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Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov (Russian: Я́ков Миха́йлович Свердло́в); known under pseudonyms "Andrei", "Mikhalych", "Max", "Smirnov", "Permyakov" – March 16 1919) was a Bolshevik party leader and an official of the Russian Soviet Republic.
Yakov Sverdlov

Early life

He was born in Nizhny Novgorodmarker to Jewish parents, his father being an engraver. He joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1902, and then the Bolshevik faction, supporting Vladimir Lenin. He was involved in the 1905 revolution.

Yakov Sverdlov
After his arrest in June 1906, for most of the time until 1917 he was either imprisoned or exiled. During the period 1914-1916 he was in internal exile in Turukhanskmarker, Siberia, along with Joseph Stalin.


After the 1917 February Revolution he returned to Petrogradmarker from exile and was re-elected to the Central Committee. He played an important role in planning the October Revolution. Research in 1990 by the Moscow playwright and historian Edvard Radzinsky uncovered Sverdlov's role in the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. Sverdlov ordered their execution on July 16, 1918, which took place in the city of Yekaterinburgmarker.

A close ally of Vladimir Lenin, Sverdlov played an important role in persuading leading Bolsheviks to accept the controversial decisions to close down the Constituent Assembly and to sign the Brest-Litovsk Treaty. It was claimed that Lenin provided the theories and Sverdlov made sure they worked.Later their relationship suffered as Lenin appeared to be too theoretical for practical Sverdlov, who at that time was the chief architect of the Red Terror.

He is sometimes referred to as the first head of state of the Soviet Union but this is not correct since the Soviet Unionmarker came into existence in 1922, three years after Sverdlov's death. However, as chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK) he was the de jure head of state of the Russian SFSR from shortly after the October Revolution until the time of his death.


An official version is that Sverdlov died of influenza in Oryolmarker during the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic. He is buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolismarker, in Moscow. Another version is that he died of tuberculosis. According to Paganuzzi, on the 16th of March 1919, he visited Morozov's factory in Moscow where a worker hit him on his head with a heavy object at around four in the afternoon. The real facts about Yakov Sverdlov's death remained a state secret in the Soviet Union.

In 1924 Yekaterinburg was renamed Sverdlovsk in his honor. In 1991, Boris Yeltsin began reverting pre-Soviet names in Russia, and Sverdlovsk was changed back to Yekaterinburg.

His son Andrei had a long career as an officer for the Soviet security organs (NKVD, OGPU).

The Imperial Russian Navy destroyer leader Novik (commissioned in 1913) was renamed Yakov Sverdlov in 1923. The first ship of Sverdlov class cruisers was also named after him.

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