Written in 1918, these brief biographical sketches by Anatoly Lunacharsky give a wonderful, personal look at some of the key figures of the October Revolution. Lunacharsky was the USSR's first Commissar of Education. He was born in 1875 in Poltava (Ukraine) to minor nobility with an educated radical consciousness. It was an environment not unlike Lenin's, though less provincial. "I became a revolutionary so early in life that I don't remember when I was not one."
In 1894, he left Russia for Switzerland and was a pupil of Avenarius. In 1896, he returned to Russia -- and was arrested for party building activities. He was exiled to Kaluga. In 1901 or 1902, he returned to Kiev.
Isaac Deutscher wrote in a 1967 intro to this book:
"His role in the events of 1917 was quite outstanding, as all eye-witnesses testify. The 'soft' 'God-seeker' with the air of the absent-minded professor, surprised and astonished all who saw him by his indominable militancy and energy. He was the great orator of Red Petrograd, second only to Trotsky, addressing every day, or even several times a day, huge, hungry and angry crowds or workers, soldiers and saliors...."
He was jailed by Kerensky in July 1917. Made Commissar of Education in Lenin's first government. Died in 1933, just before taking the station of Ambassador to Spain.
The present book is made up of a series of articles written on various occasions about some of our comrades in the R.C.P.
I should begin with a warning that these are not biographies, not testimonials, not portraits but merely profiles: it is their virtue and at the same time their limitation that they are entirely based on personal recollections.
In 1919 the publisher Grzhebin, whom I already knew and who had been recommended to me by Maxim Gorky, asked me to start writing my memoirs of the great revolution. I was soon able to deliver him the first -- or more precisely the preliminary -- volume, in which I attempted to acquaint the readers both with myself, as a point of reference in judging the rather more subjective aspects of my 'chronicle', and with the main dramatic personae of the revolution in so far as I knew them and in so far as a knowledge of their characters and the events of their pre-revolutionary lives seemed to me to merit further exposition.
That book, however, was overtaken by a strange fate. At a moment when circumstances precluded me from working on it and when I had become convinced that to write memoirs at a time when not a single event of the revolution had cooled down -- we were still living in its very crucible -- was simply impossible (Sukhanov's multi-volume work on the revolution, among others, had already convinced me of this); at a time, as it seemed to me, when any premature description of those events without an adequate study of the documents would be too subjective and little more than essay-writing -- it was then that Grzhebin, unknown to me, published the first volume of my proposed memoirs. He is apparently continuing to publish them abroad, entirely without my permission.
I think it essential to state these facts here, in order to avoid any misunderstanding about the nature of that book.
I have now decided to extract from it, in slightly re-edited form, my character-sketches of comrades Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev. I still think that these profiles are quite accurate and fair and that some people may find them useful, in particular young members of the R.C.P. Or sympathizers outside the framework of the Party.
The chief inadequacy of these profiles is their exclusive reliance on material that predates 1917. I also apologize for the fact that in one or two places I have been obliged en passant to talk about myself.
I have lengthened the essay on comrade Zinoviev.
I have added to these main essays a profile of Martov, also taken from my book The Great Revolution, and my obituaries of Uritsky, Kalinin and Bessalko, and I have rewritten my short memoirs of Volodarsky and Sverdlov since my previous writings on them have been mislaid.
My cursory recollections of G. V. Plekhanov were written at the request of the editor of the journal Under The Banner of Marxism, in which they were first published earlier this year.
I shall make no attempt here to write yet another biography of Lenin; for that there is no lack of other sources. I shall only refer to what I know of him from our personal relations and to my own direct impressions of the man.
I first heard of Lenin from Axelrod after the publication of a book written by 'Tulin'. I had not yet read the book, but Axelrod said to me: 'Now we can really say that there is a genuine social-democratic movement in Russia and that real social-democratic thinkers are beginning to emerge.'
'What do you mean?' I enquired. 'What about Struve, what about Tugan-Baranovsky?' Axelrod gave a somewhat enigmatic smile (the fact is that he had once expressed the highest opinion of Struve) and said: 'Yes, but Struve and Tugan-Baranovsky -- all that is just so many pages of donnish theorizing, so much historical data on the evolution of the Russian academic intelligentsia; Tulin on the other hand is a product of the Russian workers' movement, he is already a page in the history of the Russian revolution.'
Naturally Tulin's book was read abroad (I was in Zurich at the time) with the utmost avidity and was subjected to every form of comment. After that I heard no more than rumours of his arrest and exile at Krasnoyarsk with Martov and Potresov. Lenin, Martov and Potresov appeared to be absolutely inseparable personal friends; they blended into a collective image of the purely Russian leadership of the newly-formed workers' movement. How strange it is now to see what different paths these 'three friends' were to follow!
The next book to reach us was On the Development of Capitalism in Russia. Although personally less concerned with purely economic questions -- I already regarded the characteristics and development of capitalism in Russia as incontestable -- I was nevertheless amazed by the enormously solid statistical foundation of the book and the skill of its argumentation. It seemed to me at the time (as was indeed to be the case) that this book would give the death-blow to all the misconceived notions of Populist (Narodnik) ideology.
I was in exile when news of the 2nd Congress began to reach us. This was the time when Iskra had begun publication and was already consolidating its position. I had unhesitatingly declared myself a supporter of Iskra, but I knew little of its contents because although we did get all the issues, they reached us at very irregular intervals. We nevertheless had the impression that the inseparable trio -- Lenin, Martov and Potresov -- had become indissolubly fused with the émigré trinity of Plekhanov, Axelrod and Zasulich. At all events the news of the split at the 2nd Congress hit us like a bolt from the blue. We knew that the 2nd Congress was to witness the concluding moves in the struggle with 'The Workers' Cause', but that the schism should take a course which was to put Martov and Lenin in opposing camps and that Plekhanov was to 'split off' midway between the two -- none of this so much as entered our heads.
The first clause of the Party statute -- was this really something which justified a split? A reshuffle of jobs on the editorial board -- what's the matter with those people abroad, have they gone mad? We were disturbed more than anything else by this split and tried, from the meagre information which filtered through to us, to unravel what on earth was going on. There was no lack of rumours that Lenin was a trouble-maker and a splitter, that he wanted to set himself up as the autocrat of the Party at all costs, that Martov and Axelrod had refused, as it were, to swear fealty to him as the Grand Cham of the Party. This interpretation was, however, largely contradicted by the stand taken by Plekhanov, whose initial attitude, as we know, was one of close and friendly alliance with Lenin. It was not long before Plekhanov deserted to the Menshevik side, but all of us in exile (and not only those exiled in Vologda, I suspect) took this as being very much to Georgii Valentinovich's discredit. We Marxists had nothing to gain by such rapid changes of position.
In short, we were somewhat in the dark. I should add that the comrades in Russia who supported Lenin were also rather vague about what was happening. If we are to mention personalities, it was undoubtedly A. A. Bogdanov who gave him the most powerful support. It was here that Bogdanov's adherence to Lenin was, I think, of decisive significance. If he had not sided with Lenin things would probably have progressed a great deal more slowly.
But why did Bogdanov associate himself with Lenin ? He saw the quarrel which had broken out at the Congress as primarily a question of discipline: once a majority (even if only of one) had voted for Lenin's formulae, the minority should have acquiesced; secondly he saw it as a clash between the Russian section of the Party and the émigrés. Even though Lenin did not have a single big name on his side he did have, practically to a man, all the delegates who had come from Russia, whereas as soon as Plekhanov crossed the floor all the big émigré names were gathered in the Menshevik camp.
Bogdanov recalled the scene, although not quite accurately, as follows: the émigré aristocrats of the Party had refused to realize that we were now a real party and that what counted above all was the collective will of those who were doing the practical work in Russia. There is no doubt that this line, which gave rise, inter alia, to the slogan: 'A single Party centre -- and in Russia', had a flattering and encouraging effect on many Party committees in Russia, which were by then spread in a fairly wide network throughout the country.
It soon became clear what sort of people were drawn to each of the two factions: the Mensheviks attracted the majority of the Marxist intellectuals in the capitals; they also had an undoubted success among the more skilled working men; the chief adherents of the Bolsheviks were in fact the committee members, i.e. the provincial Party workers, revolutionary professionals. These were largely made up of intellectuals of an obviously different type -- not academic Marxist professors and students but people who had committed themselves irrevocably to their profession -- revolution. It was largely this element to which Lenin attached such enormous significance and which he called 'the bacteria of revolution'; it was this section which was consolidated by Bogdanov, with the active support of the young Kamenev and others, into the famous Organizational Bureau of Committees of the Majority and which was to supply Lenin with his army.
Bogdanov by then had served his term of exile and was spending some time abroad. I was absolutely convinced that he must have made a reasonably correct assessment of the problems and therefore, partly out of confidence in him, I also took up a pro-Bolshevik position.
My exile over, I managed to see comrade Krizhanovsky in Kiev; he at the time was playing a fairly big part in affairs and was a close friend of comrade Lenin, although he was wavering between the strictly Leninist position and one of conciliationism. It was he who gave me a more detailed account of Lenin. He described him with enthusiasm, dwelling on his enormous intellect and inhuman energy; he described him as exceptionally kind and a magnificent friend, but he also remarked that Lenin was above all a political creature, that if he broke with somebody politically he would at once break off personal relations with him as well. Lenin was, in Krizhanovsky's words, merciless and undeviating in the struggle. Just as I was beginning to build up a fairly romantic image of the man in my mind's eye, Krizhanovsky added: 'And to look at he's like a well-heeled peasant from Yaroslavl, a cunning little muchik, especially when he's wearing a beard.'
Hardly had I returned to Kiev from exile when I received a direct order from the Bureau of Committee of the Majority to go abroad immediately and join the editorial staff of the central organ of the Party. This I did. I spent several months in Paris, partly because I wanted to make a closer study of the causes of the Party split. However, once in Paris I immediately found myself at the head of the very small local Bolshevik group and was soon involved in fighting the Mensheviks. Lenin wrote me a couple of short letters, in which he urged me to hurry to Geneva. In the end it was he who came to Paris.
To me his arrival was somewhat unexpected. He did not make a very good impression on me at first sight. His appearance struck me as somehow faintly colourless and he said nothing very definite apart from insisting on my immediate departure for Geneva.
I agreed to go.
At the same time Lenin decided to deliver a major lecture in Paris on the subject of the prospects of the Russian revolution and the fate of the Russian peasantry. It was at this lecture that I first heard him as an orator. Lenin was transformed. I was deeply impressed by that concentrated energy with which he spoke, by those piercing eyes of his which grew almost sombre as they bored gimlet-like into the audience, by the orator's monotonous but compelling movements, by-that fluent diction so redolent of will-power. I realized that as a tribune this man was destined to make a powerful and ineradicable mark. And I already knew the extent of Lenin's strength as a publicist -- his unpolished but extraordinarily clear style, his ability to present any idea, however complicated, in astonishingly simple form and to modify it in such a way that it would ultimately be engraved upon any mind, however dull and however unaccustomed to political thinking.
Only later, much later, did I come to see that Lenin's greatest gifts were not those of a tribune or a publicist, not even those of a thinker, but even in those early days it was obvious to me that the dominating trait of his character, the feature which constituted half his make-up, was his will: an extremely firm, extremely forceful will capable of concentrating itself on the most immediate task but which yet never strayed beyond the radius traced out by his powerful intellect and which assigned every individual problem its place as a link in a huge, world-wide political chain.
I think it was on the day after the lecture that we, for I forget what reason, called on the sculptor Aronson, with whom I was then on quite friendly terms. Catching sight of Lenin's head Aronson was enraptured and begged Lenin to allow him at least to sculpt a medallion of his head. He pointed out to me the amazing resemblance between Lenin and Socrates. I should add, incidentally, that Lenin bore a much closer likeness to Verlaine than to Socrates. An engraving of Carriere's portrait of Verlaine had recently been published and a famous bust of Verlaine was on exhibition at the time, later to be bought by the Geneva museum. People had, in fact, remarked on Verlaine's unusual resemblance to Socrates, the chief similarity being in the magnificent shape of his head. The structure of Vladimir Ilyich's skull is truly striking. One has to study him for a little while and then instead of the first impression of a plain, large, bald head one begins to appreciate the physical power, the outlines of the colossal dome of his forehead, and to sense something which I can only describe as a physical emanation of light from its surface.
The sculptor, of course, noticed it at once.
Beside this, a feature which gave him more in common with Verlaine than with Socrates was his pair of small, deep-set and terrifyingly piercing eyes. But whereas in the great poet these eyes were sombre and rather lacklustre (judging by Carriere's portrait), with Lenin they are mocking, full of irony, glittering with intelligence and a kind of teasing mirth. Only when he speaks do they become sombre and literally hypnotic. Lenin has very small eyes but they are so expressive, so inspired that later I was often to find myself admiring their spontaneous vivacity.
The eyes of Socrates, to judge by the busts of him, were rather more protuberant.
In the lower part of the head there is a further significant resemblance, especially when Lenin's beard is more or less fully grown. With Socrates, Verlaine and Lenin the beard grows in a similar way, slightly jutting and untidy. With all three the lower region of the face is somewhat shapeless, as if flung together as an afterthought.
A big nose and thick lips give Lenin something of a Tartar look, which in Russia is of course easily explicable. But exactly the same or nearly the same nose and lips are to be found in Socrates, a fact particularly noticeable in Greece where a similar cast of features was usually only attributed to satyrs. It is the same with Verlaine. One of Verlaine's close friends nicknamed him 'The Kalmuck'. In the busts of the great philosopher, Socrates' countenance chiefly bears the stamp of deep thought. I believe, however, that if there is a grain of truth in the descriptions of him left by Xenophon and Plato, Socrates must have been a man of wit and irony and that in the lively play of his features there would, I submit, have been an even greater likeness to those of Lenin than the bust shows. Equally there predominates in both the famous portraits of Verlaine that mood of melancholy, that minor-key air of decadence which of course dominated his poetry; everyone knows, however, that Verlaine, especially in the early stages of his drunken spells, was a man of gay and ironic temper and I believe that here again the likeness was more than is apparent.
What is there to be learned from this strange parallel between a Greek philosopher, a great French poet and a great Russian revolutionary ? The answer is, of course -- nothing. If it indicates anything at all, then it simply shows that similar features may indeed be found in men who are perhaps of an equal rank of genius but of a totally different cast of mind; apart from that it provided me with a chance of describing Lenin's appearance in more or less graphic terms.
When I came to know Lenin better, I appreciated yet another side of him which is not immediately obvious -- his astonishing vitality. Life bubbles and sparkles within him. Today, as I write these lines, Lenin is already fifty, yet he is still a young man, the whole tone of his life is youthful. How infectiously, how charmingly, with what childlike ease he laughs, how easy it is to amuse him, how prone he is to laughter, that expression of man's victory over difficulties! In the worst moments that he and I lived through together, Lenin was unshakeably calm and as ready as ever to break into cheerful laughter.
There was even something unusually endearing about his anger. Despite the fact that of late his displeasure might destroy dozens, perhaps even hundreds of people, he was always in control of his anger and it was expressed in almost joking manner. It was like a thunderstorm 'that seemed to sport and play, to rumble in a clear blue sky'. I have often noticed that alongside that outward seething, those angry words, those shafts of venomous irony there was a chuckle in his glance and the instant ability to put an end to the angry scene which he had apparently whipped up because it suited his purpose. Inwardly he remains not only calm but cheerful.
In his private life, too, Lenin loves the sort of fun which is unassuming, direct, simple and rumbustious. His favourites are children and cats; sometimes he can play with them for hours on end. Lenin also brings the same wholesome, life-enhancing quality to his work. I cannot say from personal experience that Lenin is hard-working; as it happens I have never seen him immersed in a book or bent over his desk. He writes his articles without the least effort and in a single draft free of all mistakes or revisions. He can do this at any moment of the day, usually in the morning after getting up, but he can do it equally well in the evening when he has returned from an exhausting day, or at any other time. Recently his reading, with the possible exception of a short interval spent abroad during the period of reaction, has been fragmentary rather than extensive, but from every book, from every single page that he reads Lenin draws something new, stores away some essential idea which he will later employ as a weapon. He is not particularly stimulated by ideas that are cognate with his own thought, but rather by those that conflict with his. The ardent polemicist is always alive in him.
But if there is something slightly ridiculous in calling Lenin industrious, he is on the other hand capable of enormous effort when required. I would almost be prepared to say that he is absolutely tireless; if that is not strictly so it is because I know that the inhuman efforts which he has lately been forced to make have caused his powers to flag somewhat towards the end of each week and have obliged him to rest..
But then Lenin is one of those people who knows how to relax. He takes his rest like taking a bath and when he does so he stops thinking about anything; he completely gives himself up to idleness and whenever possible to his favourite amusement and to laughter. In this way Lenin emerges from the briefest spell of rest freshened and ready for the fray again.
It is this well-spring of sparkling and somehow naïve vitality which, together with the solid breadth of his intellect and his intense will-power, constitutes Lenin's fascination. This fascination is colossal: people who come close to his orbit not only become devoted to him as a political leader but in some odd way they fall in love with him. This applies to people of the most varying calibre and cast of mind, ranging from such enormously sensitive and gifted men as Gorky to a lumpish peasant from the depths of the country, from a first-class political brain like Zinoviev to some soldier or sailor who only yesterday belonged to the Jew-baiting 'Black Hundred' gangs who now is prepared to risk his tousled head for the 'leader of the world revolution -- Ilyich'. This familiar form of his name, Ilyich, has become so widespread that it is used by people who have never seen Lenin.
When Lenin lay wounded -- mortally, we feared -- no one expressed our feelings about him better than Trotsky. Amidst the appalling turmoil of world events it was Trotsky, the other leader of the Russian revolution, a man by no means inclined to sentimentality, who said: 'When you realize that Lenin might die it seems that all our lives are useless and you lose the will to live.'
To return to the thread of my recollections of Lenin before the great revolution: in Geneva Lenin and I worked together on the editorial board of the journal Forward, then on The Proletarian. Lenin was a good man to work with as an editor. He wrote a lot and he wrote easily, as I have already mentioned, and took a very conscientious attitude towards his colleagues' work: he frequently corrected them, gave advice and was delighted by any talented and convincing article.
In the first period of our life in Geneva up to January 1905 we spent most of our time on internal Party quarrels. Here I was astonished by Lenin's profound indifference to every form of polemical skirmishing. He set very little store by the struggle to capture the émigré readership, which largely supported the Mensheviks. He failed to attend a number of solemn discussion meetings and made no effort to suggest that I should go to them either. He preferred me to spend my time on writing full-length papers and essays.
In his attitude to his enemies there was no feeling of bitterness, but nevertheless he was a cruel political opponent, exploiting any blunder they made and exaggerating every hint of opportunism -- in which by the way he was quite correct, because later the Mensheviks themselves were to fan their erstwhile sparks into a sizeable blaze of opportunism. He never dabbled in intrigue, although in the political struggle he deployed every weapon except dirty ones. The Mensheviks, I should point out, behaved in exactly the same way. Relations between the factions were in any event pretty bad and there were not many of those who were political opponents at that time who were able to maintain any sort of normal personal relations. For us the Mensheviks had become enemies. Dan, in particular, poisoned the Mensheviks' attitude towards us. Lenin had always disliked Dan, whereas he had always liked Martov and still does, [AVL note: On the day that I was reading the final proof of this 'profile' there came the news of Martov's death] but he always regarded him and still regards him as politically spineless and prone to lose sight of the main objectives in his fine-spun political theorizing.
With the forward march of revolutionary events, matters changed considerably. Firstly we began to gain something like a moral superiority over the Mensheviks.
It was then that the Mensheviks turned firmly to the slogan: push the bourgeoisie forward and strive for a constitution or at the best for a democratic republic. Our attitude of being technicians of revolution, as the Mensheviks claimed, was attracting a significant proportion of émigré opinion, in particular that of young people. We could feel firm ground under our feet. Lenin in those days was magnificent. With the utmost enthusiasm he unfolded a prospect of merciless revolutionary struggle to come, and set off in a passion for Russia.
At this point I went to Italy, due to poor health and fatigue, and I only kept in touch with Lenin by a correspondence that was largely concerned with matters of practical policy concerning our newspaper.
I next met him in Petersburg. I am bound to say that this period of Lenin's activity, in 1905 and 1906, seems to me to have been a comparatively ineffective one. Of course, even then he wrote a considerable number of brilliant articles and remained the leader of what was politically the most active of the parties -- the Bolsheviks. I watched him closely throughout that period, because it was then that I had begun to make a close study from good sources of the lives of Cromwell and Danton. In trying to analyse the psychology of revolutionary 'leaders', I compared Lenin with figures such as these and I wondered whether Lenin really was such a genuinely revolutionary leader as he had seemed to be. I began to feel that life as an émigré had somewhat reduced Lenin's stature, that for him the internal party struggle with the Mensheviks had overshadowed the much greater struggle against the monarchy and that he was more of a journalist than a real leader.
It was bitter news to hear that discussions with the Mensheviks, to define the precise bounds between the two factions, were even going on whilst Moscow was prostrate from the effects of an unsuccessful armed uprising. Furthermore Lenin, from fear of arrest, made only rare appearances as a speaker; as far as I remember he did so on only one occasion, under the pseudonym of Karpov. He was recognized and given a magnificent ovation. He worked chiefly behind the scenes, almost exclusively with his pen and at various committee meetings of local Party branches. In short, Lenin, I felt, was still carrying on the fight rather on the old émigré scale, without expanding the work to the more grandiose proportions which the revolution was then assuming. Nevertheless I still regarded him as the leading political figure in Russia and I began to fear that the revolution lacked a real leader of genius.
To talk of Nosar-Khrustalev was, of course, ridiculous. We all realized that this 'leader' who had so suddenly emerged had no future at all. A great deal more noise and glitter surrounded Trotsky, but at that time we all regarded Trotsky as a very able if somewhat theatrical tribune and not as a politician of the first rank. Dan and Martov were making extraordinary efforts to carry on the fight in the very heart of the Petersburg working class and as always they directed it against us, the Bolsheviks.
I now think that the 1905-6 revolution caught us somewhat unprepared and that we lacked real political skill. It was our later work in the Duma, our later work as émigrés in turning ourselves into practical politicians, in dealing with the problems of genuinely national politics, to which we were more or less convinced we should return sooner or later -- it was this that added to our inner stature, which completely altered our manner of approach to the question of revolution when history summoned us again. This is especially true of Lenin.
I did not see Lenin while he was in Finland, when he was in hiding from the forces of reaction. I next met him abroad, at the Stuttgart congress. Here he and I were particularly close, quite apart from the fact that we were constantly conferring together as a result of the Party having entrusted me with one of the most essential jobs at the Congress. We had a number of major political discussions more or less in private, in which we weighed up the prospects of the great social revolution. On this subject Lenin was generally more of an optimist than I was. I considered that events would develop rather slowly, that we should obviously have to wait until capitalism was established in the Asian countries, that capitalism still had quite a few shots in its locker and that we might not see a true social revolution until our old age. This outlook genuinely upset Lenin. When I set out to prove my case to him I noticed a real shadow of sorrow crossing his powerful, intelligent features and I realized how passionately this man wanted not only to see the revolution in his lifetime but to exert himself in creating it. However, although he refused to agree with me he was obviously prepared to make a realistic admission that it would be an uphill task and to act accordingly.
Lenin turned out to possess the greater political insight, which is not surprising. He has the ability to raise opportunism to the level of genius, by which I mean the kind of opportunism which can seize on the precise moment and which always knows how to exploit it for the unvarying objective of the revolution. While Lenin was engaged on his great work during the Russian revolution he showed some remarkable examples of this brilliant timing, and he spelled this out in his last speech at the 4th Congress of the Third International, a speech uniquely interesting in subject-matter and in which he described what one might call the philosophy of the tactics of retreat. Both Danton and Cromwell had this same ability.
I should add in passing that Lenin was always very shy and inclined to lurk in the shadows at international congresses, perhaps because he lacked confidence in his knowledge of languages -- although he speaks good German and has no mean grasp of French and English. In spite of this he used to limit his public utterances at congresses to a few sentences. This has changed since Lenin has felt himself, at first hesitantly and then unconditionally, to be the leader of world revolution. As long ago as Zimmerwald and Kienthal, where I was not present, Lenin appears, along with Zinoviev, to have made a number of major speeches in foreign languages. At the congresses of the Third International he frequently made long speeches which he refused to have translated by interpreters but instead generally made the speech himself first in German and then in French. He always spoke them with complete fluency and expressed his thoughts clearly and concisely. I was therefore all the more touched by a small document which I recently saw among the exhibits of the 'Red Moscow' museum. It was a questionnaire, filled out in Vladimir Ilyich's own hand. Opposite the question 'Have you a fluent spoken knowledge of any foreign language ?' Ilyich had firmly written: 'None.' A trifle, but one which perfectly illustrates his unusual modesty. It will be appreciated by anybody who has witnessed the tremendous ovations which the Germans, the French and other western Europeans have given Lenin after he has made speeches in foreign languages.
I am very glad that I was never personally involved in our lengthy political quarrel with Lenin. I refer to the episode when Bogdanov, myself and others adopted a leftist deviation and formed the Forward group, in which we mistakenly disagreed with Lenin in his appraisal of the Party's need to exploit the possibilities of legal political action during Stolypin's reactionary ministry.
During that period of disagreement Lenin and I never met. I was very much disturbed by Lenin's political ruthlessness when it was directed against us. I now believe that much of what divided the Bolsheviks and the Forwardists was simply a product of the misunderstandings and irritations of émigré life, quite apart, of course, from our very serious differences of opinion on philosophical matters; there was, after all, no reason for a political split between us because we both only represented shades of one and the same political viewpoint. At the time Bogdanov was so annoyed that he predicted that Lenin would inevitably leave the revolutionary movement and even tried to prove to comrade E. K. Malinovskaya and to myself that Lenin was bound to end up as an Octobrist.
Yes, Lenin certainly became an Octobrist -- but what a different October that was!
I should like to add the following to these cursory remarks: I have often had to collaborate with Lenin on drafting resolutions of all kinds. This was generally done collectively -- Lenin liked cooperative work on such occasions. Recently I was called upon to undertake similar work on drafting the resolution for the 8th Congress on the peasant question.
Lenin himself is always extremely resourceful on such occasions; he quickly finds the appropriate words and phrases, weighs them up from every angle, sometimes rejects them. He is always very glad of help from any quarter. When someone manages to hit on exactly the right phrasing -'That's it, that's it, well said, dictate that', Lenin will say in such cases. If he thinks some words are doubtful he will stare into space, ponder and say: 'I think it would sound better like this.' Sometimes, having laughingly accepted some critical objection, he will alter the wording that he himself has just put forward in all confidence.
Under Lenin's chairmanship this kind of work always proceeds extraordinarily quickly and somehow cheerfully. Not only does his own mind function at the top of its bent; he stimulates the minds of others to the highest degree.
I shall add nothing more at present to these recollections of mine, which largely make up my impressions of Vladimir Ilyich in the period before the 1917 revolution. Naturally I have a wealth of impressions and views concerning his absolute genius in the leadership of the Russian and world revolution, which was our leader's contribution to history.
I have not given up the idea of writing a more exhaustive political portrait of Vladimir Ilyich on the basis of that experience. There is, of course, a whole series of new characteristics which have enriched my view of him during these last six years of our work together, none of which, be it said, contradict those I have singled out, but which constitute further first-hand evidence of his personality. But the time is yet to come for drawing such a broad and comprehensive portrait.
Those comrades who may wish to re-publish these pages from the first volume of The Great Revolution (to which I have made only slight editorial emendations) will not, I feel, be mistaken in the belief that my work, too, has its place of some small value in the history of Russia and of the modern world, which in our country has always rightfully attracted such a keen interest among the very widest circles.
Lunacharsky's original profile of Lenin was written in 1918 and published in 1919. Rather than attempt to summarize the numerous studies of Lenin's activities up to October 19I7 it may be of value in this instance to sketch in the circumstances that followed the revolution. Lunacharsky was writing for people who were living in the immediate post-revolutionary turmoil, a time when Lenin had just begun to play a role which was the exact opposite of his previous function of would-be destroyer and usurper: he was now the head of an unstable, narrowly-based government of Russia which had suddenly inherited, in a magnified twentieth-century form, most of the accumulated problems which had bedevilled the country's past rulers. Brutus was now clad in Caesar's robe and inevitably not only his fellow-conspirators but the onstage crowd and the bewildered foreign audience saw him in a different light.
In late 1917 and 1918 Lenin's new-born Bolshevik regime was threatened from within and without. First and above all loomed the stark, unavoidable fact that revolutionary Russia was on the point of total military defeat by imperial Germany. Yet despite Russia's war-weariness, the thought of capitulation evoked a violently 'patriotic' reaction in politicians and masses alike. For reasons in which emotion and calculation were inextricably mixed, the dominant mood of the country was for fighting on and in a stormy meeting of Bolshevik leaders on 8 January 1918 Lenin was voted down by an absolute majority for continuing the war. Unaffected by his colleagues' illusions, Lenin temporized, manoeuvred and pressed for peace. He was helped by the Germans, who terrified the Bolsheviks by resuming their advance into Russia on I7 February. Under threat of Lenin's resignation his peace policy scraped through the Central Committee on z3 February, and on 3 March 1918 the treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed. Russia lost Finland, the Ukraine, the Baltic states, eastern Poland and a large slice of Caucasian territory; but the heartland of Russia was saved for the Revolution, Germany turned westward to deal with the Allies and was herself crushed eight months later. Lenin had shown that he was a Russian statesman of international calibre. At the time hardly anyone was capable of realizing this: at home the 'Left Communists' shrilly accused him of betraying the Revolution whilst abroad The Times had summed up official western opinion by growling: 'They [the Allies] know that the Maximalists [Bolsheviks] are a band of anarchists and fanatics who have seized power for the moment, owing to the paralysis of national life.... They know that Lenin and several of his confederates are adventurers of German-Jewish blood and in German pay...'
In the breathing-space won at Brest-Litovsk internal problems now beset Lenin with equal force. The economy was in ruins and hunger threatened the cities. The dissolution of society and the undermining of respect for authority of any sort were proving a serious embarrassment now that the Bolsheviks had to act constructively. Both the Left S.Rs and the 'Left Communists' within the Bolshevik ranks were making potentially dangerous trouble. The latter were probably the least of Lenin's difficulties. With his long experience of dealing with Party frondeurs he knew that provided they were allowed to go on talking their heads off whilst being excluded from influence on the really vital issues, they could be both neutralized and harnessed to vital but secondary tasks; Lunacharsky himself, appointed to the Commissariat of Education, was a typical example of such skilful treatment. The Left S.Rs were harder to tame, because they were outside Lenin's immediate control. They delivered themselves into his hands, however, when they staged a revolt in July 1918 against the Brest-Litovsk treaty, assassinated Von Mirbach the German ambassador and capped it by assassinating Uritsky the following month; on the same day the nearly successful attempt on Lenin's own life, despite the lack of evidence to associate his assailant Fanny Kaplan with the S.Rs, proved the final excuse for letting loose an outburst of terror against the S.Rs and other anti-Bolsheviks of whatever ilk.
The ills of the Russian economy, by contrast, were less susceptible to cure by rifle-fire and it was in this sector that Lenin in 1918-19 achieved relatively little. For the moment threats, exhortation and improvisation were the only measures that the Bolsheviks seemed capable of taking and they were not enough. For nearly five years Russia lived from hand to mouth and it is amazing that Lenin's regime did not founder on the one problem which he failed to solve -- bread.
Yet in the crucial matter of survival in the face of violent civil war, Lenin managed the apparently impossible. A year after 1917 -- a time when officers were liable to be lynched and the armed forces were little more than a dangerously anarchic mob -- a disciplined Red Army and Navy had been created which beat the White generals and their Entente backers to a standstill. All these facts should be borne in mind when reading Lunacharsky's gentle, admiring memoirs of Lenin before 1917, which give little hint of the ruthless strength of the man who rode the Russian tiger.
1. AXELROD: Pavel Borisovich Axelrod (1850 -- 1928). Pseudonym of Pinkhas Boruch Axelrod. Early Marxist theoretician. One of the founders of the 'Liberation of Labour' group, 1883. Became Menshevik after 1903 Party split.
4. STRUVE: Pyotr Berngardovich Struve (1870-1944). One of the earliest Russian Marxist theorists. Although he drafted the first manifesto of the Russian Social Democratic Party in 1898, Struve changed his politics in 1902 and joined the liberal Kadet party (q.v. below p. 71). During Civil War, foreign minister of Wrangel's 'White' government in the Crimea. Died in Paris.
5. TUGAN-BARANOVSKY: Mikhail Ivanovich Tugan-Baranovsky (1865-1919). Economics professor at St Petersburg University. 'Legal' Marxist. In 1918 Minister of Finance in short-lived Ukrainian government of Hetman Skoropadsky.
8. POTRESOV: Alexandr Nikolayevich Potresov (1869-1934). Early Russian socialist, collaborated with Lenin in early days of Party journal The Spark (Iskra). Became right wing Menshevik after 1905 revolution, but broke with Mensheviks after 1917 as being insufficiently vigorous in their opposition to Bolsheviks. Emigrated in 1927.
10. NARODNIK: Name applied to the non-Marxist Russian agrarian socialist movement of the latter half of the nineteenth century. Based its theories of reform on the Russian peasants' system of communal land tenure. Employed terrorism as political weapon.
13. PLEKHANOV: Georgii Valentinovich Plekhanov (1857 -- 1918). See below.
14. ZASULICH: Vera Ivanovna Zasulich (1851 -- 1919). Began her political career as a Narodnik. She attempted, aged seventeen, to assassinate Trepov, military governor of St Petersburg. Was tried but acquitted and allowed to escape abroad. Became a Marxist in the early 1800s and was one of the first members of the Russian Social Democratic party.
15. 'THE WORKERS' CAUSE': First social democratic news paper in Russia. From 1898 to 1903 represented the official grouping of the S.D. party in emigration. The 'struggle' referred to was between The Workers' Cause and The Spark for recognition as the official Party organ.
16. THE FIRST CLAUSE OF THE PARTY STATUTE: The wording of this clause, which defined Party membership, was one of the sharpest points of difference between Lenin and Martov in the Split of the Russian Social Democratic party into the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions.
17. THOSE EXILED IN VOLOGDA: Refers to Lunacharsky himself, who was exiled to Vologda from 1900 to 1902. Vologda, a town in northern European Russia, is approximately halfway between Moscow and Archangel.
18. A. A. BOGDANOV: Alexandr Alexandrovich Malinovsky alias Bogdanov (1873-1928). Philosopher, sociologist, economist and surgeon. Joined the Social Democratic party in 1890s, became a Bolshevik at the Party split in 1903. Became leader of the left-wing Bolshevik 'Forward' group (q.v. below). Served in the First World War as an army doctor. After 1917, although then outside the Bolshevik party, was influential as a somewhat heterodox Communist ideologist and as theorist of the 'Proletarian Culture' movement (q.v. below). After 1923 devoted himself to medicine; died during an experiment on himself.
19. KAMENEV: Lev Borisovich Rosenfeld, alias Kamenev (I883-1936). Joined the Social Democratic party in 1901; a Bolshevik in 1903. Close associate of Lenin. Arrested and exiled to Siberia in November 1914. Released February 1917. Chairman, Central Executive Committee of Soviets. Supported Trotsky in the anti-Stalin opposition. 1926-27 Soviet Ambassador to Italy. Condemned and executed in the first major 'purge' trial, 1936.
20. KRZHIZHANOVSKY: Gleb Maximilianovich Krzhizhanovsky (1872- ? ). Became Marxist in 1891. Graduated from St Petersburg as an engineer 1894. Early Bolshevik. In 1895 arrested and exiled to Siberia. Emigrated to Munich in 1901, collaborated on Iskra. Elected to Central Committee of S.D. Party at 2nd Congress, 1903. An organizer of the railway strike in the 1905 revolution. Member of Moscow Soviet during 1917. Originated the plan for the electrification of Russia. Founded and ran Gosplan (State Planning Commission) from 1921 to 1930. Vice-president, U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences.
21. THE CENTRAL ORGAN OF THE PARTY: In 1904, in Geneva, Lunacharsky contributed editorially to the Bolshevik journal Forward; after the 3rd Congress of the Party in 1905 Forward was officially closed down and at once restarted, entitled The Proletarian. To call it 'the central organ of the Party' is a piece of sophistry; it was a Bolshevik factional journal.
22. THE SCULPTOR ARONSON: Naum Aronson. Born at Kieslavka, Ukraine. Russian-Jewish sculptor whose most famous work is the Beethoven monument at Bonn. Awarded gold medal at Liege, 1906. His bust of Lenin was exhibited at the Soviet pavilion at the 1937 World Fair in Paris.
24. BLACK HUNDRED GANGS: Name given by their opponents to right-wing, proto-fascist extremist organizations in early twentieth-century Russia. Made the first extensive use of the 'pogrom' as a form of organized anti-Semitic terror.
25. DAN IN PARTICULAR: Fyodor Ilyich Gurvich, alias Dan (1871-1947). Married to the sister of Martov. Joined Social Democratic party in 1894. Became Menshevik in 1903. Shared with Martov the leadership of the Menshevik faction until after October 1917. Later emigrated and died in New York.
27. NOSAR-KHRUSTALEV: Georgii Stepanovich NosarKhrustalev (1879-1919). (Sometimes referred to as 'Khrustalev-Nosar'.) First chairman of the St Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies during the 1905 revolution. Became a Menshevik in 1907. Gave up politics, became a journalist in the right-wing Press. Headed the ephemeral 'Khrustalev Republic' in the Ukraine during the Civil War. Shot by the Bolsheviks.
30. 4TH CONGRESS OF THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL: Held 1922-3 in Moscow. The Third International was the Bolshevik-dominated Communist international movement, usually known as the 'Comintern', so called to distinguish it from the Second or 'socialist' International.
31. ZIMMERWALD AND KIENTHAL: In September 1915 certain socialists, including some Bolsheviks and Mensheviks from the Russian Party, dissenting from their fellow socialists who had supported their respective countries' military efforts in the war, organized an anti-war conference at Zimmerwald in Switzerland. Lenin participated and took up an extreme 'left' anti-war position. A second similar conference (called the 'Second Zimmerwald' conference) was held in April 1916 at Kienthal. Lenin's extremist attitude was strongly held and resulted in a manifesto urging the European working class to stop fighting each other and turn on their capitalist exploiters.
