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Martov, Julius (1873–1923)

Pavla Vesela


In their biography of Martov, historians Savelev and Tiutiukin (2006) argued that “Martov had in his own way become a symbol of protest against social injustice, political falsehood, and demagogy, the personification of a splendid dream of a world without violence and war.” Martov, who entertained himself as a boy by imagining a utopian city called Prilichensk, became the leader of the Mensheviks, the non-Leninist faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP). Martov's Marxism was generally marked by internationalism, moderation, and revolutionary pacifism. Julius Martov was born Yuly Osipovich Tsederbaum on November 24, 1873 in Constantinople into a prosperous Jewish family. Although the Tsederbaums observed few Jewish customs and their children grew up in a materialistic environment, they nevertheless suffered from anti-Semitism. As a student of St. Petersburg University, Martov joined the Narodniki, a populist organization, but his attachment was short-lived. At 19, he turned to Marxism, resulting soon after in his first arrest and exile in Vilno, where he continued to read and edit Marxist literature. He became a member of the Bund , a Jewish socialist group, and distributed propaganda among workers calling for a Jewish working-class party. On returning to St. Petersburg in 1895, Martov became internationalist in outlook, which became a dominant characteristic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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