channel

The famous Russian poet Lev Rubinstein, a key figure of the Soviet underground literary movement, died a few days ago after a tragic accident in which he was hit by a car, as confirmed by his daughter Maria. Recognized as one of the founders of Russian Conceptualism, an avant-garde literary movement that challenged the official doctrine of socialist realism in the 1970s and 1980s, Rubinstein's legacy transcends the boundaries of traditional poetry.

In a touching blog post, Maria announced her father's death, stating, "My dad, Lev Rubinstein, died today." His unique contribution to the literary world lies in the creation of his distinctive genre, a fusion of poetry and theater.

Rubinstein wrote short sentences on perforated cards, enthralling audiences by reading these "poetry cards" on stage, marking a departure from conventional poetic norms.

The fight for human rights and criticism of Putin

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Rubinstein's influence grew, and his works gained widespread recognition.

Namely, he emerged as a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, regularly participating in protests against Kremlin repression and human rights violations, as reported by the Guardian. During Putin's aggressive actions in Ukraine, Rubinstein, along with other prominent writers, boldly signed an open letter denouncing the "criminal war" and exposing the lies propagated by the Kremlin.

Despite his outspoken stance, Rubinstein remained unharmed, avoiding arrest or prosecution during the Ukraine conflict, according to human rights organization Memorial. Tragically, Rubinstein's death in January 2024, on the eve of the second anniversary of the landmark disaster, carries bitter symbolic weight.

The 76-year-old poet was hit by a car in Moscow on January 8, which led to critical hospitalization. Moscow's traffic department found that "the driver did not slow down" as Rubinstein crossed the street. Shockingly, the suspected driver had committed 19 traffic offenses in the previous 12 months, prompting authorities to launch an investigation into the crash.

The death of Lev Rubinstein is a significant loss for the world of literature and activism. His innovative approach to poetry, unwavering commitment to artistic expression and fearless advocacy for human rights will leave an indelible mark on Russian literature and the wider cultural landscape.