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Vladimir Galaktionovich Korolenko (Russian: Владимир Галактионович Короленко) was journalist, human rights activist and humanitarian. His short stories were known for their harsh description of nature based on his experience of exile in Siberia. Korolenko was a strong critic of the Tsarist regime and in his final years of the Bolsheviks.
Korolenko's first short stories were published in 1879. However, his literary career was interrupted that year when he was arrested for revolutionary activity and exiled to the Vyatka region for five years. In 1881 he refused to swear allegiance to the new Tsar Alexander III and was exiled farther, to Yakutia.
Upon his return from the exile, he had more stories published. Makar's Dream (Сон Макара, Son Makara) established his reputation as a writer when it was published in 1885. The story, based on a dying peasant's dream of heaven, was translated and published in English in 1892.
Korolenko settled in Nizhniy Novgorod shortly afterwards and continued publishing popular short stories. He published a novel Слепой музыкант (Slepoi Musykant) in 1886, which was published in English as The Blind Musician in 1896-1898.
After visiting the Chicago exhibition during 1893, Korolenko wrote the story Without Language (Без языка, Bez Yazyka) based on what happens to a Ukrainian peasant who immigrates to the USA. His final story Мгновение (Mgnovenie, "Blink of an Eye"), was published in 1900.
By then, Korolenko was well established among Russian writers. He was a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences but resigned in 1902 when Maxim Gorky was expelled as a member because of his revolutionary activities. (Anton Chekhov resigned from the Academy for the same reason).
In 1895, Korolenko became the editor of the periodical Russkoe Bogatstvo (Russian Wealth) and used this position to criticise alleged injustices occurring under the tsar. He also used his position to publish reviews of important pieces of literature such as Chekhov's final play The Cherry Orchard in 1904.
Vladimir Korolenko was a lifetime opponent of Czarism and reservedly welcomed the Russian Revolution of 1917. However, he soon opposed the Bolsheviks as their despotic nature became evident. During the Russian Civil War that ensued, he criticized both Red Terror and White Terror.
He worked on an autobiography История моего современника (Istoria moego sovremenika The History of My Contemporary.
Korolenko advocated for human rights and against injustices and persecutions on the basis of social class by his essay В Голодный год (During The Starving Year, 1891–1892), nationalism in his article Мултанское дело (The Multanskoye Affair, 1895–1896), and criticised the anti-Semitic Beilis trial (in his Call to the Russian People in regard to the blood libel of the Jews, 1911–1913).
He died in Poltava in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on December 25, 1921.