Daniil Andreev Biography

Daniil Leonidovich Andreyev (November 2, 1906, Berlin – March 30, 1959, Moscow) was a Russian writer, poet, and Christian mystic.

Daniil Andreyev was the son of Leonid Andreyev, a prominent Russian writer of the start of the 20th century; Maxim Gorky was his godfather. After the infant's mother, Alexandra (Veligorsky) Andreeva, died during childbirth, Leonid Andreev gave the infant Daniil to his late wife's sister, Elizabeth Dobrov, to raise. This act had two important consequences: it meant that when Leonid Andreev, like many other writers and intellectuals, left Russia after the 1917 Russian Revolution, his young son remained behind; it also meant that Daniil was raised in a household that remained deeply religious.

Like many of his contemporaries, the boy Daniil had a pronounced literary bent; he began writing poetry and prose in early childhood. He graduated from high school but was not allowed to attend university, because of his "non-proletarian" background. He supported himself as a graphic artist and wrote in his spare time.

Daniil Andreev was conscripted into the Red Army in 1942. He served as a noncombatant, and during the Siege of Leningrad helped to transport supplies across Lake Ladoga. After World War II Andreev returned to civilian life, but was arrested by Soviet authorities in April 1947 and sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment, being charged of anti-Soviet propaganda and preparations to assassinate Joseph Stalin. He suffered a heart attack in prison in 1954, the first manifestation of the heart condition that would eventually cause his death. In the same year his sentence was reduced to 10 years. He was released on April 22, 1957, already terminally ill. He was officially rehabilitated on July 11, 1957.

While in prison in Vladimir from 1947 to 1957, Andreev had mystic visions and started writing Roza Mira, finishing it after he was released. The book was known in the Soviet Union via Samizdat, but was first officially published only in 1991. In 1997, Roza Mira was published in English in the USA.