Leonid Borisovich Krasin (Russian: Леони́д Бори́сович
Кра́син; 15 July [O.S. 3 July] 1870 – 24
November 1926) was a Russian Jewish engineer, social entrepreneur
Bolshevik politician and diplomat.
1 Early years
2 Political activism
3 Diplomatic career
4 Role in project of Lenin's tomb
Krasin was born in Kurgan,
Tobolsk Governorate in Siberia. His father,
Boris Ivanovich Krasin, was the local chief of police. The young
Leonid was a star pupil at school, and met the American explorer
George Kennan when he visited Siberia. Krasin joined the Social
Democratic Labor Party during the 1890s. He graduated from Kharkov
Technological Institute in 1901.
In the 1903 split into
Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, Krasin supported the
latter, and was elected to the Central Committee the same year.
Arrested towards the end of the 1890s, he was sent to internal exile
Siberia where he worked as a draughtsman on the Trans-Siberian
Railway. On his release from exile in 1900 he moved to Baku, where
Joseph Stalin was also active at the time. While there, Krasin used
his financial contacts to help establish an illegal printing press
which was the main vehicle for Vladimir Lenin's newspaper. He left
Baku in 1904 to work as the chief engineer of Savva Morozov.
Baku around 1903
His activities during the
1905 Revolution were primarily in sourcing
finance for the
Bolshevik revolutionaries, including organizing bank
robberies. Krasin helped organize the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery, a
bloody crime that took place in the middle of Yerevan Square, killing
forty and injuring 50.
However, he also enjoyed the excitement of terrorism. His home was the
main laboratory from which were manufactured the bombs used to attack
Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin.
The quest for excitement caused a break with Lenin. Lenin, who was
usually acerbic in such circumstances, remained complimentary towards
Krasin, and continued to exhort him to rejoin the Party.
In 1908 he left Russia and in 1909 collaborated with Alexander
Bogdanov in the launch of Vpered. Later he withdrew from political
activities for many years. He had a successful career as an electrical
engineer, becoming a millionaire. After the
February Revolution of
1917 he returned and rejoined the Bolsheviks. In the Russian
Bolshevik government Krasin was
People's Commissar of Foreign Trade
from 1920 to 1924.
Krasin met E. F. Wise in
Copenhagen in April 1920. Wise was
representing the Supreme Economic Council. It was in this capacity
that he negotiated and signed the
Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement of
March 1921. In 1924 he was elected to the Communist Party's Central
Committee, an office he held until his death. In 1924, he became the
first Soviet Ambassador to France. He left a year later for London,
where he died.
Role in project of Lenin's tomb
Leonid Krasin (on right) with Alexander Shliapnikov, photo taken in
Krasin, in the tradition of Nikolai Federov, believed in
immortalization by scientific means. At the funeral of
Lev Karpov in
1921, he said:
I am certain that the time will come when science will become
all-powerful, that it will be able to recreate a deceased organism. I
am certain that the time will come when one will be able to use the
elements of a person's life to recreate the physical person. And I am
certain that when that time will come, when the liberation of mankind,
using all the might of science and technology, the strength and
capacity of which we cannot now imagine, will be able to resurrect
great historical figures- and I am certain that when that time will
come, among the great figures will be our comrade, Lev Iakovlevich.
Shortly after Lenin's death he wrote an article on "The
Immortalization of Lenin" and proposed a monument containing Lenin's
corpse that would become a center of pilgrimage like Jerusalem or
Mecca. Krasin, along with Anatoly Lunacharsky, announced a contest for
designs of the permanent monument/mausoleum. Krasin also attempted
unsuccessfully to cryogenically preserve Lenin's body.
While Krasin was negotiating formal recognition of the Bolshevik
government by the United Kingdom and France, and despite remedies
proposed by his old friend, the physician Alexander Bogdanov, he died
from a blood disease. Krasin's funeral procession three days later
included 6,000 mourners, many of them
Bolshevik sympathizers; he was
Golders Green Crematorium
Golders Green Crematorium before being buried at the
Kremlin Wall Necropolis
Kremlin Wall Necropolis in Moscow.
London position was filled by Christian Rakovsky.
Two icebreakers (one launched in 1917 and one in 1976) commemorated
Great Purge and until Stalin's death he was largely omitted
from the history of the Communist Party and the Soviet government.
His daughter Liubov married French politician and diplomat Gaston
Bergery, from whom she was divorced in 1928. After the war she married
French politician and journalist Emmanuel d'Astier de La Vigerie.
"Our Trade Policy", Labour Monthly, Vol II, No.1, January 1922
^ Glenny, Michael (Oct 1970). "Leonid Krasin: The Years before 1917.
An Outline". Soviet Studies. Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 22 (2):
192–221. doi:10.1080/09668137008410749. JSTOR 150054.
^ Felshtinsky, Yuri (2003). Preface to Leonid Krasin: Letters to His
Wife and Children (in Russian). Archived from the original on
Adam Ulam Stalin: The Man and His Times
^ 'The Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement, March 1921', M. V. Glenny,
Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 5, No. 2. (1970), pp. 63-82.
^ Tumarkin, Nina (1981). "Religion, Bolshevism, and the Origins of the
Lenin Cult". Russian Review. 40 (1): 35–46. doi:10.2307/128733.
Retrieved 1 April 2014.
^ John Gray, The Immortalization Commission, 2011, pp. 161-166.
^ Roy Medvedev, Let History Judge, 1971
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