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Krupskaya, Nadezhda Konstantinovna

KRUPSKAYA, NADEZHDA KONSTANTINOVNA

(18691939), revolutionary, educator, head of Glavpolitprosvet (the Chief Committee for Political Education) and deputy head of the Commissariat of Enlightenment, full member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (19271939), wife of Vladimir Ilich Lenin.

A native of St. Petersburg, Nadezhda Krupskaya developed an early and lifelong interest in education, especially that of adults. Beginning in the 1890s, she taught in workers' evening and adult education schools. In Marxist circles she met Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (Lenin). When she and Lenin were both arrested in 1895 and 1896, she followed him to Siberia as his fiancée and later as his wife. While in exile, Krupskaya wrote her most famous work, The Woman Worker (first published in 1901 and 1905). Here she explored the problems faced by women as workers and mothers.

From 1901 to 1917 Krupskaya shared Lenin's life in exile abroad, helping to direct his correspondence and build up the organization of the Party. She worked on the editorial boards of the journals Rabotnitsa, Iskra, Proletary, and Sotsial-Demokrat. She also began writing about theories of progressive American and European education, especially those of John Dewey. In the 1920s these ideas on education were to have some impact on Soviet schooling, though they were then reversed in the 1930s.

After 1917 she headed the newly created Extra-Curricular Department of the Commissariat of Education, which was later replaced by the Chief Committee on Political Education (Glavpolitprosvet ). She also worked in the zhenotdel (the women's section of the Party), editing the journal Kommunistka, but never heading the section.

In 1922 and 1923, when Lenin was seriously incapacitated with illness, Krupskaya quarreled badly with Josef Stalin, whom she found rude and boorish. When Lenin died in January 1924, Krupskaya found herself isolated and increasingly drawn to side with the Leningrad Opposition led by Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev. By the fall of 1926, however, she had defected from the Opposition. From 1927 to 1939 she served as a full member of the (now much weakened) Central Committee of the Party. During the height of the Purges, she tried to save some of Stalin's victims,

including Yuri Pyatakov, but without success. Although Stalin gave a eulogy at her funeral in 1939, her works were suppressed until Nikita Khrushchev's Thaw.

Historians have tended to minimize Krupskaya's importance, viewing her primarily as Lenin's wife. Yet she played a crucial role in establishing the Party, building up the political education apparatus that reached millions of people, and keeping women's issues on the political agenda.

See also: armand, inessa; education; lenin, vladimirilich; zhenotdel

bibliography

McNeal, Robert H. (1972). Bride of the Revolution. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Noonan, Norma C. (1991). "Two Solutions to the Zhenskii Vopros in Russia and the USSR, Kollontai and Krupskaia: A Comparison." Women and Politics 2(3):77100.

Stites, Richard. (1975). "Kollontai, Inessa, and Krupskaia: A Review of Recent Literature." Canadian-American Slavic Studies 9(1):8492.

Stites, Richard. (1978). The Women's Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 18601930. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Wood, Elizabeth A. (1997). The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Elizabeth A. Wood

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Krupskaya, Nadezhda Konstantinovna

Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya (nŭdyĕ´zhdə kənstŭntyē´nəvnə krōōp´skəyə), 1869–1939, Russian revolutionary and educator, wife of Lenin. Krupskaya was a Marxist agitator for 25 years before the Russian Revolution in Oct., 1917; she married Lenin in 1898, while both were serving terms in exile. After her release in 1901, she was active in organizing the Bolsheviks and spreading the movement's propaganda. After the Bolsheviks seized power, she became a member of the People's Commissariat of Education. She helped develop systems of education that offered both academic and professional training and provided education to women and workers. At first an opponent of Stalin, Krupskaya later remained above party politics.

See her Pedagogical Works (11 vol., 1957–63).

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