Alexander Shlyapnikov

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Alexander Gavrilovich Shlyapnikov (in Russian, Александр Гаврилович Шляпников) (1885-1937) was a Russian communist.

Shlyapnikov was born in Murom, Russia. He began factory work at age thirteen and became a revolutionary at age sixteen. He joined the Bolsheviks in 1903. He was arrested and imprisoned at various times for his radical political activities, including his involvement with the 1905 revolution. Shlyapnikov left Russia in 1908 and continued his revolutionary activities in Western Europe, where he also worked in factories and was a devoted trade unionist.

Shlyapnikov returned to Russia in 1916 and along with Vyacheslav Molotov was the senior Bolshevik in Petrograd at the time of the February revolution in 1917 as figures such as Lenin and Stalin still lived in exile.

Shlyapnikov promoted the role of workers in the party and in management of the economy. In 1917, he was elected to chairmanship of the Petrograd and then All-Russian Metalworkers' Union.

Following the October revolution and the Bolshevik ascendency to power, Shlyapnikov was appointed Commissar of Labour. Shlyapnikov argued for a coalition government composed of all parties represented in the All-Russian Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

Shlyapnikov, along with Alexandra Kollontai, became leaders of the Workers' Opposition movement inside the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This movement advocated the role of workers, organized in trade unions, in managing the economy and the political party. Lenin succeeded in suppressing the Workers' Opposition. He also tried to have Shlyapnikov removed from the party's Central Committee, but was unsuccessful.

Shlyapnikov turned to writing his memoirs under Stalin, who in 1930 forced Shlyapnikov to publish a public confession of his "political errors". Shlyapnikov was expelled from the Communist Party in 1933 and imprisoned in 1935. He was executed on the 2nd September 1937, during the Purges.

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