Danielson, Nikolai Frantsevich

Daniel’son, Nikolai Frantsevich


(pseudonyms: N-on, Nik.-on, Nikolai-on, on). Born 1844; died July 3, 1918. Russian economist, publicist. One of the theoreticians of liberal Narodnichestvo (Populism).

Beginning in the late 1860’s, Daniel’son served first as a bookkeeper, then as chief controller in the St. Petersburg Society of Mutual Credit. In the 1860’s and 1870’s he was associated with groups of revolutionary raznochintsy youths (intellectual youths of no definite class). He completed the translation into Russian of the first volume of Karl Marx’ Das Kapital, which had been begun by G. A. Lopatin (1st printing, 1872; 2nd and 3rd printings, 1898). He also translated the second volume of Das Kapital in 1885 and the third in 1896. He maintained a lafge correspondence with Marx and Engels.

On the whole, Marx approved of Daniel’son’s article “Studies of Our Prereform Economy” (which appeared in the journal Slovo, 1880, no. 10), in which he analyzed an enormous amount of statistical material on the economic development of prereform Russia. However, this article already revealed the contradictions in Daniel’son’s philosophy, which was a combination of Marxism and Narodnichestvo. His book Studies of Our Prereform Economy (1893) and the works of V. P. Vorontsov expressed the basic economic opinions of the liberal Narodniks, although Daniel’son himself, according to V. I. Lenin, tried to “pass himself off as a strict adherent of Marx’ principles” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 1, p. 320). He idealized the possibilities of the Russian obshchina (peasant commune), contrasted domestic handicraft industry (which was “of the people”) to “artificial” capitalist industry, put forward the mistaken theory of the absence or abridgement of the internal market in Russia, and maintained that the development of capitalism was undermining the existence of Russia and the Russian people. Both Engels in his letters to Daniel’son and V. I. Lenin severely criticized his economic ideas. In his works of the 1890’s, Lenin revealed the flimsiness of Daniel’son’s views; he showed one of Daniel’son’s most fundamental mistakes to be a lack of understanding of the class struggle and of the class character of the state. Lenin condemned Daniel’son’s liberal-Narodnik approach to the bourgeois state and society, which can “only hamper the workers’ struggle for emancipation” (ibid., p. 321.).


K. Marks i F. Engel’s i revoliutsionnaia Rossiia. Moscow. 1967.
Lenin, V. I. “Po povodu tak nazyvaemogo voprosa o rynkakh.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed.. vol. 1. pp. 95–96, 98, 104, 119–20.
Lenin, V. I. “Ekonomicheskoe soderzhanie narodnichestva i kritika ego v knige g. Struve.” Ibid., vol. 1.
Lenin, V. I. “Chto takoe ’druz’ia naroda’ i kak oni voiuiut protiv sotsial-demokratov?” Ibid., vol. I, pp. 218–19, 243, 280, 282–83, 320–21. 335–38.
Narodnicheskaia ekonomicheskaia literatura: Izbr. proizv.. Moscow. 1958. Pages 52–72. 482–572.
Istoriia russkoi ekonomicheskoi mysli, vol. 2, part 2, Moscow, 1960. Pages 321–32.