Books for changing the world
The Moderate Bolshevik
Mikhail Tomsky from The Factory to The Kremlin, 1880-1936

Mikhail Tomsky (1880-1936) was one of the most important and influential leaders of the early Soviet Union.

This first English-language biography of Tomsky reveals his central role in all the key developments in early Soviet history, including the stormy debates over the role of unions in the self-proclaimed workers’ state.

Charters Wynn’s compelling account illuminates how the charismatic Tomsky rose from an impoverished working-class background and years of tsarist prison and Siberian exile to become both a Politburo member and the head of the trade unions, where he helped shape Soviet domestic and foreign policy along generally moderate lines throughout the 1920s. His failed attempt to block Stalin’s catastrophic adoption of forced collectivization would tragically make Tomsky a prime target in the Great Purges.