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Ivan Tovstukha

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Ivan Tovstukha
Ivan Tovstukha

Ivan Pavlovich Tovstukha' (Russian: Иван Павлович Товстуха) (February 10, 1889 – August 9, 1935) was a Soviet leader, Communist Party functionary, and personal secretary of Joseph Stalin and the author of the first official biography of Stalin.

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Russian language

Russian language

Russian is an East Slavic language mainly spoken across Russia. It is the native language of the Russians, and belongs to the Indo-European language family. It is one of four living East Slavic languages, and is also a part of the larger Balto-Slavic languages. Besides Russia itself, Russian is an official language in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and is used widely as a lingua franca throughout Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and to some extent in the Baltic states. It was the de facto language of the former Soviet Union, and continues to be used in public life with varying proficiency in all of the post-Soviet states.

Soviet Union

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, it was nominally a federal union of fifteen national republics; in practice, both its government and its economy were highly centralized until its final years. It was a one-party state governed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, with the city of Moscow serving as its capital as well as that of its largest and most populous republic: the Russian SFSR. Other major cities included Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It was the largest country in the world, covering over 22,402,200 square kilometres (8,649,500 sq mi) and spanning eleven time zones.

Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), also known by various other names during its history, was the founding and ruling party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was the sole governing party of the Soviet Union until 1990 when the Congress of People's Deputies modified Article 6 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution, which had previously granted the CPSU a monopoly over the political system. The party has its roots in the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). The RSDLP was founded in 1898, when Russia was ruled by an absolute monarchy. The broad anti-Tsarist ideology was the driving factor in its initial growth. Russians across the political spectrum flocked to the party, as Marxists, socialists, and centrists made up its ranks. Despite the Tsar's harsh oppression including imprisoning and even executing party members, the RSDLP continued to grow albeit underground. Initially the party operated in a unified and cohesive manner, but by 1900 cracks within party unity began to show.

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1941–1953). Initially governing the country as part of a collective leadership, he consolidated power to become a dictator by the 1930s. Ideologically adhering to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, he formalised these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies are called Stalinism.

Early life

Ivan Tovstukha was born in the family of a clerk, on 10 (22) February, 1889, in Berezna, Chernigov region of Ukraine.[1]

During the 1905 Revolution, as a student at a secondary school, he joined subversive 'literary evenings' organised by the Ukrainian writer Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky.[2] In 1909 he started working at the Chernigov Social-Democratic organization.

In July 1909 Chernigov police searched Tovstukha's room and found about 240 prohibited books, including works of Marx, Engels, August Bebel, Plekhanov, Maxim Gorky. The illegal library belonged to the Social-Democratic groups of pupils of the local seminary. Tovstukha, now aged 20, was arrested and sentenced to exile in Siberia. His exile started in 1911 in Irkutsk province, where Tovstukha carryied revolutionary propaganda among locals and exiles, and was involved in raising money for the publication of Pravda newspaper.

In January 1912, he fled abroad, and in 1913 joined the French Socialist Party, and the Paris section of the Bolshevik wing of the RSDLP, led by Lenin.[3] In exile, be worked as a digger, assistant fireman, worked in the kitchen, and as a driver.

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Berezna

Berezna

Berezna is an urban-type settlement in Chernihiv Raion, Chernihiv Oblast, Ukraine. It hosts the administration of Berezna settlement hromada, one of the hromadas of Ukraine. Population: 4,405

1905 Russian Revolution

1905 Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution of 1905, also known as the First Russian Revolution, occurred on 22 January 1905, and was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire. The mass unrest was directed against the Tsar, nobility, and ruling class. It included worker strikes, peasant unrest, and military mutinies. In response to the public pressure, Tsar Nicholas II enacted some constitutional reform. This took the form of establishing the State Duma, the multi-party system, and the Russian Constitution of 1906. Despite popular participation in the Duma, the parliament was unable to issue laws of its own, and frequently came into conflict with Nicholas. Its power was limited and Nicholas continued to hold the ruling authority. Furthermore, he could dissolve the Duma, which he often did.

