Olminskii, Mikhail

Ol’minskii, Mikhail Stepanovich


(real surname Aleksandrov). Born Oct. 3 (15), 1863, in Voronezh; died May 8, 1933, in Moscow. Participant of the revolutionary movement in Russia, publicist, historian, and literary critic and historian. Member of the Communist Party from 1898. Son of a minor official.

Ol’minskii joined the Narodnaia Volia (People’s Will) group in 1883 while a student at the University of St. Petersburg. In 1885 he was arrested and exiled to Voronezh. He joined the Gruppa Narodovol’tsev (Group of Supporters of the Narodnaia Volia) in St. Petersburg in 1893 and conducted propaganda among workers. Ol’minskii was arrested again in 1894, spent about five years in solitary confinement, and in 1898 was exiled to Yakutia. In 1904 he emigrated to Switzerland, where he worked under V. I. Lenin’s guidance on the editorial staff of the newspapers Vpered and Proletarii.

In 1905, Ol’minskii was on the editorial staff of several Bolshevik newspapers in St. Petersburg, including Novaia zhizn’, Volna, and Kazarma. He engaged in party work in Baku in 1907–08 and in St. Petersburg beginning in 1909. From 1911 to 1914 he was on the editorial staff of the newspapers Zvezda and Pravda and the journal Prosveshchenie (Enlightenment). In 1915, in Saratov, he was editor of Nasha gazeta, the only legal Bolshevik newspaper in Russia, and in 1916 he became a member of the Moscow Regional Bureau of the RSDLP and editor of the trade-union journal Golos pechatnogo truda (Voice of Labor of the Press).

After the February Revolution of 1917, Ol’minskii was at first coeditor of the Moscow Bolshevik newspaper Sotsial-demokrat and then a contributor to Pravda in Petrograd. He was elected to the Bureau of the Central Committee of the RSDLP(B) and in March 1917 became a member of the Moscow Committee of the RSDLP(B). He was also a delegate to and cochairman of the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP(B). Ol’minskii was an active participant in the struggle for Soviet power in Moscow and a member of the Zamoskvorech’e Revolutionary Military Committee. He became a member of the collegium of the People’s Commissariat of Finance in December 1917. From 1918 to 1920 he was on the editorial staff of Pravda.

A professor at the Socialist (later Communist) Academy from 1918, Ol’minskii was a member of a lecturers’ brigade on propaganda trains of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and on the October Revolution Propaganda Train. In the period 1920–24, he organized and directed Istpart (the Commission on the History of the October Revolution and the RCP[B]). He served as chairman of the Society of Old Bolsheviks, founded and edited the journal Proletarskaia revoliutsiia (Proletarian Revolution), and from 1928 was a member of the board of the V. I. Lenin Institute.

Ol’minskii was the author of publicistic and historical works, of literary studies, and of memoirs. He contributed significantly to the collection, analysis, and publication of the works of V. I. Lenin and G. V. Plekhanov, as well as of documents on party history and memoirs of participants in the revolutionary struggle. He also did important work in connection with the detailed scholarly study of party history and of the revolutionary movement in Russia. Ol’minskii initiated the republication of protocols of earlier party congresses and conferences and the republication of complete sets of party newspapers. As a literary critic, he devoted special attention to M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin; other authors whose works he publicized included A. S. Pushkin, N. A. Nekrasov, and N. G. Chernyshevskii. In 1932 he became editor in chief and chairman of the editorial committee for the publication of the works of Saltykov-Shchedrin.

Ol’minskii was a delegate to the Second Congress of the Comintern (1920). He is buried on Red Square at the Kremlin wall.


Soch. Moscow, 1935.
V tiur’me (1896–98). Moscow, 1956.
Iz epokhi “Zvezdy” i “Pravdy” (stat’i 1911–14). Moscow, 1956.
Stat’i o Saltykove-Shchedrine. Moscow, 1959.


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. (See reference volume, part 2, p. 461.)
Lezhava, O. A., and N. V. Nelidov. M. S. Ol’minskii: Zhizn’ i deiatel’nost’. Moscow, 1962.
Amiantov, Iu. Rytsar’ bol’shevizma. Moscow, 1960.
Verevkin, B. P. M. S. Ol’minskii. Moscow, 1972.