By David Owens

Alexander Grin

Alexander Grin

Alexander Stepanovich Grin
Birth: Aug. 23, 1880
Death: Jul. 8, 1932

Alexander Grin was born Alexander Stepanovich Grinevsky into a family of an exiles from Poland living in Slobodskaya Vyatka Province. Sometimes called Alexander Green in English, the proper name is Alexander Grin.

In 1896 at age 16, Grin finished a four-year Vyatka college and left for Odessa.

He ran away from his home and lived as a tramp, worked as a sailor, and a fisherman, sought gold in the Urals, and later served the army, where he joined the Socialist revolutionary party.

Grinevsky read avidly, with Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne among his favorites, and he even reportedly carried a portrait of Edgar Allen Poe with him everywhere he went

His works were published starting from 1906. The first short story, titled “Merit of Private Panteleev ” (Zasluga ryadovogo Panteleeva) was of political agitation and copies of the brochure were confiscated by police.

Grin was arrested in Sevastopol for propaganda and served his sentence in prison and three exiles.

In 1905 Grin moved to St. Petersburg after his first exile. His His ealier career was known for poetry and short stories, but not yet the romantic escapes he discovered after the revolution. Areested and exiled several times, Grin moved to St. Petersburg several times.

In 1912 the Grin returned to St. Petersburg, mainly writing short stories at that time.

After the disappointment of the Bolshevik revolution in 1918, the major theme of his writing was the collision of freedom and loss of freedom, expressed in his novels The Shining World (Blistayushii mir) (1923), Jessie and Morgiana (1929) and The Road to Nowhere (Doroga nikuda, 1930).


Crimson Sails on the Neva

Crimson Sails celebrated in St. Petersburg

Grin’s symbolic romantic story Scarlet Sails (Alye Parusa, 1922) is considered to be his best work. Certainly, it is his most popular legacy. Grin created his own exotic land in his stories, “Grinlandia”, in which pure-hearted souls search for love and adventure and have a constant poetic dialogue with the sea. “Scarlet Sails” has been called “the Russian ‘Treasure Island'”.



In 1924 Alexander Grin moved to Theodosia, Crimea. Gradually his writings came to be in conflict with principles of the communist party, and so his publications were getting scarcer and scarcer. In 1930 the writer moved to the town of Staryi Krym (not far from Theodosia), where two years later he died of lung cancer. This is where he was laid to rest.

Modern Commemorations:

1960 marking his 80th anniversary, saw the opening of Grin’s House Museum in Staryi Krym.

1970 Alexander Grin Literary and Memorial Museum was established in Theodosia.

1980 was commemorated with the opening of Alexander Grin House Museum in the city of Kirov.


1880 – August 23 – Born in Sloboda Vyatka province to Stepan Evseyevich and Anne Ste Grinevskaya son Alexander.

1880 – August 25 – Alexander Grinevsky baptized in St. Nicholas Church in Sloboda.

1881 – Grinevskaya family moved to Vyatka.

1887 – August 12 – in the family Grinevskaya daughter, Antonina.

1889 – August 16 – Alexander Grinevsky enrolled in the preparatory class Vjatsky Alexander’s realschule (Waru).

1889 – September 13 – in the family Grinevsky daughter, Catherine.

1889 – October – Pedagogical Council Waru notified SE and AS Grinevsky about the bad behavior of their son Alexander.

1890 – October – Grinevsky withdrawn from a class of Varus’ petition for his father. ”

1891 – August – Grinevsky newly enrolled in a class Waru.

1892 – October 15 – Grinevskaya excluded from the class 2 Waru for satirical poem deriding teachers.

1892 – October – Alexandra Grinevskaya attended a 4-classroom school in Vyatka.

1894 – February 14 – born to the family Grinevskaya son Boris.

1894 – FallStudent Alexander Grinevsky expelled for 2 weeks for bad behavior.

