Pyotr Tkachev

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Pyotr Nikitich Tkachev, also spelled Pyotr Nikitich Tkachyov (Russian: Петр Никитич Ткачев ) (June 29, 1844 – January 4, 1886) was a Russian writer and critic who formulated many of the revolutionary principles that would later be further developed and put into action by Vladimir Lenin. Although Tkachev has sometimes been known as "the First Bolshevik",[1] he did not figure prominently in the mythology of the Soviet Union, as to do so would have detracted from the Bolshevik claim to originality of Lenin's revolutionary thought.

He came from a poor landowning family. Accepted by the Faculty of St. Petersburg University, but was soon attracted to one of political affairs (described as a "Bailed case" for participating in student riots), and spent several months in the fortress, first as a defendant's arrest, then the sentence of the Senate. When the university was reopened, Tkachev, was not acting in the number of students who passed an examination for the degree (1868).

Tkachev began writing very early. His first article ("On the court for crimes against the laws of the press") was published in № 6 magazine "Time"in 1862. Following this, in "Time" and "Epoch" were placed in the years 1862-64 several articles by Tkachev on various matters relating to judicial reform. In 1863 and 1864 respectively Tkachev also wrote in the "Library for Reading PA D. Boborykin, and housed the first "statistical studies" Tkachev (crime and punishment, poverty and charity). At the end of 1865 Tkachev befriended G. E. Blagosvetlov and began to write in "Russian Word", and then to replace it"Cause". For revolutionary propaganda among students had been imprisoned, kept under police surveillance. During the student unrest in St. Petersburg in the years 1868-69, together with S. Nechayev headed radical minority. In the spring of 1869 he was arrested again in July 1871 sentenced the St. Petersburg Trial Chamber to 1 year and 4 months in prison. On completion of the sentence Tkachev was sent to his home in Great Luke, where presently he emigrated abroad.

Suspended arrest magazine activity was resumed in 1872. He again wrote to the "Affair", but not under his own name and under various pseudonyms (Nikitin, PN Nyon, PN Lenten, P. Gr-I, P. Grachioli, all the same). In exile, he worked with the magazine "Forward!", joined the group of Polish-Russian immigrants, after the break with P. L. Lavrov began to publish a magazine "Alarm" (1875–81), together with K. M. of Tours was one of the founders of the Society of National Liberation"(1877), whose activities in Russia was negligible. In mid-1870. made friends with the French Blanquists, collaborated in their newspaper «Ni dieu, ni maitre» («Neither God nor master"). Political their views Tkachev developed several brochures published by them abroad, and in "Alarm", published under his editorship in Geneva in 1875–76 years. Tkachev sharply disagreed with the then dominant in the emigre literature trends, which were the main spokesmen P. PL Lavrov and M. Bakunin. He was the representative of the so-called "Jacobin" trends, opposite and anarchism of Bakunin, and the direction Lavrovsky "Forward!". In the last years of his life Tkachev wrote little. At the end of 1882 he fell seriously ill and spent the last few years in a psychiatric hospital. He died in 1886 in Paris, 41 years old.

