Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky
(1877—1926) Russian Bolshevik leader
(b. 11 Sept. 1877, d. 20 July 1926).
Soviet politician Born in Dzerzhinovo, near Minsk, as the son of a Polish nobleman, he became a revolutionary for the Lithuanian‐Polish Marxist parties in 1896. He was subsequently arrested six times, and was eventually released after the February Revolution, 1917. He became one of the principal organizers of Lenin's October Revolution (Russian Revolutions, 1917), and in December 1917 founded perhaps the most ruthless organization of state terror of its day, the Cheka. Through the establishment of prison camps and the use of torture, hostages, and assassinations, he played a central part in breaking domestic opposition to Communist rule. In addition, as People's Commissar (i.e. Minister) for Transport, he promoted industrialization while remaining sensitive to the need for sound agricultural policies. He became chairman of the Supreme Council of the National Economy in 1924. He died of heart failure.