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Yevgenia Bosch (Ukrainian: Євгенія Богданівна (Готлібівна) Бош; Russian: Евге́ния Богда́новна (Го́тлибовна) Бош) (Yevgenia Bogdanovna (Gotlibovna) Bosch, German: Jewgenija Bogdanowna Bosch), also known as Evgenia Bosh, Evgenia Bogdanovna Bosch or Evheniya Bohdanivna Bosch [her Russian patronym (Bogdanovna - "God's gift") is not directly translated from her Russified German patronim (Gotlibovna - "God's love")] (August 23, 1879 – January 5, 1925) was a Bolshevik activist, politician, and member of the Soviet government in Ukraine during the revolutionary period in the early 20th century.
Yevgenia Gotlieb Bosch
Евге́ния Богда́новна Бош
|People's Secretary of Internal Affairs|
30 December 1917 – 1 March 1918
|Preceded by||position introduced|
|Succeeded by||Yuriy Kotsiubynsky|
|Chairwoman of the People's Secretariat (acting)|
30 December 1917 – 1 March 1918
|Preceded by||position introduced|
|Succeeded by||Mykola Skrypnyk|
|Born||23 August 1879|
Ochakiv, Russian Empire
|Died||5 January 1925 (aged 45)|
Moscow, Soviet Union
|Political party||RSDLP (1901–1912) |
Russian Communist Party (1912–1925)
|Spouse(s)||Peter Bosch |
|Alma mater||Voznesensk Female Gymnasium (1903)|
Yevgenia Bosch is sometimes considered the first modern woman leader of a national government, having been Minister of Interior and the Acting Leader of the provisional Soviet government of Ukraine in 1917. For that reason she is also sometimes considered the first Prime Minister of independent Ukraine.
Officially Bosch was born in Ochakiv, in the Kherson Governorate of the Russian Empire, but some records have another information - village of Adjigol, Odessa uyezd, Kherson Governorate in a family of a German colonist, mechanic, and landowner Gotlieb Meisch and Bessarabian noblewoman Maria Krusser. Yevgenia Bosch was the fifth and the last born child in family. Soon after the death of Gotlieb Meisch, Maria Krusser married her husband's brother Theodore Meisch. For three years Yevgenia attended Voznesensk Female Gymnasium, after which due to her health conditions she worked for her stepfather as a secretary. Being stuck in parents household Yevgenia sought means to leave. Her older brother Oleksiy acquainted her with his friend Peter Bosch who was an owner of a local small wagon shop. At 16 Yevgenia married Bosch and later gave birth to two daughters.
According to another source, Evgenia Bosch was born in Ukraine, to Gottlieb Meisch, an ethnic German immigrant from Luxembourg and his Moldavian wife. Bosch's parents quarrelled often and her childhood was reportedly an unhappy one. She was educated at the Voznesensk women's gymnasium. At age 17, her parents attempted to arrange her marriage to an older man, but she rebelled and married a bourgeois businessman named Petr Bosch. They had two children.
Bosch had a growing interest in radical politics. She had limited involvement with the Social Democrats. In 1901, at 22, she became a member of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) and after the II Party Congress became a bolshevik. She tried to educate herself while raising her two daughters. She joined the Bolshevik faction in 1903. In the meantime, her older sister, Elena Rozmirovich, was a dedicated revolutionary. The Bosch house was searched by the police for illegal political literature in 1906. The police search was unsuccessful, but Bosch left her husband and fled to Kyiv, where she joined the revolutionary underground. In 1907 she divorced her husband and moved to Kyiv where Bosch lived at vulytsia Velyka Pidvalna, 25 (today vulytsia Yaroslaviv Val).
In Kyiv she established contact with local Bolshevik faction and together with her younger sister Elena Rozmirovich (future wife of Nikolai Krylenko, chekist) conducted underground revolutionary activities. Much of the Kyiv group was arrested and exiled in 1910, but Bosch remained in Kyiv and found a lover and revolutionary partner in Georgy Pyatakov. Bosch was head of the Kyiv Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party (RSDRP). After the revolution she became Secretary of Regional Committee of RSDRP(B). Bosch and Pyatakov led the Kyiv committee until their arrest and exile to Siberia in 1912.
In April 1912 she was arrested and imprisoned in one of the Yekaterinoslav's prisons. There her health worsened as she had inborn heart and lung disease. The Kyiv Court Chamber convicted her to life-term exile in Siberia while she suffered from tuberculosis.
Together with also convicted bolshevik (Pyatakov), Bosch managed to escape from Kachuga volost (Upper-Lena uyezd, Irkutsk Governorate) first to Vladivostok, and then with a short stint in Japan to the United States.