Tkachev was a very prominent figure in the group of writers of the extreme left wing of Russian journalism. In the literature, he followed the ideas of "the sixties" and remained faithful until the end of his life. From his other colleagues on "the Russian word" and "Cause", he was distinguished by the fact that had never been interested in natural sciences, and his thought is always rotated in the field of social issues. He has written extensively on population statistics and economic statistics. That digital material, which he possessed, was very poor, but Tkachev able to use it. Back in the 1870s been observed that it was the relationship between the growth of the peasant population and the size of land allotment, which was subsequently firmly grounded P. Semenov-Tian-Shansky (in his introduction to "Statistics of landed property in Russia"). Most of the articles Tkacheva relates to the field of literary criticism, in addition, he led for several years, the Division of the New Book "in the" Cause "(previously" Bibliographic leaf "in the" Russian Word "). Critical and bibliographical articles Tkacheva are on a purely journalistic in nature, it is - a hot sermon known social ideals, a call to work for the implementation of these ideals. In his sociological views Tkachev was extreme and consistent "economic materialist". Perhaps the first time in Russian journalism in the name of his articles appear Karl Marx. Back in 1865, "Russian Word" ("Bibliographic sheet», № 12) Tkachev said: "All legal and political phenomena are nothing more than a direct legal consequences of the phenomena of economic life, this life is a legal and political, as we say, a mirror, which reflects the economic life of the people ... Even in 1859 the famous German exile, Karl Marx formulated this view is the most precise and definite way. To practice in the name of the ideal of "social equivalent" ["At the present time, all people are created equal, but not all are equivalent, that is, not all gifted with the same opportunity to align their interests in the balance - hence the struggle and anarchy ... Put all in the same conditions with respect to the development and logistical support, and you give everybody does in fact equal, not a fake, a sham invented by scholastic lawyers with the deliberate purpose of trying to confuse and deceive the ignorant simpletons "(Russian word. - 1865. - № XI, II CTD. - 36 - 37 with .).], Tkachev called "people of the future". He was not economic fatalist. Achieving social ideal, or at least, a radical change for the better economic structure of society had to make, according to his views, the task of conscious social activity. "People of the Future" in the works Tkacheva occupied the same place as the "thinking realists" in Dmitry Pisarev. Before the idea of the common good, which should serve as a guiding principle of human behavior of the future, on the back burner all the provisions of abstract morality and justice, all the requirements of the Code of ethics adopted by the bourgeois crowd. "Moral rules are established for the benefit of the hostel, and because compliance with them mandatory for everyone. But the moral rule, like all terrestrial, has the character of a relative, and the importance of determined by the importance of the interest for whose protection it is created ... Not all moral rules are equal, and, moreover, "not just different rules may vary in their importance, but even the importance of one and the same rules in various cases of its application, may vary up to infinity. The collision of unequal importance of moral rules and social utility should not hesitate to give preference to the more important to less important. This choice must be given to each, for every human being must be recognized "the right to apply to the requirements of the moral law, in each instance of its use, not dogmatic and critical", otherwise "our morality will be no different from the morality of the Pharisees, the rebels on the Teachers for that he on the sabbath day in the doctoring of sick and exhorted the people "(People of the future and the heroes of philistinism / Case. - 1868. - № 3.).

Chief among the ideas that Tkachev espoused that were influential in the development of Lenin's political philosophy was the idea of a revolutionary vanguard. While not explicitly using this Leninist term, Tkachev argued that - in the absence of a popular, peasant-based revolution - revolutionaries should rise up and defeat a tyrannical government.[2] Tkachev was a proponent of a closely organized revolutionary party, following the ideas of Nechaev, and he was also influenced by the French revolutionary Blanquism movement. In Tkachev's eyes, the principal duty of revolutionary parties was not to engage in propaganda efforts, but to overthrow the government and seize power in the name of the proletariat.

Tkachev was born in a village named Sivistov, which was located in the Russian guberniya of Pskov.[3] He began attending St. Petersburg University in 1861, and took part in a series of violent student protests that year. Arrested by police during a riot on 11 October 1861, Tkachev likely came into contact with radical Russian political philosophy through other inmates during the months he was incarcerated at a Kronstadt prison.[4]

It would be misleading, however, to characterize Tkachev as a doctrinaire Marxist. Historian Andrzej Walicki argued that the form of economic determinism espoused by Tkachev differed significantly with the historical materialism developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels:

This specific "economic materialism" of Tkachev did not amount to Marxism; it constituted rather in a peculiar mixture of some elements of Marxism with a rather primitive utilitarianism, grossly exaggerating the role of direct economic motivation in individual behavior.[5]


  1. "Lenin and the 'Radiant Future'". New York Review of Books. 2001-12-20. Retrieved 2007-12-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Riasanovsky, Nicholas (2000). A History of Russia (sixth edition). Oxford University Press. p. 383. ISBN 0-19-512179-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Hardy, Deborah (1977). Petr Tkachev — The Critic as Jacobin. University of Washington Press. p. 17. ISBN 0-295-95547-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Hardy, Deborah (1977). Petr Tkachev — The Critic as Jacobin. University of Washington Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-295-95547-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Walicki, Andrzej (1969). The Controversy over Capitalism. Oxford University Press. p. 141. ISBN 0-19-821474-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Hardy, Deborah. Petr Tkachev: The Critic as Jacobin. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1977.
  • Pipes, Richard A. "Russian Marxism and its Populist Background." Russian Review 19:4 (1960), 316-37.
  • Riasanovsky, Nicholas. A History of Russia (sixth edition). New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Weeks, Albert L. The First Bolshevik: A Political Biography of Peter Tkachev. New York: New York University Press, 1968.