Alexandr Petrovich Apsit grew up amidst dire poverty and yet he received free instruction under the tutelage of the Saint-Petersburg painter, Lev Dmitriev-Kavkazskii. By 1902, Apsit was noticed by the popular journals, including Rodina [Motherland], Zvezda [Star], and Niva, for which he produced sketches. He also illustrated the publications of writings by A.M. Gorkii, N.S. Leskov, and A.P. Chekhov, as well as those by D. Bedny, I.S. Nikritin, and M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin. Through these commissions he gained a stellar reputation, becoming one of the best-paid illustrators in the city.
VTsIK (Vserossiyskii Centralny Ispolnitelny Komitet ) was the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of Soviets of Workers', Peasants', Red Army and Cossack Deputies. It was the highest legislative and administrative body of government in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) from 1917 until 1936. Its Executive Committee was elected at the first All-Russian Congress of Soviets in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) in June 1917. When the Soviet Union was formed in 1922, VTsIK became the second-highest governing body in the federal-republic of the RSFSR. Following the reformation of the Soviet Constitution in 1936, the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR replaced VTsIK.