Aleksandra Kollontai

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Kollontai, Aleksandra Mikhailovna

 

(maiden name, Domontovich). Born Mar. 19 (31), 1872, in St. Petersburg; died Mar. 9, 1952, in Moscow. Figure in the international and Russian revolutionary movement; Soviet diplomat. Member of the RSDLP from 1906 and of the Communist Party from 1915.

The daughter of a general, Kollontai developed her revolutionary views under the influence of E. D. Stasova, whom she came to know at the end of the 1890’s. At that time she began to contribute to the Social Democratic press. She initiated the founding of the Mutual Aid Society for Working Women in 1905.

In 1908, Kollontai emigrated. Joining the Liquidators, she lectured at the school in Bologna organized by the Vpered group. She also took an active part in the Social Democratic movement in Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, and the USA. At the international socialist congresses in Stuttgart (1907), Copenhagen (1910), and Basel (1912) she was a delegate from the RSDLP. During World War I she adopted Bolshevik views and conducted antimilitarist propaganda in European countries and in the USA. Maintaining close ties with V. I. Lenin, she carried out his instructions.

After the February Revolution of 1917, Kollontai returned to Russia, where she served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd soviet. In 1917 she represented the Bolshevik military organization at the Seventh (April) Conference of the RSDLP (Bolshevik). A delegate to the First Congress of Soviets, she was elected to represent the Bolsheviks on the Central Executive Committee. Kollontai was active as an agitator among the soldiers and sailors.

Upon her return in July 1917 from Stockholm, where she had participated in the conference of the Zimmerwald group, Kollontai was arrested by the Provisional Government. At the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) in 1917 she was elected in absentia an honorary chairman of the congress and a member of the Central Committee of the party. She was involved in preparing and carrying out the October armed uprising in Petrograd, participating in the session of the Central Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) on Oct. 10 (23), 1917, which decided to stage the uprising.

A delegate to the Second Congress of Soviets in October 1917 and a member of its presidium, Kollontai was elected a member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and entered the first Soviet government as People’s Commissar for Social Welfare (then called State Care). She left the Council of People’s Commissars in 1918 because of her “left Communist” views but later admitted her mistakes. In 1920 she was the head of the Women’s Section of the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik). During the discussion on trade unions, Kollontai joined the antiparty “Workers’ Opposition” group.

In 1921 and 1922, Kollontai was secretary of the International Women’s Secretariat, a Comintern organization. She was the world’s first woman ambassador, serving from 1923 as Soviet plenipotentiary and commercial representative in Norway, going to Mexico in 1926, returning to Norway as plenipotentiary (1927–30), and serving as envoy and, later, as ambassador to Sweden (1930–45). After 1945 she was an adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR.

Kollontai was the author of a number of books and articles, chiefly on the women’s revolutionary movement. She was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, the Mexican Order of Águila Azteca, and the Norwegian Order of St. Olaf.

WORKS

Izbr. stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1972.
Vospominaniia ob Il’iche. Moscow, 1969.

REFERENCE

Itkina, A. M. Revoliutsioner, tribun, diplomat: Stranitsy zhizni A. M. Kollontai, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970.

I. V. ZAGOSKINA

References in periodicals archive ?
In the second wave consisting of Octobrist women active in the communist party and in the revolution two names stand out: Alexandra Kollontai and Elena Stasova, who were at the forefront of the uprising and rose through party ranks to occupy influential positions.
The author, an American historian, has mustered an array of sources, besides her conversations with Shlyapnikov's three children: his reminiscences, diary entries, and correspondence with Bolsheviks, including Lenin; trade-union records; notes from Workers' Opposition meetings; the diaries of Alexandra Kollontai, the woman with whom he had a romance (1911-1916); and party and state archives.
16) Se cree que Hermila lomo el nombre de su publicacion de Alexandra Kollontai, una feminista rusa de la epoca que llamaba asi a la mujer "celibe".
Nesta movimentacao de praxis, a autora destaca Alexandra Kollontai, August Bebei, Clara Zetkin e Elena Kabo.
Nesse percurso nomes como Christine de Pizan, Flora Tristan, Alexandra Kollontai, Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, entre outras, se destacam, resgatando, assim, a importancia de mulheres que por meio de seus escritos impulsionaram e regeram as primeiras linhas de acao contra a conduta patriarcal imposta.
Alexandra Kollontai was Soviet Russia's first Minister of Social Welfare and a member of the Bolshevik Party Central Committee.
She argues that the texts under investigation display "narrative Muster weiblicher Lebens-Entwurfe" (14) or the "narrative Inszenierung weiblicher Subjekt-Werdung" (30) and should no longer be relegated to autobiographical accounts without any aesthetic merit (as many a critic has claimed, among them, for instance, Alexandra Kollontai who applauded the dissent and actions of a Christa Ruland, among others, but who considered Dohm's novel and other texts by women of the time by no means works of art).
It begins with articles written by communist leaders such as Alexandra Kollontai, Nikolai Semashko (a physician who served as commissar of health), and Anatolii Lunacharskii (the commissar of "enlightenment"), then proceeds to belletristic works.
We catch a glimpse of Lenin attending a secret meeting in a wig that keeps slipping off; or Alexandra Kollontai, the new People's Commissar of Social Welfare, turning up at the old Ministry of Welfare but being politely barred entry by the liveried doorman.
Taken up with resistance work, they left Gro and her brother with Gro's Swedish grandmother, a radical in her own right--she was associated with Alexandra Kollontai during her time as Soviet ambassador to Sweden.
The early second wave in Australia was substantially socialist in orientation but it knew little of Alexandra Kollontai and Klara Zetkin and nothing of Jean Devanny.
Entre los primeros representantes diplomaticos de la URSS en Mexico se destaca Alexandra Kollontai, quien fue recibida el 24 de diciembre de 1926 por el entonces primer mandatario de Mexico Plutarco Elias Calles en calidad de embajadora del gobierno sovietico.