Lev Kamenev: a case study in ‘Bolshevik Centrism’

Coombs, Nicholas W. (2017). Lev Kamenev: a case study in ‘Bolshevik Centrism’. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This dissertation challenges the view that Lev Kamenev lacked a clear socialist vision and had no discernible objectives. It contends that Kamenev had an ideological line and political goals shaped by Ferdinand Lassalle. Kamenev adopted Lassalle’s desire for a democratic socialist republic and his method to achieve end aims. Through dialogical discourse Kamenev aimed to gain allies by overcoming differences by focusing on points of agreement. This was his ‘Bolshevik Centrism’. Ideologically, Kamenev absorbed Lassalle’s concept of the ‘Fourth Estate’, which mandated proletarian culture first predominate in society before revolution could occur. This helps explain his opposition to revolution in 1905 and 1917, and sheds light on his assessment in the early 1920s that the Bolsheviks had not founded the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, but the ‘dictatorship of the party’. In trying to overcome this reality he adapted Lassalle’s vision for an all-encompassing selfless state and endeavoured to merge the party, the state, and the masses into one. His aspiration to win over peasants and workers placed him in a centrist position, whereby he used his authority to challenge Trotsky and Bukharin’s leftist and rightist policies. However, under the one-party dictatorship his actions directly contributed to the rise of Stalin.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7154


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