Pel’She, Arvid Ianovich
(Arvīds Pelše). Born Jan. 26 (Feb. 7), 1899, on the Mazais estate, Grünewald District, now Bauska Raion, Latvian SSR. Soviet party and government figure and historian. Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian SSR (1946); Hero of Socialist Labor (1969). Member of the CPSU since 1915.
The son of a peasant, Pel’she in 1914 became a worker in Riga, where he joined the Social Democracy of the Latvian Territory (SDLT). During World War I he worked in Vitebsk, Kharkov, Petrograd, and Arkhangel’sk and conducted revolutionary agitation and propaganda on instructions from local committees of the RSDLP. He took part in the February Revolution of 1917 and was a member of the Petrograd Soviet. Pel’she was a delegate from the Arkhangel’sk party organization to the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP(B). He helped prepare and carry out the October Revolution of 1917. In 1918 he was a staff member of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission in Moscow, and in 1919 an executive of the People’s Commissariat of State Projects of Soviet Latvia; he also took part in fighting against White Latvians near Riga. From 1919 to 1929 he engaged in party political and teaching activities in the Red Army and Navy.
In 1931, Pel’she graduated from the Moscow Institute of Red Professors, and from 1931 to 1933 he was a graduate student at the Institute of Red Professors of History. Between 1929 and 1932 he was also an instructor of party history at the Central School of the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs. From
1933 to 1937 he was chief of the political departments of the Magadzhanovskii and later of the Chernoirtyshskii sovkhozes in the Kazakh SSR and deputy sector chief of the Political Administration of the People’s Commissariat of Sovkhozes of the USSR. From 1937 to 1940 he taught in Moscow, and from March 1941 through 1959 he was secretary for propaganda and agitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Latvia.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, Pel’she helped train party and Soviet cadres in Soviet Latvia. From 1959 to 1966 he was first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Latvia. In April 1966 he became chairman of the Party Control Committee of the Central Committee of the CPSU. He was a delegate to the Twentieth and to the Twenty-second through Twenty-fifth Congresses of the CPSU; since 1961 he has been a member of the Central Committee and since 1966 a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU. He was a deputy to the second through ninth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
Pel’she is the author of works on the history of the CPSU and of party construction, on the history of the revolutionary movement in Latvia, on the struggle against bourgeois nationalists, and on socialist and communist construction in Soviet Latvia. He has been awarded six orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, and several medals.