Deutsch, Lev

Deutsch, Lev Grigor’evich

 

Born Sept. 26, 1855; died Aug. 4, 1941. A leader of the Social Democratic movement in Russia, one of the leaders of Menshevism. Born in Tul’chino into a merchant family.

Deutsch became a Narodnik (Populist) in 1874. In 1876 he was arrested but escaped. In 1877 he was one of the organizers of the peasant actions in Chigirin District, Kiev Province. He was arrested but in 1878 escaped from prison. In 1879 he became a member of Land and Liberty and then, after the organization split up, of the Black Repartition. He emigrated in 1880 and while abroad took part in 1883 in the creation of the first Russian Marxist group, Liberation of Labor. He was active in organizing the publication and illegal shipment of revolutionary literature into Russia. In 1884 he was arrested in Germany and handed over to the tsarist authorities. A military court sentenced him to 13 years at hard labor and banishment to Eastern Siberia.

In 1901, Deutsch fled abroad and joined Iskra. He was co-opted into the administration of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social Democrats Abroad and took part in the publication of Iskra and Zaria. He became a member of the foreign bureau of the organizing committee for the convocation of the Second Congress of the RSDLP (1903). At the congress he joined the Mensheviks. In the fall of 1905 he returned to Russia. He was arrested in 1906 and banished to Turukhansk Krai but while in transit escaped abroad. He was a participant in the Fifth (1907) Congress of the RSDLP and the Stuttgart International Socialist Congress (1907). During the period of reaction, he belonged to the Menshevik liquidationist faction. He lived in the USA from 1911 to 1916, publishing the social chauvinist magazine Svobodnoe Slovo (The Free Word) in New York. After the February Revolution of 1917, he returned to Petrograd, where he affiliated with the group of right-wing Menshevik defensists; he was one of the editors of the Menshevik newspaper Edinstvo. After the October Revolution, he withdrew from political activity; he worked on the publication of the literary legacy of G. V. Plekhanov. He became a pensioner in 1928. He wrote memoirs and articles on the history of the Russian liberation movement.

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