Did Russian Poet’s Writing Get Him Killed?

Vladimir Mayakovsky was an early 20th century Soviet poet and playwright who died when a bullet pierced his heart at age 37.  Here is an excerpt from a translation of his poem “My Soviet Passport”:

“With what delight
that gendarme caste
would have me
strung-up and whipped raw
because I hold
in my hands
hammered-fast
sickle-clasped
my red Soviet passport.”

Many sources call Mayakovsky’s death a suicide, while some hint at political assassination, like the article in Haaretz.com titled “The ‘Raging Bull’ of Russian Poetry”:

“He said that my father was presented with a pistol and a shoe box. Among the Russian aristocracy, such a thing meant death or humiliation: Either you commit suicide or you will lose your good name.”

To read the poem, “My Soviet Passport,” go here; to read more of the author’s work, go here; and to view the article at Haaretz.com, go here.

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