Viacheslav Rudolfovich Menzhinskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Menzhinskii, Viacheslav Rudol’fovich


Born Aug. 19 (31), 1874, in St. Petersburg; died May 10, 1934, in Moscow. Soviet statesman and party official. Member of the Communist Party from 1902. Son of a teacher.

Menzhinskii graduated from the law faculty of the University of St. Petersburg in 1898. He joined the revolutionary movement in 1895 and engaged in party work in Yaroslavl and St. Petersburg. In 1905 he was a member of the military organization of the St. Petersburg committee of the RSDLP and a member of the editorial board of the Bolshevik newspaper Kazarma. Arrested in 1906, Menzhinskii escaped and emigrated. He lived in Belgium, Switzerland, France, and America; he worked in RSDLP organizations abroad and wrote for the Bolshevik newspaper Proletarii.

Upon returning to Russia in the summer of 1917, Menzhinskii became a member of the Bureau of Military Organization of the Central Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik), a member of the editorial board of the newspapers Soldat and Pravda, and commissar of the Military Revolutionary Committee at the Gosbank (State Bank). He became the first people’s commissar of finance after the October Revolution of 1917. He served as consul general of the RSFSR in Berlin in 1918-19 and as people’s commissar of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection of the Ukraine in 1919. He became a member of the Presidium of the Cheka in late 1919, vice-chairman of OGPU (Unified State Political Directorate) in 1923, and chairman of the OGPU in 1926.

Menzhinskii was a delegate to the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Congresses of the ACP (Bolshevik). He was elected a member of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) at the Fifteenth (1927) and Sixteenth (1930) Congresses. He was a member of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR. Menzhinskii was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. He is buried in Red Square at the Kremlin Wall.


Rasskazy o Menzhinskom: (Vospominaniia sovremennikov). Compiled by M. Smirnov. Moscow, 1969.
Gladkov, T. K., and M. A. Smirnov. Menzhinskii. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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