Akselrod, Pavel

Aksel’rod, Pavel Borisovich


Born 1850; died 1928, in Berlin. A Menshevik leader.

Aksel’rod studied at the University of Kiev. In the 1870’s he was a Populist—at first a Bakuninist and after the split in the Zemlia i Volia (Land and Freedom) group in 1879, a member of the Chernyi Peredel (Black Repartition) group. In 1883 he became a member of the Marxist Osvobozhdenie Truda (Liberation of Labor) group. An editor of Iskra and Zaria from 1900 and an exponent of Marxism, he wrote a number of works from 1883 through 1903 that idealized bourgeois democracy and the parliamentary activity of the Western European social democratic parties. After the Second Congress of the RSDLP in 1903, Aksel’rod became one of the ideologists of Menshevism and an enemy of the Bolsheviks. In 1905 he put forward the anti-Marxist idea of the so-called workers’ congress. At the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the RSDLP in 1906 he advocated the opportunist idea of political collaboration of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. In the period of reaction he was the ideological leader of the Liquidators and during World War I, a Social Chauvinist. In 1917, as a member of the executive committee of the Petrograd Soviet, he actively supported the bourgeois Provisional Government. After the October Revolution he became an émigré. A leader of the Second International and an advocate of reformism, Aksel’rod opposed the Soviet power to the extent of calling for armed intervention.