Aleksei Gastev

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gastev, Aleksei Kapitonovich


Born Sept. 26 (Oct. 8), 1882; died 1941. Participant in the revolutionary movement in Russia; one of the leaders in the scientific organization of labor in the USSR; poet. Born in Suzdal’ into the family of a teacher. Joined the RSDLP in 1901 and was a Bolshevik; moved away from the party in 1908. Joined the ACP (Bolshevik) in 1931.

Gastev was expelled from the Moscow Teachers’ Institute for his revolutionary activity. During the Revolution of 1905-07 he was the chairman of the Kostroma soviet of workers’ deputies and the leader of a detachment of armed workers. In 1906 he was a delegate to the Fourth Congress of the RSDLP, and in that year he began working in the Union of Metalworkers. He was repeatedly subjected to political repression.

In 1917-18, Gastev was secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Russian Union of Metalworkers. In 1920 in Moscow he organized the Central Institute of Labor under the All-Union Central Council of Labor Unions, which he led until 1938. At the same time he was from 1924 to 1926 the assistant chairman and the chairman of the Council for Scientific Organization of Labor under the People’s Commissariat of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection, and from 1932 to 1936 he was chairman of the Ail-Union Committee of Standardization under the Council of Labor and Defense of the USSR. He has written works on the rational organization and the culture of labor. Some of his ideas were subsequently developed in the area of cybernetic science dealing with management.

Gastev was first published as a poet in 1904. Two collections of poems, The Poetry of the Workers’ Blow (1918) and Batch of Warrants (1921), were published. Gastev’s prose poetry was very popular during the first years of Soviet power: “We Grow Out of Iron,” “Factory Whistles,” “Rails,” and “The Tower.” He combined bold hyperbolic images with the inspiration of scientific progress. Published publicistic works include How One Must Work (1921), Go Ahead, Youth! (1923), The Equipment of Modern Culture (1923), The Revolt of Culture (1923), and The New Cultural Direction (1923), as well as works on the scientific organization of labor—Labor Aims (1924), The Central Institute of Labor’s Principle of Organizing Production (1927), and Output Rating and the Organization of Labor (1929).


Poeziia rabochego udara. [Introduction by Z. Papernyi.] Moscow, 1964.
Kak nado rabotat’. Moscow, 1966.


“Gastev A. K.—osnovatel’ i rukovoditel’ Tsentral’nogo in-ta truda VTsSPS.” In TsIT i ego Metody NOT. Moscow, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.