Alexander Bogdanov

Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Алекса́ндрович Богда́нов; 22 August 1873 [O.S. 10 August] – 7 April 1928), born Alexander Malinovsky, was a Russian and later Soviet physician, philosopher, science fiction writer, and revolutionary.

He was a key figure in the early history of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP, later the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CPSU]), originally established 1898, being one of its co-founders in 1903, after the split with the Mensheviks minority faction and a rival to Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924), until being expelled in 1909. Following the Russian Revolutions of 1917, when the Bolsheviks came to power in the collapsing Russian Empire, during the first decade of the subsequent Soviet Union in the 1920s, he was an influential opponent of the Bolshevik government and Lenin from a Marxist leftist perspective. Bogdanov received training in medicine and psychiatry. His wide scientific and medical interests ranged from the universal systems theory to the possibility of human rejuvenation through blood transfusion. He invented an original philosophy called "tectology", now regarded as a forerunner of systems theory. He was also an economist, culture theorist, science fiction writer, and political activist. He was one of the Russian Machists.

Alexander Bogdanov
A A Bogdanov
Full member of the 4th, 5th Central Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
In office
June 1906 – June 1909
Prospective member of the 3rd Central Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
In office
Personal details
Alyaksandr Malinovsky

22 August 1873
Sokółka, Grodno Governorate, Russian Empire (now Poland)
Died7 April 1928 (aged 54)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political partyRSDLP (Bolsheviks)
Alma materMoscow University, Kharkiv University
OccupationPhysician, philosopher, writer

Early years

Alyaksandr Malinovsky was born in Sokółka, Grodno Governorate, Russian Empire (now Poland), into a rural teacher's family, the second of six children. He attended the Gymnasium at Tula, which he compared to a barracks or prison. He was awarded a gold medal when he graduated.[1]

Upon completion of the gymnasium, Bogdanov was admitted to the Natural Science Department of Moscow University. In his autobiography, Bogdanov reported that, while studying at Moscow University, he joined the Union Council of Regional Societies, and he was arrested and exiled to Tula because of it.[2]

The occasion of his arrest and exile is as follows. The head of the Moscow Okhrana used an informant to acquire the names of members of the Union Council of Regional Societies, which included Bogdanov's name. on October 30, 1894, students rowdily demonstrated against a lecture by the famous history Professor Vasily Klyuchevsky who, despite being a well-known liberal, had written a favourable eulogy for the recently deceased Tsar Alexander III of Russia. Punishment of a few of the students was arbitrary and unfair that the Union Council requested a fair reexamination of the issue. That very night, the Okhrana arrested all the students on the list mentioned above - including Bogdanov - who were expelled from the university and banished to their hometowns.[3] Expelled from Moscow State University, he enrolled as an external student at the University of Kharkov from which he graduated as a physician in 1899. Bogdanov remained in Tula from 1894 to 1899, where - since his own family was living in Sokółka - he lodged with Alexander Rudnev, the father of Vladimir Bazarov, who became a close friend and collaborator in future years. Here he met and married Natalya Bogdanovna Korsak, who, as a woman, had been refused entrance to the university. She was eight years older than him[4] and worked as a nurse for Rudnev. Malinovsky adopted the nom de plume that he used when he wrote his major theoretical works and his novels from her patronym.[5] Alongside Bazarov and Ivan Skvortsov-Stepanov he became a tutor in a workers' study circle. This was organised in the Tula Armament Factory by Ivan Saveliev, whom Bogdanov credited with founding Social Democracy in Tula. During this period, he wrote his Brief course of economic science which was published – "subject to many modifications made for the benefit of the censor" – only in 1897. He later said that this experience of student-led education gave him his first lesson in proletarian culture. In autumn 1895, he resumed his medical studies at the University of Kharkiv (Ukraine) but still spent much time in Tula. He gained access to the works of Lenin in 1896, particularly the latter's critique of Peter Berngardovich Struve. In 1899, he graduated as a medical doctor and published his next work, "Basic elements of the historical perspective on nature". However, because of his political views, he was also arrested by the Tsar's police, spent six months in prison, and was exiled to Vologda.


