Zinoviev and Kamenev: from Lenin’s closest collaborators to Yagoda’s trophies

Chris Corin restores two Old Bolsheviks to their rightful places in Soviet History.

Library shelves overflow with biographies of Lenin and Stalin while Zinoviev and Kamenev are neglected. In 1923 and 1924, however, contemporaries saw Zinoviev and Kamenev as more important than Stalin in the triumvirate that emerged once Lenin became incapacitated. Their experiences between 1917 and 1927 shed light on developments within the Bolshevik regime, and in particular on: the degree of opposition allowed within the party in 1917 when, with Kamenev taking the lead, they defied Lenin twice in three weeks on major issues;

  • the decision to seize power and on whether to share power with other socialists;
  • Zinoviev’s role in the inauguration of the cult of Lenin;
  • the extent to which Stalin was underestimated and able to outmanouevre his rivals in the struggle for power after Lenin's illness and death.

Who were they?  

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