Nikolai Ilich Podvoiskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Podvoiskii, Nikolai Il’ich


Born Feb. 4 (16), 1880, in the village of Kunashovka, now in Nezhin Raion, Chernigov Oblast; died July 28, 1948, in Moscow. Soviet party and military figure. Member of the Communist Party from 1901. Son of a teacher.

Podvoiskii enrolled at the Chernigov Theological Seminary in 1894, became active in the revolutionary movement in 1898, and was expelled from the seminary in 1901. He studied at the Demi-dov Juridical Lycée in Yaroslavl from 1901 to 1905. He was chairman of a Bolshevik student committee and a member of the Yaroslavl committee of the RSDLP in 1904–05. In 1905 he was a leader of a textile workers’ strike and of the soviet of workers’ deputies in Ivanovo-Voznesensk. He organized workers’ fighting druzhinas in Yaroslavl and was seriously wounded during an armed clash with the police. He emigrated to Germany and Switzerland in 1906–07.

Podvoiskii was one of the chiefs of the legal party Zerno Publishing House in St. Petersburg in 1907–08 and was repeatedly arrested. He was associated with the newspapers Zvezda and Pravda from 1910 to 1914. From 1915 to 1916 he was editor of the magazine Voprosy strakhovaniia (Problems of Insurance) and a member of the finance commission of the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RSDLP. After participating in the February Revolution of 1917, he served as a member of the first legal St. Petersburg Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik), a deputy to the Petrograd soviet, and head of the military organization of the St. Petersburg committee of the party. He edited the newspapers Soldatskaia pravda, Rabochii i Soldat, and Soldat. He was chairman of the All-Russian Bureau of Front and Rear Military Organizations under the Central Committee of the RSDLP(B) and one of the founders of the Red Guards.

Podvoiskii was a delegate to the Seventh (April) Conference and the Sixth Party Congress, where he delivered a report on the work of the military organization. He was a member of the Petrograd revolutionary military committee and of its bureau and of the operational troika for directing the October Uprising. Podvoiskii was chairman of the Revolutionary Military Committee and a leader in the storming of the Winter Palace during the days of the uprising. He was commander of the Petrograd Military District during the suppression of the Kerensky-Kras-nov revolt.

Podvoiskii served as people’s commissar of military affairs of the RSFSR from November 1917 to March 1918. In January 1918 he was appointed chairman of the All-Russian Collegium on the Organization and Formation of the Red Army. From March 1918 he served as a member of the Supreme Military Council. He was chairman of the Higher Military Inspectorate, a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic from September 1918 to July 1919, and people’s commissar of the army and navy of the Ukraine from January to September 1919.

From December 1919 to 1923, Podvoiskii served as head of universal military training and of the special-purpose units. He was a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Seventh Army from October 1919 to May 1921 and of the Tenth Army from January to March 1920. He was chairman of the Higher Council on Physical Culture from 1920 to 1923 and chairman of the Sports International from 1921 to 1927. He was a delegate to the Fourteenth through Sixteenth Party Congresses. Podvoiskii was elected a member of the Central Control Commission at the Thirteenth through Fifteenth Congresses. He held party and soviet posts from 1924. From 1935 he received a special pension and became involved in propaganda work and wrote for literary journals. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.


Pervyi Sovet rabochikh deputatov. Moscow, 1925.
Lenin ν 1917. Moscow, 1957.
God 1917. Moscow, 1958.


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. sock, 5th ed. (See Reference Volume, part 2, p. 464.)
Leiberov, I. Plamennyi soldat revoliutsii. Moscow, 1962.
Tarasov, E. P. N. I. Podvoiskii (Ocherk voennoi deiatel’nosti). Moscow, 1964.
Silenko, A. F. “Soldat revoliutsii.” Voprosy istorii KPSS, 1963, no. 9.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.