Petr Yul’evich Kiselis was born in the Kovno Province of the Russian Empire in what is today the Republic of Lithuania. In 1906, he attended courses at the Central School of Technical Drawing managed by Barron Aleksander Stieglitz. He continued his studies between 1907 and 1908 at the Drawing School Society for the Encouragement of the Arts. From 1910 to 1912, Kiselis again enrolled (under the surname Kissel) into the Central School of Technical Drawing. From 1913 to 1916 (using the surname Kisselisov) he attended the Saint Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts.
Litizdat (Literaturno-izdatel'skii otdel politicheskogo upravleniia RVSR) was established in June 1919 by order of the Department of the Political Directorate (PUR) of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic (RVSR). A formal decree approved its existence in October that year. Due to the hierarchy of Litizdat's formation, its title is often abbreviated as Litizdat PUR RVSR on publications it issued. As the main publishing arm for the Red Army and the Red Navy, Litizdat distributed a total of 7.5 million posters and postcards between 1919 and 1922. After the Russian Civil War, Litizdat PUR was dissolved and its functions were divided into a succession of state publishing entities. In 1921, the key functions of Litizdat were assigned to the Department of Military Literature (Litrevsor) and by 1924, Litrevsor gave-way to the State Military Publishing House (Gosudarstvennoe voennoe izdatel'stvo), Voenizdat-Voengiz.