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Nikolai Bukharin

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Bukharin (center) standing with Stalin in Red Square in 1929.

Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (9 October 1888 - 15 March 1938) was an Old Bolshevik revolutionary, Soviet politician, Marxist philosopher and prolific author on revolutionary theory. He made significant contributions to Marxist theory as well as writing, with Yevgeni Preobrazhensky, the ABC of Communism — a work intended to explain the fundamentals of Marxist thought to the growing ranks of the Russian Community Party. His other works include studies of imperialism, an exposition of historical materialism and a critique of Austrian economics.

In the late 1920s Bukharin opposed Stalin's policies of rapid industrialization and collectivization, arguing they would impair economic development and potentially destabilize soviet power. He was accused (as Trotsky had earlier accused him) of representing the interests of undemocratic party officials and enterprise managers while cowering before the kulaks. Bukharin was denounced as a right-deviationist, and later he publicly recanted his views and was allowed to serve as editor of Izvestiia. In the late 30s he was arrested and accused of being part of a vast conspiracy involving foreign states to overthrow the government. Although the charges made against him were groundless, he was nonetheless executed.

Bukharin never sought to "update" Marxism in the way Eduard Bernstein, Earl Browder, or other revisionists did. His views may indeed be criticized as Lenin had done, who wrote that Bukharin was "a most valuable and major theorist of the Party. . . but his theoretical views can be classified as fully Marxist only with great reserve, for there is something scholastic about him (he has never made a study of the dialectics, and, I think, never fully understood it)." Despite this, he cannot be considered a revisionist.



Contributions to Marxist Theory