32. THE 'FORWARD' GROUP: Radical sub-faction of the Bolsheviks, founded by Bogdanov, Lunacharsky and Gorky in 1909. Ideologically inspired by Bogdanov, it disagreed with Lenin on the tactics of participation in the Duma. The group soon lost political significance and Lunacharsky returned to orthodox Bolshevism in 1917.
34. OCTOBRIST: Russian political party of right-wing liberals, formed in 1905, led by A. I. Guchkov and M. V. Rodzyanko. Title adopted from the Imperial Manifesto of 17 October 1905 granting a constitution.
* On re-reading these lines now, in March 1923, when Lenin is gravely ill, I am bound to admit that neither we nor he himself took enough care of him. Nevertheless I am convinced that Vladimir Ilyich's Herculean constitution will overcome his illness and that before long he will return to the leadership of the R.C.P. and of Russia.
Lev Davidovich Trotsky
Trotsky entered the history of our Party somewhat unexpectedly and with instant brilliance. As I have heard, he began his social-democratic activity on the school bench and he was exiled before he was eighteen.
He escaped from exile. He first caused comment when he appeared at the Second Party Congress, at which the split occurred. Trotsky evidently surprised people abroad by his eloquence, by his education, which was remarkable for a young man, and by his aplomb. An anecdote was told about him which is probably not true, but which is nevertheless characteristic, according to which Vera Ivanovna Zasulich, with her usual expansiveness, having met Trotsky, exclaimed in the presence of Plekhanov: 'That young man is undoubtedly a genius'; the story goes that as Plekhanov left the meeting he said to someone: 'I shall never forgive this of Trotsky.' It is a fact that Plekhanov did not love Trotsky, although I believe that it was not because the good Zasulich called him a genius but because Trotsky had attacked him during the 2nd Congress with unusual heat and in fairly uncomplimentary terms. Plekhanov at the time regarded himself as a figure of absolutely inviolable majesty in social-democratic circles; even outsiders who disagreed with him approached him with heads bared and such cheekiness on Trotsky's part was bound to infuriate him. The Trotsky of those days undoubtedly had a great deal of juvenile bumptiousness. If the truth be told, because of his youth nobody took him very seriously, but everybody admitted that he possessed remarkable talent as an orator and they sensed too, of course, that this was no chick but a young eagle.
I first met him at a comparatively late stage, in 1905, after the events of January. He had arrived, I forget where from, in Geneva and he and I were due to speak at a big meeting summoned as a result of this catastrophe. Trotsky then was unusually elegant, unlike the rest of us, and very handsome. This elegance and his nonchalant, condescending manner of talking to people, no matter who they were, gave me an unpleasant shock. I regarded this young dandy with extreme dislike as he crossed his legs and pencilled some notes for the impromptu speech that he was to make at the meeting. But Trotsky spoke very well indeed.
He also spoke at an international meeting, where I spoke for the first time in French and he in German; we both found foreign languages something of an obstacle, but we somehow survived the ordeal. Then, I remember, we were nominated -- I by the Bolsheviks, he by the Mensheviks -- to some commission on the division of joint funds and there Trotsky adopted a distinctly curt and arrogant tone.
Until we returned to Russia after the first (1905) revolution I did not see him again, nor did I see much of him during the course of the 1905 revolution. He held himself apart not only from us but from the Mensheviks too. His work was largely carried out in the Soviet of Workers' Deputies and together with Parvus he organized some kind of a separate group which published a very militant, very well-edited small and cheap newspaper.
I remember someone saying in Lenin's presence: 'Khrustalev's star is waning and now the strong man in the Soviet is Trotsky.' Lenin's face darkened for a moment, then he said: 'Well, Trotsky has earned it by his brilliant and unflagging work.'
Of all the Mensheviks Trotsky was then the closest to us, but I do not remember him once taking part in the fairly lengthy discussions between us and the Mensheviks on the subject of reuniting. By the Stockholm congress he had already been arrested.
His popularity among the Petersburg proletariat at the time of his arrest was tremendous and increased still more as a result of his picturesque and heroic behaviour in court. I must say that of all the social-democratic leaders of 1905-6 Trotsky undoubtedly showed himself, despite his youth, to be the best prepared. Less than any of them did he bear the stamp of a certain kind of émigré narrowness of outlook which, as I have said, even affected Lenin at that time. Trotsky understood better than all the others what it meant to conduct the political struggle on a broad, national scale. He emerged from the revolution having acquired an enormous degree of popularity, whereas neither Lenin nor Martov had effectively gained any at all. Plekhanov had lost a great deal, thanks to his display of quasi-Kadet tendencies. Trotsky stood then in the very front rank.
During the second emigration Trotsky took up residence in Vienna and in consequence my encounters with him were rare.
At the international conference in Stuttgart he behaved unassumingly and called upon us to do the same, considering that we had been knocked out of the saddle by the reaction of 1906 and were therefore incapable of commanding the respect of the congress.
Subsequently Trotsky was attracted by the conciliationist line and by the idea of the unity of the Party. More than anyone else he bent his efforts to that end at various plenary sessions and he devoted two-thirds of the work of his Vienna newspaper Pravda and of his group to the completely hopeless task of re-uniting the Party.
The only successful result which he achieved was the plenum at which he threw the 'liquidators' out of the Party, nearly expelled the 'Forwardists' end even managed for a time to stitch up the gap -- though with extremely weak thread -- between the Leninites and the Martovites. It was that Central Committee meeting which, among other things, dispatched comrade Kamenev as Trotsky's general watchdog (Kamenev was, incidentally, Trotsky's brother-in-law) but such a violent rift developed between Kamenev and Trotsky that Kamenev very soon returned to Paris. I must say here and now that Trotsky was extremely bad at organizing not only the Party but even a small group of it. He had practically no whole-hearted supporters at all; if he succeeded in impressing himself on the Party, it was entirely by his personality. The fact that he was quite incapable of fitting into the ranks of the Mensheviks made them react to him as though he were a kind of social-democratic anarchist and his behaviour annoyed them greatly. There was no question, at that time, of his total identification with the Bolsheviks. Trotsky seemed to be closest to the Martovites and indeed he always acted as though he were.
His colossal arrogance and an inability or unwillingness to show any human kindness or to be attentive to people, the absence of that charm which always surrounded Lenin, condemned Trotsky to a certain loneliness. One only has to recall that even a number of his personal friends (I am speaking, of course, of the political sphere) turned into his sworn enemies; this happened, for instance, in the case of his chief lieutenant, Semkovsky, and it occurred later with the man who was virtually his favourite disciple, Skobeliev.
Trotsky had little talent for working within political bodies; however, in the great ocean of political events, where such personal traits were completely unimportant, Trotsky's entirely positive gifts came to the fore.
I next came together with Trotsky at the Copenhagen Congress. On arrival Trotsky for some reason saw fit to publish an article in Vorwärts in which, having indiscriminately run down the entire Russian delegation, he declared that in effect they represented nobody but a lot of émigrés. This infuriated both Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. Plekhanov, who could not stand Trotsky, seized the opportunity to arraign Trotsky before a kind of court. This seemed to me unjust and I spoke up fairly energetically for Trotsky, and I was instrumental (together with Ryazanov) in ensuring that Plekhanov's plan came to nothing.... Partly for that reason, partly, perhaps more, by chance, Trotsky and I began to see more of each other during the congress: we took time off together, we talked a lot on many subjects, mainly political, and we parted on quite good terms.
Soon after the Copenhagen Congress we Forwardists organized our second party school in Bologna and invited
Trotsky to come and run our practical training in journalism and to deliver a course of lectures on, if I am not mistaken, the parliamentary tactics of the German and Austrian Social Democrats and on the history of the Social Democratic Party in Russia. Trotsky kindly agreed to this proposal and spent nearly a month in Bologna. It is true that he maintained his own political line the whole time and tried to dislodge our pupils from their extreme left viewpoint and steer them further towards a conciliatory and middle-of-the-road attitude -- a position, incidentally, which he himself regarded as strongly leftist. Although this political game of his proved fruitless, our pupils greatly enjoyed his highly talented lectures and in general throughout his whole stay Trotsky was unusually cheerful; he was brilliant, he was extremely loyal towards us and he left the best possible impression of himself. He was one of the most outstanding workers at our second party school
My final meetings with Trotsky were even more prolonged and more intimate. These took place in Paris in 1915. Trotsky joined the editorial board of Our Word, which was naturally accompanied by the usual intrigues and unpleasantness: someone was frightened by his joining us, afraid that such a strong personality might take over the newspaper altogether. But this aspect of the affair was of minor importance. A much more acute matter was that of Trotsky's attitude to Martov. We sincerely wanted to bring about, on a new basis of internationalism, the complete unification of our Party front all the way from Lenin to Martov. I spoke up for this course in the most energetic fashion and was to some degree the originator of the slogan 'Down with the 'defeatists', long live the unity of all Internationalists!' Trotsky fully associated himself with this. It had long been his dream and it seemed to justify his whole past attitude.
We had no disagreements with the Bolsheviks, but with the Mensheviks things were going badly. Trotsky tried by every means to persuade Martov to break his links with the Defencists. The meetings of the editorial board turned into lengthy discussions, during which Martov, with astounding mental agility, almost with a kind of cunning sophistry, avoided a direct answer to the question whether he would break with the Defencists, and at times Trotsky attacked him extremely angrily. Matters reached the point of an almost total break between Trotsky and Martov -- whom, by the way, Trotsky always respected as a political intellect -- and at the same time a break between all of us left Internationalists and the Martov group.
At this period there came to be so many political points of contact between Trotsky and myself that we were, I think, at our closest; it fell to me to represent his viewpoint in all discussions with the other editors and theirs with him. He and I very often spoke on the same platform at various émigré student gatherings, we jointly edited Party proclamations; in short we were in very close alliance.
I have always regarded Trotsky as a great man. Who, indeed, can doubt it? In Paris he had grown greatly in stature in my eyes as a statesman and in the future he grew even more. I do not know whether it was because I knew him better and he was better able to demonstrate the full measure of his powers when working on a grander scale or because in fact the experience of the revolution and its problems really did mature him and enlarge the sweep of his wings.
The agitational work of spring 1917 does not fall within the scope of these memoirs but I should say that under the influence of his tremendous activity and blinding success certain people close to Trotsky were even inclined to see in him the real leader of the Russian revolution. Thus for instance the late M. S. Uritsky, whose attitude to Trotsky was one of great respect, once said to me and I think to Manuilsky: 'Now that the great revolution has come one feels that however intelligent Lenin may be he begins to fade beside the genius of Trotsky.' This estimation seemed to me incorrect, not because it exaggerated Trotsky's gifts and his force of character but because the extent of Lenin's political genius was then still not obvious. Yet it is true that during that period, after the
thunderous success of his arrival in Russia and before the July days, Lenin did keep rather in the background, not speaking often, not writing much, but largely engaged in directing organizational work in the Bolshevik camp, whilst Trotsky thundered forth at meetings in Petrograd.
Trotsky's most obvious gifts were his talents as an orator and as a writer. I regard Trotsky as probably the greatest orator of our age. In my time I have heard all the greatest parliamentarians and popular tribunes of socialism and very many famous orators of the bourgeois world and I would find it difficult to name any of them, except Jaurès (Bebel I only heard when he was an old man), whom I could put in the same class as Trotsky.
His impressive appearance, his handsome, sweeping gestures, the powerful rhythm of his speech, his loud but never fatiguing voice, the remarkable coherence and literary skill of his phrasing, the richness of imagery, scalding irony, his soaring pathos, his rigid logic, clear as polished steel -- those are Trotsky's virtues as a speaker. He can speak in lapidary phrases, or throw off a few unusually well-aimed shafts and he can give a magnificent set-piece political speech of the kind that previously I had only heard from Jaurès. I have seen Trotsky speaking for two and a half to three hours in front of a totally silent, standing audience listening as though spellbound to his monumental political treatise. Most of what Trotsky had to say I knew already and naturally every politician often has to repeat the same ideas again and again in front of new crowds, yet every time Trotsky managed to clothe the same thought in a different form. I do not know whether Trotsky made so many speeches when he became War Minister of our great republic during the revolution and civil war: it is most probable that his organizational work and tireless journeying from end to end of the vast front left him little time for oratory, but even then Trotsky was above all a great political agitator. His articles and books are, as it were, frozen speech -- he was literary in his oratory and an orator in literature.
It is thus obvious why Trotsky was also an outstanding publicist, although of course it frequently happened that the spell-binding quality of his actual speech was somewhat lost in his writing.
As regards his inner qualities as a leader Trotsky, as I have said, was clumsy and ill-suited to the small-scale work of Party organization. This defect was to be glaringly evident in the future, since it was above all the work in the illegal underground of such men as Lenin, Chernov and Martov which later enabled their parties to contend for hegemony in Russia and later, perhaps, all over the world. Trotsky was hampered by the very definite limitations of his own personality.
Trotsky as a man is prickly and overbearing. However, after Trotsky's merger with the Bolsheviks, it was only in his attitude to Lenin that Trotsky always showed -- and continues to show -- a tactful pliancy which is touching. With the modesty of all truly great men he acknowledges Lenin's primacy.
On the other hand as a man of political counsel Trotsky's gifts are equal to his rhetorical powers. It could hardly be otherwise, since however skilful an orator may be, if his speech is not illuminated by thought he is no more than a sterile virtuoso and all his oratory is as a tinkling cymbal. It may not be quite so necessary for an orator to be inspired by love, as the apostle Paul maintains, for he may be filled with hate, but it is essential for him to be a thinker. Only a great politician can be a great orator, and since Trotsky is chiefly a political orator, his speeches are naturally the expression of political thinking.
It seems to me that Trotsky is incomparably more orthodox than Lenin, although many people may find this strange. Trotsky's political career has been somewhat tortuous: he was neither a Menshevik nor a Bolshevik but sought the middle way before merging his brook in the Bolshevik river, and yet in fact Trotsky has always been guided by the precise rules of revolutionary Marxism. Lenin is both masterful and creative in the realm of political thought and has very often formulated entirely new lines of policy which subsequently proved highly effective in achieving results. Trotsky is not remarkable for such boldness of thought: he takes revolutionary Marxism and draws from it the conclusions applicable to a given situation. He is as bold as can be in opposing liberalism and semi-socialism, but he is no innovator.
At the same time Lenin is much more of an opportunist, in the profoundest sense of the word. This may again sound odd -- was not Trotsky once associated with the Mensheviks, those notorious opportunists? But the Mensheviks' opportunism was simply the political flabbiness of a petty-bourgeois party. I am not referring to this sort of opportunism; I am referring to that sense of reality which leads one now and then to alter one's tactics, to that tremendous sensitivity to the demands of the time which prompts Lenin at one moment to sharpen both edges of his sword, at another to place it in its sheath.
Trotsky has less of this ability; his path to revolution has followed a straight line. These differing characteristics showed up in the famous clash between the two leaders of the great Russian revolution over the peace of Brest-Litovsk.
It is usual to say of Trotsky that he is ambitious. This, of course, is utter nonsense. I remember Trotsky making a very significant remark in connection with Chernov's acceptance of a ministerial portfolio: 'What despicable ambition -- to abandon one's place in history in exchange for the untimely offer of a ministerial post.' In that, I think, lay all of Trotsky. There is not a drop of vanity in him, he is totally indifferent to any title or to the trappings of power; he is, however, boundlessly jealous of his own role in history and in that sense he is ambitious. Here he is I think as sincere as he is in his natural love of power.
Lenin is not in the least ambitious either. I do not believe that Lenin ever steps back and looks at himself, never even thinks what posterity will say about him -- he simply gets on with his job. He does it through the exercise of power, not because he finds power sweet but because he is convinced of the rightness of what he is doing and cannot bear that anyone should harm his cause. His ambitiousness stems from his colossal certainty of the rectitude of his principles and too, perhaps, from an inability (a very useful trait in a politician) to see things from his opponent's point of view. Lenin never regards an argument as a mere discussion; for him an argument is always a clash between different classes or different groups, as it were a clash between different species of humanity. An argument for him is always a struggle, which under certain circumstances may develop into a fight. Lenin always welcomes the transition from a struggle to a fight.
In contrast to Lenin, Trotsky is undoubtedly often prone to step back and watch himself. Trotsky treasures his historical role and would probably be ready to make any personal sacrifice, not excluding the greatest sacrifice of all -- that of his life -- in order to go down in human memory surrounded by the aureole of a genuine revolutionary leader. His ambition has the same characteristic as that of Lenin, with the difference that he is more often liable to make mistakes, lacking as he does Lenin's almost infallible instinct, and being a man of choleric temperament he is liable, although only temporarily, to be blinded by passion, whilst Lenin, always on an even keel and always in command of himself, is virtually incapable of being distracted by irritation.
It would be wrong to imagine, however, that the second great leader of the Russian revolution is inferior to his colleague in everything: there are, for instance, aspects in which Trotsky incontestably surpasses him -- he is more brilliant, he is clearer, he is more active. Lenin is fitted as no one else to take the chair at the Council of Peoples' Commissars and to guide the world revolution with the touch of genius, but he could never have coped with the titanic mission which Trotsky took upon his own shoulders, with those lightning moves from place to place, those astounding speeches, those fanfares of on the spot orders, that role of being the unceasing electrifier of a weakening army, now at one spot, now at another. There is not a man on earth who could have replaced Trotsky in that respect.
Whenever a truly great revolution occurs, a great people will always find the right actor to play every part and one of the signs of greatness in our revolution is the fact that the Communist Party has produced from its own ranks or has borrowed from other parties and incorporated into its own organism sufficient outstanding personalities who were suited as no others to fulfil whatever political function was called for.
And two of the strongest of the strong, totally identified with their roles, are Lenin and Trotsky.
So much heat and polemic still surround the name of Lev Bronstein, alias Trotsky, that it is impossible in such a small compass to do more than try to indicate Trotsky's position and standing in Russia at the moment when Lunacharsky wrote this profile in late 1918. This point in time was perhaps the zenith of Trotsky's extraordinary career. His progress until then had been a classic example of what can be achieved in politics through a combination of ambition, outstanding intelligence and sheer cheek. Although he had sided with the Mensheviks at the 1903 Party split, Trotsky was incapable of being tagged with a factional label for long and in the pre-1917 squabbles he was always something of a one-man splinter group aligned somewhere in the centre between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks.
But as Lunacharsky says, Trotsky's heart was never in the arid wrangling of émigré politics, enlivened only by a spell of intoxicating action in the 1905 revolution. With his compulsive urge for the limelight Trotsky needed to be in the centre of the stage mastering a packed house, or in the thick of action where the fray was hottest. Both these chances were given to him in 1917. Lenin had not much time for the Petrograd Soviet as a political force in that revolutionary year; it was left to Trotsky to demonstrate his amazing ability to both stimulate and control this large, politically uneducated and somewhat unstable assembly and to give it sufficient political credibility to become, after the fiasco of the one-day life of the Constituent Assembly, the sovereign body of all Russia. When in October the need came for action, Trotsky's role as leader of the Military Revolutionary Committee made of him the man who, under Lenin's direction, physically executed the Bolshevik seizure of power: for a few days Trotsky virtually was the Russian Revolution.
By contrast his first job as Commissar for Foreign Affairs, the Brest-Litovsk peace negotiations, was something of a disaster. Torn between revolutionary internationalism and the agonizing prospect of ceding vast areas of Russian territory to Germany and Austria, Trotsky tried to evade the issue by his 'Neither peace nor war' thesis, in the hope that the Germans would somehow stop their advance into Russia. The move failed and the Germans pressed on. Faced with the threat of Lenin's resignation if the peace treaty were not signed, Trotsky stood down with bad grace and the humiliating German terms were accepted. Smarting under his failure as a diplomat, Trotsky the Marxist internationalist then threw his enormous energy and thirst for action into the job of being the military chief of the new Russian State. As first Commissar for War and the virtual creator of the Red Army out of a demoralized rabble and a hostile officer corps Trotsky was a brilliant success. Organizing, improvising, exhorting, Trotsky raced tirelessly from end to end of his vast country in an armoured train. One of the greatest amateur generals of all time, Trotsky beat the professionals -- the 'White' Russian generals and the well-armed Allied intervention forces -- at their own game. It was at the height of the Civil War that Lunacharsky wrote his profile of Trotsky, at the pinnacle of Trotsky's success. And there it is kindest to leave the man whom the American John Reed in a transport of enthusiasm called 'the greatest Jew since Christ,' and who in 1940 died in exile in Mexico, from a blow with an ice-axe dealt by an emissary of Stalin.
1. THE EVENTS OF JANUARY: Refers to 'Bloody Sunday' (9 January 1905) when a peaceful workers' procession, headed by the priest Father Gapon, marched through Petersburg to present a petition to the Tsar and was shot down by troops.
2. PARVUS: Dr Alexander L. Helphand, alias Parvus (1867-1924). Of Russo-German origin, simultaneously a brilliant revolutionary schemer and a businessman, Parvus was the go-between who channelled German government funds to the Bolsheviks with the aim of disrupting Russia's war effort.
3. SMALL AND CHEAP NEWSPAPER: This newspaper, called Nachalo (The Beginning) replaced Iskra (The Spark) as the party journal. It began publication on 10 November 1905 in St Petersburg. Besides Trotsky and Parvus, Dan and Martov also contributed to it.
4. THE STOCKHOLM CONGRESS: The 4th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic party, held in April 1906. Called the 'Unification' Congress, as it temporarily healed the breach between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks and re-admitted the 'Bund' (q.v. below) to the party.
5. QUASI-KADET TENDENCIES: 'Kadet', from the Russian initial letters of the words 'Constitutional Democrats', was the name of the left-wing liberal political party founded in 1905. The party dominated the first Duma in 1906 and in subsequent Dumas formed the chief opposition party. The party, particularly its leader Milyukov played a major part in the Provisional Government. The Kadets were outlawed by the Bolsheviks at their seizure of power in October-November 1917.
6. LIQUIDATORS: Lenin's term of opprobrium for those right-wing Mensheviks who after 1905 wanted the Party to give up its illegal political activities and concentrate on legal means of advancing the workers' cause, i.e. in trades unions, cooperatives etc.
8. SKOBELlEV: Matvey Ivanovich Skobeliev (1885-1939). Joined the Social Democratic party in 1903, worked as an agitator in Baku. Menshevik deputy to the Fourth Duma, 1912. Minister of Labour in the Provisional Government. Emigrated in 1920. Returned to U.S.S.R. 1922. Liquidated in the thirties purge.
11. RYAZANOV: David Borisovich Goldendach, alias Ryazanov (1870-1938). An early, non-factional Social Democrat. On the war issue was an internationalist. Joined Trotsky's 'Interdistrict' group (q.v. below) that stood outside the Bolshevik-Menshevik factional struggle. Member of the Bolshevik party, 1917. Later Director of the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute. Expelled from the Party and exiled in 1931.
13. DEFEATISTS: Those who supported Lenin's attitude to the outcome of the First World War, i.e. that the revolution would be best served if Russia were beaten, thus hastening the political and social dissolution of the old regime.
14. INTERNATIONALISTS: A minority of socialists through out Europe who urged the working class -- without the least effect -- not to support the war between the 'capitalist' governments of their countries.
15. DEFENCISTS: The largely Menshevik grouping, headed by Plekhanov, which adopted a patriotic attitude to Russia's war effort against Germany. In their view victory for imperialist Germany would mean the extinction of Socialism in all European countries, including Russia.
16. URITSKY: Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky (1873-1918). See below.
17. MANUILSKY: Dmitri Zakharevich Manuilsky (1883-1959). Became a Social Democrat 1903. Belonged (with Lunacharsky) to the left-wing 'Forward' group and the 'Interdistrict' group. Joined the Bolsheviks 1917. Central Committee of the Ukrainian C.P. since 192O. Ukrainian delegate to the U.N. and 'foreign minister' of the Ukraine 1944-52.
18. EXCEPT JAURÈS: Jean Auguste Jaurès (1899-1914). Professor of philosophy, Toulouse University. French Socialist Party leader. Founder and first editor of L'Humanite. Assassinated at the outbreak of the First World War for his anti-militarist views.
20. CHERNOV: Viktor Mikhailovich Chernov (1873-1952). Radical thinker and leader of the Socialist Revolutionary (S.R.) party, established in 1902. Minister of Agriculture in Provisional Government. After the split-off of the Left S.Rs, who supported the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, Chernov's Right S.R. party won a majority in the Constituent Assembly. Fled Russia during the Civil War. Died in New York.
21. CLASH ... OVER THE PEACE OF BREST-LITOVSK: Lenin, aware of the total collapse of the Russian army in 1918 and of the consequences of a German seizure of Petrograd, demanded peace at any price; Trotsky, chief Bolshevik negotiator with the Germans at Brest-Litovsk, refused to sign the Treaty and proclaimed a state of 'neither peace nor war', i.e. a unilateral armistice declared by Russia and withdrawal of Russian troops. Lenin won, after furious debate in the Party Central Committee, and Sokolnikov and Chicherin signed the harsh peace terms on behalf of Russia.
Grigorii Ovseyevich Zinoviev
When I arrived in Geneva in 1904 I joined the editorial staff of the central organ of the Bolshevik section of the Party. At that time we were busily engaged in seeking agents and in organizing cells among as many of the émigré student colonies as possible. It became apparent that this was not the easiest of tasks, as the Mensheviks were strongly entrenched everywhere. Furthermore the numerous Bundists and the socialist groups of other non-Russian nationalities were hand-in-glove with the Mensheviks. No one supported us; we were the most isolated and the least accommodating of all the parties. Consequently we cherished every ally we could find. From Berne we received an enthusiastic letter with an offer of service, signed by 'Kazakov and Radomyslsky'.
