Born in Poland, he joined the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania and was strongly influenced by Rosa Luxemburg. In 1917, he went to Russia where he became Commissar for Telegraphs in the Bolshevik government.
From 1917 he worked in Narkomnats, the Soviet People's Commissariat of Nationalities. While Joseph Stalin was the titular Commissar, in practice much of the work was delegated to Pestkovsky. Originally the Petrograd Milrevkom, or Military Revolutionary Committee, blocked the formation of Pol'kom, a Polish Commissariat which Julian Leschinsky wished to set up. Following the intervention of Stalin and Felix Dzerzhinsky, Milrevkom's obstruction was overcome and Pol'kom was established on 23 November 1917. Pol'kom then set about sovietising all Polish organisations in Russia
He disappeared in Stalin's Great Purge of 1937 and was exonerated posthumously in 1955.
- 'Vospominaniiia o Rabote v Narkomnats', Proletarskaia Revoliutsiia 6,No. 101, 1930
- Delegates information from the minutes of the 2nd congress of the Communist international
- World Statesmen:Khazakstan accessed 10 May 2007
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