Ordzhonikidze, Grigorii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ordzhonikidze, Grigorii Konstantinovich


(SERGO). Born Oct. 12 (24), 1886, in the village of Goresha, Shorapani District, Kutaisi Province, present-day Ordzhonikidze Raion, Georgian SSR; died Feb. 18, 1937, in Moscow. Soviet government and party figure. Member of the Communist Party from 1903.

Of gentry origin, Ordzhonikidze attended a school for feldshers in Tbilisi from 1901 to 1905. During this period he was a member of a Social Democrat circle. In 1903 he began conducting propaganda among workers of the Central Works of the Transcaucasian Railroad. He took part in the Revolution of 1905–07 in Transcaucasia. Ordzhonikidze was arrested in December 1905 while delivering arms for revolutionary units. In May 1906 he was released on bail, and in August he emigrated to Germany.

In 1907, Ordzhonikidze conducted party propaganda in Baku; he was the party organizer of Balakhany Raion and a member of the Baku Committee of the RSDLP. He was again arrested in November 1907 and in 1909 was exiled to Enisei Province. In August 1909 he escaped to Persia, where he participated in the Revolution of 1905–11, carrying out instructions of the Baku Committee of the RSDLP.

Ordzhonikidze went to Paris in 1911 and attended the Longjumeau party school. Summoned by V. I. Lenin, he returned to Russia in the summer of 1911 and became a representative of the Foreign Organizing Commission and a member of the Russian Organizing Commission for Convening the Sixth All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP. In connection with this work he visited a number of party organizations in industrial cities. He was a delegate to the Sixth (Prague) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP and was elected a member of the party’s Central Committee and of the committee’s Russian Bureau.

Ordzhonikidze was arrested again in St. Petersburg in April 1912. In October of that year he was sentenced to three years of hard labor and to permanent residence in Siberia. Between 1912 and 1915 he was held in the Shlissel’burg Fortress and was then sent to Yakutia. After the February Revolution of 1917, he became a member of the Executive Committee of the Yakutsk Soviet. In June 1917 he became a member of the St. Petersburg Committee of the RSDLP(B) and of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet. After the July Days of 1917 (seeJULY DAYS OF 1917), he helped Lenin to go underground. He visited Lenin twice in Razliv, informing him on the state of party affairs and receiving party directives from him.

As a delegate to the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP(B), Ordzhonikidze gave a report insisting that Lenin must not be brought to trial by the counterrevolutionary Provisional Government. Under instructions from the party’s Central Committee, Ordzhonikidze worked from June to August in Petrograd, and from September to October in Transcaucasia. Returning to Petrograd, he took part in the armed uprising of Oct. 24 (Nov. 6), 1917, and later, in battles against the Kerensky-Krasnov forces. In December 1917 he was appointed provisional extraordinary commissar for the Ukraine area and inspector plenipotentiary of the People’s Commissariat for Foodstuffs in the south. In April 1918 he headed the provisional Extraordinary Commissariat of the Southern Region.

During the Civil War of 1918–20, Ordzhonikidze was a political instructor of Red Army troops. In 1918 he became a member of the central executive committee of the Don Republic, one of the organizers of the defense of Tsaritsyn (present-day Volgograd), and chairman of the Defense Council of the Northern Caucasus. Ordzhonikidze was a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Sixteenth Army of the Western Front in 1919, later serving in the same capacity in the Fourteenth Army of the Southern Front. He was a commander of the forces that routed Denikin’s troops near Orel and that liberated the Donbas, Kharkov, and Left-bank Ukraine.

In 1920, Ordzhonikidze became a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Caucasian Front, chairman of the Northern Caucasus Revolutionary Committee, and chairman of the Bureau for Reestablishing Soviet Power in the Northern Caucasus. He chaired the Caucasus Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) in April of that year. Ordzhonikidze participated actively in establishing Soviet power in Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia. From 1922 to 1926 he was first secretary of the Transcaucasian Regional Committee of the party and first secretary of the Northern Caucasus Regional Committee of the ACP(B). Between 1926 and 1930 he was chairman of the Central Control Commission of the ACP(B), people’s commissar of the Worker-Peasant Inspection, and deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars and the Council of Labor and Defense of the USSR. In 1924 he became a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR. Ordzhonikidze became chairman of the Supreme Council of the National Economy in November 1930, later heading the People’s Commissariat for Heavy Industry of the USSR. He played a prominent role in implementing socialist industrialization in the USSR.

Ordzhonikidze was a delegate to the Eleventh through Seventeenth Party Congresses. He became a member of the Central Committee in 1921, a candidate member of the committee’s politburo in 1926, and a member of the politburo of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) in December 1930. He was also a member of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR.

Ordzhonikidze was awarded the Order of Lenin and two other orders. He is buried on Red Square at the Kremlin Wall.


Stat’i i rechi, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1956–57.


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Dubinskii-Mukhadze, I. M. Ordzhonikidze [2nd ed.]. [Moscow] 1967.
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Kirillov, V. S., and A. Ia. Sverdlov. G. K. Ordzhonikidze (Sergo): Biografiia. Moscow, 1962.
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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.