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Felix Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926) was a loyal associate of Lenin and Stalin. Dzerzhinsky was born into the family of a small landowner in Lithuania, of Polish nationality. At the age of 17 he participated in the socialist movement; a year later he became a member of the Lithuanian Social-Democratic Party and from then on devoted himself entirely to poltical work.
For his revolutionary activity Dzerzhinsky was savagely persecuted by the tsarist authorities; he was repeatedly exiled and sentenced to penal servitude in Poland and Russia. He spent nearly eleven years in prison and in penal servitude.
The February revolution of 1917 released Dzerzhinsky from a Moscow prison. Immediately upon his release he became extremely active in the Moscow Bolshevik Party organization. At the Sixth Congress of the Bolshevik Party in August 1917 Dzerzhinsky was elected to the Central Committee of the Party. Later, in the period when the actual preparations for the October Revolution were being made, he became a member of the Party Centre, headed by Stalin, which led the uprising. After the victory of the revolution, Dzerzhinsky, on the recommendation of Lenin, was appointed Chairman of the Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counter-Revolution, Sabotage, and Speculation (Cheka).
In later years he was People’s Commissar of Railways, and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the National Economy.
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