Bogdanov dates his support for Bolshevism from autumn of 1903. Early in 1904, Martyn Liadov was sent by the Bolsheviks in Geneva to seek out supporters in Russia. He found a sympathetic group of revolutionaries in Tver. Bogdanov was then sent by the Tver Committee to Geneva, where he was greatly impressed by Lenin's One Step Forward, Two Steps Back. Bogdanov was arrested on 3 December 1905 and held in prison until 27 May 1906. Upon release, he was exiled to Bezhetsk for three years. However, he obtained permission to spend his exile abroad, and joined Lenin in Kokkola, Finland. For the next six years, Bogdanov was a major figure among the early Bolsheviks, second only to Vladimir Lenin in influence. In 1904-1906, he published three volumes of the philosophic treatise Empiriomonizm (Empiriomonism), in which he tried to merge Marxism with the philosophy of Ernst Mach, Wilhelm Ostwald, and Richard Avenarius. His work later affected a number of Russian Marxist theoreticians, including Nikolai Bukharin.[6] In 1907, he helped organize the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery with both Lenin and Leonid Krasin.

For four years after the collapse of the Russian Revolution of 1905, Bogdanov led a group within the Bolsheviks ("ultimatists" and "otzovists" or "recallists"), who demanded a recall of Social Democratic deputies from the State Duma, and he vied with Lenin for the leadership of the Bolshevik faction. In 1908 he joined Bazarov, Lunacharsky, Berman, Helfond, Yushkevich and Suvorov in a symposium Studies in the Philosophy of Marxism which espoused the views of the Russian Marxists. By mid-1908, the factionalism with the Bolsheviks had become irreconcilable. A majority of Bolshevik leaders either supported Bogdanov or were undecided between him and Lenin. Lenin concentrated on undermining Bogdanov's reputation as a philosopher. In 1909 he published a scathing book of criticism entitled Materialism and Empiriocriticism, assaulting Bogdanov's position and accusing him of philosophical idealism.[7] In June 1909, Bogdanov was defeated by Lenin at a Bolshevik mini-conference in Paris organized by the editorial board of the Bolshevik magazine Proletary and was expelled from the Bolsheviks.

He joined his brother-in-law Anatoly Lunacharsky, Maxim Gorky, and other Vperedists on the island of Capri, where they started the Capri Party School for Russian factory workers. In 1910, Bogdanov, Lunacharsky, Mikhail Pokrovsky, and their supporters moved the school to Bologna, where they continued teaching classes through 1911, while Lenin and his allies soon started the Longjumeau Party School just outside of Paris.

Bogdanov broke with the Vpered in 1912 and abandoned revolutionary activities. After six years of his political exile in Europe, Bogdanov returned to Russia in 1914, following the political amnesty declared by Tsar Nicholas II as part of the festivities connected with the tercentenary of the Romanov Dynasty.

During World War I

Bogdanov was drafted soon after the outbreak of World War I, and he was assigned as a junior regimental doctor with the 221st Smolensk infantry division in the Second Army commanded by General Alexander Samsonov. In the Battle of Tannenberg, August 26–30, the Second Army was surrounded and almost completely destroyed, but Bogdanov survived because he had been sent to accompany a seriously wounded officer to Moscow.[8] However following the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes, he succumbed to a nervous disorder, and subsequently became Junior house surgeon at an evacuation hospital.[9] In 1916 he wrote four articles for Vpered which provided an analysis of the World War and the dynamics of war economies. He attributed a central role to the armed forces in the economic restructuring of the belligerent powers. He saw the army as creating a "consumers' communism" with the state taking over ever-increasing parts of the economy. At the same time military authoritarianism was also spread to civil society. this created the conditions for two consequences: consumption-led war communism and the destruction of the means of production. He thus predicted that even after the war, the new system of state capitalism would replace that of finance capitalism even though the destruction of the forces of production would cease.[10]

During the Russian Revolution

Bogdanov had no party-political involvement in the Russian Revolution of 1917, although he did publish a number of articles and books about the events that unfurled around him. He supported the Zimmerwaldist programme of "peace without annexations or indemnities". He deplored the Provisional Government's continued prosecution of the war. After the July Crisis, he advocated "revolutionary democracy" as he now considered the socialists capable of forming a government. However, he viewed this as a broad-based socialist provisional government that would convene a Constituent Assembly. In May 1917, he published Chto my svergli in Novaya Zhizn. Here he argued that between 1904 and 1907, the Bolsheviks had been "decidedly democratic" and that there was no pronounced cult of leadership. However, following the decision of Lenin and the émigré group around him to break with Vpered in order to unify with the Mensheviks, the principle of leadership became more pronounced. After 1912, when Lenin insisted on splitting the Duma group of the RSDLP, the leadership principle became entrenched. However, he saw this problem as not being confined to the Bolsheviks, noting that similar authoritarian ways of thinking were shown in the Menshevik attitude to Plekhanov, or the cult of heroic individuals and leaders amongst the Narodniks.

Every organisation, on achieving a position of decisive influence in the life and ordering of society, quite inevitably, irrespective of the formal tenets of the its programme, attempts to impose on society its own type of structure, the one with which it is most familiar and to which it is most accustomed. Every collective re-creates, as far as it can, the whole social environment after its own image and in its own likeness.[11]

After the October Revolution

At the beginning of February 1918, Bogdanov denied that the Bolsheviks' October rise to power had constituted a conspiracy. Rather, he explained that an explosive situation had arisen through the prolongation of the war. He pointed to a lack of cultural development in that all strata of society, whether the bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, or the workers, had shown a failure to resolve conflicts through negotiation. He described the revolution as being a combination of a peasant revolution in the countryside and a soldier-worker revolution in the cities. He regarded it as paradoxical that the peasantry expressed itself through the Bolshevik party rather than through the Socialist Revolutionaries.

He analysed the effect of the First World War as creating 'War Communism' which he defined a 'consumer communism', which created the circumstances for the creation of state capitalism. He saw military state capitalism as a temporary phenomenon in the West, lasting only as long as the war. However, thanks to the predominance of the soldiers in the Bolshevik Party, he regarded it as inevitable that their backwardness should predominate in the re-organisation of society. Instead of proceeding in a methodical fashion, the pre-existing state was simply uprooted. The military-consumerist approach of simply requisitioning what was required had predominated and could not cope with the more complex social relations necessitated by the market:

There is a War Communist party which is mobilising the working class, and there are groups of socialist intelligentsia. The war has made the army the end and the working class the means.[12]

He refused multiple offers to rejoin the party and denounced the new regime as similar to Aleksey Arakcheyev's arbitrary and despotic rule in the early 1820s.[13]

In 1918, Bogdanov became a professor of economics at the University of Moscow and director of the newly established Socialist Academy of Social Sciences.


Between 1918 and 1920, Bogdanov co-founded the proletarian art movement Proletkult and was its leading theoretician. In his lectures and articles, he called for the total destruction of the "old bourgeois culture" in favour of a "pure proletarian culture" of the future. It was also through Proletkult that Bogdanov's educational theories were given form with first the establishment of the Moscow Proletarian University. At first Proletkult, like other radical cultural movements of the era, received financial support from the Bolshevik government, but by 1920, the Bolshevik leadership grew hostile, and on December 1, 1920, Pravda published a decree denouncing Proletkult as a "petit bourgeois" organization operating outside of Soviet institutions and a haven for "socially alien elements". Later in that month, the president of Proletkult was removed, and Bogdanov lost his seat on its Central Committee. He withdrew from the organization completely in 1921-1922.[14]


Bogdanov gave a lecture to a club at Moscow University, which, according to Yakov Yakovlev, included an account of the formation of Vpered and reiterated some of the criticisms Bogdanov had made at the time of the individualism of certain leaders. Yakovlev further claimed that Bogdanov discussed the development of the concept of proletarian culture up to the present day and discussed to what extent the Communist Party saw Proletkult as a rival. He further hinted at the prospect of a new International that might emerge if there were a revival of the socialist movement in the West. He said he envisaged such an International as merging political, trade union, and cultural activities into a single organisation. Yakovlev characterised these ideas as Menshevik, pointing to the refusal of Vpered to acknowledge the authority of the 1912 Prague Conference. He cited Bogdanov's characterization of the October revolution as "soldiers'-peasants' revolt", his criticisms of the New Economic Policy, and his description of the new regime as expressing the interests of a new class of technocratic and bureaucratic intelligentsia, as evidence that Bogdanov was involved in forming a new party.[15]

Meanwhile, Workers' Truth had received publicity in the Berlin-based Menshevik journal Sotsialisticheskii Vestnik, and they also distributed a manifesto at the 12th Bolshevik Congress and were active in the industrial unrest which swept Moscow and Petrograd in July and August 1923. On 8 September 1923, Bogdanov was among a number of people arrested by the GPU (the Soviet secret police) on suspicion of being involved in them. He demanded to be interviewed by Felix Dzerzhinsky, to whom he explained that while he shared a range of views with Workers' Truth, he had no formal association with them. He was released after five weeks on 13 October; however, his file was not closed until a decree passed by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on 16 January 1989. He wrote about his experiences under arrest in Five weeks with the GPU.[16]

Later years and death

In 1924, Bogdanov started his blood transfusion experiments, apparently hoping to achieve eternal youth or at least partial rejuvenation. Lenin's sister Maria Ulyanova was among many who volunteered to take part in Bogdanov's experiments. After undergoing 11 blood transfusions, he remarked with satisfaction on the improvement of his eyesight, suspension of balding, and other positive symptoms. His fellow revolutionary Leonid Krasin wrote to his wife that "Bogdanov seems to have become 7, no, 10 years younger after the operation". In 1925–1926, Bogdanov founded the Institute for Haemotology and Blood Transfusions, which was later named after him. But a later transfusion cost him his life, when he took the blood of a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis (Bogdanov died, but the student injected with his blood made a complete recovery). Some scholars (e.g. Loren Graham) have speculated that his death may have been a suicide, because Bogdanov wrote a highly nervous political letter shortly beforehand. However, others attribute his death to blood type incompatibility which was poorly understood at the time.[17][4]


Both Bogdanov's fiction and his political writings imply that he expected the coming revolution against capitalism to lead to a technocratic society.[18] This was because the workers lacked the knowledge and initiative to seize control of social affairs for themselves as a result of the hierarchical and authoritarian nature of the capitalist production process. However, Bogdanov also considered that the hierarchical and authoritarian mode of organization of the Bolshevik party was also partly to blame, although Bogdanov considered at least some such organization necessary and inevitable.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Bogdanov's theorizing, being the product of a non-Leninist Bolshevik became important, though "underground" influence on certain dissident factions in the Soviet Union who turned against Bolshevik autocracy while accepting the necessity of the Revolution and wishing to preserve its achievements.[19]



In 1908, Bogdanov published the novel Red Star, about a utopia set on Mars. In it, he made predictions about future scientific and social developments. His utopia also dealt with feminist themes, which would become more common in later utopian science fiction, e.g., the two sexes becoming virtually identical in the future, or women escaping "domestic slavery" (one reason for physical changes) and being free to pursue relationships with the same freedom as men, without stigma. Other notable differences between the utopia of Red Star and present day society include workers having total control over their working hours, as well as more subtle differences in social behavior such as conversations being patiently "set at the level of the person with whom they were speaking and with understanding for his personality although it might very much differ from their own". The novel also gave a detailed description of blood transfusion in the Martian society.


From 1913 until 1922, Bogdanov immersed himself in the writing of a lengthy philosophical treatise of original ideas, Tectology: Universal Organization Science. Tectology anticipated many basic ideas of Systems Analysis, later explored by Cybernetics and Bogdanov attributed some of his ideas on the development of a monistic system to Ludwig Noire. In Tectology, Bogdanov proposed to unify all social, biological, and physical sciences by considering them as systems of relationships and by seeking the organizational principles that underlie all systems. His three-volume book anticipated many ideas later popularized by Norbert Wiener in Cybernetics and Ludwig von Bertalanffy in General Systems Theory. Both Wiener and von Bertalanffy may have read the German translation of Tectology, published in 1926, with a second edition published in 1928. In Russia, Vladimir Lenin (and later Joseph Stalin) considered Bogdanov's natural philosophy an ideological threat to dialectic materialism. The rediscovery of Tectology occurred only in the 1970s.

Published works



  • Poznanie s Istoricheskoi Tochki Zreniya (Knowledge from a Historical Viewpoint) (St. Petersburg, 1901)
  • Empiriomonizm: Stat'i po Filosofii (Empiriomonism: Articles on Philosophy) 3 volumes (Moscow, 1904–1906)
  • Kul'turnye zadachi nashego vremeni (The Cultural Tasks of Our Time) (Moscow: Izdanie S. Dorovatoskogo i A. Carushnikova 1911)
  • Filosofiya Zhivogo Opyta: Populiarnye Ocherki (Philosophy of Living Experience: Popular Essays) (St. Petersburg, 1913)
  • Tektologiya: Vseobschaya Organizatsionnaya Nauka 3 volumes (Berlin and Petrograd-Moscow, 1922)
  • "Avtobiografia" in Entsiklopedicheskii slovar, XLI, pp. 29–34 (1926)
  • God raboty Instituta perelivanya krovi (Annals of the Institute of Blood Transfusion) (Moscow 1926-1927)


  • Krasnaya zvezda (Red Star) (St. Petersburg, 1908)
  • Inzhener Menni (Engineer Menni) (Moscow: Izdanie S. Dorovatoskogo i A. Carushnikova 1912) The title page carries the date 1913[20]

English translation



  • Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia, edited by Loren Graham and Richard Stites; trans. Charles Rougle (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1984):
    • Red Star (1908). Novel. In English
    • Engineer Menni (1913). Novel.
    • "A Martian Stranded on Earth" (1924). Poem.

