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From Communism to Anti-Communism

 | 
Andre Liebich
, 
Svetlana Yakimovich

From the Revolution to the Comintern

Group of Delegates, Comintern Congress, Pavlovsk Palace, Petrograd, July 1920

Lars Lih

Texte intégral

The back of the document reads (in Russian and French): “Товарищ Лилина с делегатами 2 Конгресса III Интернационала в Павловске” – “Les délégués du 2[ème] Congrès de la III[ème] Internationale à Pavlovsk. Au milieu de la groupe [sic] – la camarade Lilina. [In other handwriting:] à sa [underlined] gauche – Müntzenberg” – [“Comrade Lilina with the delegates of the II Congres of the III International in Pavlovsk. On her left [underlined in the original] Müntzenberg”]. Black and white photograph; 13 x 17.5 cm.

1Practically every device used by the Bolsheviks in Petrograd in 1920 had a direct predecessor in prewar practice: sightseeing in host cities, commemoration of martyrs, honoring current leaders, visiting sacred places of revolutionary history, affirming solidarity by speeches and resolutions, affirmation of leadership within the International (Germany and France before the war, Russia afterwards), demonstrations alongside local workers, and impressive theatrical spectacles. During the conferences of the Second International, delegates were often treated to the famous sights of the various cities which hosted socialist conferences.

2Here we see delegates to the Second Congress of the Comintern posing (at least according to the caption on the photo) at the Pavlovsk Palace in Petrograd: an aristocratic residence built by Catherine the Great and turned into a museum after the revolution, and thus a symbol of the new narodnaia vlast, people’s power. Karl Radek is recognizable not only by his hat but by the iconic pipe. The woman in the center is identified as Zinaida (according to some sources, Zlata) Lilina, Grigorii Zinoviev’s wife and an important Bolshevik of long standing in her own right. Involved in children care and education, she was People’s Commissar for Social Planning to the Northern Commune (organ of the Petrograd Soviet). Victor Serge described her as “a small crop-haired, grey-eyed woman, sprightly and tough”. To her right is the German delegate Willi Münzenberg, the man in the back with his hand on his chin is Manabendra Nath Roy, who for complicated reasons represented the Mexican party at the Congress. Roy gave an important speech on the tasks of the International in the colonies.

Bibliographie

Victor Serge, Memories of a Revolutionary. 1901–1941. Foreword by Adam Hochschild, London : Oxford University Press, 1963. [First published in French in 1951 (quotation from chapter 3)].

John Riddell, ed., Workers of the World and Oppressed People, Unite! Proceedings and Documents of the Second Congress of the Communist International, [vol. 2, The Communist International in Lenin’s Time], New York: Pathfinder, 1991.

Alfred Rosmer, Moscow under Lenin, Introduction by Tamara Deutscher, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973 [1st French edition, 1951].

Table des illustrations

Légende The back of the document reads (in Russian and French): “Товарищ Лилина с делегатами 2 Конгресса III Интернационала в Павловске” – “Les délégués du 2[ème] Congrès de la III[ème] Internationale à Pavlovsk. Au milieu de la groupe [sic] – la camarade Lilina. [In other handwriting:] à sa [underlined] gauche – Müntzenberg” – [“Comrade Lilina with the delegates of the II Congres of the III International in Pavlovsk. On her left [underlined in the original] Müntzenberg”]. Black and white photograph; 13 x 17.5 cm.
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