Meshcheriakov, Nikolai

Meshcheriakov, Nikolai Leonidovich


Born Feb. 25 (Mar. 9), 1865, in Zaraisk, present-day Moscow Oblast; died Apr. 3, 1942, in Kazan. Participant in the revolutionary movement in Russia; prominent figure in Soviet publishing; corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1939). Member of the Communist Party from 1901.

Meshcheriakov was the son of an agronomist. As a student at the St. Petersburg Technological Institute he joined the People’s Will organization in 1885. In 1893 he emigrated to Belgium. He graduated from the technological faculty of the University of Liege. Meshcheriakov became a Marxist in 1894. In 1901 he was a member of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social Democracy Abroad and in 1902, an Iskra agent in Moscow and a member of the Moscow committee of the RSDLP. A member of the Moscow district committee and regional bureau of the Bolshevik Party in 1906, he was arrested in October of that year and exiled to Eastern Siberia. In February 1917 he was a member of the Krasnoiarsk committee of the RSDLP and editor of the newspaper Krasnoiarskii rabochii.

Returning to Moscow, Meshcheriakov served as chairman of the provincial soviet and as a member of the provincial committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik). In October 1917 he was the editor of lzvestiia Moskovskogo voenno-revoliutsionnogo komiteta and a member of the editorial board of Izvestiia Moskovskogo gubernskogo soveta. From 1918 to 1924 he was a member of Pravda’s editorial board and a member of the board of Tsentrosoiuz (the Central Union of Consumers’ Cooperatives). Subsequently, he was made chairman of the editorial board and director of Gosizdat (the State Publishing House). Assistant editor in chief of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia and editor of the journal Nauka i zhizn ‘ (Science and Life) from 1924, Meshcheriakov was editor in chief of the first and second editions of the Small Soviet Encyclopedia (1927–31 and 1933–38). From 1924 to 1927 he was also a member of the Presidium, organizational secretary of the Peasant International, and editor of the magazine Krest’ianskii Internatsional. From 1929 to 1931, Meshcheriakov was a member of the Presidium of the Cooperatives’ Section of the Comintern.