Iosif Aronovich Piatnitskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Piatnitskii, Iosif (OSIP) Aronovich


(pseudonym of Tarshis). Born Jan. 17 (29), 1882, in Vilkmerge, now the city of Ukmergė, Lithuanian SSR; died July 29, 1938. Member of the Russian and international communist movement. Member of the Communist Party from 1898.

The son of a carpenter, Piatnitskii worked as a tailor in Kaunas, where he joined the revolutionary movement, and was later the secretary of the tailors’ trade union in Vilnius. In 1901 he became an agent for the newspaper Iskra and helped ship it to Russia. Piatnitskii was arrested in 1902, escaped with other Iskra supporters from the Luk’ianovskii prison in Kiev, and emigrated to Germany, where he continued to send Iskra to Russia. He became a member of the Odessa Committee of the RSDLP in 1905, and from 1906 to 1908 organized the establishment of underground printing presses and the publication and distribution of the literature of the Moscow Committee of the RSDLP. Beginning in 1908 he directed the shipping of printed materials to Russia, at first in Geneva and later in Leipzig.

Piatnitskii helped organize the convocation of the Sixth (Prague) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP (1912), was a delegate to the conference, and was confirmed as head of technical shipping affairs of the Central Committee of the RSDLP. After engaging in party work in Vol’sk and Samara as a member of the RSDLP committee in 1913 and 1914, he was exiled to Enisei Province in 1914. A member of the Moscow Committee of the RSDLP(B) beginning in April 1917, Piatnitskii was a delegate to the Seventh (April) All-Russian Conference and the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP(B). During the October fighting in Moscow, he was member of the Party Combat Center that directed the Moscow Military Revolutionary Committee.

Piatnitskii engaged in trade-union work beginning in November 1917. From 1918 to 1922 he was a member of the Executive Committee of the Moscow Soviet and a member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. In 1919 and 1920 he was chairman of the railroad workers’ trade union and in 1920 secretary of the Moscow Committee of the RCP(B).

Piatnitskii was active in the Executive Committee of the Comintern beginning in 1921: he was elected secretary in 1923, a candidate member in 1924, and a member in 1928. Beginning in 1935 he was active in the Central Committee of the ACP(B). A delegate to the Eighth, Ninth, and Twelfth through Seventeenth Party Congresses, he was elected a candidate member of the Central Committee at the Ninth Congress. He was a member of the Central Control Commission at the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses and a member of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) at the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Congresses.

Piatnitskii wrote several works on the international revolutionary movement, as well as the memoirs Notes of a Bolshevik (1st ed., 1925; 5th ed., 1956).


Izbr. vospominaniia i stat’i. Compiled by F. I. Firsov. Moscow, 1969.


Dmitrevskii, V. I. Piatnitskii. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.