Nadezhda Krupskaya – Soviet educator
Nadezhda Krupskaya was a revolutionary, educator, head of the Chief Committee for Political Education and deputy head of the Commissariat of Enlightenment, full member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (1927-1939), wife of Vladimir Ilich Lenin. She also was an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Krupskaya was awarded the Order of Lenin (1935) and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.
Nadezhda was born on February 14, 1869 in St. Petersburg into a poor aristocratic family.
In 1887, she finished women’s private school with a gold medal.
In the 1890s, she taught in workers’ evening and adult education schools. In Marxist circles she met Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (Lenin). When she and Lenin were both arrested in 1895 and 1896, she followed him to Siberia as his fiancee and later as his wife. While in exile, Krupskaya wrote her most famous work, The Woman Worker (first published in 1901 and 1905).
From 1901 to 1917 Krupskaya shared Lenin’s life in exile abroad. She worked on the editorial boards of the journals Rabotnitsa, Iskra, Proletary, and Sotsial-Demokrat. She also began writing about theories of progressive American and European education.
In April 1917, Krupskaya and Lenin returned to Russia, where she helped Vladimir to prepare the October Revolution.
After 1917 she headed the newly created Extra-Curricular Department of the Commissariat of Education, which was later replaced by the Chief Committee on Political Education.
When Lenin died in January 1924, Krupskaya found herself isolated and increasingly drawn to side with the Leningrad Opposition led by Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev.
From 1927 to 1939 she served as a full member of the Central Committee of the Party.
Nadezhda Krupskaya died on February 27, 1939 in Moscow. Her ashes were placed in an urn in the Kremlin wall on Red Square.
Krupskaya played a crucial role in establishing the Party, building up the political education apparatus that reached millions of people, and keeping women’s issues on the political agenda.