In Lenin’s Shadow: Nadezhda Krupskaya and the Bolshevik Revolution



Almost invariably, Nadezhda K. Krupskaya is referred to as ‘Lenin’s wife’, and indeed occasionally her name is not mentioned, only this position.1 This is not surprising, given the prominence of Lenin in histories of the Russian Revolution and in the debates over the shaping of the Soviet state. Their marriage is described in prosaic terms as being ‘in the best traditions of the Russian revolutionary movement very much a working partnership’, with Krupskaya giving him ‘the support and help that he needed to devote his entire energies to the cause’.2 A post-Soviet Russian publication paints a similar picture of their marriage during Lenin’s last illness: Krupskaya became Lenin’s ‘irreplaceable aide, his link to the outside world, his most reliable source of information’.3 Not every historian agrees that Krupskaya submerged her identity to become Lenin’s obedient secretary. Robert Service has declared that Lenin did not intimidate her, and that she ‘did not always do his bidding’, while there were areas ‘such as educational theory (and perhaps educational practice too), where she probably thought herself his better’.4 However, he offers no evidence, and the more widely held view is that of Dmitri Volkogonov, that Krupskaya was in Lenin’s ‘shadow, her life having meaning only because she was linked to him’.


Communist Party Woman Worker Class Struggle Library System Soviet State 
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Copyright information

© Jane McDermid and Anya Hillyar 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SouthamptonUK

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