Grigory Zinoviev

Zinoviev in 1920 Grigory Yevseyevich Zinoviev. Transliterated ''Grigorii Evseevich Zinov'ev'' according to the Library of Congress system.}} (born Hirsch Apfelbaum, – 25 August 1936), known also under the name Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich Radomyslsky, was a Russian revolutionary and Soviet politician. He was an Old Bolshevik and a close associate of Vladimir Lenin. During the 1920s, Zinoviev was one of the most influential figures in the Soviet leadership and the chairman of the Communist International. He was purged by Joseph Stalin in 1936 at the start of the Great Purge.

Born in Ukraine to a Jewish family, Zinoviev joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) in 1901. In 1903 the RSDLP split between the Menshevik faction lead by Julius Martov and the Bolsheviks lead by Vladimir Lenin. Zinoviev became one of the original Bolsheviks. As a Bolshevik, Zinoviev engaged in revolutionary activities both in Russia and abroad and was a key supporter of Lenin. Despite their friendship and years long collaboration, Zinoviev and Lenin personally disagreed on whether or not the Bolsheviks should topple the Russian Provisional government.

Nevertheless on November 7, 1917 the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd and the October Revolution was successful. Despite disagreeing with Lenin and other leading Bolsheviks he remained an important figure and was appointed chairman of the Petrograd Soviet in 1917. Bolshevik seizure of power ignited a civil war across Russia in which multiple factions coalesced into the White Army to carry out war against the Bolsheviks. Lenin, realizing Russia was ideologically isolated on the world's stage assigned Zinoviev to be a diplomat to accelerate communist revolutions abroad. In this role, Zinoviev would eventually become head of the Communist International in 1919.

Zinoviev's efforts to mobilize communist revolution abroad ended in failure. He was involved in providing aid to German communists attempting to overthrow the fledgling Weimar Republic. These efforts vilified him in the international eye. His reputation as a subversive to democracy lead to a political scandal in the United Kingdom. Just before the 1924 Parliamentary election, Zinoviev allegedly authored a letter to British communists urging revolution. The letter also stated that the newly established Soviet Union was using the Labour Party to erode British democracy and further communist revolution. This letter is widely condemned as a fabrication and even a political tool as the Conservative Party saw one of the largest electoral successes in the twentieth century following its publication.

During Lenin's final illness in 1923–24, Zinoviev allied with fellow Old Bolsheviks Lev Kamenev and Joseph Stalin against Leon Trotsky. The men created a successful triumvirate which began Trotsky's downfall. However once Trotsky was defeated in the party, a schism quickly eroded the coalition. Stalin authorized Zinoviev's expulsion from the party in 1925. The two men then reconciled and Zinoviev was reinstated in the party. The relationship between Stalin and Zinoviev soured once again and he was expelled from the party three times (in 1927, 1932 and 1934).

Zinoviev's rift with Stalin opened his collaboration with Trotsky. While the two men began conversing again, Sergei Kirov was assassinated in 1934. Zinoviev was arrested in 1935 and made a chief defendant in the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center Trial, more commonly called the Trial of the Sixteen. Zinoviev alongside Lev Kamenev were found guilty and executed. This trial marked the beginning of the Great Purge. Provided by Wikipedia