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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Nadezhda Krupskaya

b. 1869, Saint Petersburg; d. 1939, Moscow

Nadezhda Krupskaya was a founder of the Bolshevik Party, an influential member of the People’s Commissariat of Education after the Bolsheviks came to power, and a writer. She became a Marxist activist during the early 1890s in Saint Petersburg; it was at this time that she met Vladimir Lenin. Both were soon arrested for their political activities and were sentenced to exile in Siberia, where they married in 1898. After their release in 1900, the couple left Russia and settled for a time in various European cities. Krupskaya acted as Lenin’s secretary, edited his journals and newspapers, and organized members of the Bolshevik Party living in Russia. During this period, she started International Women’s Day with Inessa Armand and Clara Zetkin. After the February Revolution of 1917, Lenin and Krupskaya returned to Russia. There, she disseminated Bolshevik propaganda, led restructuring efforts in the education system in order to better serve workers and women, and directed the film industry after its nationalization. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Krupskaya joined the opposition to Stalin but by the late 1930s had withdrawn from the political arena. She wrote Vospominaniia o Lenine (Reminiscences of Lenin, 1926) and the eleven-volume Pedagogicheskive sochineniya (Pedagogical Works, 1957–63).