Translations of The Lord of the Rings into Russian

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Russian interest in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings awoke soon after its publication in 1955, long before the first Russian translation.

A first effort at publication was made in the 1960s, but in order to comply with literary censorship in Soviet Russia, the work was considerably abridged and transformed; the ideological danger of the book was seen in the "hidden allegory 'of the conflict between the individualist West and the totalitarian, Communist East'" (Markova 2006), while Marxist readings in the west conversely identified Tolkien's anti-industrial ideas as presented in the Shire with primitive communism, in a struggle with the evil forces of technocratic capitalism.

Russian translations of The Lord of the Rings circulated as samizdat and were published only after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but then in great numbers; no less than ten official Russian translations appeared between 1990 and 2005 (Markova 2006). Tolkien fandom in Russia grew especially rapidly during the early 1990s at Moscow State University. Many unofficial and partly fragmentary translations are in circulation; the first translation appearing in print was that by Kistyakovskij and Muravyov (volume 1, published 1982).

Russian translations and retellings of The Lord of the Rings:

Translation Publication Translator Comment
1966 1990 Z. A. Bobyr; Зинаида Анатольевна Бобырь short retelling, published as "Повесть о Кольце" (1990), "Властители Колец" (1991)
1976 2002 A. A. Gruzberg; Александр Абрамович Грузберг translation, as "Повелитель Колец"; published in 2002 in Yekaterinburg (with the poem translated by A. V. Zastyrets ).
1970s unpublished S. L. Koshelev; Сергей Львович Кошелев fragments
1982, 1991–1992 A. A. Kistyakovsky (prologue and first book), V. S. Muravyov (second book, poems); Андрей Андреевич Кистяковский, Владимир Сергеевич Муравьев In 1982, only the first volume was published in abridged form due to Soviet censorship. For about a decade, this was the only version of The Lord of the Rings publicly available in Russia; the full translation appeared in 1991-1992.
1984 1991 N. Grigoryeva, V. Grushetsky, I. B. Grinshpun (poems); Наталья Григорьева, Владимир Грушецкий и И.Б.Гриншпун
1980s unpublished N. Estel; Н.Эстель
1980s 1991 V. A. Matorina; В.А.М. the translation dates to the mid to late 1980s, first published in 1991 with Amur, Khabarovsk, 2nd ed. Eksmo, Moscow. Matorina worked from bootlegged microfiche copies of the Library of Foreign Literature, Moscow, and the translation was in limited circulation in manuscript form.
1985 2002 A. V. Nemirova; Алина Владимировна Немирова the translation dates to the period 1985-1987, 1991–1992 and appeared with Folio, Kharkov in 2002.
1989 unpublished A. I. Alyohin; А.И.Алёхин Audio record of a Russian translation of volumes 2 and 3, based on the Polish translation of Maria Skibniewska.
1994 Mariya Kamenkovich, V. Karrik, S. Stepanov (poems); Мария Каменкович, Валерий Каррик, Сергей Степанов based on the translation by Matorina ("В.А.М."), Kamenkovich and Karrik provide a detailed commentary on the themes of Christianity and Germanic mythology as they appear in the work.
1990s unpublished K. Kinn; Кэтрин Кинн fragments
1990s unpublished I. Zabelina; Ирина Забелина
1999 L. Yahnin; Леонид Яхнин abridged retelling for children.
2000 V. E. Volkovsky, V. Vosedoy; Виталий Эдуардович Волковский, В.Воседой
2002 M. Belous; М.Белоус retelling


  • Mark T. Hooker, Tolkien Through Russian Eyes, Walking Tree Publishers, 2003. ISBN 3-9521424-7-6.

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