‘Christian Georgyevich Rakovsky’ from Soviet Russia (New York). Vol. 4 No. 21. May 21, 1921.

‘Christian Georgyevich Rakovsky’ from Soviet Russia (New York). Vol. 4 No. 21. May 21, 1921.

(Comrade Rakovsky occupies in Ukraine a position corresponding to that of Lenin in Russia, its natural resources and the fertility of its land, make Ukraine, with its more than 35 million inhabitants, one of the most important parts of the Soviet Federation.)

THE present leader of the Communist reconstruction in Ukraine, the head of the People’s Commissars, Christian Georgyevich Rakovsky, was born on September 1, 1873 in a little Bulgarian town, Kotel. He belongs to the very old Rakovsky family known in the history of the Balkan revolutionary struggles, a family which from the beginning of the nineteenth century played an important role in the revolutionary movement of the Balkans in general, and in Bulgaria particularly. He early showed the heritage of his revolutionary family traditions. As a youngster, while in the sixth class of gymnasium he was expelled for distributing Socialist propaganda, and organizing revolutionary circles.

In 1890, Rakovsky unable to finish his studies, went to Geneva, Switzerland. Here he immediately entered into the Russian Social Democratic organization at the head of which at that time were Plekhanov, Sazulich and Axelrod. Through Plekhanov, he familiarized himself with the inter- national labor movement.

Romanian socialists in Ploiești, 1915. Front row (seated), from left: Alecu Constantinescu (second), Ecaterina Arbore (third), Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea (fifth), Sofia Dobrogeanu-Gherea (sixth), Christian Rakovsky (seventh), I. C. Frimu (eight), Maria Al. Dobrogeanu-Gherea (ninth), Leon Geller (last). Middle row, from left: Izu Brănișteanu (first), Gheorghe Cristescu (third), Ionel Dobrogeanu-Gherea (fourth), Alexandru Dobrogeanu-Gherea (fifth), Ottoi Călin (sixth), Ion Sion (seventh), Maria Sion (eighth), Dimitrie Marinescu (last). Top row, from left: Jana Brănișteanu (third), Constantin Titel Petrescu (fourth), Ștefania “Fany” Dobrogeanu-Gherea (fifth), Rozalia Frimu (sixth).

For seven years Rakovsky, thanks to governmental persecution, spent his time wandering between the universities of Switzerland, Germany, and France. In 1892 he was arrested by the authorities of Geneva for an attempt against one of the Russian agents provocateurs. He was expelled by the Berlin police for his participation in the German labor movement and in the Russian Social Democratic movement. Finally the French Government permitted him to study there, but only under very strict police surveillance.

While working in Russian, German, French, Swiss, and other organizations, Rakovsky did not forget his native country. He published in Geneva a Bulgarian paper, “Social Democrat”, and directed the Socialist papers in Bulgaria itself.

With wife and comrade Alexandrina Alexandrescu (Ileana Pralea) in 1917.

After having completed his studies in the Medical Faculty in 1897, Rakovsky wrote a brilliant doctor’s dissertation which gives a Marxian explanation of criminality and degeneration, a work which has been translated into Russian. Upon his return to Bulgaria, there began a struggle against Russian Tsarism. Rakovsky organized throughout the whole country a great number of meetings, made a campaign in the press, and published a big historical work under the title “On Russian Policy in the East”. In view of the fact that the country where his family was living was occupied by the Rumanians he was mobilized for military service, where he continued Socialist propaganda.

In 1900 Rakovsky went to Russia. He was immediately arrested and expelled through Reval to Germany where he completed his well known work “Present Day France” published under the pseudonym Insarov. In order to get in touch with the French labor movement, Rakovsky entered the juridical faculty of the University of Paris; but within a year he returned to Russia and again was compelled to leave the country. The years 1900-1903 Rakovsky spent writing for the Russian Marxian review, Novoye Slovo, and other papers. In 1904 began the so-called “Rumanian period” when he reorganized the Socialist Party in Rumania, which had been liquidated by Social Democratic intellectuals.

There now began a violent persecution by the Rumanian authorities and bourgeoisie, and in 1907 Rakovsky was arrested following the peasant uprisings. He was deprived of his political rights, and entrance to Rumania was forbidden him. The whole organized Rumanian proletariat rose in his support and he returned to Rumania to arouse public opinion by bringing his case before the courts; but the Rumanian government did not give him this opportunity and tried to send him over the border again. The border countries refused to receive the revolutionist who at that time was already known to the entire western European proletariat, and the Rumanian government, to solve this problem, was on the point of shooting him. This brought about an uprising of the workers in Bucharest which ended with a bloody conflict in which more than fifty workers and policemen were victims. An attempt to remove Rakovsky from Bucharest was foiled by the workers who tore up the rails. The Government, powerless itself, asked Rakovsky to exert his influence on the workers and agreed to return all his rights. This was done in 1912; it was a brilliant victory for the labor party over the Rumanian oligarchy.

Leading figures of the CP(b)U c. 1919. left to right: O. Khmelnytskyi, M. Ruhymovych, M. Granovskyi, V. Yudovskyi, K. Voroshilov, V. Meshcheryakov, M. Podvoiskyi, A. Balabanova, C. Rakovskyi, M. Skrypnyk, V. Zatonskyi.

During his “Rumanian period”, Rakovsky renewed his close relations with the Russian revolutionary movement In 1905 he went on the mutinous warship “Prince Potemkin” and influenced the insurgent sailors not to surrender and to go instead to the aid of the striking workers at Batum. Later Rakovsky went to the relief of the insurgents who remained in Rumania thus bringing upon himself new persecutions. Compelled to leave the country in 1907 he renewed his relations with the Western revolutionary movement. He also returned again to Bulgaria where he founded the paper Forward.

