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File:Pavel Tcacenco 1952 .png

Pavel Tcacenco on a 1952 stamp issued by the Romanian People's Republic

Pavel Tcacenco or Tkachenko (Russian: Павел Дмитриевич Ткаченко; born Yakov Antipov or Antip; 1892/1899/1901 - 1926) was a Russian-born Romanian communist activist, a leading member of the communist movements of Bessarabia and Romania in the 1920s.

Yakov Antipov was born on April 7, 1901 in the village of Novosavitskaya (now in the unrecognized Trans-Dniester Republic). His father, Yakov Antipov, was a Russian railroad worker from Smolensk. His mother, Smaragda Dimitrievna Antipova, stemmed from a Greek-Serbian family in Reni (Southern Bessarabia, now Ukraine). In 1902 the whole family relocated to Bendery.[1] After finishing high school in 1917, he left for Petrograd to enrol in Law school. Here he joined the Russian revolutionary movement, adopting the pseudonym Tcacenco. He participated in the Russian Revolutions of February and October. In late 1917 he returned to his native region as a communist militant.

After Bessarabia joined Greater Romania, in October 1919 he was elected secretary of the Chişinău communist committee, and latter of the regional organisation of the party. At the same time, he established contacts with Alecu Constantinescu, a leading member of Bucharest's nascent communist movement. The contacts between the two organisations were however soon interrupted as Tcacenco was arrested in Chişinău on August 6/7, 1920, along with several communist activists. Tcacenco succeeded in escaping custody on August 17, 1920, leaving for Iaşi. On February 19, 1921, the Chişinău court-martial convicted him in absentia to death.

In Iaşi, Pavel Tcacenco assisted in the organisation of the still chaotic local workers' movement. In March 1921 he participated at the Iaşi Conference of communist organisation, and was elected in the central committee of the Conference. During the debates, he supported the creation of an unified communist movement, part of the Romanian Socialist Party, and opposed the creation of several provincial parties, as proposed by other delegates. He and most of the delegates to the Conference were arrested by the Romanian authorities on March 26 and during the following days. Tcacenco was included in the group of communist tried in the Dealul Spirii Trial (January-June 1922), when the Romanian state used the bomb attack on the Romanian Senate by anarchist Max Goldstein to outlaw the Communist Party. During the trial, Pavel Tcacenco acknowledged he had participated in distributing communist newspapers and manifestos, but denied any connection with the bomb attack. Most of the defendants were ultimately amnestied under public pressure, however Tcacenco received a jail sentence.

The Supreme Council of Re-examination annulled the sentence on September 22, and disposed a retrial to take place at the War Council of the 5th Army Corps, in Constanţa. As the legal proceedings were delayed, Tcacenco escaped custody again on April 2, 1923, and left for Bucharest. He joined the local communist movement, however he was quickly re-apprehended by the authorities. Back in Constanţa, the court decided his 1921 activities had a political character, thus falling under the royal amnesty of 1922. Nevertheless he was not set free, as he was sent to Chişinău for a retrial of the February 1921 decision. In August 1923 the sentence was quashed, but Tcacenco was ordered to leave the country in 30 days. He subsequently fled Romania, settling temporarily in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

In exile he worked for the apparatus of the Comintern. In 1924, at the Third Congress of the Communist Party of Romania, he was elected a member in the Central Committee, and in March and April 1925 he represented the party in the Executive Committee of the Communist International. There he participated in the political, trade union and peasant commissions. Tcacenco returned to Romania for a short time in July 1925, reintegrating in the local communist movement, however he fled again to Prague as he was notified of an imminent arrest. He succeeded in coming back to Bucharest in 1926, despite a Siguranţa order disposing his arrest at the border. In Romania, he agitated for the Bloc of Workers and Peasants, a legal front organization of the Romanian Communist Party during the 1926 electoral campaign.

On August 15, 1926, during a meeting with communist leaders Boris Stefanov and Timotei Marin, the group was surrounded by the police. Tcacenco was shot, but succeeded in escaping, only to be captured later that day. He was sent to Tighina for trial, but, during the transport, he was helped escape by the local communists in Chişinău. Reaching Soroca, he tried to flee to freedom in the Soviet Union. He was captured as he was attempting to cross the Dniester River and, after torture, he was executed without trial. The location of his remains was never revealed.

After World War II, as the Romanian Communist Part gained the power in Romania, he was honoured by the official propaganda along other young communist killed by the Romanian authorities.


  1. According to his own declaration on the occasion of his arrest in 1926, he was born in 1899, while his Siguranţa (Romanian secret police) file notes April 7, 1899 as his birth date. A newspaper article published in Odessa in 1926 gives 1892 as the year of his birth.
  • Muşat, Ştefan (1970). "Pavel Antip-Tcacenco" in Anale de Istorie, Vol. XVI, Nr. 4. Institutul de Studii Istorice și Social-Politice de pe lîngă C.C. al P.C.R, Bucharest. pp. 114–118.
  • Branko M. Lazić, Milorad M. Drachkovitch. Biographical dictionary of the Comintern. Hoover Press, 1986. ISBN 9780817984014. p. 470.

ro:Pavel Tcacenco ru:Ткаченко, Павел Дмитриевич

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