Birthday: November 19, 1875
Died At Age: 70
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin
Born Country: Russia
Born in: Verkhnyaya Troitsa, Russia
Famous as: Revolutionary
Spouse/Ex-: Ekaterina Kalinina (m. 1906)
father: Ivan Kalinin
siblings: Fedor Kalinin
children: Aleksandr Kalinin, Lidiya Talanova, Valerian Kalinin, Yuliya Kalinina
Died on: June 3, 1946
place of death: Moscow, Russia
Cause of Death: Cancer
Who was Mikhail Kalinin?
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin was a Russian communist leader, who served as the formal head of state of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, as well as of the Soviet Union later, from 1919 to 1946. Kalinin was born to a peasant family, and during his early years he worked as a metal worker in Petrograd City. During this time, he took part in the 1905 Russian Revolution and also become a member of the Bolsheviks. After the revolution, he became chief administrator of Petrograd. Soon, within a short time, he gained importance, and eventually became a member of the party’s Central Committee from 1919, as well as the formal head of the Soviet State. Few years later, he also became a full member of the Politburo. After the rise of Joseph Stalin, he remained the head, though he had very little influence or power. His wife, who criticized Stalin’s policies, was arrested, and Kalinin was unable to prevent it. She was tortured and imprisoned for around fifteen years in a labor camp. Kalinin made his retirement in 1946 and died shortly after.
Childhood & Early Life
Mikhail Kalinin was born on 19 November 1875, into a peasant family, who lived in the Tver region near Moscow. After he finished his education, he began working for a neighboring estate as a page boy.
Later, when its owner moved to Saint Petersburg (Petrograd City) in 1889, Kalinin was taken with her. He spent a lot of time in her library, helping him further his education as well during this time. He soon left the estate, and began working as a metal worker. He also worked as a butler and a railway worker for some time.
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Mikhail Kalinin became a member of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1898, the same year it was founded. He also became acquainted with Joseph Stalin shortly after. Over the years, he became involved in several protests and strikes, and was also often arrested and exiled. This, however, only served to give him more respect in front of his comrades.
Shortly after the Bourgeois Revolution of 1905 took place, he also became a candidate for the governing Central Committee. He also became devoted to the Bolshevik faction of the RSDLP, of which Vladimir Lenin was the head.
Due to his revolutionary activities, Mikhail Kalinin was arrested in 1916, but again freed during the February Revolution of 1917, which also saw the overthrowing of the Tsarist state.
He also joined the Petrograd Bolshevik committee, and co-founded the daily newspaper Pravda. For some time, he also served as the Mayor of Petrograd city, which later became known as St. Petersburg. Shortly after, he also became President of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. Owing to his peasant roots, and being a factory worker, he also became a symbol of unity between the peasants and workers.
In 1919, he became the formal head of state of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. However, despite this fact, he didn’t have any power or influence. He became a big ally of Stalin, after Lenin passed away in 1924. Though he had disagreements with Stalin, he couldn’t defy Stalin, as after the 1930’’s, Stalin had become an all-powerful dictator.
Kalinn was forced to sign each and every decree which legalized Stalin’s barbaric actions, which included arresting and killing hundreds of thousands of people. Kalinin even failed to protect the people who were closest to him from Stalin’s Red Terror. Mikhail’s loyal and faithful wife Ekaterina Lorberg, who was also a revolutionary, was critical of Stalin’s actions. She was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Kalinin couldn’t take any action to help her, as doing so would eventually turn him into an enemy of the state.
Despite being very close to Stalin, he held almost little or no power other than receiving diplomatic letters from abroad. On 5th March, 1940, six members of the Soviet Politburo, which included Kalinin as well as Stalin, Lazar Kaganovich, Vyacheslav Molotov, Anastas Mikoyan and Kliment Voroshilov, together signed an order to execute over 25000 (Polish nationalists as well as counterrevolutionaries, which became a part of the Katyn massacre.
He continued to serve in his post, till the end of the Second World War. He was also one of the few Old Bolsheviks, who was able to survive the Stalinist purges.
Family & Personal Life
Mikhail Kalinin met Ekaterina Lorberg in 1905, in St Petersburg. She was also a revolutionary, working at a textile factory. They got married the following year. They had two sons and two daughters.
As Ekaterina was critical of Stalin and his policies, she was arrested in 1938, on charges of anti-Soviet activity. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and Kalinin wasn’t able to do anything to help her.
She had to spend years in the harsh gulag system, which broke her health. She was released in 1945, a year before Kalinin’s death.
Kalinin passed away in 3 June 1946, due to cancer, and his wife died 14 years later.