Georgy Plekhanov


Quick Reference


The founding father of Russian Marxism. Plekhanov was exiled from Russia for revolutionary activity in 1880. Shortly thereafter he founded the Emancipation of Labour, a Marxist association and forerunner of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party, which eventually split into the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks. He believed that Russia had to pass through genuine capitalistic development, in order for the conditions and tools to be built to enable a Socialist revolution to occur. After the revolution of 1905 this precipitated a split with Lenin and the gradual dismissal of Plekhanov's views: Lenin saw him as a compromising defeatist, while he compared Lenin to Robespierre. Although a dialectical materialist (he coined the phrase) Plekhanov maintained vestiges of Kantianism, particularly in his moral thought. Works included On the Development of the Monist View of History (1895).

Subjects: Philosophy.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »