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Nikolai Bukharin

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(Redirected from Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin)

Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (Russian: Николай Иванович Бухарин), (October 9 (September 27 Old Style) 1888March 13, 1938) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and intellectual, and later a Soviet politician.

Bukharin was born in Moscow to two primary school teachers. His political life began at the age of sixteen when, together with his lifelong friend Ilya Ehrenburg, he participated in student activities at Moscow University related to the Russian Revolution of 1905.

He joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1906, becoming a member of the Bolshevik faction. With Grigori Sokolnikov, he convened the 1907 national youth conference in Moscow, which was later considered the founding of the Komsomol.

By age 20, he was a member of the Moscow Committee of the party. The committee was heavily infiltrated by the czarist secret police, or Okhranka. As one of its leaders, Bukharin quickly became a person of interest to them. During this time, he became closely associated with N. Osinskii and Vladimir Mikhailovich Smirnov and met his future wife, Nadezhda Mikhailovna Lukina, the sister of Nikolai Lukin. They married soon after his exile.

In 1911, after a brief imprisonment, Bukharin was exiled to Onega in Arkhangelsk, but soon appeared in Hanover. During this exile, he continued his education and became a major Bolshevik theorist. He developed an interest in the works of non-Marxist economic theorists, such as Aleksandr Bogdanov, who deviated from Leninist positions.

While in exile, Bukharin wrote several books and edited the newspaper Novy Mir (New World) with Leon Trotsky and Alexandra Kollontai. During the World War I, he wrote a small book on imperialism from which Vladimir Lenin later drew some of the ideas he put forward in his larger and better known work, Imperialism—The Highest Stage of Capitalism. Upon his return to Russia, Bukharin became one of the leading Bolsheviks in Moscow and was elected to the Central Committee. After the revolution, he also became editor of Pravda.

Bukharin led the opposition of the Left Communists to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, arguing instead for the Bolsheviks to continue the war effort and turn it into a world-wide push for proletarian revolution. In 1921, he changed his position and accepted Lenin's policies, encouraging the development of the New Economic Policy. Some believe that this drastic change of position suggests that Lenin was correct when he remarked in his will that Bukharin had never fully understood Marxism and dialectics. After Lenin's death, Bukharin became a full member of the Politburo in 1924, and the president of the Communist International (Comintern) in 1926.

After 1926, Bukharin, by then regarded as the leader of the Communist Party's right wing, became an ally of the center of the party, which was led by Stalin and which constituted the ruling group after Stalin broke his earlier alliance with Kamenev and Zinoviev. It was Bukharin who developed the thesis of "Socialism in one country," which argued that socialism (in Marxist theory, the lower stage of Communism) could be developed in a single country, even one as underdeveloped as Russia. This new theory stated that revolution need no longer be encouraged in the capitalist countries, since Russia could and should achieve socialism alone. The thesis would become a hallmark of Stalinism long after Bukharin died.

When Bukharin opposed Stalin's proposed collectivization of agriculture in 1928, Stalin attacked Bukharin's views and forced him to renounce them. As a result, Bukharin lost his position in the Comintern in April 1929 and was expelled from the Politburo in November of that year. International supporters of Bukharin, led by Jay Lovestone of the Communist Party USA, were also expelled from the Comintern. They formed an international alliance to promote their views, calling it the International Communist Opposition, though better known as the Right Opposition after a term used by the Trotskyist Left Opposition in the Soviet Union to refer to Bukharin and his supporters there.

Bukharin was rehabilitated by Stalin and was made editor of Izvestia in 1934, but was arrested again in 1937 for "conspiring to overthrow the Soviet state." He was tried in March 1938 as part of the Trial of the Twenty One during the Great Purges, and was shot by the NKVD.

Bukharin was officially rehabilitated by the Soviet state under Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988.

See also: Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Further reading

  • Anna Larina, This I Cannot Forget: The Memoirs of Nikolai Bukharin's Widow, W. W. Norton, 1991, hardcover, 384 pages, ISBN 0393030253
  • Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A political biography, 1888-1938, Knopf, 1973, hardcover, 495 pages, ISBN 0394460146; trade paperback, Oxford University Press, 1980, ISBN 0195026977; trade paperback, Vintage Books, ISBN 0394712617

External link

fi:Nikolai Buharin fr:Nikola Boukharine ja:ニコライ・ブハーリン nl:Nikolaj Boecharin pl:Nikołaj Bucharin ro:Nikolai Buharin zh:布哈林

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