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269 KRUPSKAIA, Nadezhda Konstantinovna (1869–1939) Russian revolutionary; teacher; Soviet bureaucrat in the field of education; wife of V. I. Lenin (Ul’ianov) Nadezhda Krupskaia (Krupskaya) was born in Petersburg on 14 (26) February 1869. Her father was descended from the Polish nobility. Her grandfather fought with the Russian army in the War of 1812 and then settled in the Gubernia (province) of Kazan. Her father was welleducated and for a time served as a regional bureaucrat in a Polish province, but lost his position when Nadezhda was a child. Although her father was later cleared of the charges against him, Nadezhda never forgot the injustice. Her mother, Elizaveta Tistrova, was poor but descended from nobility. Educated in St Petersburg at the Pavlovsky Institute as a governess, Elizaveta Tistrova also wrote children’s poetry. Nadezhda Krupskaia’s early life was uneventful until the loss of her father’s position. She was a rather lonely child who read a great deal; later, she attended the Obolensky Gymnazium (high school) in St Petersburg, where she was an outstanding student. Her father died in 1883 after a lingering illness. The 1880s were also a time when she grew acquainted with the ideas of Tolstoi and became a Tolstoian; in those years she read a number of radical works. She attended the Bestuzhev Higher Women’s Courses in St Petersburg but did not complete them, becoming active in the kruzhki (circles) and reading widely throughout the summer of 1890, including Marxist works. In 1891, she began teaching at the “Evening Sunday School” in St Petersburg, established by factory owners to provide workers with elementary education. She taught there three nights a week and her work was respected. Over time, the school came under Marxist influence and Krupskaia again became active in Marxist circles, through which (in February 1894) she met a young Marxist from the Volga: Vladimir Il’ich Ul’ianov (1870–1924), who used the pseudonym V. I. Lenin, among other names. Over the following year, Lenin and Krupskaia gradually became friends. Lenin taught briefly at the Sunday elementary school in 1894. In 1895, Krupskaia began working as a copyist for the railroad administration, while continuing to teach at the evening school. Krupskaia and Lenin saw each other 270 frequently for about two months in 1895, when the Group of Social Democrats was formed. Lenin was one of the leaders of the Group arrested in December 1895. He was briefly released from jail in 1897, before being sent into Siberian exile. Krupskaia was arrested in August 1896 as a member of the Soiuz Bor’by za Osvobozhdenie Rabochego Klassa (Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class). She was released in 1897 but sentenced to a term in Siberia. Some sort of agreement between Lenin and Krupskaia occured (via correspondence) regarding their ‘engagement.’ Nadezhda Krupskaia, 1922, with Vladimir Il’ich Lenin, nephew Viktor Ul’janov and Vera (daughter of a worker) in Gorki. In January 1898, Lenin asked the authorities to permit his fiancée (Krupskaia) to join him in Shushenskoe, Siberia. She was given permission on condition the couple marry and so they did—shortly after her arrival. In Siberia, Krupskaia became Lenin’s secretary and assistant, roles she would assume for the entire duration of their marriage . During this period Krupskaia, encouraged by Lenin, wrote on ‘the woman question .’ In her brochure addressed to women workers entitled Zhenshchina-Rabotnitsa (The woman worker), composed during Siberian exile, Krupskaia argued that only a proletarian regime could liberate women. By becoming workers, women could free themselves from the drudgery of the home. Her views later became the centerpiece of the Soviet position on women. Some scholars believe that Lenin contributed significantly to Krupskaia’s writings on women since some phrases appear to be his. Krupskaia ’s theoretical approach did not depart from a two-dimensional perspective: 271 woman-as-mother and woman-as-worker. The emphasis on woman-as-mother is embedded deeply in Russian history; the emphasis on woman-as-worker is a reflection of Krupskaia’s commitment to Marxism and the working class. There is little feminism in her conception of women’s roles, if compared with the writings of Alexandra Kollontai or Klara Zetkin. Lenin was released from exile in 1900 and given permission to go abroad but he remained in Russia for a while because Krupskaia had fallen ill. In April 1901, she joined Lenin in Munich. Over the next few years, the couple lived in Munich, London...


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