Tolmachev, Nikolai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tolmachev, Nikolai Gur’evich


(party pseudonym, Vasilii). Born Oct. 31 (Nov. 12), 1895, in Ekaterinburg (present-day Sverdlovsk); died May 26, 1919, in the village of Krasnye Gory, in what is now Luga Raion, Leningrad Oblast. Fought in the October Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War of 1918–20. Member of the Communist Party from 1913.

Tolmachev was the son of an office worker. In 1912 he matriculated at the St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute and joined the revolutionary movement. In 1914 and 1915 he was a member of the Vyborg raion committee of the RSDLP(B), and in 1916 he conducted propaganda work in the Urals. He took part in the February Revolution of 1917 and was a member of the Petrograd committee of the RSDLP(B). He was a delegate to the Seventh (April) Party Conference. In April 1917, Tolmachev returned to the Urals, and in October 1917 he became a member of the Perm’ committee of the RSDLP(B). After the October Revolution he returned to Petrograd.

In early 1918, Tolmachev was sent to the Urals as a commissar of a detachment that was to suppress the Dutov Revolt. While in the Urals he was also a member of the party’s Urals oblast committee and the Urals oblast soviet and commissar of the Northern Urals-Siberian Front. He was chief political commissar of the Third Army from January to March 1919.

As a delegate to the Eighth Party Congress, Tolmachev joined the Military Opposition. After the congress he served as head of the cultural and educational section of the Petrograd Okrug Military Commissariat. He was instrumental in establishing courses for training political instructors, which were reorganized as the Red Army Teachers Institute and subsequently as the Military Political Academy.

In May 1919, Tolmachev was sent as plenipotentiary of the Seventh Army to the front near Luga to organize the defense against General Iudenich. During a battle at the Preobrazhen-skaia railroad station, near Krasnye Gory, he was badly wounded. Surrounded by White Guards, he shot himself to avoid being taken prisoner. Tolmachev was buried on the Field of Mars in Leningrad.


Karamyshev, V. A. Boets, komissar, zhurnalist. Moscow, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.