Perhaps my favourite person in the Russian Revolution is Anatoli Lunarcharsky, known as the the ‘poet of the revolution’. Often more radical than Lenin, a sometime ‘God-Builder’ who wrote a two-volume work, Socialism and Religion, he was appointed the Commissar for Enlightenment in the new government. In his new program, Narkompros (Narodnyi Kommissariat Prosveschcheniya), he appointed all manner of poets, artists, writers, and the highest number of women in any of the major commissariats of the new state. A prolific writer of plays, essays and book-length works, he was widely regarded as the most educated and intelligent of all the education ministers in the world at the time. His work on Marxism, literature and art are still well worth a read, especially since they have largely been forgotten.
But why did Lenin appoint him and keep him on, despite all their differences? As Lenin put it to Viktor Shulgin:
I advise you also to be fond of him. He is drawn towards the future with his whole being. That is where there is such joy and laughter in him. And he is ready to give that joy and laughter to everyone.