New Article: John Biggart, Plekhanov as politician 1905—1912


During 1910 Lenin and Plekhanov entered into a relationship that both were at pains to avoid describing as a “fractional”, preferring instead to speak of a “rapprochement” (“sblizhenie”). Alexander Bogdanov would later allege that Lenin had been “hypnotized” by the success of Petr Arkadievich Stolypin, Chair of the Council of Ministers, who had made use of a submissive cohort of Octobrist party deputies in the “centre” of the Third Duma, in order to manipulate deputies of the right and of the left. He also pointed to the (failed) attempt of Enrico Ferri to manage the reformists and syndicalists of the Italian Socialist Party from a position within a group of orthodox “integralists”. Bogdanov attributed the failure of Lenin and Plekhanov to create a “third fraction” to Plekhanov’s inability to attract sufficient support. My interpretation is not inconsistent with that of Bogdanov, but I argue that, irrespective of the support either could command, the visions of Plekhanov and Lenin for the development of the RSDRP after 1905 were incompatible. Also, in their authoritarianism and schismaticism they were “like poles” that could only mutually repel.

Read the article here.

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