By: Cyrus Adler
Russian government official; born at Tsarskoye-Selo, near St. Petersburg, Russia, Feb. 22, 1864. He is a member of an ancient Russian Jewish family which has held landed estates for the last two centuries, and he counts among his ancestors many who distinguished themselves for their charitable work. The name of one of his female ancestors, Blema Wilenkin, is still remembered in the Jewish community of Minsk, whence the family originally came. At the end of the eighteenth century she bequeathed a house (still in existence) at Minsk to be used as a "Klaus"; and she left another house for the use of impoverished Russian Jews at Jerusalem.
After completing his studies in the gymnasium of his native town, Wilenkin matriculated first at the University of Dorpat and afterward at the University of St. Petersburg, where he studied law. In 1887 he entered the government service in the Ministry of Public Instruction, and was sent on a scientific mission to England to study the organization of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge; he went also to Paris to investigate its system of primary schools. His report on the schools was published, and the French government bestowed on him the rank of "Officier d'Académie" in recognition of this work. On his return to St. Petersburg in 1895, Witte, then minister of finance, invited Wilenkin to leave the Ministry of Public Instruction for the Ministry of Finance, and appointed him assistant financial agent of the Russian government in London. Wilenkin served in that post over nine years, and in May, 1904,was appointed financial agent of the Russian government at Washington, D. C., being attached to the Russian embassy there.
Wilenken's works include "Monometalism and Bimetalism" and "The Financial and Political Organization of Contemporary England and the Commercial and Political Organization of Contemporary Russia."