Realschule

Realschule

Realschule is a type of secondary school in Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It has also existed in Croatia, the Austrian Empire, the German Empire, Denmark and Norway (realskole), Sweden (realskola), Finland (reaalikoulu), Hungary (reáliskola), Latvia (reālskola), Slovenia (realka), Serbia (реалка), and the Russian Empire.

Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky

Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky

Mykhailo Mykhailovych Kotsiubynsky, was a Ukrainian author whose writings described typical Ukrainian life at the start of the 20th century. Kotsiubynsky's early stories were described as examples of ethnographic realism; in the years to come, with his style of writing becoming more and more sophisticated, he evolved into one of the most talented Ukrainian impressionist and modernist writers. The popularity of his novels later led to some of them being made into Soviet movies.

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, critic of political economy, and socialist revolutionary. His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto and the four-volume Das Kapital (1867–1883). Marx's political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic, and political history. His name has been used as an adjective, a noun, and a school of social theory.

Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, critic of political economy, historian, political theorist and revolutionary socialist. He was also a businessman, journalist and political activist, whose father was an owner of large textile factories in Salford and Barmen, Prussia.

August Bebel

August Bebel

Ferdinand August Bebel was a German socialist politician, writer, and orator. He is best remembered as one of the founders of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP) in 1869, which in 1875 merged with the General German Workers' Association into the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (SAPD). During the repression under the terms of the Anti-Socialist Laws, Bebel became the leading figure of the social democratic movement in Germany and from 1892 until his death served as chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.

Georgi Plekhanov

Georgi Plekhanov

Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov was a Russian revolutionary, philosopher and Marxist theoretician. He was a founder of the social-democratic movement in Russia and was one of the first Russians to identify himself as "Marxist". Facing political persecution, Plekhanov emigrated to Switzerland in 1880, where he continued in his political activity attempting to overthrow the Tsarist regime in Russia. Plekhanov is known as the "father of Russian Marxism".

Maxim Gorky

Maxim Gorky

Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, popularly known as Maxim Gorky, was a Russian writer and socialist political thinker and proponent. He was nominated five times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Before his success as an author, he travelled widely across the Russian Empire changing jobs frequently, experiences which would later influence his writing.

Irkutsk Governorate

Irkutsk Governorate

Irkutsk Governorate was an administrative division of the Russian Empire, located in Siberia. It existed from 1764 to 1926; its seat was in the city of Irkutsk.

Pravda

Pravda

Pravda is a Russian broadsheet newspaper, and was the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, when it was one of the most influential papers in the country with a circulation of 11 million. The newspaper began publication on 5 May 1912 in the Russian Empire, but was already extant abroad in January 1911. It emerged as a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union after the October Revolution. The newspaper was an organ of the Central Committee of the CPSU between 1912 and 1991.

Bolsheviks

Bolsheviks

The Bolsheviks, also known in English as the Bolshevists, were a far-left, revolutionary Marxist faction founded by Vladimir Lenin that split with the Mensheviks from the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), a revolutionary socialist political party formed in 1898, at its Second Party Congress in 1903.

Post Revolutionary Career

Tovstukha returned to Russia in 1917, after the February Revolution, and from November 1917 to March 1918, worked with the Central Staff of the Red Guards.

His association with Stalin dated from April 1918, when he was appointed secretary of the People's Commissariat for Nationalities, where Stalin was People's Commissar. When Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee, Tovstukha was transferred to the Central Committee as Stalin's secretary, the first to hold that position.


In 1924, Tovstukha was replaced as Stalin's chief secretary by Lev Mekhlis, and appointed was assistant director of the Lenin Institute.

In 1926–30, he again ran Stalin's private office as head of the Secret Department.

In 1927, Tovstukha wrote the biographical entry on Stalin in a special edition of an encyclopedia, the so-called Granat Encyclopedia, to mark the tenth anniversary of the revolution. [4] This entry, which was the first biography of Stalin published in the Soviet Union, was also brought out as a separate pamphlet, with a print run of 50,000.[3][5]

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February Revolution

February Revolution

The February Revolution, known in Soviet historiography as the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution and sometimes as the March Revolution, was the first of two revolutions which took place in Russia in 1917.

