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Zinoviev, Grigori (1883–1936)

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


This Russian revolutionary, with modest origins and lacking formal education, gravitated early into left-wing politics and helped to found the bolsheviks in 1903. Until 1917 he was closely associated with lenin , but he opposed plans for an armed insurrection in the autumn of that year (see russian revolutions of 1917). After a brief period in disfavor, he was made head of the Petrograd Revolutionary Committee in 1918. The following year he assumed a leading role in the comintern , and in 1921 became a full member of the politburo . In 1924 he sided with stalin and kamenev in the power struggle against trotsky , and later that year his name became infamous in the UK when newspapers printed the “Zinoviev letter” urging British communists to revolution. The document was a fake, but its sentiments matched those of its alleged author. Two years later, as Stalin consolidated his own position, Zinoviev was ousted from his Comintern post and expelled from the Communist Party. Though eventually readmitted to the latter, he (along with Kamenev) was falsely linked to the 1935 murder of kirov . A year later, Zinoviev was tried and executed in one of the first show trials of the great purges . His posthumous rehabilitation came only in 1988, during the soviet union's final phase. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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