Charters WynnMay 18, 2022
The Moderate Bolshevik
Mikhail Tomsky from the Factory to the Kremlin, 1880-1936
Charters Wynn's book The Moderate Bolshevik: Mikhail Tomsky from the Factory to the Kremlin, 1880-1936 (Brill, 2022) is an English-language biography of Mikhail Tomsky. It reveals Tomsky's central role in all the key developments in early Soviet history, including the stormy debates over the role of unions in the self-proclaimed workers’ state. Charters Wynn’s compelling account illuminates how the charismatic Tomsky rose from an impoverished working-class background and years of tsarist prison and Siberian exile to become both a Politburo member and the head of the trade unions, where he helped shape Soviet domestic and foreign policy along generally moderate lines throughout the 1920s. His failed attempt to block Stalin’s catastrophic adoption of forced collectivization of agriculture would tragically make Tomsky a prime target in the Great Purges. Listen in!
Samantha Lomb is a lecturer at Vyatka State University in Kirov, Russia.