Chernov, Viktor Mikhailovich


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Chernov, Viktor Mikhailovich

 

(pseudonyms included Iu. Gardenin). Born Nov. 19 (Dec. 1), 1873, in Kamyshin, in what is now Volgograd Oblast; died Apr. 15, 1952, in New York City, USA. Russian political figure. A founder of the Socialist Revolutionary Party (SR’s) and a member of its Central Committee.

Chernov joined the revolutionary movement in the late 1880’s. He studied at Moscow University from 1892 to 1894, when he was arrested in a crackdown on the People’s Right Party and exiled to Tambov Province. He emigrated in 1899 and, with M. R. Gots, headed the foreign organization of the SR’s and the newspaper Revoliutsionnaia Rossiia. Chernov was the party’s chief theoretician and developed its program; his philosophic views were an indiscriminate blend of Narodnik (Populist) socialism and empiriocriticism (Machism).

During World War I, Chernov took part in the Zimmerwald Conference of 1915 and the Kienthal Conference of 1916. After the February Revolution of 1917 he returned to Russia, where from May to August 1917 he served as minister of agriculture in the Provisional Government. After the October Revolution of 1917 he actively opposed Soviet power. Chernov was elected chairman of the Constituent Assembly, which met on Jan. 5 (18), 1918, and during the summer and autumn of that year served on the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly.

Chernov emigrated in 1920. He worked with the French Resistance during World War II and eventually took up residence in the USA. While abroad, Chernov published his memoirs, Notes of a Socialist Revolutionary (vol. 1, 1922) and Before the Storms (1953).