1894 – December – Alexander and Peter Grinevskaya Zverkovsky complained orally by the Director of public schools in Vyatka province in teaching God’s law for unfair, in their view, an assessment of responses to the lesson. Teachers College Board, recognizing the act of Grinevskaya and Zverkovskogo as “extremely unsavory and insulting”, lowered his assessment on the behavior of a quarter.

1895 – January 23 – Anna Stepanovna died of tuberculosis Alexander’s mother.

1895 – May – father of Alexander Stepan Evseyevich married the widow Lydia Avenirovne Boretskaya.

1896 – May 3 – Stepan Evseyevich and Lydia Avenirovny son, Nicholas.

1896 – June 1 – Grinevsky finished urban 4-class school in Vyatka.

1896 – June 23 – Grinevsky went to Odessa to do seaworthy classes.

1896 – August – Grinevsky adopted student sailor on the steamer “Plato”. 2 months later for failing to pay money for the maintenance landed in Odessa.

1896 – Fall -Grinevsky enlisted sailor on the oak tree “St. Nicholas”, coming in Kherson. Having received no calculation, “hare” returned to Odessa.

1897 – Spring – Grinevsky hired a sailor on the steamer Tsesarevich going to Alexandria. On the way back was fired for a conflict with the captain.

1897 – July – Grinevsky returned from Odessa to Vyatka.

1897 – Fall – Winter 1898 – Alexander Grinevskaya served in the Office of the Vyatka city government, earning the correspondence and documents roles for actors of urban theater, sometimes played the “tertiary” role, about a week visited the railway school.

1898 – July- Grinevsky went from Vyatka in Baku, where he served on the fisheries, on the steamer Atrek “wandering.

1898 – November 15 – Stepan Evseyevich Avenirovny and Lydia had a daughter, Barbara.

1899 – Spring – Grinevsky returned from Baku to Vyatka, entered the station attendants Murashi Perm-Kotlas railway.

1899 – Fall – Grinevsky worked in the railway workshops Vjatsky depot. Ve invented satirical stories about Vyatka.

1900 – April 19 – July 19 – Alexander served as a seaman on a barge number 8 shipping TF Bulycheva.

1901 – February 23 – Alexander walking left to the Urals, he worked “on Pashiyskih mines, the furnace in the iron mines of the village Cushwa (PM Grace), on moors, in the alloy and the discount wood and a woodcutter.

1901 – August – Alexander returned to Vyatka, was engaged in correspondence of roles for actors of the theater.

1901 – August 31 – Grinevsky at the request of a friend of Michael Nazarievo sold the gold chain stolen from the VA doctor Traiteur.

1901 – September – Grinevsky is under investigation on charges of selling stolen goods.

1901 – November – Grinevskaya included in the lists of persons subject to confinement of conscription in 1901, a second military area Vyatka district. Received a deferment from military service until the end of the investigation and trial.

1902 – February 4 – at a meeting of the Vyatka district court Grinevskaya A. and M. Nazarov found not guilty of “committing criminal acts attributed to them.”

1902 – March – Grinevsky drafted into the army, serving in Penza in the 213-m Orovayskom reserve battalion.

1902 – May 29 – Stepan Evseyevich and Lydia Avenirovny daughter, Angelina.

1902 – July 8 – Grinevsky escaped from the army. Caught in Kamyshin.

1902 – November 27 – once again escaped with the help of a volunteer AI Studentsova, a member of the SR. The SRs provided him with clothes, a fake passport and a ticket to Simbirsk. Worked on Simbirsk mill.

1903 – Early Spring – as a member of the SR as an agitator designed to Saratov, where he stayed for about a month, then in Tambov, Yekaterinoslav, Kiev.

1903 – September – Arrived in Sevastopol under the name Alexander Grigoriev. He was engaged in propaganda and agitation among the Black Sea Fleet sailors and soldiers from land artillery.

