Joined the Bolshevik Party in 1904. Active in Ekaterinoslav during the 1905 Revolution. Thereafter, several arrests and escapes.
Emigrated to France in 1911, returned to Russia in 1913. Involved in the Bolshevik take-over in Moscow after the October Revolution. One of the senior editors of Pravda, 1918.
During the Civil War, a Bolshevik official in central Russia (Orel, Briansk, Kostroma), Deputy Minister of the Interior of the Ukrainian Socialist Republic. Deputy editor of Izvestia, 1925-1926. Head of Glavlit, 1931-1935, and a senior executive at the Ministry of Education.
Director of the Department of Literature at the Institute of Red Professors. Editor of the magazine Class Struggle, 193136. Head of several party schools, 1935.
1st Deputy Minister of Education of the RSFSR, 1936-1938. Editor of Istoricheskii Zhurnal (Historical Journal), 1935-1945. Member of the Marx-Lenin Institute from 1945.