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Grigory Sokolnikov
Soviet delegation on the way to the Naval Conference in Geneva in May 1927. On the left Boris Shtein and on the right Grigory Sokolnikov.

Grigory Yakovlevich Sokolnikov (15 August [O.S. 3 August] 1888 - May 21, 1939), born Girsh Yankelevich Brilliant, was an Old Bolshevik and a Soviet politician and economist.

He was born to a Jewish railway doctor in present-day Poltava Oblast but eventually moved to Moscow. Sokolnikov joined the Bolshevik Party in 1905 at the age of 17. He served time in prison and studied economics whilst at the Sorbonne.

After the Russian October Revolution he held various government positions. He was appointed People's Commissar of Finance following the introduction of the New Economic Policy.

He was Soviet ambassador to England from 1929 to 1932. He was a member of the delegation for peace negotiations with Germany, replaced Leon Trotsky as chairman of the delegation and signed the Brest-Litovsk treaty in 1918. In 1918-1921 he worked on the establishment of Soviet power in Turkestan. He was a creator of the first stable Soviet currency.

During the Great Purge, Sokolnikov was arrested during the Trial of Parallel Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Centre and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. Reportedly, he was killed in a prison by other convicts. A post-Stalin investigation during the Khrushchev Thaw revealed that the murder was orchestrated by the NKVD. In 1988 he was rehabilitated.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Nikolai Krestinsky
People's Commissar of Finance
Succeeded by
Nikolai Bryukhanov


  • Soviet Policy in Public Finance, 1917-1928, by Gregory Y. Sokolnikov & Associates; translated by Elena Varneck, edited by Lincoln Hutchinson & Carl C. Plehn. Stanford University Press. 1931.


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