Krupskaia, Nadezhda

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Krupskaia, Nadezhda Konstantinovna


(N. K. Ul’ianova). Born Feb. 14 (26 ), 1869, in St. Petersburg; died Feb. 27, 1939, in Moscow. Participant in the revolutionary movement, Soviet governmental and party figure, one of the founders of the Soviet system of public education, doctor of pedagogical sciences (1936), and honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1931). Member of the Communist Party from 1898.

The daughter of an officer with democratic sympathies, Krupskaia joined Marxist student groups in 1890, while attending the Advanced Courses for Women in St. Petersburg. From 1891 to 1896 she taught at an evening and weekend school outside the Neva Gate (Nevskaia Zastava) and spread revolutionary propaganda among the workers. In 1894 she met V. I. Lenin. In 1895 she helped organize and worked in the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. Arrested in August 1896, she was sentenced in 1898 to three years of exile in Ufa Province, which was changed at her request to exile in the village of Shushenskoe, Eniseisk Province, where Lenin was in exile; there, Krupskaia became his wife.

While completing her term of exile in Ufa in 1900, she conducted classes in a workers’ group and trained future correspondents for the newspaper Iskra. In 1901, after her release, she joined Lenin in Munich, where she became secretary of the editorial board of the newspaper Iskra and later of the newspaper Vpered (from December 1904). She was also secretary of the Foreign Bureau of the Central Committee of the RSDLP from May 1905.

Krupskaia returned to Russia with Lenin in November 1905, serving as secretary of the party Central Committee, first in St. Petersburg and, from late 1906, in Kokkola, Finland.

At the end of 1907, Lenin and Krupskaia again emigrated. In Geneva, she worked as editorial secretary of the newspaper Proletarii and subsequently of the newspaper Sotsial-Demokrat. In 1911 she was an instructor at the party school in Longjumeau. In Kraków in 1912 she helped Lenin maintain his ties with Pravda and with the Bolshevik group in the Fourth State Duma.

In late 1913 and early 1914, Krupskaia helped organize the legal Bolshevik journal Rabotnitsa. She was a delegate to the Second, Third, and Fourth Congresses of the RSDLP and participated in party conferences, including the Sixth, or Prague, Conference, and important party meetings held prior to 1917, among them the Convocation of Twenty-two Bolsheviks. On April 3 (16), 1917, she returned to Russia with Lenin. She was a delegate to the Seventh April Conference and the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) and helped found socialist youth associations. She played an active part in the October Revolution of 1917. Through Krupskaia, Lenin sent letters of instructions to the Central Committee, the party’s St. Petersburg committee, and the Military Revolutionary Committee. She was a member of the Vyborg district committee of the RSDLP (B) and worked in the committee during the October armed uprising. According to M. N. Pokrovskii, before the October Revolution, Krupskaia, as Lenin’s closest associate, “did just what good deputies do nowadays—she freed Lenin from all routine work, conserving his time for such important works as What Is To Be Done?” (Vospominaniia o N. K. Krupskoi, 1966, p. 16).

After the establishment of Soviet power, Krupskaia became a member of the collegium of Narkompros (People’s Commissariat of Education) of the RSFSR. Together with A. V. Lunacharskii and M. N. Pokrovskii, she prepared the first directives on public education and was one of the organizers of political education. In 1918, Krupskaia was elected a member of the Socialist Academy of Social Sciences. In 1919 she traveled down the Volga on the steamboat Krasnaia Zvezda (Red Star) as a participant in the propaganda campaign through Volga regions recently liberated from the White Guards. She became the chairman of the Central Committee for Political Education under Narkompros in November 1920, and in 1921 she became chairman of the scientific methodology section of the State Academic Council of Narkompros. Krupskaia taught at the Academy of Communist Upbringing. She organized a number of volunteer societies, including Down With Illiteracy and The Children’s Friend and was chairman of the Society of Marxist Educators. In 1929 she became deputy people’s commissar of education of the RSFSR.

Krupskaia made a major contribution toward solving important problems of Marxist pedagogy relating to the aims and tasks of communist education, the relationship between the school and socialist construction, vocational and poly technical education, the content of education, developmental pedagogy, the principles of the organizational forms of the children’s communist movement, and the inculcation of group spirit. Krupskaia ascribed great importance to combating child neglect, to the work of children’s homes, and to preschool education. She edited many journals, including Narodnoe Prosveshchenie (Public Education), Narodnyi UchiteV (People’s Teacher), Na Putiakh k Novoi Shkole (On the Road to the New School), O Nashikh Detiakh (About Our Children), PomoshchSamoobrazovaniiu (Aid to Self-education), Krasnyi Bibliotekar* (The Red Librarian), Shkola Vzroslykh (School for Adults), and IzbaChitarnia (The Cottage Reading Room).

Krupskaia was a delegate to the Seventh through Seventeenth Party Congresses. In 1924 she became a member of the Central Control Commission and in 1927 a member of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik). She was a permanent member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Central Executive Committee of the USSR and a deputy and a member of the Presidium of the first convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. She attended all but the third congress of the All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League. An active member of the international communist movement, she was a delegate to the Second, Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Congresses of the Comintern. She was a prominent publicist and orator, addressing many party, Komsomol, and trade union congresses and conferences and meetings of workers, peasants, and teachers. Krupskaia wrote many works about Lenin and the party and on questions of public education and communist upbringing. Her memoirs of Lenin are an invaluable historical source for Lenin’s life and work and important events in the history of the Communist Party.

Krupskaia was awarded the Order of Lenin and the order of the Red Banner of Labor. She is buried in Red Square near the Kremlin wall.


Vospominaniia o Lenine. Moscow, 1957.
O Lenine: Sbornik stat’ei, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1965.
Lenin i partiia. Moscow, 1963.
Pedagogicheskie soch. , vols. 1–11. Moscow, 1957–63.


Krzhizhanovskii, G. M. Drug i pomoshchnik Lenina: Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1957.
Zelikson-Bobrovskaia, Ts. S. “N. K. Krupskaia.” In the collection Slavnye bol’shevichkl Moscow, 1958.
Riadom s Leninym: Vospominaniia o N. K. Krupskoi: K 100-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia. Moscow, 1969.
N. K. Krupskaia: Bibliografiia trudov i titeratury o zhizni i deiatel’nosti. Moscow, 1969.
Pedagogicheskie vzgliady i deiatel’nost’ N. K. Krupskoi. [Moscow, 1969.]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.