Platon Kerzhentsev

Kerzhentsev, Platon Mikhailovich


(pseudonym of P. M. Lebedev). Born Aug. 4(16), 1881, in Moscow; died there June 2, 1940. Soviet state and party figure; historian. Member of the Communist Party from 1904. Son of a doctor.

Kerzhentsev studied in the department of history and philology of Moscow University. He participated in the Revolution of 1905–07 and engaged in party work in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, and Kiev. He was subjected to repressions. A contributor to the newspaper Zvezda and to the journal Prosveshchenie from 1910 to 1912, he became a correspondent of the newspaper Pravda in 1912. Kerzhentsev emigrated the same year and lived in London, New York, and Paris. He was a contributor to and assistant editor of the newspaper Izvestiia from 1918, executive director of the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) in 1919–20, plenipotentiary in Sweden from 1921 to 1923, member of the editorial board of Pravda in 1923–24, and plenipotentiary in Italy in 1925–26. From 1928 to 1930, Kerzhentsev was deputy chief of the agitation and propaganda department of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik), and in 1930 he was deputy chairman of the presidium of the Communist Academy and director of the academy’s Institute of Literature, Art, and Linguistics.

Kerzhentsev also served as administrative head of operations for the Sovnarkom (Council of People’s Commissars) of the USSR and of the Labor and Defense Council (1931–33), chairman of the Committee for the Installation of Radios and Radio Broadcasting under the Sovnarkom of the USSR (1933–36), and chairman of the Committee on Art Affairs under the Sovnarkom of the USSR (1936–38). He was a delegate to the Twelfth and Seventeenth Party Congresses. Kerzhentsev is the author of a number of works on history (History of the Paris Commune of 1871, 1940), Marxism-Leninism, and Soviet culture.