Zamyatin, Evgeny By Stauffer, Rachel
Evgeny Zamyatin is a Russian author most famous for his dystopian novel We [My], which is said to have influenced George Orwell’s 1984. Criminalized in the pre-Revolutionary period by the tsarist regime for his revolutionary tendencies, and denounced post-Revolution as a traitor to the ideals of Russian Communism, Zamyatin was highly influential as an author, journal editor, leader of literary organizations, and as an instructor and researcher in naval engineering. In 1931, with Stalin’s permission, Zamyatin moved to France, where he died of a heart attack in 1937. His contributions to Russian and Soviet literature were newly acknowledged in the 1980s when his reputation as a traitor was renounced.
Evgeny Zamyatin was born in the Russian countryside to a middle-class family and attended St Petersburg Polytechnic Institute as a student of naval engineering. Travel for this work, combined with the revolutionary climate of St Petersburg, significantly influenced Zamyatin’s writing. Frequent participation in St Petersburg’s revolutionary activity leading to the 1905 revolution resulted in Zamyatin’s arrest and exile, which also served as themes in his literary works. Although, officially, Zamyatin had been expelled from St Petersburg, he remained there as a resident from 1906 until 1911 teaching in the naval engineering programme of St Petersburg Polytechnic Institute.