The Russian politician and statesman, revolutionary, Bolshevik party leader, Yakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov, was born on May 22 (June 3) 1885 in Nizhny Novgorod in a large Jewish family of an engraver, owner of the print shop.
Having graduated from a 3-year elementary school, Yakov Sverdlov entered a gymnasium, however 5 years later he was expelled due to truancy and poor results and became a chemist’s pupil.
In 1901 Yakov Sverdlov joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) and began professional revolutionary activities. He popularized illegal literature, collected money for the party’s needs, and set up an underground press. After the split of the Social Democratic Party at the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903 he became Bolshevik, carried out agitation in Kostroma, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, took up the position of the head of the Yekaterinburg and Ural Committees of RSDLP. He was frequently imprisoned and forced into exile.
After the 6th (Prague) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP in 1912 Sverdlov was co-opted to the Central Committee and introduced to the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee of RSDLP.
In April 1917 the Central Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party sent him to Ural; in Yekaterinburg he headed the Ural oblast party conference.
Sverdlov played an important role in planning the October Revolution; at the sessions of the Central Committee it was decided to launch an armed seizure of power, he was chosen a member of the Military-revolutionary Center for the revolt organization.
On November 8 (21) 1917 following the proposal of Vladimir Lenin, Yakov Sverldlov was elected the Chairman of Central Executive Committee, at the same time remaining the Secretary of the Central Committee of RSDLP. Yakov Mikhailovich was the main organizer of work aimed at promotion and placing of party personnel on key positions.
Sverdlov presided over the commission responsible for development of the first Constitution of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. In 1918 he initiated the foundation of the School of agitators and instructors under the Central Executive Committee, participated in preparation of the 1st Congress of Communist International (International Workingmen’s Association). When Lenin was sick, Yakov Sverdlov acted for him at sessions of the Council of People’s Commissars.
In the beginning of 1919 he participated in the work of Congresses of Councils of Latvia, Lithuania, Belorussia, and Ukraine. After his trip to Ukraine and address at the rally in Oryel on March 6 1919 Yakov M. Sverdlov fell ill and 10 days later on March 16 1919 suddenly died. On March 18 1919 he was buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.
Lit.: Городецкий Е. Н. Я. М. Свердлов: [Очерк жизни и деятельности]. Свердловск, 1981; Костюковский Б. А. И нет счастливее судьбы: Повесть о Я. М. Свердлове. М., 1984; Наш товарищ Андрей: Воспоминания уральцев о Я. М. Свердлове. [Посвящается 100-летию со дня рождения Я. М. Свердлова]. Свердловск, 1985; Панкратов В. А. Яков Свердлов. М., 1989; Панкратов В. А. Яков Михайлович Свердлов: формирование профессионального революционера. Горький, 1985; Свердлова К. Т. Яков Михайлович Свердлов. М., 1976; Свердлов Я. М. Избранные статьи и речи. Ереван, 1986; Троцкий Л. Политические силуэты. М.; Л., 1926. Разд. 2. Гл. 6. Борцы за пролетарскую революцию; Яков Михайлович Свердлов на Урале. К 100-летию со дня рождения. Свердловск, 1984.
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