Miasnikov, Aleksandr Federovich
(pseudonym of A. F. Miasnikian; another pseudonym, Martuni). Born Jan. 28 (Feb. 9), 1886, in Nakhichevan’-na-Donu, near Rostov-on-Don; died Mar. 22, 1925. Soviet state and party figure and man of letters. Member of the Communist Party from 1906.
The son of a small merchant, Miasnikov graduated from the law faculty of Moscow University in 1911. As a Gymnasium student in Nakhichevan’ and later in Moscow he was active in clandestine groups from 1901, joining the revolutionary movement in 1904. In 1906 he was arrested and exiled to Baku, where he continued to work for the revolutionary cause. Between 1912 and 1914, Miasnikov was an assistant to an attorney at law in Moscow and engaged in literary and propaganda activity. Drafted into the army in 1914, he conducted revolutionary propaganda among the soldiers. After the February Revolution of 1917 he became a member of the frontline committee of the Western Front and was one of the organizers and editors of the Bolshevik newspaper Zvezda (Star) in Minsk. Miasnikov was a delegate to the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP (Bolshevik), where he gave a report on the situation at the Western Front. In September 1917 he became chairman of the Northwestern Regional Committee of the RSDLP(B), and in October he joined the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Western Region. At the congress of deputies from the armies of the Western Front, held in November 1917, Miasnikov was elected front commander and for a time served as supreme commander. In the spring of 1918 he was commander of the Volga Front against the White Czechs. In early 1919 he was made chairman of the Central Executive Committee of Byelorussia and chairman of the Central Bureau of the Byelorussian Communist Party (Bolshevik). From 1919 to 1921 he was a military organizer attached to the Moscow Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) and later secretary of the Moscow Committee. In 1920 he was appointed chief of the Political Directorate of the Western Front.
In 1921, Miasnikov became chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars and people’s commissar for military affairs of the Armenian SSR, concurrently serving as deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic. He was also a member of the Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RCP(B). In 1922 he became chairman of the Union Council of the Transcaucasian soviet republic and later first secretary of the Transcaucasian Krai Committee of the RCP(B). While holding these positions, Miasnikov was editor of the newspaper Zaria Vostoka (Dawn of the East), a member of the Military Revolutionary Council of the USSR, and a member of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR. He was elected a candidate member of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) at the Twelfth and Thirteenth Congresses.
Miasnikov wrote a number of works on the theory of Marxism-Leninism, the history of the revolutionary movement, and Armenian literature. In 1906 he began writing theater reviews. His article “Mikael Nalbandian” (1910) was the first Marxist study of the Armenian revolutionary democrat. Miasnikov also wrote pamphlets on such classics of Armenian poetry as I. Ioannisian, A. Tsaturian, and O. Tumanian. Consistently defending the Leninist principle of party-mindedness (partiinost’) in literature, Miasnikov sharply criticized apolitical and nonideological approaches to literature and the bourgeois theory of “art for art’s sake” in his articles “Philanthropy and Its Lackeys” (1912), “Awakening” (1914), and “Iu. Aikhenval’d’s Poets and Poetesses” (1922). He died in an airplane crash and was buried in Tbilisi.
WORKSIzbr. proizv. Yerevan, 1965. (Translated from Armenian).
REFERENCESMnatsakanian, A. N. A. Miasnikov, Yerevan, 1957.
Salin, L. “Zhizn’, otdannaia narodu.” In Soldaty partit. Moscow, 1971.
R. A. LAVROV