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Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin

(1888—1938) Russian revolutionary activist and theorist

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Soviet statesman, newspaper editor, and communist theoretician.

Born in Moscow, the son of a schoolteacher, Bukharin joined an anti-tsarist political group as a university student, becoming a member of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party in 1906. In 1908 he took over the leadership of the Moscow Bolshevik organization, but in 1911, having been arrested, he escaped to Oregon, USA, and later moved to New York, where he edited the socialist paper Novy Mir. Returning to Europe, he worked with Lenin in Germany on the party newspaper Pravda and began to establish his credentials as a major political and economic theorist.

Bukharin returned to Russia in 1917. In a dispute with Lenin, who proposed to end World War I by making a separate peace with Germany (1918), he advocated that the world war should be transformed into a European revolutionary war. Despite this disagreement, Bukharin maintained his influence in the party (and government) to become editor of Pravda (1918–29), of the party journal, the Bolshevik (1924–29), and of the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia. Following Lenin's death in 1924, Bukharin became a full member of the Politburo and in 1926 he was appointed chairman of Comintern (the Communist International). Although he at first supported Stalin against Trotsky, he was denounced by Stalin as the leader of the ‘right deviation’ and was expelled from the Politburo in 1929. He was appointed editor of the official government newspaper, Izvestia, in 1934 but in 1937 was arrested and removed from the party as a trotskyite. He was tried, found guilty of treason, and executed in 1938.

Bukharin was one of Lenin's closest friends and colleagues. A major economic theorist, he published many outstanding works, including World Economy and Imperialism (1915), The Economy of the Transitional Period (1920), The ABC of Communism (1921), and The Theory of Historical Materialism (1921).

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