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Grigori Zinoviev


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(b. 11 Sept. 1883, d. 25 Aug. 1936).

Soviet politician Born Radomyslsky Apfelbaum in Elizavetgrad, he joined the Russian Social Democratic Party in 1901 and supported the Bolshevik faction in 1903, becoming a close supporter of Lenin. Elected to the party's Central Committee in 1907, he left for Western Europe to support Lenin in matters of propaganda and party organization. He accompanied Lenin over the next five years, but disagreed with his mentor's plans for the October Revolution (Russian Revolutions, 1917) as premature. He was chairman of the Petrograd Soviet from December 1917. From 1919 until 1926 he was chairman of the external committee of the Comintern. After Lenin's death, Zinoviev was in contention for the Soviet leadership. He sided with Stalin and Kamenev against Trotsky, but then tried to oppose the increasingly powerful Stalin and Bukharin. His desperate alliance with Trotsky and Kamenev against Stalin proved futile, and he was dismissed from all offices in 1926, and expelled from the party in 1927. He was readmitted (1928), re‐expelled (1932), and finally readmitted (1933). After the assassination of Kirov, in 1935 he was arrested, tried in secret for complicity in the murder, and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. In 1936, he was retried and, with Kamenev, became the first prominent victim of the show trials which marked Stalin's Great Purge.

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