Source: Marx Memorial Library (MML)
Although she is known as Lenin’s wife, Krupskaya was a significant revolutionary in her own right and one of the leaders of the women’s movement in Russia. Having been exiled to Siberia for six years, she was active politically in Europe until her return to Russia in 1917 and was involved in the February revolution on IWD. In November 1917 she became Deputy Commissar for Education and Enlightenment, was active in the Zhenodtel and edited ‘Kommunistka’, the communist women’s paper. The Zhenodtel was the women’s department of the Communist Party, which pioneered efforts to improve women’s literacy especially in Central Asia, and worked on ‘de-veiling’ women. The Zhenodtel also helped legalise abortion in 1920, which was the first time that abortion would be free in state hospitals in any country in the world.