Yevgenia Bosch

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Yevgenia Gotlieb Bosch
Евге́ния Богда́новна Бош
Eugenia Bosz.jpg
People's Secretary of Internal Affairs
In office
30 December 1917 – 1 March 1918
Preceded by position introduced
Succeeded by Yuriy Kotsiubynsky
Chairman of the People's Secretariat (acting)
In office
30 December 1917 – 1 March 1918
Preceded by position introduced
Succeeded by Mykola Skrypnyk
Personal details
Born (1879-08-23)23 August 1879
Ochakiv, Russian Empire
Died 5 January 1925(1925-01-05) (aged 45)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Citizenship Russia, Soviet
Nationality German
Political party Russian Social Democratic Labour Party,
Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine
Spouse(s) Peter Bosch
Georgy Pyatakov
Children two daughters:
Olha Kotsyubynska
Alma mater Voznesensk Female Gymnasium (1903)

Yevgenia Bosch (Ukrainian: Євгенія Богданівна (Готлібівна) Бош; Russian: Евге́ния Богда́новна (Го́тлибовна) Бош) (Yevgenia Bogdanovna (Gotlibovna) Bosh), also known as Evgenia Bosh, Evgenia Bogtdanovna 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 1879 – 5 January 1925) was a Bolshevik activist, politician, and member of the Soviet government in Ukraine during the revolutionary period in the early 20th century.

Yevgenia Bosch is sometimes considered the first modern woman leader of a national government,[1] having been Minister of Interior and at one point 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, but her memory lacks wide knowledge or even recognition, due to what is alleged to have been a deliberate historical suppression by Stalin's government because of her sympathy with the opposition.[2]

Early years[edit]

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[3] 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 gives birth to two daughters.

According to another source, Evgenia Bosh was born in Ukraine, to Gottlieb Meisch, an ethnic German immigrant from Luxembourg and his Moldavian wife. Bosh's parents quarrelled often and her childhood was reportedly an unhappy one,[4] she was educated at the Voznesensk women’s gymnasium.[5] At age 17, her parents attempted to arrange her marriage to an older man, but she rebelled and married a bourgeois businessman named Petr Bosh, they had two children.[4]

Radical politics[edit]

Bosh 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 Bosh house was searched by the police for illegal political literature in 1906. The police search was unsuccessful, but Bosh left her husband and fled to Kiev, where she joined the revolutionary underground; in 1907 she divorced her husband and moved to Kiev where Bosch lived at vulytsia Velyka Pidvalna, 25 (today vulytsia Yaroslaviv Val).

In Kiev 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 Kiev group was arrested and exiled in 1910, but Bosh remained in Kiev and found a lover and revolutionary partner in Georgy Pyatakov. Bosh was head of the Kiev Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Worker’s Party (RSDRP), after the revolution she became Secretary of Regional Committee of RSDRP(B). Bosh and Pyatakov led the Kiev committee until their arrest and exile to Siberia in 1912.[4]

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 Kiev 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, Bosh and Piatakov 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 Bogie group (Bogie is a suburb of Lausanne) which included Nikolai Bukharin, G.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.[6]


Afterwards she lived for some time with Pyatakov in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Oslo, Norway (then called Kristiania).

After the February Revolution, they 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.

In 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.

Declaration of Soviet Ukraine[edit]

Bosh 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.[5]

She was persuaded to support Lenin's direction for the Bolsheviks, and in 1917 she went to Russia, and became a popular agitator, motivating troops along the south-western border of Ukraine to support the Bolsheviks; in March she led an army unit in Kiev as the revolutionaries battled the Provisional Government that was installed in Russia after the fall of the Romanovs. Bosh became Minister of the Interior when the Reds took control of the government in January 1918,[4] as Soviet Ukraine's first Minister of the Interior and Head of the Secret Police, Evgenia Bosh was responsible for taking direct charge of the Soviet fight against the bourgeois business owners' and landlords’ counter-revolution.[6]

Opposition to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk[edit]

In March, Bosh was outraged when the Soviets signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, which gave control of territories in western Ukraine to Germany. Bosh resigned her government post in protest and left Russia for Ukraine to fight the German advance into Ukraine, she enlisted in the Antonov-Ovseenko 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.[4]

Bosch joined the left opposition in 1923.[7]

Trotskyism, death and legacy[edit]

She was harshly critical of the bureaucratic group she saw controlling the Soviet government, she was a supporter of Leon Trotsky, and signed the Platform of the 46, the first official statement by the opposition to Joseph Stalin. She wrote a memoir, A Year of Struggle, published posthumously in 1925. Bosh 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.[4][8] Her suicide was met with an immediate, deliberate effort by the Soviet government to suppress official acknowledgement of her death by cancelling public funeral rites:

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.[2]

Due to heart disease, cardiac asthma and pulmonary tuberculosis she committed suicide in January 1925.

A large suspension bridge over the Dnieper in Kiev was named in Bosch's honour when it was raised in 1925. Yevgeniya Bosch Bridge, which existed in Kiev 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 Bosh bridge is now the location of the Metro Bridge.[9]

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).

Her daughter Olha married Yuriy Kotsyubynsky and gave birth to Oleh Yuriyovych Kotsyubynsky.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Serge, Victor (2002). Memoirs of a Revolutionary. University of Iowa. ISBN 978-0-87745-827-2. 
  3. ^ Biography of Bosch
  4. ^ a b c d e f Fairfax, Kathy (1999). Comrades in Arms: Bolshevik Women in the Russian Revolution. Resistance Books. pp. 29–30. ISBN 090919694X. 
  5. ^ a b "Governments of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic - Officials". Ukraine Government. Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Revolutionary Women: Yevgenia Bosch". League for the Fifth International. Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  7. ^ Revolutionary women: Yevgenia Bosch Fifth International Accessed 16 Feb 2009
  8. ^ D'Atri, Andrea. "El rol de las mujeres socialistas al inicio de la revolución rusa" (PDF). Archivo Chile, Centro Estudios “Miguel Enríquez”. Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Dnieper Bridges". ASSOL. Retrieved October 24, 2011. 


  • Bosh, Evgenia. The National Government and Soviet Power in Ukraine (1919)
  • Bosh, Evgenia. A Year of Struggle: The Struggle for the Régime in the Ukraine from April 1917 to German Occupation (God Borby: Borba Za Vlast Na Ukraine) (Moscow) 1925, republished 1990.
  • Barbara Evan Clements, Bolshevik Women, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
office installed
People's Secretary of Internal Affairs
December 1917–April 1918
Succeeded by
office liquidated