When I went to Berne to give a lecture, I naturally made it my first task to meet these Bernese Bolsheviks. At the time Kazakov appeared to be the keener of the two. Subsequently he played a certain part in the history of our Party under the surname of Svyagin. He worked in Kronstadt, was exiled and, I think, sentenced to hard labour. While in detention during the war he joined the French army and was killed.
Radomyslsky, on the other hand, did not immediately strike me as very promising. He was rather a fat young man, pale and sickly, who suffered from shortness of breath and was, I thought, too phlegmatic in temperament. The loquacious Kazakov never allowed him to get a word in edgeways. However, after we had been in permanent touch with them for some time we became convinced that Radomyslsky was an efficient lad and we came to treat Kazakov as what he was -- a very glib talker.
When I arrived in Petersburg after the revolution I learned that Radomyslsky, under the name of Grigorii, was working in the Vassilevsky Island District and working very well, that he was a candidate for the Petersburg committee, which he entered, if I am not mistaken, very soon after my arrival. I was very pleased to hear such good reports of our young student from Switzerland. I soon met him personally and at his request I edited a whole series of his translations.
In the midst of some great dispute during the stormy election campaign for the Stockholm 'Unification' Congress, Zinoviev and I spoke up jointly in defence of our line. It was here that I first heard him addressing a meeting. I immediately appreciated his ability and was also somewhat surprised: usually so quiet and rather delicate, he warmed during his speech and spoke with great animation. He had a massive and unusually resonant tenor voice. Even then I realized that this voice could dominate an audience of thousands. To these remarkable physical qualities was plainly added an ease and fluency of speech which sprang from mental resourcefulness and a remarkable grasp of logic, from the ability to see his speech as a whole and not to allow details to dull his grip on the main theme. In time comrade Zinoviev systematically developed all these qualities and made himself into the outstanding master of the spoken word that we know today.
Naturally Zinoviev's speeches are not as rich or as full of new ideas as the real leader of the revolution, Lenin, and he cannot compete in graphic power with Trotsky, but with the exception of these two orators, Zinoviev has no equals. I do not know of a single S.R. or Menshevik who is in the same class as Zinoviev (again, except Trotsky) as a crowd orator, an orator of the streets or of the mass meeting.
As a journalist Zinoviev is marked by the same qualities as Zinoviev the orator, namely the clarity and accessibility of his thought and a smooth and easy style, although what makes Zinoviev so particularly valuable as a tribune -- the remarkable, tireless, dominating power of his voice is lost in print.
I do not believe, however, that Zinoviev owes the high place which he already occupied in our Party long before the revolution and the historic part that he is playing now merely, or even chiefly, to his talents as a speaker and journalist. At a very early stage Lenin came to rely on him not only as a politically experienced friend who was wholly inspired with Vladimir Ilyich's own spirit, but as a man who had a profound understanding of the fundamentals of Bolshevism and who possessed a political intellect of the highest order. Zinoviev is undoubtedly one of the principal counsellors of our Central Committee and belongs unquestionably to the four or five men who constitute the political brain of the Party.
As a person Zinoviev is an extremely humane man, a good man who is highly intelligent, but he is literally rather ashamed of these qualities of his and is sometimes over-ready to buckle on the armour of revolutionary hardness.
Zinoviev has always acted as Lenin's faithful henchman and has followed him everywhere. The Mensheviks have affected a slightly scornful attitude to Zinoviev for being just such a dedicated henchman. Perhaps we Forwardists were also slightly infected by this attitude. We knew that Zinoviev was an excellent Party worker, but we knew little of him as a political thinker and we too often used to say of him that he followed Lenin as the thread follows a needle.
The first time that I heard a completely different assessment of Zinoviev was from Ryazanov. I met Ryazanov in Zurich, where Zinoviev was also living, and fell into conversation with him about various leading Party members. Ryazanov mentioned that he often met Zinoviev: 'He is a tremendous worker. He works hard and intelligently and by now he is so well versed in economics and sociology that he has far surpassed most of the Mensheviks in those subjects, even, I would say, all the Mensheviks.' This commendation from such a scholar as Ryazanov, incontestably the most learned man in the Party, was once again a pleasant and unexpected surprise to me.
When I finally joined the main stream of Bolshevism, it was to Zinoviev in Zurich that I turned. We recalled our earlier good relations and agreed on the terms of a political alliance in literally half an hour.
The above short chapter from Volume I of The Great Revolution is so far from being exhaustive, even as a 'profile', that I think I should add a few more lines at this point.
Many Bolsheviks, perhaps indeed all of them, have grown enormously in stature since the revolution: great tasks, great responsibilities and broad perspectives break only the weaker vessels and always serve to enlarge people who have any degree of intelligence and energy.
Yet possibly not one of our Party figures has gained so much in stature during the revolution as Grigorii Ovseyevich Zinoviev.
Lenin and Trotsky have, of course, become the most widely known (whether they are loved or hated) personalities of our epoch, almost all over the globe. Zinoviev recedes slightly in comparison with them, but on the other hand Lenin and Trotsky have so long been regarded in our ranks as men of such enormous talent, as such incontestable leaders, that their colossal increase in stature during the revolution can hardly have evoked any particular surprise. Zinoviev, too, was greatly respected. Everybody regarded him as Lenin's closest assistant and confidant. Knowing him to be a talented speaker and journalist, as a man who was hard-working, quick-witted, wholly devoted to the social revolution and to his Party, anybody could have predicted that Zinoviev would play a major role in the revolution and in a revolutionary government. But Zinoviev has undoubtedly surpassed many people's expectations.
I well remember how during the organization of the Third International the Menshevik Dan, then still in Russia, said with wry sarcasm: 'What a magnificent advertisement for the Third International -- to be headed by Zinoviev.' Of course the First International had been headed by Marx and there can be no comparison between them, but it would be interesting to know whom the scornful Dan was thinking of as the head of the Second International? The Second International had at various times some very big men in charge of it but the chairman of the Third International has no grounds to fear comparison with any of them. Here his enormous abilities have been given full play and here he has acquired his unquestionable authority.
From the very beginning it was obvious that Zinoviev was not discouraged by the crushing responsibility of the post with which he had been entrusted. From the start, and in increasing measure with time, he has displayed astounding level-headedness in the discharge of his functions. Always steady, ever ingenious, he has emerged with honour from the most trying circumstances. People often say with a smile of Zinoviev that he is a man who has acquired such vast experience as a parliamentarian that he can easily dominate any opposition. Zinoviev's skill as a chairman has indeed earned general admiration, but of course the occasionally fairly difficult problems of diplomacy which Zinoviev has to solve are eased for him to a significant degree by the fact that in the ranks of the Third International there rarely arise problems which cannot be dealt with within the framework of Party discipline and links of profound friendship.
There is not a single element in the whole vast current of affairs of the International which escapes Zinoviev's attention. In so far as one person is capable of grasping world politics, he is that person. Who does not know Zinoviev's revolutionary determination in all international controversies, his implacability, his exacting demands, his strict adherence to principle, thanks to which many of our foreign neighbours -- and at times renegades within our own ranks -- talk of the iron hand of Moscow, of dictatorial Russian methods? Yet whilst being firm where necessary, Zinoviev simultaneously displays the maximum of adaptability and ability to compromise in rebuilding a shattered world.
To this one must add that Zinoviev has won the reputation of being one of the most remarkable orators on the international scene -- a very difficult feat. It is one thing to speak in one's native tongue, as do the overwhelming majority of our comrades in the Comintern, but quite another to hold forth in a foreign language. Although he has a good grasp of German, Zinoviev still, as he himself stresses, cannot speak it like a German. It is all the more astonishing, and all the more to his credit, therefore, that his speeches always make a colossal impression not only by their content but by the force and precision of their delivery. Not for nothing did the bourgeois Press state after Zinoviev's famous three-hour speech, made in the very heart of Germany at the Parteitag in Halle: 'This man possesses a demonic power of eloquence.'
Zinoviev also brings these qualities of firmness, tactical skill and calmness to the very difficult task of running the administration of Petrograd, which has made him irreplaceable in this job, too, despite the Comintern's frequent requests to the Central Committee that Zinoviev should work full-time for them.
I should like to mention one more characteristic of Zinoviev -- his positively romantic dedication to his Party. The normally sober and businesslike Zinoviev rises to dithyrambic heights of love for the Party in his solemn speeches made on the occasion of various Party anniversaries.
There is no doubt whatever that in Zinoviev the Russian workers' movement has put forth not only one of its own great leaders but has also, alongside Lenin and Trotsky, produced one of the decisive figures of the world-wide workers' movement.
Because of the scandalous forgery attached to his name by émigré Russian plotters, Zinoviev (1883-1936) is better known outside Russia than many other more interesting and sympathetic figures in the Russian revolutionary movement. As Lunacharsky says, until 1917 Zinoviev was known even to his fellow-Bolsheviks as little more than Lenin's shadow. He was the leader's inseparable amanuensis and aide-de-camp who literally accompanied him everywhere, a role he had taken up in Switzerland during the second emigration after the 1905 revolution. He travelled with Lenin to Russia in the famous 'sealed train' in April 1917 and was the only person to go with Lenin when they were forced into hiding as a result of the abortive armed insurrection during the 'July Days'. Having fled Petrograd, he and Lenin shared a tent beside a pond near the border with Finland, pretending to be two Finnish farmhands. When it came to real action, however, Zinoviev shrank from the proposed revolutionary coup and on 10 October 1917 he and Kamenev were the only two Central Committee members to vote against Lenin on the issue of staging the armed move which was to place the Bolsheviks in power.
Zinoviev took virtually no part in the actual October revolution and Lenin did not forget his faint-heartedness: when the Council of Peoples' Commissars (Lenin's cabinet) was formed, there was no portfolio for Zinoviev. However, he was elected chairman of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet in 1919, which made him the boss of the great city. In the relative safety of this office Zinoviev, who had shrunk from the thought of exposure in the firing-line in 1917, was ruthless in harrying the 'enemies of the people'. He remained at the job until 1926, when Stalin saw to it that he was removed. His other main post for the same period was as chairman of the Third International or Comintern, the body devoted to fostering revolution abroad. (It was because of Zinoviev's tenure of this job that his name was attached to the notorious 'letter'.)
A born schemer, Zinoviev first sided with Stalin and Kamenev against Trotsky in the struggle for succession that followed Lenin's death, but he then made a serious miscalculation by thinking that by switching allegiance to Trotsky he could unseat Stalin. Stalin combined with Bukharin to topple Zinoviev, who was deprived of all his offices and expelled from the Party. He climbed back in again, only to be expelled again and once more re-admitted. Stalin finally dealt with Zinoviev by imprisoning him in 1935 for 'moral complicity' in the murder of Kirov and then made sure that he would not survive by arraigning him at the first 'purge' trial in 1936, at which Zinoviev was condemned and shot.
1. BUNDISTS: Members of the 'Bund', the abbreviated name (it means 'league' or 'union' in Yiddish and German) of the socialist General Jewish Workers' Union, founded at Vilna in 1897. The Bund took part in the 1903 2nd Congress of Russian Social Democratic Party, but walked out when it failed to be recognized as sole representative of Jewish workers in Russia. Re-affiliated to Party in 1906, the Bund supported the Mensheviks. Led by Liber and others it played a big part in 1905 and 1917 revolutions. In 1920 the majority of Bundists joined the Bolshevik Party; the non-Bolshevik minority as politically suppressed.
Georgii Valentinovich Plekhanov
Some encounters with Georgii Valentinovich Plekhanov
I have few personal recollections of Georgii Valentinovich. Our meetings were infrequent, although they were not devoid of significance and I gladly record my memories of him.
In 1893 I left Russia for Zurich, as I felt that I could only acquire the education I needed by going abroad. My friends the Lindfors gave me a letter of introduction to Pavel Alexandrovich Axelrod.
Axelrod and his family received me with delightful hospitality. By then I was a more or less convinced Marxist and considered myself a member of the Social Democratic party (I was eighteen and had begun work as an agitator and propagandist two years before going abroad). I am very much indebted to Axelrod for my education in socialism and, however far apart he and I may have moved subsequently, I look upon him with gratitude as one of my most influential teachers. Axelrod was full of awe and reverence for Plekhanov and spoke of him with adoration. This, added to the impression of brilliance that I had already gained from reading Our Differences and various other articles by Plekhanov, filled me with an uneasy, disturbing sense of expectation at the prospect of meeting this great man.
At last Plekhanov came from Geneva to Zurich, brought there by a dispute among the Polish socialists on the nationality question. The nationally-minded socialists in Zurich were headed by Jodko. Our future comrades were led by Rosa Luxemburg, then a brilliant student at Zurich University. Plekhanov was to pronounce on the conflict. For some reason his train was late, so that my first sight of Plekhanov was destined to be slightly theatrical. The meeting had already begun; with rather wearisome emphasis Jodko had been defending his viewpoint for half an hour when into the Eintracht Hall strode Plekhanov.
