Political path

Lunacharsky was born in Poltava in 1875. His stepfather was the illegitimate son of a nobleman Charnalusky, who moved few syllables in the surname of a child. Who could imagine that this surname will be famous throughout Europe? While studying at the Kiev school, he was interested in Marxism. In Kiev he joined a secret Marxist organization and led an active campaign among the workers with fellow Berdyaev, who was nobleman-revolutionary. Surprisingly, but during this time he didn’t fall into the hands of stern authority.

After Kiev Lunacharsky went to study in Switzerland, were he actively studied Marx and Engels under the leadership of Professor of Philosophy Richard Avenarius. It was Richard who influenced on the management idealism of Lunacharsky, contradicting to all canons of marxist thinking. The primacy of cognition over the matter at the time made a commotion in the usual philosophical foundations.

By the way, the philosophy of Avenarius was marked by Lenin as nonsensical, but according to the assertion of Schrödinger, it has made a small revolution in the physics in the 20th century.

After the graduation Lunacharsky travels through Europe, where he meets a lot of philosophers and scientists of that time. His mind was full of progressive ideas, so he returned to Moscow for the active propagandistic work. Because of these ideas he was sent into exile until 1904.

The split of the party has made up his mind. So he moved to Geneva and in the capacity of Bolshevik he became a member of editorial management of the Bolshevik publications «Proletariat» and «Forward”. He gradually was becoming closer to the leader of the proletariat: Lenin and Bogdanov – two political activists.


Lunacharsky and Krupskaya

The February revolution of 1917 changed the familiar world of Lunacharsky, in which the struggle could be only underground or abroad. He has left his family in Zurich and returned to Russia to continue the impetuous political action, defending the interests of the people and the working class.

Thanks to the participation of Lunacharsky, the majority of the intelligentsia joined the side of Bolsheviks.

Foreign travel and education, erudition and complexity of interests – all these things have made him popular among the famous people of Europe. He could easily influence the brightest minds of Russia with such fame.


The world-famous Bolshevik Trotsky wrote:

“Lunacharsky was indispensable in dealing with the old university and general pedagogical circles, which were waiting for complete elimination of Arts and Sciences. Lunacharsky with enthusiasm and without effort showed to this closed world that the Bolsheviks can respect the culture. He showed an incredible erudition by reading in half a dozen of new languages and on two ancient languages, and this erudition would be enough for a dozen professors.”

To visit the People’s Commissar in Moscow A. Barbusse, HG Wells, Bernard Shaw, A. Hidas, P. Rolland, E. Sinclair, B. Kellerman, S. Zweig and other famous persons of literature and science have arrived.


Lunacharsky and George Bernard Shaw


Closer to the art


Lunacharsky doesn’t leave his literary works. Now his name not only praises him, but also helps to publish any works of the author. The first work in the analysts section of art was «The fundamentals of positive aesthetics”, according to which, the ideals of life are freedom, harmonious and open mind, which create a pleasant atmosphere for daily life.

At the same time he becomes a founder of the creation of Soviet education structure: higher education and vocational. As Commissioner of Education he promotes to the masses the idea about comprehensive development of each person, which has knowledge in every sphere of life. Apparently, on the basis of his own talents and abilities to know a lot about everything.

He was trying to instill to the Soviet man taste and ability to distinguish the wheat from the chaff by commenting and analyzing all the events of culture in Europe. He wrote about everything: theater, music, film, sculpture and painting. Lunacharsky accentuated rightly due to his profound knowledge of art. All materials and thoughts of Lunacharsky about the art have become a documented encyclopedia of XX century.

Russian and world’s literature were his “strong point”: he published a book about the history of literature “Literary silhouettes”, the history of Western literature, critical essays and sketches, as well as more than a thousand articles and essays, which have become part of the literary encyclopedias.

“Literary Encyclopedia” (founder and editor was Lunacharsky) is a huge storehouse of literary works, from ancient Greece to 20th century.  Its main feature is that it is written without the influence of political regimes and fashion trends of those times.


Interesting facts

Lenin’s well-known phrase «the most important kind of art for us is cinema» has been criticized many times. Because of the fact, that Lunacharsky had been the only one witness of this phrase, all blamed just him. People even imagined such addition to the phrase: “While people are illiterate, the most important kind of art for us is cinema and circus!”

According to Anatoly Vasilyevich, there was a talk: “… about in the middle of February and perhaps by the end of it…Vladimir Ilich called me and said: “In my opinion, the most important kind of art in Russia is cinema”. People’s Commissar remembered it for the first time this in April 1923 during the All-Russian Congress of Artists and on the next day “The News» spread the idea around the world.



Lunacharsky is a fan of Borjomi


Lunacharsky had been repeatedly invited in Borjomi by Georgian government. He felt in love with the natural environment at first glance and he could not hide admiration.

At this place an ardent Marxist began to believe in heaven! But communism and beliefs were incompatible. However, after the first trip to the Borjomi Lunacharsky repeated many times: “If the paradise exists, it is Borjomi.”


One day in honor of Lunacharsky the party was organized, which was visited by all Georgian intelligentsia.

Anatoly V. openly admired the Georgian people and said that the eloquence and the flexibility of movements were their innate traits: people of various professions spoke as natural-born speakers; sometimes even respectable academics could dance lezginka like real dancers, barely touching the hardwood floor.

Lunacharsky estimated the Georgian movies and encouraged the intention of Mardzhanov about taking part in the development of cinema.

Also he was crazy about Georgian wines. Once at the party his longtime friend Firmin Zheme proposed to him new American cocktails. His comrade Yuzhin refused, and the academician added:

— Grape Georgian wines are noble pure drink, but American cocktails are just a mess.

More about friends

Once in Kadzhori near Tiflis, which was famous for its beautiful mountain air, on the jubilee of Bryusov, Lunacharsky was present too. In the foyer of the governmental lodge Anatoly quickly wrote something in his notebook. It turned out that it was impromptu.

Poet Brusov had been a sincere fan of the works of Lunacharsky, so he has even dedicated a whole collection of his works “In such days” with the inscription “To the poet Anatoly Lunacharsky. Your loyal author”.

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