Red Guards (Russia)

Red Guards (Russia)

Red Guards were paramilitary volunteer formations consisting mainly of factory workers, peasants, cossacks and partially of soldiers and sailors for "protection of the soviet power". Red Guards were a transitional military force of the collapsing Imperial Russian Army and the base formations of Bolsheviks during the October Revolution and the first months of the Russian Civil War. Most of them were formed in the time frame of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and some of the units were reorganized into the Red Army during 1918. The Red Guards formations were organized across most of the former Russian Empire, including territories outside the contemporary Russian Federation such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, and others. They were not centralized and were formed by decision of a local political party and local soviet members. By fighting to protect and extend the power of the Soviets, they aided the creation of a new state that would give "all power to the soviets": the Soviet Union.

Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the executive leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, acting between sessions of Congress. According to party statutes, the committee directed all party and governmental activities. Its members were elected by the Party Congress.

Lev Mekhlis

Lev Mekhlis

Lev Zakharovich Mekhlis was a Soviet politician and a prominent officer in the Red Army from 1937 to 1940. As a senior political commissar, he became one of the main Stavka representatives on the Eastern Front (1941–1945) during World War II, being involved successively with five to seven Soviet fronts. Despite his fervent political engagement and loyalty to the Communist Party, various Soviet leaders, including Joseph Stalin, criticized and reprimanded Mekhlis for incompetent military leadership during World War II.

General Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

General Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The General Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was a department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that oversaw the paperwork of all Central Committee institutions.

Stalin's Aide

In 1930, Boris Bazhanov, who had defected to the west after working in Stalin's personal secretariat, published a memoir in which he implied Tovstukha was a more significant figure than his job titles suggest. This is borne by subsequent research. Long after Stalin's death, the playwright Edvard Radzinsky was researching Tovstukha's archive for a biography of Stalin when he was approached by an elderly man who had worked with Tovstukha, who said:

"He was effectively in charge of the Party Archive. He collected all the Lenin documents ... In 1929, it was decided to make Stalin's 50th birthday the occasion for nationwide celebrations. Tovstukha began removing from the archives all documents concerning Stalin, particularly his pre-revolutionary career, ostensibly in order to write a full biography. But no full biography appeared. He collected the documents to make sure they were never published."[6]

According to Bazhanov, Tovstukha also studied the returns from elections to the Central Committee, to identify those who had not voted for Stalin. Delegates to party congresses were give a list of preferred candidates, but could cross out individual names and write in others, in a supposedly secret ballot. Tovstukha allegedly enlisted a graphologist to help him identify the handwriting of delegates who had made alterations. Bazhanov described Tovstukha as "a gloomy subject", who had a persistent cough and "only half a lung" (because of his tuberculosis) but in whom Stalin had "complete confidence".[2]

The significance of Tovstukha's appointment to the Lenin Institute is that, at the beginning of the power struggle that followed Lenin death in 1924, it gave him access to every available document about Lenin, including those that detailed his sharp differences pre-1917 with Leon Trotsky. Tovstukha's appointment "gave Stalin control over the Lenin Archive, providing him with an ideological and polemic tool of the first importance. Tovstukha learnt to know his way about the archive better than anyone. He was able to supply Stalin with material about Trotsky or any other enemy."[7]

Tovstukha was rumoured to be the author of an anonymous leaflet circulated in 1924 entitled Small Biography of a Great Man which suggested that though Trotsky like to think of himself as an Old Bolshevik and a great man, he really should be called an Old Menshevik.[8]

It was Tovstukha who falsified Stalin's date of birth, for reasons unknown. Throughout the Stalin years, and long afterwards, it was consistently written that he was born on 21 December 1979, when his birth certificate gives the actual date as 18 December (6 December Old Style 1978.[6]

An indication of the importance Stalin attached to his work is that he secretly wrote to the publishers, instructing that Tovstukha was to receive royalties, warning that if Tovstukha were to say he did not need to be paid "he's lying: he's desperately short of money."[9]

But he eventually clashed with Stalin, who sacked or transfered members of Tovstukha's department without consulting him while he was away. Tovstukha submitted a written protest, on which Stalin scribbled: "Ha, ha, ha. Here's a real bantam."[10] In 1930, he was replaced as Stalin's chief aide by Alexander Poskrebyshev.

