Lopatin, German Aleksandrovich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lopatin, German Aleksandrovich


Born Jan 13 (25), 1845, in Nizhny Novgorod (now Gorky); died Dec. 26, 1918, in Petrograd. Russian revolutionary; member of the General Council of the First International; Russia’s first translator of K. Marx’ Das Kapital. Son of a nobleman.

Lopatin graduated from the University of St. Petersburg in 1866. In his dissertation, “On Spontaneous Formation” (see Istoricheskii arkhiv, 1960, no. 3), Lopatin defended materialist ideas. In 1867 he journeyed to Italy with the intention of fighting in the ranks of G. Garibaldi. Returning to Russia, he planned to create a One-ruble Society in order to study the economic system of the country, the life of the people, and their ability to absorb the ideas of socialism; however he was arrested in 1868. While serving out his exile in Stavropol’, he studied the works of Marx. In early 1870 he fled to St. Petersburg, organized the escape of P. L. Lavrov from exile, and immediately after went abroad himself. In Paris he joined the First International and translated Das Kapital, departing in the summer of 1870 for England. Marx thought highly of the outstanding abilities of Lopatin, who had become his personal friend. In September 1870 he became a member of the General Council of the International.

Lopatin set out for Siberia in the winter of 1870 for the purpose of freeing N. G. Chernyshevskii, who was exiled there. He was arrested the following year in Irkutsk. He fled abroad in the summer of 1873 but returned annually to his homeland. With the onset of a new revolutionary situation in 1879, Lopatin returned to Russia, was arrested, and again escaped (1883). Under the influence of Marx and Engels, he became convinced that Russia was faced not with socialist but bourgeois-democratic transformations. In 1884 he made an attempt to reestablish People’s Will, which had been crushed by tsarism, and to convert it into a broad popular organization. However he was arrested in October 1884 and, as a result of the Trial of the 21 (1877), was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Shlissel’burg Fortress. He was freed during the Revolution of 1905-07. Lopatin’s health was seriously damaged, and he no longer participated in politics.

Lopatin was well known as a writer. He was the author of sketches and pamphlet letters on Russian tsarism, which were published by the revolutionary press. The collection From Behind Bars, which included “Free Russian Poetry” and opened with an introduction by Lopatin, was published in 1877 in Geneva. Motifs of civic responsibility were characteristic of Lopatin’s poetry written in the Shlissel’burg Fortress. I. S. Turgenev, G. I. Uspenskii, L. N. Tolstoy, and M. Gorky recognized Lopatin’s artistic talent.


G. A. Lopatin (1845-1918): Avtobiografiia. Pokazaniia i pis’ma. Stat’i i stikhotvoreniia. Bibliografiia. Petrograd, 1922.
[“Stikhi.”] In the collection Poety-demokraty 1870-1880-khgg. Leningrad, 1968.


K. Marks, F. Engels i revoliutsionnaia Rossiia. Moscow, 1967.
Russkie sovremenniki o K. Markse i F. Engel’se. Moscow, 1969.
Lavrov, P. L. G. A, Lopatin. Petrograd, 1919.
Rapoport, lu. M. Iz istorii sviazei russkikh revoliutsionerov s osnovopolozhnikami nauchnogo sotsializma (K. Marks i G. Lopatin). Moscow, 1960.
Antonov, V. Russkii drug Marksa G. A. Lopatin. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.