See also


  1. ^ Bogdanov, Alexander (1974), "Autobiography", in Haupt, Georges; Marie, Jean-Jacques (eds.), Makers of the Russian Revolution: Biographies of Bolshevik Leaders, Allen & Unwin
  2. ^ Bogdanov, Autobiography
  3. ^ White, James (1981), ""Bogdanov in Tula", Studies in Soviet Thought, vol 2, no. 1
  4. ^ a b Huestis, Douglas W. "Alexander Bogdanov: The Forgotten Pioneer of Blood Transfusion". Transfusion Medicine Reviews. 21 (4): 337–340. doi:10.1016/j.tmrv.2007.05.008.
  5. ^ Biggart, John (1989), Alexander Bogdanov, Left-Bolshevism and the Proletkult 1904 - 1932, University of East Anglia, p. 170
  6. ^ Cohen p. 15
  7. ^ Woods, Part Three
  8. ^ Rogachevskii, Andrei (1995). "'Life Makes No Sense': Aleksandr Bogdanov's Experiences in the First World War". Proveedings of the Annual Conference of the Scottish Society for Russian and East European Studies: 105.
  9. ^ Biggart J. (1998) 'the Rehabitation of Bogdanov' in Bogdanov and His Work, Aldershot: Ashgate
  10. ^ Biggart, John (1990). "Alexander Bogdanov and the Theory of a "New Class"". Russian Review. 49 (3).
  11. ^ Biggart, John (1989), Alexander Bogdanov, Left-Bolshevism and the Proletkult 1904 - 1932, University of East Anglia, p. 170
  12. ^ Biggart, John (1989), Alexander Bogdanov, Left-Bolshevism and the Proletkult 1904 - 1932, University of East Anglia, p. 179
  13. ^ Rosenthal, p. 118
  14. ^ Rosenthal, p. 162
  15. ^ Yakolev, Vasily (January 4, 1923), "Menshevizm v Proletkul'tovskoi odezhde", Pravda, Moscow
  16. ^ 'The rehabilitation of Bogdanov' by John Biggart in Bogdanov and His Work: A Guide to the Published and Unpublished Works of Alexander A. Bogdanov (Malinovsky), 1873-1928, 1998, p. 12
  17. ^ Rosenthal, pp. 161–162
  18. ^ Sochor, p. ___
  19. ^ Socialist Standard, April 2007
  20. ^ Biggart, John; Gloveli, Georgii & Yassour, Avraham, Bogdanov and his Work, Aldershot: Ashgate, p. 254


  • Cohen, Stephen F. 1980 [1973]. Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-502697-7. First published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1973. Published 1980 by Oxford University Press with corrections and a new introduction. Google Books preview as of 20101006
  • Rosenthal, Bernice Glatzer. 2002. New Myth, New World: From Nietzsche to Stalinism. The Pennsylvania State University Press. Google Books preview as of 20101006
  • Sochor, Zenovia. 1988. Revolution and Culture: The Bogdanov-Lenin Controversy. Cornell University Press.
  • Socialist Standard. 2007 April. Bogdanov, technocracy and socialism. 106(1232): 10.
  • Souvarine, Boris. 1939. Stalin: A Critical Survey of Bolshevism. New York: Alliance Group Corporation; Longmans, Green, and Co. ISBN 1-4191-1307-0
  • Woods, Alan. 1999. Bolshevism: The Road to Revolution. Wellred Publications. ISBN 1-900007-05-3 Part Three: The Period of Reaction