That was twenty-eight years ago. Plekhanov must have been slightly over thirty. He was a well-proportioned rather slim man in an impeccable frock coat, with a handsome face made particularly striking by his brilliant eyes and -- his most marked feature -- by thick, shaggy eyebrows. Later at the Stuttgart Congress one newspaper spoke of Plekhanov as 'eine aristokratische Erscheinung'. Indeed in Plekhanov's appearance, in his diction, his tone of voice and his whole bearing there was the ineradicable stamp of the gentry -- he was a gentleman from head to toe. This was apt to offend some people's proletarian instincts, but when one remembered that this gentleman was an extreme revolutionary and one of the pioneers of the workers' movement, Plekhanov's aristocratic air became something impressive and moving: 'Look what sort of people are on our side.'
I have no intention of writing a character-study of Plekhanov -- that is a task for another occasion -- but I would note in passing that in Plekhanov's very appearance and manner something made me, a young man, involuntarily think: Herzen must have been like that.
Plekhanov sat down at Axelrod's table, where I was also sitting, but we exchanged no more than a few sentences.
Plekhanov's speech itself rather disappointed me, perhaps by contrast with Rosa's speech which was as sharp as a razor-blade and as brilliant as silver. When the loud applause for her speech had died down, old Greulich, even then gray-haired, even then looking like Abraham (I saw him, by the way, twenty-five years later looking almost as lively as he had on that occasion although, alas, by then neither he nor Plekhanov were progressive socialists) mounted the rostrum and said in a specially solemn tone: 'Now comrade Plekhanov will speak. He will speak in French. His speech will be translated but, my friends, please try and maintain absolute silence and follow his speech with attention.'
This appeal by the chairman for reverential silence and the huge ovation with which Georgii Valentinovich was greeted combined to move me to tears. A mere youth, which made it pardonable, I was extremely proud of my great fellow-countryman. But his speech, I repeat, rather disappointed me.
For political reasons Plekhanov wanted to adopt a midway position. As a Russian he obviously found it awkward to speak out against the Polish national spirit, although he was theoretically wholly on Rosa Luxemburg's side. At all events he emerged from this difficult situation with honour and with great skill, playing the part of the wise conciliator.
Georgii Valentinovich then stayed for several more days in Zurich and at the risk of seeming rude I lingered whole days at the Axelrods' to seize every possible chance of talking to him.
The opportunities were numerous. Plekhanov loved talking. I was a boy who was well-read, not unintelligent and extremely eager. In spite of my awe of Plekhanov I got on my high horse and, as it were, invited combat on various philosophical questions. Plekhanov liked this; sometimes he would deal playfully with me like a big dog with a puppy and would knock me on my back with an unexpected swipe of his great paw, sometimes he grew angry and sometimes he would expound his views with great earnestness.
Plekhanov was an absolutely incomparable conversationalist in the brilliance of his wit, the wealth of his knowledge, the ease with which he could mobilize the most enormous concentration of mental power on any subject. The Germans have a word 'geistreich' -- rich of mind. It exactly describes Plekhanov.
I should mention that Plekhanov did not shake my faith in the great significance of 'left realism', i.e. Avenarius's philosophy. He said jokingly to me: 'Let's talk about Kant instead, if you really want to flounder about in the theory of knowledge -- he at least was a man.' Although Plekhanov was capable of dealing an intellectual knock-out blow on occasions, he was also prone to strike off-target.
Naturally I was already well aware of the enormous significance of Hegel in the history of socialism and of the impossibility of having a proper grasp of the Marxist philosophy of history without a sound acquaintance with Hegel.
Later Plekhanov was to accuse me in one of our public disputes of not having studied Hegel properly. Partly thanks to Plekhanov I had in fact read Hegel with some thoroughness, but I would have done so in any case, as befitted an aspiring socialist theoretician. Fichte and Schelling were another matter. I thought it quite adequate to have read about them in histories of philosophy, considering them to be a dead letter and not worth studying. Plekhanov, however, spoke of them with unexpected enthusiasm. Without for a moment relapsing into any heresy such as 'Back to Fichte!' (later proclaimed by Struve), he nevertheless held forth to me in such a fervent, glorious paean to Fichte and Schelling as the architects of a monumental philosophical edifice that I immediately ran to the Zurich national library and plunged into reading the works of those great Idealists, who were to leave such a stamp not only on my whole philosophical outlook but indeed on my entire personality.
It is a great shame that Plekhanov did no more than touch on the Idealist philosophers. He knew them exhaustively, indeed with astonishing exactitude, and could have written a book on them which would certainly have been no less brilliant than his book on the materialist precursors of Marxism. It is true, I think, that in Plekhanov's undoubtedly rather Bazarov-like mind, of the forerunners of Marxism his favourites d'Holbach and Helvetius were dearer to him than the Idealists. But anyone who imagined that he ignored that other great root of Marxism would be doing Plekhanov an injustice.
Georgii Valentinovich suggested that I should visit him to continue our talks; but it was a year or so before I was able to go to Geneva from Paris. Those, too, were happy days. Georgii Valentinovich was then writing his foreword to the Communist Manifesto and had become very interested in art. I had always been passionately interested in it and consequently the chief theme of our talks was the dependence of the cultural superstructure on the economic base of society, especially where art was concerned. I used to meet him in his study in the rue de Candole and sometimes in the Cafe Landolt where we would spend hours over many a mug of beer.
I remember one incident which made a tremendous impression on me. Plekhanov was pacing up and down his study explaining something. Suddenly he walked over to a cupboard, took out a large album, laid it on the table in front of me and opened it. It contained some wonderful engravings by Boucher, extremely frivolous and -- by my standards of those days -- almost pornographic; I at once said something to that effect, that here was a typical indication of the decadence of a ruling class on the eve of revolution.
'Yes,' said Plekhanov, looking at me with his glittering eyes, 'but look how superb they are -- what style, what life, what elegance, what sensuality.'
I shall not attempt to record the rest of the conversation -- it would mean writing a minor treatise on rococo art. I can only say that Plekhanov more or less anticipated all of Hausenstein's main conclusions, although I do not recall him telling me exactly whether or not Boucher's art was fundamentally a bourgeois art that had been merely transplanted into a framework of court life.
To me his aesthetic perception was astounding -- his powers of judgement on matters of art were wide-ranging and unprejudiced. Plekhanov's taste was, I think, infallible. On any work of art that he disliked he could express himself in two words, with an absolutely lethal irony which totally disarmed you if you happened to disagree with him. About works of art which pleased him Plekhanov spoke with such precision, at times with such excitement that it became obvious why he was an influential writer on the history of art. His relatively modest studies, dealing only with a few periods, have become one of the cornerstones of subsequent work in that field.
From no book, from no museum, have I ever gained so much stimulation and insight as from those talks of mine with Georgii Valentinovich.
Unfortunately our subsequent meetings took place in rather less happy circumstances, where we encountered each other as political enemies.
I did not meet Plekhanov again until the Stuttgart Congress. The Bolshevik delegation had appointed me their official representative on the very important committee set up to work out the Party's policy towards the trades unions. Plekhanov represented the Mensheviks. At the very start a dispute arose within the Russian delegation. The majority voted for our viewpoint and the waverers eventually swung over to our side. The matter was in no sense a personal victory of mine over Plekhanov: he defended his thesis brilliantly, but the thesis itself was unacceptable. Plekhanov insisted that close alliance between the Party and the trades unions might be detrimental to the Party, that the task of the trades unions was to improve the workers' lot within the capitalist system whereas the Party's task was to destroy that system itself. He advocated independence. The opposing tendency was headed by the Belgian De Brouckere. (De Brouckere was then a very left-wing socialist whose thinking had much in common with ours, although he was later to deviate.) De Brouckere stood for the need to penetrate the trade-union movement with a socialist consciousness of the indissoluble unity of the working class, the guiding role of the Party and so on. In the reigning atmosphere of heated discussion of the general strike as a fighting weapon, everyone was tending to reconsider their previous views. We were all aware that parliamentarism was becoming a more and more inadequate weapon, that without the trades unions the Party would never accomplish the revolution and that after the revolution the trades unions were bound to play a major part in rebuilding a new world. As a result, Plekhanov's attitude, represented at the international level by Guesde, was ultimately rejected both by our committee and by the Congress itself.
To my surprise I detected a certain trace of the 'Old Believer' in Plekhanov's political attitudes. For the first time his orthodoxy seemed slightly ossified and it occurred to me that politics were far from being Plekhanov's strong suit. One might have deduced this in any case from the way in which he wavered between one and the other of the Party's two main factions.
We next met at the Stockholm Congress, where this characteristic behaviour of Plekhanov's became all too evident. He was far from being a convinced Menshevik at this congress. In part his aim was conciliationist. He stood for Party unity (this was, after all, the 'Unification' congress) and maintained that if revolutionary feeling were to increase in Russia the Mensheviks would find no allies except from the ranks of the Bolsheviks. On the other hand he was frightened by the rigidity of the Bolsheviks' position. In his opinion Bolshevism was not orthodox. Indeed the main feature which differentiated the two factions at that time was their policy on the peasantry.
The scheme of the revolution as the Mensheviks envisaged it was as follows: a bourgeois revolution was in progress in Russia, which would culminate in a constitutional monarchy, or at best in a bourgeois republic. The working class should support the protagonists of this capitalist revolution, simultaneously wresting from them positions of advantage for their future task of opposition and -- ultimately -- of revolution. It was assumed that there would be a considerable time-lag between the bourgeois revolution and the socialist revolution.
Comrade Trotsky held the view that both revolutions, although they might not coincide, were so inter-connected that we would face a situation of 'permanent revolution'. Starting with a seizure of power by bourgeois political forces, the Russian people would enter a revolutionary period; along with it the rest of the world, too, would not emerge from this period until the total completion of the social revolution. It is undeniable that in formulating these views comrade Trotsky showed great prescience, although his timing was wrong by fifteen years.
Incidentally I should point out that in a leading article in New Life I also outlined the possibility of a seizure of power by the proletariat and of the retention, under proletarian control, of a form of capitalism which would rapidly evolve towards socialism. I described a situation remarkably similar to our present N.E.P., but I was given a telling-off by L. B. Krasin who found my article ill-advised and un-Marxist.
The Bolsheviks, with comrade Lenin at their head, were in fact extremely cautious; they held that there were no signs of the proletarian social revolution having begun, but they thought that this revolution had to be encouraged as much as possible without engaging in any theoretical guesswork and prediction, which were foreign to Vladimir Ilyich's nature. In practical terms the Bolsheviks advanced confidently along the correct path. To bring about a plebeian revolution, a revolution similar to the French Revolution that could be taken even further than '93, an alliance with the bourgeoisie was useless: consequently our tactics demanded a break with the bourgeoisie. But we had no intention of isolating the proletariat, for whom we envisaged the enormous task of organizing an alliance with the peasantry, above all with the poor peasantry. Plekhanov was incapable of understanding this. Addressing Lenin he said: 'This new idea of yours sounds a pretty ancient one to me!' Why 'ancient' ? Because it seemed to be borrowing the worn-out policy of the S.Rs and to cause us to abandon our characteristic emphasis on the proletariat.
Plekhanov's failure to comprehend our standpoint should not be lightly dismissed as being no more than a typical example of his blinkered super-orthodoxy. Were we not, in the course of our great revolution, once obliged to include some S.Rs, even if left S.Rs, in our government, and was this move entirely free of danger ? Are we not delighted now that the childish policies of the left S.Rs themselves have caused their severance from the government? The fears of a 'peasantization' of the Soviet government, of which comrades Shlyapoikov, Kollontai and others occasionally warn us, are unfounded, but the soil which nourishes them is clear to everybody. At the moment it is impossible to say with absolute certainty how a joint workers' and peasants' government will succeed, although everything appears to support comrade Lenin's predictions at the Party Congress that the huge deadweight of the peasantry which, once the plans for a political union of towns and country are completed, will have to be carried with us, is slowing down our movement; but it will never cause us to deviate from the straight and narrow path towards communism.
But all that lay then in the future. At the time, one thing was clear: the workers'-and-peasants' revolution is a proletarian revolution, a bourgeois-and-workers' revolution is a betrayal of the working class. To us this was clear, but not to Plekhanov. I remember that during a very biting speech by Plekhanov my neighbour in the next seat, Alexinsky, then a Bolshevik extremist, nearly boxed his ears but was stopped in time by comrade Sedoi, himself a pretty fiery character, who seized him by the coat-tails.
Alas, all that was to end much later in the miserable alliance between Alexinsky and Plekhanov.
It was at the Stockholm Congress that I moved a vote of censure against Plekhanov. My objection amounted to contrasting his view with that of another orthodox theoretician, Kautsky. This was easy, because at that time Kautsky in his pamphlet 'The Motive Force of the Russian Revolution' had shown himself to be in sympathy with us. But Plekhanov was particularly annoyed by my reply to his accusation of Blanquism, when I said that as far as practical notions of making and leading an actual revolution were concerned, he had apparently gathered his ideas from the operetta Mademoiselle Angot. In his final rejoinder Plekhanov said some very angry words.
