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Rakovsky, Khristian

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Rakovsky, Khristian

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Rakovsky, Khristian [Раковський, Християн; Rakovs'kyj,

Xrystyian], b 1 August 1873 in Gradets, Bulgaria (then part
of the Ottoman Empire), d 11 September 1941 near Orel,
RSFSR. Political activist and Soviet Ukrainian state figure.
Active in the pre-1914 Bulgarian and Romanian socialist
movements, Rakovsky opposed participation in the First
World War and served on the Central Bureau of the antiwar
Revolutionary Balkan Social Democratic Labor Federation
(est 1915). In 1918 he joined the Bolshevik party and served
as chairman of the Supreme Autonomous Collegium
established in Odesa to suppress counterrevolution in
Ukraine and Romania. He was also a member of the Central
Executive Committee of Soviets of the Romanian Front,
Black Sea Fleet, and Odesa Military District (RUMChEROD)
and participated in Soviet diplomatic delegations to Hetman
Pavlo Skoropadsky’s government and to Germany. From January 1919 until July 1923, with
interruptions, he headed the Soviet Ukrainian government. He opposed Ukrainian
‘particularism’ in the name of internationalism, and went so far as to question the existence of
a distinct Ukrainian nationality. By the end of 1921, however, he had changed his views; he
insisted on greater sensitivity with regard to the Ukrainian national question and also sought
to expand the political and economic autonomy of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
At the 12th congress of the Russian Communist party in April 1923, he sharply criticized
Joseph Stalin’s position on the national question. After being removed from the Ukrainian
leadership he served as USSR ambassador to Britain (1923–5) and France (1925–7). Having
been expelled from France for revolutionary activity, he returned to Ukraine in the fall of
1927 and spent a month organizing the Left Opposition there. In December 1927, at the 15th
congress of the Russian Communist party, he was expelled from the party, and a month later
he was exiled to Astrakhan. From 1929 he was the recognized leader of the Left Opposition
within the USSR. In February 1934 he submitted to party discipline and was allowed to
return to Moscow, where he directed the scientific research institutes of the Commissariat of
Health. In the fall of 1937 he was arrested as a spy, and in March 1938 he was sentenced to 20[2/10/2018 12:18:14 PM]

Rakovsky, Khristian

years’ imprisonment. He was shot in a Soviet prison.

Conte, F. Un révolutionnaire-diplomate: Christian Rakovski, l'Union soviétique, et l'Europe (1922–
1941) (Paris 1978)
Rakovsky, C. Selected Writings on Opposition in the USSR, 1923–30, ed G. Fagan (London 1980)
Conte, F. Christian Rakovski (1873–1941): A Political Biography (Boulder, Colo 1989)

John-Paul Himka

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

List of related links from Encyclopedia of Ukraine pointing to Rakovsky, Khristian entry:

1 Bessarabia
2 Borotbists
3 Council of People's Commissars
4 Federalism

5 National communism
6 Partisan movement in Ukraine, 1918–22

7 Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government of Ukraine

8 Shumsky, Oleksander
9 Ukrainization

10 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

A referral to this page is found in 10 entries.

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