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Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov (December 11, 1856 – May 30, 1918; Old Style: November 29, 1856 – May 17, 1918) was a Russian revolutionary and a Marxist theoretician. He was a founder of the Social-Democratic movement in Russia. Plekhanov contributed many ideas to Marxism in the area of philosophy and the roles of art and religion in society.
Plekhanov was originally a Narodnik, a leader of the organization "Land and Liberty". After emigrating from Russia in 1880, he established connections with the Social-Democratic movement of western Europe and began to study the works of Marx and Engels. This led him to renounce Narodism and become a Marxist.
In 1883, he founded, in Switzerland, the "Emancipation of Labor" group, which popularized Marxism among Russian revolutionaries. At its dissolution, he joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) and worked with Lenin.
In 1903, at the second congress of the RSDLP, Plekhanov broke with Lenin and sided with the Mensheviks. During World War I, he took a "nationalist" position (as opposed to Bolshevik's "proletarian internationalism"), calling for the defeat of Germany.
He returned Russia just behind October Revolution, however, he left Russia again because he was hostile toward Bolsheviks. He died of tuberculosis in Terioki, Finland (now Zelenogorsk, Saint Petersburg, Russia).
- The Development of the Monist View of History
- Essays on the History of Materialism
- The Materialist Conception of History
- The Role of the Individual in History
- Fundamental Problems of Marxism
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