Further reading

  • Biggart, John; Georgii Gloveli; Avraham Yassour. 1998. Bogdanov and his Work. A guide to the published and unpublished works of Alexander A. Bogdanov (Malinovsky) 1873-1928, Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 1-85972-623-2
  • Biggart, John; Peter Dudley; Francis King (eds.). 1998. Alexander Bogdanov and the Origins of Systems Thinking in Russia. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 1-85972-678-X
  • Brown, Stuart. 2002. Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers, London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-06043-5
  • Dudley, Peter. 1996. Bogdanov's Tektology (1st Engl transl). Hull, UK: Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull.
  • Dudley, Peter; Simona Pustylnik. 1995. Reading The Tektology: provisional findings, postulates and research directions. Hull, UK: Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull.
  • Gorelick, George. 1983. Bogdanov's Tektology: Nature, Development and Influences. Studies in Soviet Thought, 26:37–57.
  • Jensen, Kenneth Martin. 1978. Beyond Marx and Mach: Aleksandr Bogdanov's Philosophy of Living Experience. Dordrecht: Kluwer. ISBN 9027709289
  • Pustylnik, Simona. 1995. Biological Ideas of Bogdanov's Tektology. Presented at the international conference, Origins of Organization Theory in Russia and the Soviet Union, University of East Anglia (Norwich), Jan. 8-11, 1995.
  • M. E. Soboleva. 2007. A. Bogdanov und der philosophische Diskurs in Russland zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Zur Geschichte des russischen Positivismus [The history of Russian positivism.]. Hildesheim, Germany: Georg Olms Verlag. 278 pp.

External links

3rd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party

The 3rd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party was held during 25 April - 10 May [(12–27 April O.S.)] 1905 in London, UK.

The Menshevik Central Committee had voted against calling the Congress on 7 February 1905 and voted to expel Lenin. Two days later nine of the eleven members of this committee were arrested. Leonid Krasin and Lyubimov initiated contact with the Bolsheviks and signed an agreement with Gusev and Rumyantsev for the setting up of the 3rd Congress.It was the congress of the Bolsheviks only with a handful of Mensheviks, who organised an alternative conference in Geneva. The meeting was so secretive we do not know the name of the hall they used. Krasin and Alexander Bogdanov were appointed to the "Russian Bureau of the Central Committee" charged with bringing together the two factions.Besides the routine topics, the agenda included the issues of the Russian Revolution of 1905. Lenin wanted the party to support Japan in its war on Russia (Joseph Pilsudski used the same tactic). The Congress put pressure on Lenin to return to Russia (he did eventually in November) by relocating the central committee and party newspaper in Russia.

Bolshevik Centre

The Bolshevik Centre was a select group of Bolsheviks that led the organization in secret. The Centre conducted its activities in secret in part so as to avoid the prohibition by the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party ("RSDLP") on separate committees outside of the RSDLP.

The Bolshevik Centre was headed by a "Finance Group" consisting of Vladimir Lenin, Leonid Krasin and Alexander Bogdanov.


The Bolsheviks, also known in English as the Bolshevists, was a faction founded by Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov that split from the Menshevik faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) at its Second Party Congress in 1903. The RSDLP was a revolutionary socialist political party formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organisations of the Russian Empire into one party.

The Bolsheviks were by 1905 a major organization consisting primarily of workers under a democratic internal hierarchy governed by the principle of democratic centralism. They considered themselves the leaders of the revolutionary working class of Russia. Their beliefs and practices were often referred to as Bolshevism.

Capri Party School

The Capri Party School was an educational organisation established by the Vperedists, a sub-faction in the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party. It was established by Maxim Gorky, Alexander Bogdanov, Vladimir Bazarov and Anatoly Lunacharsky, with Gorky providing the accommodation and funds essential to enable it to run. Its curriculum primarily reflected the viewpoint of these three founders who were part of the Russian intelligentsia, but hoped to influence Russian workers through the creation of a workers intelligentsia who would in turn develop proletarian culture.

The school was open from August to December, 1909. Nikifor Vilonov was appointed secretary.

Fedor Kalinin

Fedor Ivanovich Kalinin (1882–1920) was a Russian revolutionary.

Fedor was the younger brother of Mikhail Kalinin. He was originally employed as a weaver, a job his father had. He attended the Capri Party School where he met Alexander Bogdanov and Anatoly Lunacharsky and with them set up Vpered'. He wrote concerning philosophy with an approach adapted by Bogdanov in The Philosophy of Living Experience published in 1913.Kalinin was secretary to the "Circle of Proletarian Literature" established by the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in Paris in 1913.He was elected to the Central Committee of Proletkult in October 1917. Following the Bolshevik decree of 22 November [O.S. 9 November] 1917, the People's Commissariat for Education was established with a Department for the Assistance of Independent Class Educational Organisations. Kalinin was the head of the department, but the chair and two further members of the Department collegium would be directly elected by Proletkult. He was one of the editors of Proletarskaya Kul'tura with Pavel Lebedev-Polianskii.

