Krestinskii, Nikolai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Krestinskii, Nikolai Nikolaevich


Born Oct. 13 (25), 1883; died Mar. 15, 1938. Soviet state and party figure; diplomat. Member of the Communist Party from 1903. Born in Mogilev; son of a teacher.

Krestinskii graduated from the department of law of the University of St. Petersburg in 1907 and practiced law. He engaged in party work in Vilnius, Vitebsk, and Kaunas and was a member of various city committees of the RSDLP. Back in St. Petersburg in 1907, Krestinskii worked in the social democratic faction of the State Duma. He wrote for the Bolshevik press. He was repeatedly persecuted. He became chairman of the Ural’sk oblast committee and vice-chairman of the Ekaterinburg city committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) after the February Revolution of 1917. He was elected in absentia a member of the party’s Central Committee at the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP(B), held in 1917.

During the October Revolution, Krestinskii was chairman of the Ekaterinburg military revolutionary committee and an active fighter for the establishment of Soviet rule in the Urals. Upon returning to Petrograd in late 1917, he served as member of the collegium of the People’s Commissariat of Finance of the RSFSR, chief commissar of the People’s Bank, and, from March 1918, vice-chairman of the People’s Bank and simultaneously commissar of justice of the Petrograd Labor Commune and the Union of Communists of the Severnaia Oblast. Krestinskii joined the “Left Communists” at the time of the conclusion of the Treaty of Brest. While serving as people’s commissar of finance of the RSFSR from 1918 to 1922, he was at the same time secretary of the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) from 1919 to 1921 and member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) from March 1919 to March 1921.

In the trade-union discussion, Krestinskii followed L. D. Trotsky. He was political representative of the USSR in Germany from 1921 to 1930 and participated in the Hague Conference in 1922. In 1927 he joined the “New Opposition” but broke with it in 1928. He was deputy people’s commissar of foreign affairs of the USSR from 1930 to 1937. Krestinskii was a delegate to the Seventh, Ninth through Fourteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Party Congresses. He was elected a member of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) at the Seventh through Ninth Congresses and was a member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the RSFSR and of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR.

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