Several more years went by and we met again at the Copenhagen international congress, when our hopes for the first Russian revolution had foundered. I attended the Copenhagen Congress as a representative of the Forward group with a consultative vote, but I had practically joined the Bolsheviks and they looked upon me as one of them; indeed they again empowered me to represent them on one of the most important committees -- the committee dealing with the cooperatives. The same thing happened here. Plekhanov insisted on the strictest separation of the Party from the cooperatives, fearing contamination by the cooperatives' small-shopkeeper mentality.
I should mention that at the Copenhagen Congress Plekhanov was much closer to the Bolsheviks than to the Mensheviks. As far as I remember Vladimir Ilyich was not too interested in the cooperatives, but nevertheless the Russian delegation listened to my report on the committee and to Plekhanov's objections. Our differences were more or less parallel to those which had arisen between us at Stuttgart on the subject of the trades unions. On this occasion, however, Plekhanov had had little experience of the problem under discussion and there was no particular cause for a clash with him.
In spite of all this, we remained personally on very good terms. He invited me several times to his rooms, we would leave the congress meetings together and he enjoyed giving me his off-the-record impressions of the conference. Plekhanov had by then aged a great deal and was ill, so seriously ill in fact that we were all concerned about him. This did not stop him from being as sharp as ever, and making witty remarks to left and right, strongly biased though they were. He was fondest of all of the old guard. He spoke particularly warmly and graphically of Guesde and of Lafargue, who was already dead. I mentioned Lenin. Here Plekhanov fell silent and he replied to my enthusiasm in terms that were not exactly deprecatory -- if anything they were sympathetic -- but were somehow vague.
I remember how during a speech by Vandervelde Plekhanov said to me: 'Isn't he exactly like an archdeacon ?' His bon mot struck me so forcibly that to this day I cannot disentangle the image of an Orthodox deacon chanting the responses from the rhetorical fervour of that famous Belgian. I remember, too, in the course of a speech by Bebel how Plekhanov surprised me by the lapidary precision of his remark: 'Look at that old man -- he has exactly the head of Demosthenes.' At once there arose before my mind's eye the famous statue of Demosthenes and the likeness seemed truly striking.
After the Copenhagen Congress I had to read a report on it at Geneva and at that meeting Plekhanov was my opponent. Later we arranged a few more discussion meetings, sometimes of a philosophical nature (for instance on a lecture by Deborin) and there Plekhanov and I met again. I was extremely fond of having discussions with Plekhanov, despite their complexity and difficulty, but I will refrain from describing them here as I might appear rather one-sided.
After Plekhanov defected from the revolutionary cause, i.e. after his deviation into social-patriotism, I never saw him again.
This is not, I repeat, an attempt to draw a character-sketch of Plekhanov as a man, a thinker or a politician, but it is simply a contribution to the body of literature on Plekhanov drawn from my personal recollections. It may be that they are coloured rather subjectively, but a writer is inevitably subjective. Let the reader accept them as such. No one man, in any case, is capable of encompassing such a great figure with absolute objectivity. That monumental image can ultimately only be recreated from a host of varying opinions. But one thing I can state: Plekhanov and I often clashed, his printed remarks about me were largely negative and hostile, yet in spite of that my memory of Plekhanov is extraordinarily bright, it is a joy to recall those glittering eyes, that astounding intellectual agility, that greatness of spirit or, as Lenin put it, that physical force of his brain, that aristocratic forehead crowning a great democrat. In the final analysis even our great differences, as they are transmuted into the stuff of history, largely drop from the scales whilst the brilliant aspects of Plekhanov's character will endure forever.
In Russian literature Plekhanov stands close to Herzen, in the history of socialism he belongs to that constellation (Kautsky, Lafargue, Guesde, Bebel, old Liebknecht) which revolves round those twin suns, Plekhanov's demigods of whom he -- strong, intelligent, incisive and proud as he was -- would speak only with the voice of a disciple: Marx and Engels.
Plekhanov was the Grand Old Man of Russian social democracy, the trusted associate of Engels, a thinker of immense erudition and culture, a founder of the Russian social democratic movement and one of the two men (the other was Karl Marx) to whose writings Lenin specifically attributed his own conversion to Marxism. Plekhanov was also rigidly doctrinaire, aloof, an impossible colleague, a man temperamentally unsuited to politics who spent most of his life as a politician. Born in 1857, he joined the Populist revolutionary body 'Land and Freedom' as a young man, but when the group split on the issue of terrorism Plekhanov opted for the non-terrorist faction known as 'The Black Repartition' (i.e. it stood for the re-distribution of the 'black Barth' lends among the peasants).
Forced to emigrate to western Europe, Plekhanov became converted to Marxism and was instrumental, by his extraordinarily lucid and tough-minded expositions of Marxism in such works as Our Differences and In Defence of Materialism, in establishing political Marxism in the minds of a significant handful of intellectuals as the most dynamic, constructive and practical framework for revolution. But he could not for long bear to work with Lenin when it came to putting these theories into harsh practice. Although Plekhanov at first supported Lenin at the notorious Bolshevik-Menshevik split in 1903, he soon veered to Menshevism and thereafter he opposed Lenin on every major issue, although he continued to enjoy an extraordinary degree of respect among the socialist movement. The final breach between the two occurred in Paris in 1914 over their attitudes to the First World War: Lenin wanted Russia to be defeated as the surest way of hastening the collapse of the tsarist regime, whilst Plekhanov revealed the latent streak of emotional Germanophobia that existed in so many socialists of the time and ardently hoped for an Allied victory. This cultured, gentlemanly, essentially bookish man felt so violently about the issue that to another socialist comrade, an 'internationalist', he said: 'So far as I am concerned, if I were not old and sick I would join the army. To bayonet your German comrades would give me great pleasure.'
Soon after the February 1917 revolution Plekhanov hastened back to Russia and organized a right-wing socialist group called 'Unity', but his impact on events was negligible. After the Bolshevik revolution in October/November Plekhanov, then mortally ill with the tuberculosis that had dogged him all his life, was subjected to the most humiliating indignities. On one occasion a band of sailors broke into his house and almost lynched the 'father of Russian Marxism'. His wife, who had been able until then to keep him in some comfort from her earnings as a successful doctor, took him to Finland where he died in May 1918, ignored by Lenin and the triumphant Party Plekhanov had helped to found. Some posthumous amends have, however, been made to Plekhanov's memory: of all the leading Marxists who quarrelled with Lenin, Plekhanov is the only one whose works are still regularly published in the Soviet Union.
1. OUR DIFFERENCES: ('Nash) Raznoglasiya') A polemical tract, published in 1884, in which Plekhanov analysed and stressed the differences in ideology between Marxist and Populist ('Narodnik') socialism.
2. JODKO: Witold Jodko-Narkiewicz (1864-1924). Also known under the pseudonyms of 'A. Wronski' and 'Jowisz' ('Jove'). Polish politician, journalist and diplomat of aristocratic origin and bearing. Supported the Pilsudski-ite rightwing of the Polish Socialist Party (P.P.S.) when the Party split in 1906. 'Defeatist' in the First World War. In 1918 Polish deputy minister of foreign affairs. 192O -- Polish ambassador to Turkey. Died in Warsaw.
3. ROSA LUXEMBURG: Rosa Luxemburg (1871 -- 1919). Born Zamosc in German Poland. Active in the Polish Social Democratic Party, later in the left wing of the German socialist movement. Brilliant journalist and polemicist. Imprisoned in Germany in the First World War for anti-militarism. Founded and published Die Internationale, the organ first of the S.P.D. then of German Communist Party (K.P.D.). Arrested and shot on I5 January 1919 in Berlin by the right-wing pare-military Freikorps.
4. HERZEN MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE THAT: Alexandr Ivanovich Herzen (1812-70). The illegitimate son of a Russian nobleman. Political theorist and publicist, founder of Russian agrarian socialism or Populism. Lived abroad (mostly in London) from 1847, where he published The Bell, a very influential Russian émigré journal.
5. OLD GREULICH: Hermann Greulich (1842 -- 1925). Right-wing Swiss Social Democrat. Edited various Party journals and held high Party office. Opposed the formation of Third International ('Comintern').
10. D'HOLBACH: Paul Henri, Baron d'Holbach (1723-89). French philosopher and scientist. His strong views on atheism, materialism and determinism were contained in his Systeme de la Nature, published in 1770. Advocated a utilitarian approach to morals and politics in his Systeme social ( T773)
11. HELVETIUS: Claude Adrien Helvetius (17I5-7I). His main works, De ['Esprit (1758) and De l'Homme (1773) contain the exposition of his materialist and hedonist moral philosophy. Man, he taught, is governed entirely by physical sensation, self-interest and passion.
12. DE BROUCKÈRE: Louis De Brouckère (1870 -- 1951). Belgian professor, leading member of the Socialist Labour Party of Belgium. Member of the Executive of the Second International. Later a cabinet minister and delegate to the League of Nations.
13. GUESDE: Jules Basile Guesde (1845 -- 1922). Leading French socialist; at one time headed the left wing of the Party. Deputy from 1893-1921. From August 1914 to October 1915 was Minister without Portfolio in the French cabinet.
14. OUR PRESENT N.E.P.: 'New Economic Policy'. From 1921-8 the Soviet government's method of restoring Russia's economy by limited incentives to private enterprise in industry and trade, and concessions to the peasants. The N.E.P. was terminated in favour of a totally state-controlled economy when industrial production regained the 1913 level in 1927.
15. L. B. KRASIN: Leonid Borisovich Krasin (1870 -- 1926). Engineer by profession. Elected to the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party in 1905. Provided the bulk of Bolshevik funds from his millionaire friend Sawa Morozov and by organizing bank raids. In 1908 left revolutionary politics. In 1918 took part in the Brest-Litovsk negotiations. From 1919 first Commissar for Trade, Industry and Transport. Signed the first Anglo-Soviet Trade Treaty, 19'I. In 1924 re-elected to the Central Committee of the Party. Sent in 1925 as Soviet ambassador to London, where he died.
I6. SHLYAPNIKOV: Alexandr Gavrilovich Shlyapnikov (1883-1943). Metal-worker by trade, joined the Bolsheviks in 1903. After 1905 emigrated to France. From 1915 charged by Lenin with running the Bolshevik Party inside Russia. Took an important part in the Bolshevik coup of October 1917. First Soviet Commissar for Labour. Expelled from the Party in 1933, he disappeared in the 'purges' of the thirties.
I7. KOLLONTAI: Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontai (1872 -- 1952). Socialist politician and ardent advocate of 'free love'. A Bolshevik from 1904-5, but later became a Menshevik 'liquidator'. Lived in W. Europe and the U.S.A. from 1908 to 1917, when she returned to Russia and was elected to the Bolshevik Central Committee. From 1923 became a diplomat, representing the U.S.S.R. as ambassador to Norway, Mexico and Sweden until 1945.
18. ALEXINSKY: Grigorii Alexeyevich Alexinsky (b. 1879). Bolshevik deputy to the Second Duma. Parted from Lenin in 1909, joined Bogdanov and Lunacharsky in the Forward group. 'Defencist' in the First World War, aligned himself with Plekhanov. After 1917 emigrated to France.
19. SEDOT: Zinovii Yakovlevich Sedoi, alias Litvin (b. 1876). Joined S.D. Party 1897. Underground Party worker till 1905, several times arrested and exiled. Prominent in the armed workers' uprising in the Presnya district, Moscow, 1905. In 1906 emigrated to France, twice arrested for antiwar propaganda. Returned to Russia in 1917. Fought for the Bolsheviks in the Civil War. Elected to the Central Committee of the Party at the Tenth Congress, 1921. From then until 1939 director of a cotton mill.
20. KAUTSKY: Karl Johann Kautsky (1854 -- 1938). Marxist theoretician of German socialism; S.P.D. leader, prominent in Second International. His criticism of Bolshevik Party methods earned him a scathing attack by Lenin in 1918.
21. ACCUSATION OF BLANQUISM: Louis Auguste Blanqui (1805-81). French revolutionary socialist. His advocacy of violent overthrow of the exploiting classes through a small disciplined conspiratorial Party prefigured Lenin's use of the Bolshevik Party. Blanqui was a leader of the Paris Commune in 1872.
24. A LECTURE BY DEBORIN: Abram Moiseyevich Deborin (b. 1881). Philosopher and historian. Joined the Bolsheviks in 1903, later joined the Mensheviks. In 1920s was secretary of the History Section of Soviet Academy of Sciences. In 193I criticized for 'idealism' and faded into obscurity.
25. OLD LlEBKNECHT: Wilhelm Liebknecht (1816 1900). Early German socialist. Father of the better-known Karl Liebknecht, also a socialist leader, who was shot in January 1919 by right-wing forces in Berlin.