1903 – November 11 – arrested and imprisoned in Sevastopol jail on charges that “engaged in propagation of revolutionary ideas among the lower ranks of the Black Sea Fleet, with which to men arranged meetings at which speeches were anti-government content, and distributed among the sailors of the revolutionary nature of publishing” .

1903 – December 17 – with the help of socialist revolutionary Catherine Bibergal, Grinevskaya tried to escape from prison, but the attempt failed.

1904 – April – Grinevskaya filed a petition with the prosecutor of the Odessa Chamber of the court to prison, the Vyatka.

1904 – May 20 – Grinevsky filed a petition addressed to the Minister of the Interior to transfer to the prison city of Vyatka.

1905 – February 22 – Grinevskaya was sentenced to 10 years of exile to Siberia (Tobol’sk) to the deprivation of all property rights by the Naval Court of Sevastopol.

1905 – May 23 – The retrial took place in Feodosia. In addition to the previous sentence added to year in prison.

1905 – October 24 – Grinevskaya released from prison on amnesty. By order of the SR sent to St. Petersburg.

Alexander Grin Monumnet in St. Petersburg

Alexander Grin lived at Dekabristov 11 in St. Petersburg in 1921-22 while he was finishing the Scarlet Sails which he started back in 1916. Dekabristov is the street between the St. Isaac Cathedral and the Mariinsky Theater.

1905 – December – Grin arrived in St. Petersburg.

Grin was in St. Petersburg and a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, distributing propaganda to the Russian Army and Navy.

1906 – January 7 – Grinevskaya arrested in liquidation “of combat flying unit of the Socialist-revolutionaries” and imprisoned in Vyborg prison (“Cross”).

Spring 1906 – Grinevsky met while in prison with Vera Abramova, who visited the political prisoners as “the prison brides’.

May 15, 1906 – Grinevsky was exiled to Tobolsk, Siberia then was transferred to Turinsk, Tobolsk province.

June 12, 1906 – Grinevsky escaped from Siberia.

July 1906 – Grinevsky went to Vyatka for a few days, where his father got him a passport from a man who died, honorary citizen Aleksei Alekseevich Malguinov. Grinevsky used this false passport to return to St. Petersburg in the Fall.

1906 – August – Grinevsky arrived in Moscow, where he stayed for about 10 days. At the suggestion of party comrades wrote his first propaganda story “The merit of ordinary Panteleyev. The story was published in pamphlet form under the signature “A.S.G.. The whole edition was confiscated by the police, the editor and printers arrested.

1906 – Autumn – Grinevsky arrived in St. Petersburg and writes stories about the revolutionary struggle.

1906 – December –  Story “in Italy” published under the pseudonym “M-Rb, AA. in the Stock Exchange Gazette.

1907 – Grin met Vera Abramova whom he would marry.

1907 – April – “The Case” published in the newspaper “Comrade,” first time under the pseudonym A. Grin.

1908 – appeared in St. Petersburg first collection of A. Grin “cap of invisibility” is subtitled” Stories of Revolutionaries.

1908 – May – AS Grin’s “Third Floor” (May 4) and “Toy” (May 12) published in the newspaper “Vyatskaya it”.

Alexander Grin

Alexander Grin

1909 – April – The romantic novel “The Island of Renault” is published, which Grin began his unique direction in literature. literature. The beginning of the idea of Grinlandia!

1909 – December 25 – Grin’s “Rooster ” published in the newspaper Vyatskaya it .

1910 – A collection “Stories” published.

1910 – July 27 – Grin was arrested for living on a false passport.

1910 – August 1 – Grin filed to the Minister of the Interior an application for exemption and permit to live in the province.

1910 – August 2 – Grin filed a petition for a royal pardon for the release from prison.

1910 – Fall – Alexander Grin and Vera Abramova (1882-1951) married in the church of St. Petersburg City Hall attended by his sister’s Natalie and Katherine.

