Born in Moscow. Until the war, he lived in Moscow, Nizhny Tagil, and Tbilisi. In 1942, he left 9th form voluntarily for the front, served as a mortar man, and was wounded. After hospitalization he was a communications operator. In 1945 he demobilized, worked, and finished 10th form. He graduated from the philology department of Tbilisi State University in 1950 and worked for two years teaching Russian language and literature in the woods of Shamordino Kaluzhskaya oblast. In 1952, he transferred to a school in Kalugi, and from 1953-1954 he worked for the publisher of the Kaluzhskaya oblast newspaper, “Young Leninist.” In 1956, he returned to Moscow. He worked as an editor for the publisher “The Young Guard,” as well as the head of the poetry department for the “Literary Gazette,” and from 1962 onwards he was a member of the Writers’ Union of the USSR. He was one of the founders of the “bard" genre. He had written poetry since childhood, and his first song, “We Couldn’t Sleep in the Shelters,” came out in 1943.
The first of his songs to become famous, “Violent and Stubborn,” was written while at Tbilisi University in 1946. His next songs, “On Tverskoy Boulevard,” “The Green Bench,” and others – after he moved to Moscow in 1956. A line from his song, “Union of Friends”: “Let’s join hands, friends…” – became the motto of many “singing clubs,” rallies, and festivals, as well as the title of many music columns. Okudzhava’s songs were featured in films, theatre productions, and radio plays. He also wrote historical and autobiographical prose and screenplays. Records, books, audiocassettes, and CDs of his poetry, music, and prose were released in Russia and abroad.