Nikolai Krylenko

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Krylenko, Nikolai Vasil’evich


Born May 2 (14), 1885; died July 29, 1938. Soviet state and party figure, party publicist, doctor of political and social sciences (1934). Became a member of the Communist Party in 1904.

Krylenko, the son of a political exile, was born in the village of Bekhteevo, in present-day Sychevka Raion, Smolensk Oblast. He graduated from the history and philology department of St. Petersburg University in 1909 and from the law department of the University of Kharkov in 1914. A participant in the Revolution of 1905–07, Krylenko engaged in party work in St. Petersburg and Moscow and in 1906 was a member of the fighting organization under the St. Petersburg committee of the RSDLP. A contributor to the newspaper Zvezda from 1911 and a contributor to Pravda and a member of the Bolshevik faction in the Duma in 1913, Krylenko emigrated in the summer of 1914, lived in Switzerland, and attended the Bern conference of the RSDLP sections abroad.

After returning to Russia in the summer of 1915, Krylenko was arrested and sent into the army in the field in April 1916. During the February Revolution of 1917, Krylenko was elected chairman of a regiment and division committee and, in April 1917, of the army committee of the Eleventh Army of the South-western Front. He was a delegate to the first All-Russian Congress of soviets (1917) and a member of its presidium from the Bolshevik faction; he was also a member of the first All-Russian Central Executive Committee. The All-Russian Conference of the Front and Rear Organizations of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) elected Krylenko in June 1917 to the bureau of the All-Russian Military Organization under the Central Committee of the RSDLP(B). In the October Revolution of 1917, Krylenko was a member of the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee, the first Council of People’s Commissars, and the Committee on Military and Naval Affairs. On Nov. 9, 1917, he was appointed supreme commander in chief and people’s commissar on military affairs.

From March 1918, Krylenko worked in Soviet judicial bodies, organized the Soviet court system and the procuracy, and was until 1931 the state prosecutor in the major political trials. Chairman of the Supreme Tribunal of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, deputy people’s commissar of justice, and deputy procurator and then procurator of the RSFSR from 1922 to 1931, he was appointed people’s commissar of justice of the RSFSR in 1931 and people’s commissar of justice of the USSR in 1936. In addition to these activities, Krylenko was on commissions for preparing the constitutions of the RSFSR and of the USSR, taught at the Institute of the Red Professoriat, was on law code commissions, and headed the subdepartment of criminal law at the Moscow Institute of Soviet Law.

Krylenko was also a member and one of the directors of scientific expeditions of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR to the Pamirs between 1928 and 1934 and headed the All-Union Society of Proletarian Tourism and its alpinism section. As head of the chess and checkers organization of the USSR from 1924, he initiated international chess tournaments in the USSR between 1925 to 1936.

A delegate to the Eighth, Twelfth, and Fourteenth through Seventeenth Congresses of the party, Krylenko was elected to the Central Control Commission of the ACP (Bolshevik) at the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Congresses and was a member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and of its Presidium. He wrote books and pamphlets on the theory and practice of the state and legal system of the USSR. Krylenko was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner.


Sud i pravo v SSSR, vols. 1–3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1927–30.
Sudebnye rechi: Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1964.


Simonian, M. Zhizn’ dlia revoliutsii. Moscow, 1962.
Simonov, E. D. Chelovek mnogikh vershin. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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