Yuliy Chersanovich Kim
Юлий Черсанович Ким
Kim in 2006
Born (1936-12-23) December 23, 1936 (age 87)
Moscow, Soviet Union
CitizenshipSoviet Union (1936–1991) → Russia (1991–present), Israel (1998–present)
Alma materMoscow State Pedagogical University
Occupation(s)poet, singer-songwriter
Known forhis songs and human rights activism
Movementdissident movement in the Soviet Union
Parent(s)Kim Chersan and Nina Valentinovna Vsesvyatskaya
AwardsMedal Defender of a Free Russia

Yuliy Chersanovich Kim (Russian: Юлий Черсанович Ким, Korean: 율리 킴; born 23 December 1936, Moscow) is a Russian bard, composer, poet, and songwriter. His songs, encompassing everything from mild humor to biting political satire, appear in dozens of Soviet movies, including Bumbarash, The Twelve Chairs, and An Ordinary Miracle, as well as the songs "The Brave Captain," "The Black Sea," "The Whale-Fish," "Cursed Lips," "Captain Bering," and "Baron Germont Went to War." Since 1998, he has been living in Israel and has made periodic tours throughout Russia, Europe, and the United States.[1]


Kim was born in 1936 in Moscow to Kim Chersan (1904–1938), a journalist of Korean descent, and Nina Valentinovna Vsesvyatskaya (1907-1974), a teacher of Russian language and literature whose grandfather, Vasiliy Vsesvyatskiy, was a protoiereus of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Ugodsko-Zavodsky Uezd of the Kaluga Governorate who baptized Georgy Zhukov.[1][2][3][4]

Kim's parents were victims of the Great Purge of 1937 and 1938, in which his father was executed and his mother was sentenced as a "family member of a traitor of the Motherland" to five years in a labor camp and three years of exile, so that Kim didn't see her until age 9.[2][5] She was rehabilitated during the Khrushchev Thaw period in 1958, but before that, she was under the "101st kilometer" law and could not live in Moscow, so Kim's family settled in Maloyaroslavets, Kaluga Oblast. In 1951, the family moved to Turkmenistan. Kim returned to Moscow in 1954 to enter the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute.

In 1959, Kim graduated from the Department of History and Philology of Moscow State Pedagogical University. During his student years, he began writing poems and setting some of them to music. Upon graduation, he was sent to teach in the village of Il'pyrsky, Kamchatka, near Anapka, where he taught for three years. He taught history, literature, geography, and other subjects, and also directed a number of musical plays with the schoolchildren. Since then, the sea has become one of the main themes of his songs.

In 1969, he signed An Appeal to The UN Committee for Human Rights.[6]

After returning to Moscow, Kim worked as a school teacher, and at the same time participated in the Soviet dissident movement, which cost him his job in 1968. Subsequently, Kim earned a living by writing songs for plays and movies as well as publishing plays under the pseudonym Yu. Mikhailov, which he used until 1986. At the same time, while he was barred from giving concerts, he continued his singing underground.

With the advent of glasnost, Kim was finally able to perform legally. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, he has been acclaimed throughout the Russian-speaking world and has performed in numerous locations in Russia, Europe, and the United States. He has received numerous awards, such as the Bulat Okudzhava Prize of the Russian Federation.

Today, Yuliy Kim's discography includes over 20 titles on CD, audio and video tape, and DVD. His songs have been included in almost all anthologies of author's song as well as many anthologies of modern Russian poetry.

His first wife was Irina Yakir — granddaughter of Red Army commander Iona Yakir. They married in 1966, and in 1998 they immigrated to Israel. After Irina's death in 1999, Kim married Lidia Lugovaya, Irina's close friend since school days.[1][7] He currently splits his time between Jerusalem and Moscow.

Selected filmography

Year Film Original name Contribution
1963 Newton Street, House 1 Улица Ньютона, дом 1 Lyrics, vocal, actor (uncredited)
1969 By the Lake У озера Lyrics
1971 Bumbarash Бумбараш Lyrics
1976 The Twelve Chairs 12 стульев Lyrics
1977 About Red Riding Hood Про Красную Шапочку Lyrics
1978 Cabbages and Kings Короли и капуста Lyrics, vocal
Five Evenings Пять вечеров Lyrics
An Ordinary Miracle Обыкновенное чудо Lyrics
1979 Very Blue Beard Очень синяя борода Lyrics
1982 The Story of Voyages Сказка странствий Lyrics
Along Unknown Paths Там, на неведомых дорожках... Lyrics
1984 Pippi Longstocking Пеппи Длинныйчулок Lyrics, vocal
Formula of Love Формула любви Lyrics
Make the Clown Laugh Рассмешите клоуна Lyrics, vocal
1985 After the Rain, on Thursday После дождичка в четверг Screenplay, lyrics, actor (uncredited)
1987 A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines Человек с бульвара Капуцинов Lyrics
1988 One, Two — Grief Is No Tragedy! Раз, два — горе не беда! Screenplay, lyrics, actor
Heart of a Dog Собачье сердце Lyrics
1991 Shadow Тень, или Может быть, всё обойдётся Lyrics
2002 The Unwilling Doctor Лекарь поневоле Music, lyrics and vocal
2010 The Ugly Duckling Гадкий утёнок Lyrics


  1. ^ a b c He Couldn't Stand Judophobia Since Childhood // Booknik, 23 December 2012 (interview, in Russian)
  2. ^ a b Vsesvyatskaya Nina Valentininovna biography at the Sakharov Center website (in Russian)
  3. ^ Yuliy Kim: Following the Life Pass interview in the Lechaim magazine, June 2005 (in Russian)
  4. ^ Yuliy Kim: Every time I went to protect our children interview at Pravoslavie and World, 26 February 2014 (in Russian)
  5. ^ Yuliy Kim, a happy son of Gulag, Novaya Gazeta
  6. ^ Yakobson, Anatoly; Yakir, Pyotr; Khodorovich, Tatyana; Podyapolskiy, Gregory; Maltsev, Yuri; et al. (21 August 1969). "An Appeal to The UN Committee for Human Rights". The New York Review of Books.
  7. ^ While Everyone's at Home // Channel One Russia, 21 December 2008 (interview at Kim's apartment)