Leonid Krasin

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Krasin, Leonid Borisovich


Born July 15, 1870, in Kurgan; died Nov. 24, 1926, in London. Soviet state and party figure. Member of the Communist Party from 1890.

The son of a government official, Krasin enrolled in the St. Petersburg Technological Institute in 1887 and was a member of the Brusnev group. He was expelled from the institute and exiled in 1891. He worked as a technician and engineer (without diploma) on the construction of the Siberian Railroad. After graduating from the Kharkov Technological Institute in 1900, Krasin headed, with R. E. Klasson, the construction of the Elektrosila electric power plant in Baku and the electrification of the city’s oil industry. In Bailovo he assembled the nucleus of the Baku Social Democratic organization. He maintained regular contact with the editorial board of lskra and organized the shipment of the newspaper through Iran and Batumi. Together with V. Z. Ketskhoveli, he established the clandestine Nina Printing House. He was co-opted into the party’s Central Committee after the Second Congress of the RSDLP in 1903 and for a time advocated compromise with the Mensheviks. Taking advantage of his job assignments, Krasin traveled throughout the country creating a centralized technical party apparatus, establishing contacts with the local organizations, improving party finances, transporting and disseminating literature, and arranging the sending of party members abroad and their return to Russia.

In 1904, Krasin began working in Orekhovo-Zuevo, directing the construction of an electric power plant and the electrification of the city and the Morozov Factory. Escaping arrest by luck, Krasin went underground. He was a delegate to the Third Congress of the RSDLP in 1905, where he was elected deputy chairman and a member of the Central Committee. Upon returning to Russia, Krasin legalized his status and became head of the cable network of the Electric Association of 1886 in St. Petersburg, all the while continuing to work for the party. Krasin was one of the founders of Novaia zhizn ’ the first legal Bolshevik newspaper. During the Revolution of 1905-07 he was a member of the St. Petersburg Soviet. On Lenin’s recommendation, the party’s “foremost technician, financier, and transport agent” (Leninskii sbornik V, 1929, p. 279) headed the group in charge of combat materiel under the Central Committee and directed the supplying of fighting detachments. Krasin attended the First (Tammerfors) Conference of the RSDLP in December 1905. At the Fourth Congress of the RSDLP in 1906 he was one of the speakers on the question of armed uprisings and was elected a member of the Central Committee, and at the Fifth Congress in 1907 he was a candidate for membership in the Central Committee of the RSDLP.

In 1908, Krasin went abroad, where he joined the Ultimatists, and helped organize the Capri school. Subsequently he retired from political life. While working for the company Siemens-Schuckertwerke, Krasin proved himself an extremely gifted engineer and organizer, becoming head of the firm’s Moscow branch in 1912 and director of its entire Russian division in St. Petersburg in 1913. At the outbreak of World War I (1914-18), he was appointed director of several plants that had previously belonged to Siemens-Schuckertwerke.

Returning to political activity in December 1917, Krasin took part in the peace negotiations in Brest, and in the summer of 1918, as a member of a Soviet delegation in Berlin, he negotiated economically favorable agreements. As a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Council on the National Economy in 1918, he was instrumental in persuading the technical intelligentsia to support Soviet rule. In 1918 Krasin also served as chairman of the Extraordinary Commission for Supplying the Red Army, people’ commissar of trade and industry, and one of the first members of the Council of Labor and Defense. He was people’s commissar of railroads in 1919, and in December of that year he headed the Soviet delegation at the peace negotiations with Estonia. As people’s commissar of foreign trade and plenipotentiary and trade representative in Great Britain from 1920 to 1923, Krasin signed the Anglo-Soviet trade agreement in March 1921. He attended the international conferences in Genoa and The Hague in 1922 and was plenipotentiary in France in 1924 and in Great Britain from 1925. Krasin was a delegate to the Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Party Congresses and was elected a member of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) at the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses. He is buried in Moscow in Red Square near the Kremlin wall.


Dela davno minuvshikh dnei (Vospominaniia), 3rd ed. Moscow, 1934.


Gorky, M. “L. Krasin.” Sobr. soch., vol. 17. Moscow, 1952.
Zarnitskii, S. V., and L. I. Trofimova. Sovetskoi strany diplomat. Moscow, 1968.
Mogilevskii, B. L., and V. A. Prokof ev. Tri zhizni Krasina. Moscow, 1968.
Kremnev, B. G. Krasin. Moscow, 1968.
Karpova, R. F. L. B. Krasinsovetskii diplomat. Moscow, 1962
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
When Britain recognised the Soviet government she was returned to Russia and in 1927 the ship was renamed after Bolshevik leader and Soviet diplomat Leonid Krasin.
Upon Vladimir Lenin's death in 1924, the revolutionary Leonid Krasin established the Immortalization Commission of the book's title to plan Lenin's mausoleum.