- Yakov Sverdlov
Yekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk.]
Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov (Russian: Я́ков Миха́йлович Свердло́в); known under pseudonyms "Andrei", "Mikhalych", "Max", "Smirnov", "Permyakov" OldStyleDate|3 June|1885|22 May –
March 16 1919) was a Bolshevikparty leader and an official of the Russian Soviet Republic.
He was born in
Nizhny Novgorodto Jewish parents, his father being an engraver. He joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Partyin 1902, and then the Bolshevik faction, supporting Vladimir Lenin. He was involved in the 1905 revolution.
After his arrest in June 1906, for most of the time until 1917 he was either imprisoned or exiled. During the period 1914-1916 he was in internal exile in
Turukhansk, Siberia along with Joseph Stalin.
After the 1917
February Revolutionhe returned to Petrogradfrom exile and was re-elected to the Central Committee. He played an important role in planning the October Revolution. Research in 1990 by the Moscow playwright and historian Edvard Radzinskyuncovered Sverdlov's role in the execution of Tsar Nicholas IIand his family. Sverdlov ordered their execution on July 16, 1918, which took place in the city of Yekaterinburg. In 1924 this city was renamed Sverdlovsk in his honor.
A close ally of
Vladimir Lenin, Sverdlov played an important role in persuading leading Bolsheviks to accept the controversial decisions to close down the Constituent Assembly and the signing of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty. It was claimed that Lenin provided the theories and Sverdlov made sure they worked.
He is sometimes referred to as the first head of state of the Soviet Union but this is not correct since the
Soviet Unioncame into existence in 1922, three years after Sverdlov's death. As chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee( VTsIK) he was the de facto head of state of the Russian SFSRfrom shortly after the October Revolution until the time of his death.
Sverdlov died of
influenzain Oryolduring the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic.
His son Andrei had a long career as an agent for the Soviet security organs (
Boris Yeltsinbegan reverting pre-Soviet names in Russia, and Sverdlovsk was changed back to Yekaterinburg.
Imperial Russian Navydestroyer leader "Novik" (commissioned in 1913) was renamed "Yakov Sverdlov" in 1923. The first ship of Sverdlov class cruisers was also named after him.
He is buried in the
Kremlin Wall Necropolis, in Moscow.
Zinovy Peshkov(Zinovy Sverdlov), Yakov's brother
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