Pavel Borisovič Aksel'rod Papers


Pavel Borisovič Aksel'rod was born about 1850 in a village near the Ukrainian town Pochep. He lived in Switzerland from 1875. From the eighties he was one of the leaders of Russian (Marxist) social democracy. With Plechanov and Zasulič he formed the Gruppa Osvoboždenie Truda . He was co-editor of Iskra; after the split in the RSDRP in 1903 he was the ideologist of the Menshevik faction. He was editor of Golos social' demokrata 1908-1911. Outspoken opponent of the October Revolution. In May 1917 he returned to Russia from Switzerland, and in August the Central Committee sent him to the Socialist International conference in Stockholm as the official representative of the Menshevik party in the West. He lectured in Sweden and began publication of the Écho de Russie in January 1918 and in June Stimmen aus Russland, the organ of RSDRP and PSR . He attended the first postwar conferences of the Socialist International.

Because of poor health he influenced mainly through personal talks and correspondence. He enjoyed great esteem, affection and authority in the Party.

He died in Berlin in 1928.


The IISH bought the archive Aksel'rod in 1936. At that time documents from the archive had already been printed in several publications. Besides Aksel'rod's papers it contained documents such as minutes of the Sojuz Russkich Socialdemokratov zagranicej (now a separate collection). It contained also papers from Evgenija Aleksandrovna Landyševa (1885-1960).

She was a menshevik and a friend of Aksel'rod's daughters.

She took care of Aksel'rod from 1922. Apparently she also sorted out his papers and arranged them. She took part in editing ' Die russische revolution und die sozialistische Internationale. Aus dem literarischen Nachlass von Paul Axelrod ', Jena 1932. Landyševa's papers are in inv.nos. 117-120.

Aksel'rod was almost as proficient in German as in Russian. Among the manuscripts were files labeled 'articles in German' (inv.nos. 88-90). Among the other manuscripts (inv.nos. 80-87) articles in German may be found too.

In the correspondence it is not mentioned whether a letter is a letter, a postcard or a telegram. There were quite a few photographs of the Pomeranc family, friends of the Aksel'rods. All photographs are now in the IISH Audiovisual Department (BG A 53/906-927, BG B 21/958-965, BG C 2/397, box O/326, BG C 14/28, BG H 10/555-556, BG C 13/26-27).

The archive measures 3.12 metres.