Poet Lev Rubinstein, a key figure of the Soviet underground literary scene who later protested against Russian President Vladimir Putin, has died days after being hit by a car, his daughter said Sunday.

Rubinstein is considered as one of the founders of the Russian conceptualist movement, a literary “avant-garde” that mocked the official doctrine of socialist realism in the 1970s-1980s.

“My dad, Lev Rubinstein, died today,” his daughter Maria wrote on a “LiveJournal” blog picked up by Russian media.

The 76-year-old had been hit by a car in Moscow on January 8, and hospitalised in a serious condition.

The department of transports of Moscow said “the driver did not slow down” as Rubinstein was crossing the street.


According to preliminary information, the driver who hit Rubinstein had been involved in 19 traffic violations in 12 months, the department said.

Authorities have launched an investigation into the accident, it added.

The poet had created his own genre, between poetry and theatre, by writing short sentences on perforated cards and reading the “note-card poems” on stage.

His daily work as a librarian and the bureaucracy of the Soviet era inspired his performances, which combined absurd comedy and improvisation.

After the USSR collapsed, he shot to prominence and saw his work widely published by mainstream publishing companies.

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Rubinstein was openly hostile to Putin’s government and regularly protested against the Kremlin’s intensifying repression and human rights violations.

After Putin launched his full-scale assault on Ukraine, Rubinstein signed with other renowned writers an open-letter denouncing a “criminal war” and the “lies” from the Kremlin.

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