Grigorii Ivanovich Petrovskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Petrovskii, Grigorii Ivanovich


Born Jan. 23 (Feb. 4), 1878, in Kharkov; died Jan. 9, 1958, in Moscow. Soviet state and party figure. Member of the Communist Party from 1897.

The son of an artisan, Petrovskii became a worker in Kharkov in 1889. He later worked in Ekaterinoslav, which in 1926 was renamed Dnepropetrovsk in his honor. He joined the revolutionary movement in 1895 and became a member of the Ekaterinoslav Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class in 1897. Later he served on the Ekaterinoslav committee of the RSDLP, carrying on party work in Kharkov, Nikolaev, Mariupol’, and the Donbas. He was arrested in 1900 and 1903. In 1905 he was an organizer and leader of the Ekaterinoslav soviet and the city strike committee.

Petrovskii emigrated to Germany in the summer of 1906 but returned to party work in Mariupol’ in 1907. In 1912 he was elected a deputy to the Fourth State Duma by the workers of Ekaterinoslav Province. He delivered 32 speeches in the Duma exposing the antipopular policies of the tsarist government; he headed the Duma’s Bolshevik faction. In December 1912 and September 1913 he attended the Kraków and Poronino conferences of the Central Committee of the RSDLP with party workers and was co-opted into the Central Committee. Petrovskii worked on the editorial board of Pravda and was its official publisher in 1913. He also contributed to the newspaper Nash put’ (Our Path) and the journals Prosveshchenie (Enlightenment) and Voprosy strakhovaniia (Problems of Insurance). Arrested with other Bolshevik deputies in the Duma in November 1914, he was sentenced to permanent exile in Turukhansk Krai in February 1915.

During the February Revolution of 1917, Petrovskii was commissar of Yakutsk Oblast. He returned to Petrograd in June 1917 and helped prepare and carry out the socialist revolution in Petrograd and the Ukraine (Ekaterinoslav and the Donbas). He was a delegate to the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets. From November 1917 through March 1919 he was people’s commissar of internal affairs of the RSFSR. He helped develop the organizational structure of bodies of Soviet power and took part in the drafting of the first Constitution of the RSFSR in 1918. A Soviet delegate to the peace talks with Germany, he signed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty in 1918. In 1919 he was chairman of the All-Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee. He chaired the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee from 1919 to 1938 and was a cochairman of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR from 1922 to 1937. In 1937 and 1938 he was deputy chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In 1940 he became deputy director of the Museum of the Revolution of the USSR.

Petrovskii was a delegate to the Seventh and the Ninth through Seventeenth Party Congresses. He was elected a candidate member of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) at the Seventh and Ninth Congresses and a member of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) at the Tenth through Seventeenth Congresses. From 1926 to 1939 he was a candidate member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the ACP(B). He served on the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of the Ukraine and in the Politburo of the Central Committee.

Petrovskii was awarded two Orders of Lenin and three other orders. He was buried at the Kremlin wall in Red Square.


Velikoe nachalo. Moscow, 1957.
Velyiki roky. Kiev, 1957.
Z revoliutsiinoho minuloho. Kiev, 1958.


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. (See Index, part 2, p. 463.)
Bega, F., and V. Aleksandrov. G. I. Petrovskii. Moscow, 1963.
Serdtse, otdannoe liudiam. Moscow, 1964.
Fedorov, A. V. “G. I. Petrovskii.” Voprosy istorii KPSS, 1968, no. 3.
Melenevs’kii, A. F., and H. M. Kurii. H. I. Petrovs’kii. Kiev, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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