1910 – October 31 – Grin and his wife went to his place of exile – in Pinega Arkhangelsk province.

1911 – July 10 – Grin gives Arkhangelsk governor a petition for transfer to Arkhangelsk.

1911 – August 15 – Grin transferred from Pinega on Kegostrov.

March 21, 1912 – Grin moved to Arkhangelsk until the end of reference (May 15, 1912).

1912 – May 16, – A. Grin returned from exile to St. Petersburg.

Grin now concentrated on writing and remained apolitical in his life and work.

One modern critic wrote, “Publishers marketed Grin for teenage readers but the author made no distinction between “juvenile” and “adult” fiction, and neither World War I nor the Bolshevik Revolution affected the atmosphere of pure fantasy he wove in his tales; for him it was a necessary retreat from unhappy reality.”

1913 – September – Grin divorced wife VP Abramov.

1913 – Grin came to Vyatka see his father in a hospital.

1914 – February – Father Stepan Grinevsky was in the hospital under care of doctor Troshin.

1914 – March 1 – his father Stepan Evseyevich Grinevsky died .

1914 – Alexander S. Grin became a regular contributor to the magazine “New Satyricon” (Editor Arkady Averchenko).

1916 – July – Grin came to Vyatka, about two weeks spent with family. It was his last trip to Vyatka.

1920s – Grin became very popular in the 1920s as Russians of all ages discovered his romantic escapism a good antidote for the weariness of war and suffering.

All Grin’s novels, the well-known of which include:

“The Shining World” (1923),

“The Golden Chain” (1925),

“She Who Runs on the Waves” (1928),

“Jessie and Morgiana” (1929), and

“The Road to Nowhere” (1929)

and most of 300 short stories were written or published in the 1920s.

1924 – Grin settled in the Crimean resort town of Feodosiya to be near the sea he loved, but his hard-won peace of mind did not last long.

With the rise of Soviet leader Josef Stalin, critics began to belittle Grin’s tales as irrelevant to the Soviet goals and his works were unpublishable in the Soviet Union after 1930.

Grin’s works made a short comeback after World War II but the government banned them officially as frivolous daydreams. Grins works did not reappear in print until 1956 with the Soviet thaw under Kruschev.
“Scarlet Sails” (1961 film) and “Jessie and Morgiana” have been made into films.

Grin remains a beloved literary figure in Russia.

Every May 25 he is remembered in the graduation holiday “Scarlet Sails” Alye Parusa for all graduating students.

It is a huge day where all along the Neva river, bridges and Palace Square are filled with students, teachers and families. There is music, festivities and a big demonstration of fountains and ships on the Neva, followed by firework salutes from Peter and Paul Fortress.

The finale is the appearance of Peter the Great’s ship Schtandardt on the river decked out in Scarlet Sails going by to salutes and cheers. It is on of the most beautiful holiday spectacles in Russia. Read more …

Alexander Grin died of cancer, in poverty, at age 51, on July 8, 1932
and is buried at Staryi Krym Cemetery, Staryi Krym, Crimea Republic, Ukraine

One critic wrote, “Despite his early involvement in the Russian revolutionary movement, Grin was anything but a socialist realist. For him, imagination was the most fascinating, noble – and most powerful – human faculty. Miracles abound in Grinlandia, but they are the work of simple men and women, not of supernatural forces or magical creatures.”

Most Popular stories
Scarlet Sails (Алые паруса, 1922), a love story, the most famous of Grin’s works. It was made into a movie in 1961, when during the Khrushchev Thaw Grin’s works enjoyed a revival of popularity.
– The Shining World (Блистающий мир, 1923)
– The Golden Chain (Золотая цепь, 1925)
– She Who Runs on the Waves (Бегущая по волнам, 1928)
– Jessie and Morgiana (Джесси и Моргиана, 1929). It was made into Morgiana movie in 1972.
– The Road to Nowhere (Дорога никуда, 1930)

By David Owens,