MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People



Krasnov, P. N.

Former Tsarist general who, after making an attempt to march on Petrograd immediately after the October Revolution, was captured and released by the Bolsheviks when he made his way south to form the counter-revolutionary Don Army, receiving aid from the Germans and then the Allies. The Don Army was subsequently put under the command of Denikin.



Krestinsky, Nikolai (1883-1938)

A member of the first Politburo (1919). He supported the Left Opposition in 1923-24, however in 1928 he capitulated to Stalinism while serving as Soviet ambassador in Berlin. He was tried for treason a decade later during the Moscow trials, convicted and executed.



Krizman, L N (1890-1938)

L. N. Kritszman, possibly the best economist in the Bolshevik Party, with a short-lived career since he withdrew from active political life by the early thirties and almost certainly died in the purges.

Kritsman was expelled from the University of Odessa in 1910 when he was 20 and completed his studies abroad. On returning to Russia he joined the Bolshevik party in 1918 and was part of the bloc known as the Left Communists. ‘Left Communism had numerous adherents within the party’ writes Sam Oppenheim. This faction which included Preobrazhensky, Bukharin, Kollontai, Obolensky [Osinsky], Pyatakov and many other Bolsheviks wanted immediate, full nationalisation and workers’ control , were strong supporters of planning, and were especially strongly represented in the regional and local economic councils known as the sovnarkhozy.

Although Kritsman is today mainly known for his studies of the countryside, he also wrote a major study of the economy of ‘War Communism’ which Serge complained remained untranslated in any European language as late as 1930, describing the book as ‘a remarkable economic analysis’. (In fact, a German translation had appeared in 1929.) This work was called The Heroic Period of the Great Russian Revolution. Extracts from the German translation suggest a strong liking for hegelian terminology (as with Rubin’s work).

In the main part of the 1920s he occupied various leading academic positions, including that of Professor of Economics at Moscow University. Under NEP and as a member of the Communist Academy, he pioneered a remarkable school of agrarian research which came to be known as the ‘Agrarian Marxists’. This dedicated itself to field studies of the renewed emergence of capitalism among Russian peasant households, using what he and his colleagues saw as more rigorously Marxist criteria of class differentiation. This aspect of Kritsman’s work later became the subject of a superb monograph by Terry Cox called Peasants, Class, and Capitalism (1986).

K. believed that in a planned economy there were no ‘objective laws’. For him ‘mass creativity was the basic characteristic of communism’. He described the famous November 1917 decree on workers’ control as ‘half-measures, therefore unrealisable’. What he meant by this was that it did not go far enough in enabling workers to start the process of managing enterprises as opposed to simply supervising existing capitalist managements. ‘It [the decree] was the implied expression of a weakness, still to be overcome, of the working class movement.’ Osinsky, another Left Communist, wrote that the workers’ control slogan ‘failed when it sought to convert itself into a system’. For K. collective management was the ‘specific, distinctive mark of the proletariat…distinguishing it from all other social classes…the most democratic principle of organisation’.

He and the other Left Communists of 1918 were strongly opposed to Lenin’s tactical defense of ‘state capitalism’ (a regime under which Lenin counted on ‘the cooperation of Russian capitalism and, even more so, of large foreign capitalist interests’, Lewin, Lenin’s Last Struggle, p. 26) and opposed to its various corollaries, above all, one-man management (the disavowal of workers’ control even in the limited Russian sense of this term) and Lenin’s endorsement of Taylorism as ‘scientific and progressive’.



Kropotkin, Peter (1842-1921)

Russian anarchist, writer and geographer. Opposed to the Bolsheviks, spent most of his life outside Russia, but returned before his death.

During the State Conference in Moscow, on August 15, Trotsky relates the following:

Kropotkin asked only to join his voice "to those voices which are summoning the whole Russian people to break once for all with Zimmerwaldism." The apostle of non-government promptly gave his adherence to the right wing of the Conference. A defeat threatens us, he cried, not only with the loss of vast territories and the payment of indemnities: "You must know, comrades, that there is something worse than all this - that is the psychology of a defeated nation." This ancient internationalist prefers to see the psychology of a defeated nation on the other side of the border. While recalling how a conquered France had humbled herself before the Russian tzars, he did not foresee how a conquering France would humble herself before American bankers. He exclaimed: "Are we going to live through the same thing? Not by any means!" He was applauded by the entire hall. And then what rainbow prospects, he said, are opened by the war: "All are beginning to understand that we must build a new life on new socialist principles. . . . Lloyd George is making speeches imbued with the socialist spirit. . . . In England, in France and in Italy, there is forming a new comprehension of life, imbued with socialism-unfortunately state socialism." If Lloyd George and Poincare have not yet "unfortunately" renounced the state principle, at least Kropotkin has come over to it frankly enough. "I think," he said, "that we will not be depriving the Constituent Assembly of any of its rights-I fully recognize that to it belongs the sovereign decision upon such questions-if we, the Council of the Russian land, loudly express our desire that Russia should be declared a republic." Kropotkin insisted upon a confederative republic: "We need a federation such as they have in the United States." That is what Bakunin's federation of free communes had come down to! "Let us promise each other at last," adjured Kropotkin in conclusion, "that we will no longer be divided into the left and right halves of this theater. . We all have one fatherland, and for her we ought all to stand together, or to lie down together if need be, both Lefts and Rights." Landlords, industrialists, generals, Cavaliers of St. George, all those who did not recognize Zimmerwald, extended to the apostle of anarchism a well-earned ovation.

Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution

See Peter Kropotkin Archive, and Anarchism Subject Archive.


Krupskaya, Nadezhda K. (1869-1939)


An early leader of the Bolshevik Party and the companion of Lenin. Worked in Commissariat for Education in the Soviet government. briefly aligned herself with the Left Opposition in 1926, but then broke with and condemned it before its leaders were expelled. The Stalinists, in turn, politically isolated her as much as possible.

Further Reading: Krupskaya Internet Archive.


Krylenko, Nikolai (1885-1938)

Nikolai Krylenko was born in Bekhteevo near Smolensk in 1885. As a student at St Petersburg University he joined the Bolsheviks and helped organize demonstrations during the 1905 Revolution.

In 1907 Krylenko was arrested and exiled to Lubin in Russian Poland. He returned to St. Petersburg and in 1911 began contributing to pro-Bolshevik newspaper, Zvezda. Later he joined the editorial board of Pravda.

Krylenko travelled to Berne, Switzerland, in March, 1914, to participate in a conference held by the Social Democratic Labour Party. On his return he was arrested and drafted into the Russian Army. He served on the South-Sestern Front where he persuaded a large number of soldiers to join the Bolsheviks.

After the abdication of Nicholas II he returned to the capital where he joined the executive committee of the Petrograd Soviet and the Party Central Committee. Vladimir Lenin appointed him military commissar and he played the leading role in capturing Stavka, the command headquarters of the Russian Army.

As president of the supreme tribunal he prosecuted all the major political trials of the 1920s. In 1931 Joseph Stalin appointed Krylenko as Commissar for Justice and was involved in the conviction of a large number of members of the Communist Party during the Great Purges. Nikolai Krylenko was himself arrested and executed for treason in 1938.

From Spartacus Schoolnet.