Joseph Fineberg

Joe Fineberg (1886–1957) was a prominent translator for the Communist International. He produced English translations of works by Alexander Bogdanov, Nikolay Dobrolyubov, Ilya Ehrenburg, Vladimir Lenin, Boris Polevoy, Leo Tolstoy and others.Fineberg was born in Poland but it was while in London that he became active in the Jewish Social Democratic Organisation, a section of the British Socialist Party (BSP) for Jews based in London's East End. Although living in Hackney, he was secretary of the Stepney BSP branch.In July 1918, Fineberg moved to post revolutionary Russia of his own volition, at a time when many of his comrades were being deported. Once there he became a translator for the Communist International and joined the Bolshevik British Communist Group in Russia.

Fineberg was at the Founding Congress of the Comintern (2–6 March 1919).

Ludwig Noiré

Ludwig Noiré (26 March 1829 – 27 March 1889) was a German philosopher, known for his studies involving the philosophy of language. He was born in Alzey.

He received his education at the University of Giessen, and later relocated to Mainz, where he worked as a grammar school teacher.Alexander Bogdanov attributed some of his ideas, formalized as tektology, on the development of a monistic system to Ludwig Noiré.

Noiré contributed an historical introduction to F. Max Müller’s 1881 translation of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. It was titled "The Critique of Pure Reason as Illustrated by a Sketch of the Development of Occidental Philosophy" and was over 300 pages long.

Ludwig von Bertalanffy

Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy (19 September 1901 – 12 June 1972) was an Austrian biologist known as one of the founders of general systems theory (GST), the "conceptual part" of which was first introduced by Alexander Bogdanov. This is an interdisciplinary practice that describes systems with interacting components, applicable to biology, cybernetics and other fields. Bertalanffy proposed that the classical laws of thermodynamics might be applied to closed systems, but not necessarily to "open systems" such as living things. His mathematical model of an organism's growth over time, published in 1934, is still in use today.Bertalanffy grew up in Austria and subsequently worked in Vienna, London, Canada, and the United States.


Malinovsky (Russian: Малиновский; masculine) or Malinovskaya (Малиновская; feminine) is a Slavic surname.

Notable people with the surname include:

Mikhail Malinovsky, Hero of the Soviet Union

Rodion Malinovsky (1898–1967), Soviet military commander and the Defense Minister of the Soviet Union

Roman Malinovsky (1876–1918), agent provocateur of the Okhrana

Vasily Demut-Malinovsky (1779–1846), Russian sculptor

Vasily Malinovsky (1765–1814), Russian publicist and enlightener

Malinovsky, real last name of Alexander Bogdanov (1873–1928), Russian physician, philosopher, economist, science fiction writer, and revolutionary


Proletkult (Russian: Пролетку́льт, IPA: [prəlʲɪtˈkulʲt]), a portmanteau of the Russian words "proletarskaya kultura" (proletarian culture), was an experimental Soviet artistic institution that arose in conjunction with the Russian Revolution of 1917. This organization, a federation of local cultural societies and avant-garde artists, was most prominent in the visual, literary, and dramatic fields. Proletkult aspired to radically modify existing artistic forms by creating a new, revolutionary working-class aesthetic, which drew its inspiration from the construction of modern industrial society in backward, agrarian Russia.

Although funded by the People's Commissariat for Education of Soviet Russia, the Proletkult organization sought autonomy from state control, a demand which brought it into conflict with the Communist Party hierarchy and the Soviet state bureaucracy. Some top party leaders, such as Lenin, sought to concentrate state funding on the basic education of the working class rather than on whimsical artistic endeavors. He and others also saw in Proletkult a hotbed of bourgeois intellectuals and potential political oppositionists.At its peak in 1920, Proletkult had 84,000 members actively enrolled in about 300 local studios, clubs, and factory groups, with an additional 500,000 members participating in its activities on a more casual basis.

Red Star (novel)

Red Star (Russian: Красная звезда) is Alexander Bogdanov's 1908 science fiction novel about a communist society on Mars. The first edition was published in St. Petersburg in 1908, before eventually being republished in Moscow and Petrograd in 1918, and then again in Moscow in 1922. Set in early Russia during the Revolution of 1905 and additionally on a fictional socialist society on Mars, the novel tells the story of Leonid, a Russian scientist-revolutionary who travels to Mars to learn and experience their socialist system and to teach them of his own world. In the process, he becomes enamored of the people and technological efficiency that he encounters in this new world. An English translation by Charles Rougle was published in 1984.

Russian Machism

Russian Machism is a political/philosophical viewpoint which emerged in Imperial Russia in the beginning of the twentieth century before the Russian Revolution. They upheld the scientific and philosophical insights of Ernst Mach to be of great interest. Many of the Russian Machists were Marxists, and indeed viewed Machism as an essential ingredient of a materialist outlook on the world.

