Феликс Яковлевич Кон
|Leader of Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine |
March 22, 1921 – December 14, 1921
|Preceded by||Vyacheslav Molotov|
|Succeeded by||Dmitriy Manuilsky|
May 18, 1864|
Warsaw, Russian Empire
July 28, 1941 (aged 77)|
Moscow, Soviet Union
|Alma mater||University of Warsaw|
Born in Warsaw, Kon's mother was Georgian Jewish and was brought up in Russia. He was trained as a historian and a journalist, but was involved in politics. He had limited knowledge of Polish affairs at first, but intuitively felt the revolutionary element among Polish workers that he could mobilize.
He was a member of the anti-Piłsudski faction of the Polish Socialist Party. Kon gravitated towards the anti-independence, pro-communism point of view. In January 1897 the Tsarist government at last taken took an administrative decision to banish him. He was exiled to Irkutsk and began working on the progressive newspaper "Vostochnoye Obozrenie" (Eastern Review).
As the Bolsheviks began to prepare for the Polish-Soviet War, they summoned an increasing number of Polish communists, active elsewhere in Soviet service, to Moscow in order to form a cadre of party and state officials to move into ethnographic Poland with the Red Army. He was put on the Provisional Polish Revolutionary Committee (formed in Białystok on July 30, 1920 - dissolved August 20, 1920) during the Polish-Soviet War.
During this period he was editor-in-chief of the Goniec Czerwony newspaper, the official organ of the temporary revolutionary committee. The first issue appeared on August 7. Its purpose was to agitate and it printed all the appeals issued by the Communist puppet government, as well as distinctly skewed news from the war. Twelve issues appeared, the last on August 20 as the Polish army approached the city. In the last issue he triumphantly proclaimed in an article entitled "Dwa światy" (Two Worlds): The old world disappears, but a new one is born: great, powerful and a genuinely independent Polish Socialist Republic will hold the prominent post in this world.
After the war, he decided to remain in the Soviet Union, where he was an activist in the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine, Comintern. However, letters written by Vladimir Lenin referred to Kon, whom he "couldn't stand", as simply an "old fool" (staryi duren).
Kon also served as an editor at several newspapers including Krasnaya Zvezda. In 1941, he became the director of the Polish-directed propaganda section at Radio Moscow. The first broadcasts in Polish were on June 22, 1941. However, he died a natural death shortly afterwards at age 77, at Moscow's Khimki water station during the evacuation of the city before the advancing German army and the Battle of Moscow. All the other members of the Polish Socialist Party-Left were later liquidated by the NKVD.
During the late 1920s and 1930s, he was the head of the museum department in the People's Commissariat for Education. As an "old Bolshevik" he managed to secure many pictures for the Kyrgyz Gallery.
In 1936, he published his memoirs (in Russian) entitled Za Pietdziesiat Let (also translated into Polish in 1969: Narodziny wieku – wspomnienia published by Książka i Wiedza).
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