Book Review: Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution …
Trotsky, the prime force behind the Left Opposition, was defeated by a triumvirate formed by Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev, with the support of Bukharin. By 1926, Stalin-Bukharin alliance ousted Zinoviev and Kamenev from the Party leadership, and Bukharin enjoyed the highest degree of power during the 1926-1928 period. He emerged as the leader of the Party's , which included two other Politburo members , Lenin's successor as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and , head of trade unions, and he became chairman of 's executive committee in 1926. However, prompted by grain shortage in 1928, Stalin reversed himself and proposed a program of rapid industrialization and forced because he believed that the NEP was not working fast enough. Stalin suddenly adopted the policies of his vanquished foes – Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev.
Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: Author: ..
For Cohen, however, “unlike the Bolshevik Left, which remained until the end a movement of dissident party leaders in search of a social base, the Right was an opposition with potential mass support in the country”. (p.322) This is one of the central themes of his book. In it the Bolshevik Left, led by and incarnate in Trotsky, is cut down to the very modest size of a group doomed by the evolution of history and by its own strategy. To be sure, Cohen acknowledges that this group had some merits: the correctness, for example, of its analysis in the 1920s of the problem of investments, crucial for the USSR, and bound up with the no less decisive problem of industrialisation. And Cohen is doubtless right to emphasise the grave tactical errors committed by Trotsky after Lenin’s death and right down to the eve of his banishment, when he gave out this disastrous watchword: “With Stalin against Bukharin? Yes. With Bukharin against Stalin? Never.”
In the preliminary voting, Lenin's theses got 76 votes; Trotsky's, 27; Bukharin's, 5; Shlyapnikov's, 4; Sapronov's, 11; Ignatov's, 25; Nogin's, none, and Ryazanov's, none.
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Bukharin, who had been forced to follow the Party line since 1929, confided to his old friends and former opponents his real view of Stalin and his policy. His conversations with , a leader who held the manuscripts on behalf of SPD, formed the basis of "Letter of an Old Bolshevik", which was very influential in contemporary understanding of the period (especially the and Kirov murder) although there are doubts about its authenticity. According to Nicolaevsky, Bukharin spoke of "the mass annihilation of completely defenseless men, with women and children" under forced collectivization and liquidation of as a class that dehumanized the Party members with "the profound psychological change in those communists who took part in the campaign. Instead of going mad, they accepted terror as a normal administrative method and regarded obedience to all orders from above as a supreme virtue... They are no longer human beings. They have truly become the cogs in a terrible machine."
Lenin described Bukharin as ‘a most valuable and major theorist ..
Bukharin was tried in the on March 2-13, 1938 during the , along with ex-premier , , , , and 16 other defendants alleged to belong to the so-called "Bloc of Rightists and Trotskyites". Meant to be the culmination of previous , it was now alleged that Bukharin and others sought to assassinate Lenin and Stalin from 1918, murder by poison, partition the U.S.S.R and hand out her territories to Germany, Japan, and Great Britain.
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin by Elsie Linley on Prezi
Insofar as Cohen has written only a one-volume biography he has been forced to be selective. However, even allowing for the lack of Bukharin’s private papers, I feel that there are certain important areas and points that are missing. The most notable absence is any real treatment of Bukharin’s role in the Comintern. From its inception in 1919 Bukharin played a leading role in the functions of that body. It is true that, until his fall from power in 1925, Zinoviev played the central public role, and only after 1925 did Bukharin occupy the centre of the Comintern stage. But Bukharin’s involvement was on a continuing basis for 10 years. Cohen’s failure to make more than a passing reference to these activities seems to me to flow from more than the need to compress. From the year 1920 onwards Cohen has concentrated his attention on Bukharin’s relationship to internal Soviet and party affairs, and in particular his role in the industrialisation debate. Coupled with this is an inadequate analysis of the social forces behind the debating positions.