Segner wheel

The Segner wheel or Segner turbine is a type of water turbine invented by Johann Andreas Segner in the 18th century. It uses the same principle as Hero's aeolipile.

The device is placed in a suitable hole in the ground (or at the slope of a hill). The water is delivered to the top of a vertical cylinder, at the bottom of which is a rotor with specially bent pipes with nozzles (see image). Due to the hydrostatic pressure, the water is ejected from the nozzles, causing the rotor to rotate. The useful torque is transferred to a powered device through a belt and pulley system.

Segner turbines, also called reaction or Scotch turbines, were built in the mid-1850s to power the incline plane lifts along the Morris Canal in New Jersey. Today, the Segner wheel principle is used in irrigation sprinklers.

Alexander Bogdanov cited this an example of an important innovation which paved the way for the development of steam engines.The turbine at Museo Hacienda Buena Vista is "the only pre-Scotch type known to exist and is the sole extant example of a pioneer and historically important machine that was invented at the close of the 17th century by Dr. Baker.... The Buena Vista turbine is, in effect, a missing link in the evolution of mechanical artifacts better known to the historians of technology. (The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archaeology, Vol. 4, No. 1 [1978], pp.55–58)."

Sin and Sorrow Are Common to All

Sin and Sorrow Are Common to All (Grekh da beda na kovo ne zhiviot, Грех да беда на кого не живёт) is a four-act drama by Alexander Ostrovsky, written in 1852 and published on the No. 1, 1863 issue of Vremya magazine, edited by the Dostoyevsky brothers. It premiered in the Maly Theatre in Moscow, on 21 January 1863, as a benefit for director Alexander Bogdanov. Later that year, Ostrovsky was awarded the Uvarov Prize for it.

Studies in the Philosophy of Marxism

Studies in the Philosophy of Marxism (Russian: Очерки по философии марксизма) was an account of a seminar held by Vladimir Bazarov, Alexander Bogdanov, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Jakov Berman, Osip Gelfond, Pavel Yushkevich and Sergey Suvorov (1869 - 1918) published in St Petersburg in 1908.


Tektology (sometimes transliterated as "tectology") is a term used by Alexander Bogdanov to describe a discipline that consisted of unifying all social, biological and physical sciences by considering them as systems of relationships and by seeking the organizational principles that underlie all systems. Tectology is now regarded as a precursor of systems theory and related aspects of synergetics. The word "tectology" was developed by Ernst Haeckel, but Bogdanov used it for a different purpose.

The Philosophy of Living Experience

The Philosophy of Living Experience is a book by Alexander Bogdanov, which he wrote in 1911 and published in 1913. Further editions were published in 1920 and 1923 without revision. However the 1923 addition contains an appendix "From Religious to Scientific Monism" delivered at the Institute of Scientific Philosophy in February 1923. This is the book in which Bogdanov most extensively discusses the relationship of his thought to both Karl Marx and Ernst Mach. The book was probably based on a course he developed firstly at the Capri Party School (1909) and subsequently at the Bologna Party School (1911). Indeed Bogdanov cites the unpublished work of Nikifor Vilonov, a worker-philosopher who attended the Capri school. An English translation was published in 2015.


Vpered (Russian: Вперёд, IPA: [fpʲɪˈrʲɵt] (listen), Forward) was a subfaction within the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). Although Vpered emerged from the Bolshevik wing of the party, it was critical of Lenin. The group was gathered by Alexander Bogdanov in December 1909 and was active until 1912. Other notable members of the group included Maxim Gorky, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Mikhail Pokrovsky, Grigory Aleksinsky, Stanislav Volski, and Martyn Liadov.

Yakov Yakovlev

Yakov Arkadyevich Yakovlev (real name: Epstein; Russian: Я́ков Арка́дьевич Я́ковлев, 9 June 1896, Grodno - 29 July 1938) was a Soviet politician.

Yakovlev was a Ukrainian Communist of Jewish family who joined the Bolsheviks in 1913. In January 1923 he led the attack on Alexander Bogdanov, criticising him for being a Menshevik in Pravda. From 1929 he served as People's Commissar for Agriculture for the forced collectivisation. In 1936 he appeared as a witness in the first Moscow trial. In 1937 he organized the Great Purge in Belarus. In the following year he became a victim of the purges himself. Posthumously rehabilitated on 5 January 1957.

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