In 1930–31, Tovstukha was Deputy Director of the Lenin Institute, a member of editorial board of the journal "Proletarian Revolution". From 1931, he was Deputy Director, then Head of archives of the Marx–Engels–Lenin Institute.[1] In February 1934, he was elected a candidate member of the Central Committee. He worked on assembling and editing the collected works of Lenin

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Boris Bazhanov

Boris Bazhanov

Boris Georgiyevich Bazhanov was a Soviet secretary of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union who defected from the Soviet Union on 1 January 1928.

Edvard Radzinsky

Edvard Radzinsky

Edvard Stanislavovich Radzinsky is a Russian playwright, television personality, screenwriter, and the author of more than forty popular history books.

Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky

Lev Davidovich Bronstein, better known as Leon Trotsky, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary, political theorist and politician. Ideologically a Marxist, his developments to the ideology are called Trotskyism.

Mensheviks

Mensheviks

The Mensheviks were one of the three dominant factions in the Russian socialist movement, the others being the Bolsheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries.

Alexander Poskrebyshev

Alexander Poskrebyshev

Alexander Nikolaevich Poskrebyshev was a Soviet politician and a state and Communist Party functionary. A member of the Communist Party since March 1917, he was chief of the special department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

Proletarian Revolution (journal)

Proletarian Revolution (journal)

Proletarian Revolution was a Soviet historical journal published in Moscow from 1921 to 1941. In a review of the first issue, Ilya Vardin reported the journal as declaring "Our goal is precisely to help the writing of the history of the proletarian revolution in Russia. Nobody will read documentary raw materials, except the historians themselves, and we need books that would be read by both workers and students."

Marx–Engels–Lenin Institute

Marx–Engels–Lenin Institute

The Marx–Engels–Lenin Institute, established in Moscow in 1919 as the Marx–Engels Institute, was a Soviet library and archive attached to the Communist Academy. The institute was later attached to the governing Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and served as a research center and publishing house for officially published works of Marxist thought.

Death

Tovstukha died of tuberculosis, on August 9, 1935 in Moscow. The ossuary was buried in the Kremlin wall.

Source: "Ivan Tovstukha", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 28th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Tovstukha.

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References
  1. ^ a b "Ivan Tovstukha". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b "«Теневой» человек вождя Иван ТОВСТУХА — преданный сотрудник и первый начальник личной канцелярии Сталина (The Leader's 'shadow' Ivan Tovstukha – a devoted employee and first head of Stalin's personal office)". День (Day). Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Товстуха Иван Павлович 1889–1935 Биографический укатель". Khronos. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  4. ^ This entry is republished in full, in English translation in George Haupt, and Jean-Jacques Marie (1974). Makers of the Russian Revolution: Biographies of Bolshevik Leaders. London: George Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0 04 947021 3.
  5. ^ Tucker. Stalin as Revolutionary. p. 428.
  6. ^ a b Radzinsky, Edvard (1996). Stalin. London: Hodder & Stoughton. pp. 12–13. ISBN 0 340 68046 6.
  7. ^ De Jonge, Alex (1987). Stalin. Glasgow: Fontana. p. 196.
  8. ^ Tucker, Robert C. (1974). Stalin as Revolutionary 1879–1929. London: Chatto & Windus. p. 335.
  9. ^ Montefiore, Simon Sebag (2004). Stalin, The Court of the Red Tsar. London: Phoenix. p. 53. ISBN 0 75381 766 7.
  10. ^ Medvedev, Roy (1976). Let History Judge, The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism. Nottingham: Spokesman. p. 154.

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