Stasova, Yelena Dmitrievna

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(18731966), Bolshevik, secretary of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party, 19191920.

Yelena Stasova belonged to a prominent St. Petersburg intelligentsia family. In the early 1900s she became a secretary of the illegal St. Petersburg committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party. Stasova was an effective administrator and conspirator, as well as a staunch supporter of Vladimir Lenin. Arrested in 1907, she spent the next ten years in exile, first in the Caucasus and then in Siberia.

After the revolution, in 1917 and 1918, Stasova was a secretary of the Petrograd party committee. She chose to concentrate on the mundane but crucially important work of administration, keeping records, dispersing funds, and handing out job assignments. In 1919, when Central Committee Secretary Yakov Sverdlov died, Lenin tapped Stasova to replace him. She struggled to improve the organization of the party's central administration, but her efforts did not dispel charges of chronic inefficiency in the Secretariat. In 1920, Lenin responded by replacing Stasova with three male secretaries. She left the party leadership having played an important part in building the Communist Party's apparatus.

For the rest of her long life Stasova took insignificant assignments. In the 1930s she headed the International Organization for Aid to Revolutionaries. Her obscurity probably helped her survive the party purges and aid some of its victims. In the 1950s and 1960s she published several versions of her memoirs, all dedicated to restoring the reputation of the party's founders. Stasova died of natural causes.

See also: communist party of the soviet union; feminism


Clements, Barbara Evans. (1997). Bolshevik Women. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Barbara Evans Clements

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Stasova, Yelena Dmitrievna

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