Pel’she, Robert Andreevich
(Roberts Pelše). Born Oct. 3 (15), 1880, in Eleja District, now Jelgava Raion, Latvian SSR; died June 19, 1955, in Riga. Soviet party figure and scholar. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian SSR (1951); Honored Cultural Worker of the Latvian SSR (1945). Member of the Communist Party from 1898.
The son of a peasant, Pel’she took part in the Revolution of 1905–07 in Latvia. He was a member of the Riga, Jelgava, and Liepāja committees and from 1907 to 1912 a member of the Central Committee of the Social Democracy of the Latvian Territory (SDLT). He was a delegate to the Fifth (London) Congress of the RSDLP (1907). From 1912 to 1915, Pel’she lived abroad and was secretary of the Paris section of the SDLT. In 1917 he took part in the October fighting in Moscow and was a member of the Military Revolutionary Committee of Lefor-tovo Raion; he was later a member of the Moscow Committee of the RSDLP(B). He was a delegate to the Seventh (1918) and Eighth (1919) Congresses of the RCP(B).
From 1920 to 1924, Pel’she worked in the diplomatic service and in soviet administration. In 1924 he became head of the arts section of the Central Committee of the Republic for Political Education of the People’s Commissariat for Education of the RSFSR. He was also editor of the journal Sovetskoe iskusstvo (Soviet Art). From 1946 to 1955 he was director of the Institute of Ethnography and Folklore of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian SSR. One of the first Latvian Marxist critics, Pel’she wrote studies on proletarian aesthetics and on the work of such playwrights as J. Rainis and A. Upīts. His other works included the following studies on the theory of art criticism: “Mores and the Art of the French Revolution” (1919), “Problems of Modern Art” (1927), “Our Policy in the Theater” (1929), and “The Ties Between Latvian and Russian Culture” (1951). Pel’she was awarded three orders.