Antonov-Ovseenko, Vladimir

Antonov-Ovseenko, Vladimir Aleksandrovich


(party pseudonym, Shtyk [bayonet], literary pseudonym, A. Gal’skii). Born Mar. 9 (21), 1883, in Chernigov; died 1939. Soviet party and state figure, active participant in the October Revolution, journalist. Born into the family of a lieutenant.

Antonov-Ovseenko joined the revolutionary movement in 1901 and the RSDLP in 1903. He graduated from a military school in St. Petersburg in 1904. In 1905–06 he helped to organize military uprisings in Nowo-Aleksandrija (Poland) and Sevastopol’. He was a member of the St. Petersburg Committee of the RSDLP as a representative of the military organization. He was arrested several times and sentenced to death in 1906, but the sentence was commuted to 20 years at hard labor. He escaped from the penal colony and took up party work again in Finland, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. In 1910 he went to France, where he joined the Mensheviks. He broke with the Mensheviks in 1914 and was an internationalist during World War I. He returned from emigration and in May 1917 joined the Bolshevik Party. In October 1917 he was secretary of the Petrograd Revolutionary War Committee and one of the leaders of the storming of the Winter Palace and the arrest of the Provisional Government. At the second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Oct. 26 (Nov. 8), 1917, he was elected to the first Council of People’s Commissars (member of the Committee on Military and Naval Affairs). From late 1917 to early 1918 he commanded Soviet troops against Hetman Kaledin’s cossacks and units of the counterrevolutionary Ukrainian Central Rada. From March to May 1918 he commanded Soviet troops in South Russia. From January to June 1919 he commanded the Ukrainian front and was peoples’ commissar of defense of the Ukrainian SSR. He was chairman of the Tambov Province Executive Committee in 1919–20. In 1921 he was chairman of the authoritative commission of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee for fighting banditism in Tambov Province. He served as director of the Political Administration of the Republic Revolutionary War Council in 1922–24. A member of the Trotskyite opposition from 1923 to 1927, he broke with it in 1928. He was ambassador to Czechoslovakia (from 1924), Lithuania (from 1928), and Poland (from 1930). From 1934 he was prosecutor of the RSFSR. He was consul general of the USSR in Barcelona in 1936–37.


Zapiski o grazhdanskoi voine, vols. 1–4. Moscow, 1924–33.
Stroitel’stvo Krasnoi Armii v revoliutsii. Moscow, 1923.
V semnadtsatom godu. Moscow, 1933.
V revoliutsii. Moscow, 1957.


Rakitin, A. Imenem revoliutsii . . . (Ocherki o V. A. Antonove-Ovseenko). Moscow, 1965. (Bibliography.)