Shelgunov, Vasilii

Shelgunov, Vasilii Andreevich


Born Aug. 8 (20), 1867, in the village of Slavkovichi, Pskov Province; died Apr. 2, 1939. One of the earliest participants in the social democratic movement in Russia. Member of the Communist Party from 1898.

The son of a peasant, Shelgunov became a factory worker in St. Petersburg in 1876, but his involvement in the revolutionary movement began in 1866. He belonged to the Social Democratic group of P. V. Tochisskii and later to that of M. I. Brusnev; in 1893 he was a member of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. Shelgunov was arrested in December 1895 and exiled to Arkhangel’sk Province. In 1900 he became a member of the Ekaterinoslav committee of the RSDLP, and from 1902 to 1904 he was a member of the Baku committee.

In the fall of 1904, Shelgunov moved to St. Petersburg to receive treatment for a worsening eye disease. In 1905 he performed agitational work on assignment from the St. Petersburg committee of the RSDLP, but in December he was arrested. He completely lost his sight in 1906 while he was in prison. Nevertheless, during the reactionary years of 1908 to 1910 he continued to carry out party work. In 1911, Shelgunov was the official editor of the Bolshevik newspaper Zvezda, and in 1912 he helped found Pravda. From 1912 to 1916 he was in administrative exile in the Northern Caucasus.

Shelgunov served on the agitational collegium of the St. Petersburg committee of the RSDLP(B) in 1917 and on the agitational collegium of the Moscow committee in 1918. From 1918 to 1920 he carried out underground work in the Kuban’. In 1920 he took up a position in Moscow.

Shelgunov became a personal pensioner in 1924. He was a member of the Presidium of the All-Union Society of Old Bolsheviks. In 1920 Shelgunov took part in the work of the Second Congress of the Comintern.


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. (See Index Volume, part 2, page 485.)
Rozanov, M. V. A. Shelgunov. Leningrad, 1966.
Fomenko, L. Odin iz semi. Moscow, 1968.
Fedorov, A. V. “V. A. Shelgunov.” Voprosy istorii KPSS, 1967, no. 8.