During the great war the Rumanian Government shamefully persecuted Rakovsky as well as the Socialist press. There were arrests and armed police attacks in one of which Rakovsky was wounded. The Russian Government was watching the July manifestations in Galatz. In a telegram of June 17, 1916, the Russian envoy Poklevsky informed his government as follows:

“For the happenings in Galatz the Rumanian Government has removed from his post the Prefect Gussy. It transferred the prosecuting attorney and indicted Rakovsky and the chief syndicalist sponsors of the manifestations. The latter have convoked numerous meetings protesting against bloodshed in Galatz and in general against the war.”

Ukrainian Soviet leadership in September 1919 after escaping from the White capture of Kyiv. Rakovsky center.

These manifestations were so powerful and threatening that the Rumanian Government was compelled to release Rakovsky as well as other prisoners. When with Rumanians declaration of war the workers were mobilized, the Government again arrested Comrade Rakovsky.

These activities and especially the Zimmerwald conference, initiation of which Rakovsky shared with Lenin and Trotsky, stirred against him violent attacks of the European imperialist press of all countries, particularly of France, Italy and Russia. Thanks to the Russian Revolution on May 1, 1917, when the Russian garrison of the city of Jassy freed the political prisoners under the eyes of the Rumanian king and his spies, Rakovsky again was released from prison.

The Russian envoy Masslov in a secret telegram reported thus:

Funeral of victims of Petlyura’s Ukraine rule, 1919. On the tribune (from right to left) Antonov-Ovseyenko, Rakovsky, Pjatakov, Quiring, NA Skripnik, Bubnov.

“Yesterday on May 1 there took place in Jassy a meeting of the Russian garrison; those participating in the manifestation proceeded in an orderly fashion through the streets, the participants bearing red flags on which were inscriptions in Russian and Rumanian. During the manifestation the troops gathered upon the square to which they brought, in an automobile, the Rumanian Socialist Rakovsky who had just been released and who in a short speech greeted the soldiers. Rakovsky was answered in French by the Russian non-commissioned officer Giller, who concluded his speech with the wish that the same fate might overtake the Rumanian king that had befallen the Russian Tsar and that in the Balkans there should be formed, as soon as possible, a federation of democratic republics. Rakovsky was then brought to safety. In his conversation with me the Rumanian minister expressed his regret and accused his police for not executing the order concerning the removal of Rakovsky before the manifestation of May 1.”

It must be added that this shameful action did not succeed owing to the fact that Rakovsky fell “gravely ill” in time.

From this moment there began the Russian-Ukrainian period of the activity of Rakovsky. After coming to Odessa he organized a great number of meetings, gatherings, and lectures, in which he advocated his slogan “Down with the War,” thus bringing upon himself persecutions and attacks from the Provisional Government as well as from the social-patriotic press and very quickly after his arrival in Petrograd he was entered on the list of the ”twelve” whose arrest was asked by Burtsev as well as by the Rumanian Government. As revealed in a secret note of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tereschenko, and in a telegram of Kerensky of August 30 to the General Staff, every effort was made to put an end to the activities of Rakovsky. General Lukomsky, at the time of the revolt of Kornilov, gave an order to arrest him but this did not succeed owing to the liquidation of the Kornilov attempt. After learning of this order Rakovsky went to Kronstadt.

At the time of the November Revolution Rakovsky was in Stockholm from which place he sent his greetings and support of the revolution. Upon his return to Russia, he was ordered to Odessa and Sebastopol with a body of sailors for the liquidation of the counter-revolution in Rumania and in Ukraine. Following his return to Moscow Comrade Rakovsky appeared again in Ukraine together with Comrade Manuilsky in the role of the head of the peace delegation. The activity of Rakovsky is known to everybody.

Delegates at the founding Congress of the Communist International, 1919. Rakovsky seated, second from left.

After the conclusion of the negotiations Comrade Rakovsky was delegated as a member of the Russian Soviet Embassy to Germany. He returned to Germany later in behalf of the Central Executive Committee together with Comrades Joffe, Radek, Bukharin, Ignatov, Marchlewski, hut he was arrested in Vilna and forced bade to Russia. In January, 1919, according to the decision of the Ukrainian Communist Party Rakovsky was called back and at the Third Congress of the Ukrainian Soviets confirmed as head of the Soviet of People’s Commissars. When the Soviet power returned after the crushing of Denikin, Comrade Rakovsky became again the head of the Soviet of People’s Commissars, being at the same time the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, and member of the Executive Committee of the Third International.

Soviet Russia began in the summer of 1919, published by the Bureau of Information of Soviet Russia and replaced The Weekly Bulletin of the Bureau of Information of Soviet Russia. In lieu of an Embassy the Russian Soviet Government Bureau was the official voice of the Soviets in the US. Soviet Russia was published as the official organ of the RSGB until February 1922 when Soviet Russia became to the official organ of The Friends of Soviet Russia, becoming Soviet Russia Pictorial in 1923. There is no better US-published source for information on the Soviet state at this time, and includes official statements, articles by prominent Bolsheviks, data on the Soviet economy, weekly reports on the wars for survival the Soviets were engaged in, as well as efforts to in the US to lift the blockade and begin trade with the emerging Soviet Union.

PDF of full issue: (large file): https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/srp/v4-5-soviet-russia%20Jan-Dec%201921.pdf

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