Bonch-Bruevich, Vladimir Dmitrievich

Bonch-Bruevich, Vladimir Dmitrievich


Born June 28, 1873, in Moscow; died there July 14, 1955. Soviet state and party figure. Doctor of history. Communist Party member from 1895. Born into the family of a land surveyor. Studied at the Surveying Institute in Moscow and graduated from the Kursk Surveying Academy.

Bonch-Bruevich became active in Marxist circles in 1892. After emigrating in 1896, he studied at the University of Zurich, established contact with the group Emancipation of Labor, and set up the dispatch of revolutionary literature and printing machines to Russia. After meeting V. I. Lenin, he wrote for Iskra. From 1903 to 1905 he was chief of the dispatch office of the Central Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) inGeneva and set up, with N. N. Baturin and others, the Central Library and Archives of the RSDLP Central Committee. He took part in organizing the newspaper Vpered (1904) and preparing for the Third Congress of the RSDLP (1905). Bonch-Bruevich was active in the revolutionary events of 1905–07 in St. Petersburg. He worked for the newspapers Novaia zhizn’, Volna, Vpered, and Ekho and the magazine Nasha mysl’. He set up several Bolshevik book publishing houses, including the Vpered Publishing House (1906), which was a party conspiracy center. In 1908 he was the director of the Bolshevik publishing house Zhizn’ i Znanie. Bonch-Bruevich was a member of the editorial board of the newspapers Zvezda in 1910–11 and Pravda from 1912. He was arrested repeatedly. After the February Revolution of 1917 he was a member of the executive committee of the Petrograd soviet, a member of the editorial board of the Petrograd soviet Izvestiia (until May 1917), and editor of the Bolshevik newspaper Rabochii i soldat. During the October Revolution, Bonch-Bruevich was the commanding officer of the Smol’nyi-Tauride Palace district, a member of the committee for the revolutionary defense of Petrograd, and chairman of the committee for combating sabotage and counterrevolution. As chief of the office of the RSFS Council of People’s Commissars (1917–20), he played an active part in organizing the central machinery of the socialist state. He directed the move of the Soviet government from Petrograd to Moscow in 1918. Bonch-Bruevich carried out the many urgent tasks with which V. I. Lenin directly charged him; he was chairman of the committee for setting up medical inspection points at all railroad stations in Moscow and was in charge of the special committee for the restoration of the Moscow water and sewer systems. He organized and was for nine years director of the experimental Lesnye Poliany Sovkhoz. Meanwhile, he carried on his work as a scholar and journalist; he remained director of the Zhiz’n i Znanie Publishing House, worked for the Party publishing house Kommunist and worked with the Russian Telegraph Agency. In 1918 he was elected a member of the Socialist Academy of Social Sciences and between 1918 and 1920 he published several books, including Bloody Slander Against Christians and Army Disturbances and Military Prisons. In subsequent years he worked as a scholar. Bonch-Bruevich wrote works on the history of the revolutionary movement in Russia, on the history of religion and atheism, on the sects, and on ethnology and literature. In 1933 he became director of the State Museum of Literature. From 1945 to 1955 he was director of the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Leningrad. He was awarded the Order of Lenin.


Izbr. soch., vols. 1–3. Moscow, 1959–63.


V. D. Bonch-Bruevich (Materialy k biobibliografii uchenykh SSSR). Moscow, 1958.