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Pavel Ivanovich Lebedev-Polianskii

literary critic , writer

Pavel Ivanovich Lebedev-Polianskii was Bolshevik revolutionary and later state functionary and literary scholar.


Lebedev-Polianskii, Pavel was born on January 2, 1882 in Melenki, near Vladimir.


Born Pavel Lebedev in Melenki, Vladimir Oblast he became active in the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1902. In 1908, he went into exile in Geneva where he stayed until returning to Russia in 1917. He also used the pseudonym Valerian Polianskii.

He joined the Bolsheviks in August 1917. From 1917 - 1919, he was commissar of the literature and publishing department of the People's Commissariat for Education, where he organised new editions of works of classic Russian literature. From 1918 to 1920, he was chairman of the All-Russian Council of Proletkult during which time he edited Proletarskaya Kul'tura with Fedor Kalinin.

In 1921, he became director of Glavlit, a post he held until 1930. From 1934–1939, he edited Literaturnaia entsiklopediia (Literary Encyclopedia). He published a number of books: Lenin and Literature, (1924) Three Great Russian Democrats, (1938) He was awarded the Order of Lenin.


Religious edicts impose irrational rules on people’s behaviour.


In 1914, he reconstituted Vpered arguing that the reason so many European socialists supported the First World War indicated that socialist ideology was weak - something which could be addressed by scientific and socialist education. From 1928–1930, he edited Literatura i marksizm (Literature and Marxism).


Strong communist party can create a new and better society with neither rich nor poor.


[Academy of Sciences of the USSR]He was also a member of the editorial board of the first edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.