Afterwards, Bosch and Pyatakov made their way to Switzerland where an emigre group of revolutionaries was active. Bosh accepted Lenin's invitation and attended the conference of Russian revolutionaries in Bern in 1915 (the Bern conference). She was initially opposed to Lenin's desire to urge the proletariat towards revolution. Still in Switzerland, together with Georgy Pyatakov they established the so-called Baugy group (Baugy is a suburb of Lausanne) which included Nikolai Bukharin, Nikolai Krylenko and others, and stood in opposition to Lenin concerning the nationalities factor. Her newspaper Social Democratic Voice argued:
We believe that the development of productive forces and social power of the proletariat have not reached the level at which the working class could carry out the socialist revolution.
After the February Revolution, Bosch and Pyatakov were among the first Bolshevik emigres to return to Petrograd. She moved soon afterwards to Kyiv, where she was elected chairman of the party committee for the South West region. She then returned to what was then the Russian Republic, originally aiming at organizing an opposition to Lenin. After the April conference of the RSDLP, Bosch came to change her position, adhering to Lenin's ideas. Her reconciliation with Lenin cost her her marriage. She was elected chairman of a districtal (okrug) Party Committee and then of a provincial (oblast) Party Committee in the Southwestern Krai.
Declaration of Soviet UkraineEdit
Bosch was instrumental in launching the First All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets (December 11–12, 1917, Kharkiv). At this Congress, the Ukrainian People's Republic was proclaimed to be the Soviet Republic, and its membership in a federation with Soviet Russia was also declared. The Congress also denounced the Tsentralna Rada as well as its laws and instructions. The decrees of the Petrograd Council of People's Commissars extended to Ukraine and an official alliance with the Russia Red Army was declared. Bosch became Minister of the Interior when the Reds took control of the government in January 1918. As Soviet Ukraine's first Minister of the Interior and Head of the Secret Police, Evgenia Bosch was responsible for taking direct charge of the Soviet fight against the bourgeois business owners' and landlords' counter-revolution.
Opposition to the Treaty of Brest-LitovskEdit
In March, Bosch was outraged when the Soviets signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, which gave control of territories in western Ukraine to Germany. She resigned her government post in protest and organised worker battalions to resist the advance of the German army through Ukraine. She enlisted in the Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko Red Army with Pyatakov and her daughter Maria. She became ill with tuberculosis and heart disease, however, and after several months of recuperation, she left Ukraine for Russia, where she filled political and military administrative posts for the next few years as the civil war continued.
In August 1918, she was the chairwoman of the Penza Gubernia Party Committee during the controversy that led to the issue of the so-called Lenin's Hanging Order. She was then posted to the Caspian-Caucasus front, and to Astrakhan. In 1919, she was a member of the committee for the defence of Lithuania and Belarus, and then served as a political commissar for the war against General Denikin. Throughout this civil war period, she is reputed to have slept with a revolver under her pillow.
In 1920–22, she chaired the Military Historical Commission, but from 1922, she was incapacitated by severe illness.
Trotskyism, death and legacyEdit
Bosch joined the left opposition in 1923. She was harshly critical of the bureaucratic group she saw controlling the Soviet government. She was a supporter of Leon Trotsky, and signed The Declaration of 46, the first official statement by the opposition to Joseph Stalin. She wrote a memoir, A Year of Struggle, published posthumously in 1925. Bosch fell out of favour with the Joseph Stalin-Nikolai Bukharin leadership. In 1924, she succumbed to despair after hearing that Trotsky had been forced to resign as leader of the Red Army, as well as in pain from her heart condition and tuberculosis, and she died by suicide by self-inflicted gunshot in January 1925.
Her suicide was met with an immediate, deliberate effort by the Soviet government to suppress official acknowledgement of her status as a major Bolshevik leader.
The more rigorous comrades argued that suicide, however justified it might be by incurable illness, remained an act of indiscipline. Besides, in this particular case suicide was a proof of Oppositional leanings. There was no national funeral, only a local one; no urn in the Kremlin wall, only a place befitting her rank in the plot reserved for communists in the Novo-Devichy cemetery. Forty lines of obituary in Pravda.
A large suspension bridge over the Dnieper in Kyiv was named in Bosch's honour when it was raised in 1925. Yevgeniya Bosch Bridge, which existed in Kyiv from 1925 to 1941, was named after her. The bridge was constructed by Evgeny Paton on the base of the remnants of Nicholas Chain Bridge blown up by retreating Polish troops in 1920. The bridge was destroyed during World War II. The site of the Bosch bridge is now the location of the Metro Bridge.
A lot of other important objects in Ukraine and other places in the Soviet Union were given her name (most of them were renamed after 1991) (since the 2015 decommunization laws communist monuments and communist street names (and other toponyms) have been outlawed in Ukraine).
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| People's Secretary of Internal Affairs
December 1917–April 1918