Mikhail Pavlovich Tomski

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Michail Pawlowitsch Tomski (before 1930)

Michail Pawlowitsch Tomski (actually Efremow ) ( Russian Михаил Павлович Томский , scientific transliteration Michail Pavlovič Tomskij ; * 19 October July / 31 October  1880 greg. In Kolpino near Saint Petersburg ; † 22 August 1936 in Bolshevo near Moscow ) a Soviet union official . He died in the course of the Stalin purges .


Young revolutionary

Tomski was a trained lithographer, factory worker and union leader. His trade union work led in 1904 to his entry into the faction of the Bolsheviks of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party . In 1905 he went to Estonia and helped build the Soviet in Reval during the revolution . He was arrested and deported to Siberia. He escaped and returned to Saint Petersburg, where he resumed his trade union work and became chairman of the Union of Engravers and Chromolithographers . In 1907 he was already a delegate at the London party congress. Arrested again in 1908, he went into exile in France, worked at the Paris editorial conference of the Proletari, but returned to Russia in 1909. Arrested again for political activity, he was sentenced to five years of forced labor.

After the February Revolution of 1917 he was released from prison by the Provisional Government , moved to Moscow and took part in the October Revolution .

At the center of power

In March 1919 he was appointed to the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of Russia (B) , 1921 in the Orgbüro (later Central Committee Secretariat ) and on April 3, 1922 as the conclusion of the inaugural conference in the Central Committee of the now so-called Communist Party of the Soviet Union (B) chosen. In 1922 he also rose to the highest political body of the USSR, he became a full member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from April 3, 1922 to July 13, 1930.

From 1922 to 1929 he was chairman of the All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions . Together with the other two general secretaries, Andrés Nin and Alexander Losowski , he was a member of the permanent secretariat of the Red Trade Union International (Profintern).

Stalin's victims

Tomski, along with Rykow and Bukharin, was known as a so-called "right-wing opposition"; The group opposed a quick abolition of Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP) after his death in 1924. He also advocated close cooperation with the Amsterdam Trade Union International in order to influence decisions of the Central Committee on Soviet working conditions with a view to other countries . Stalin decided against it because he considered an increasing influence of the "capitalist" workers' organization to be "corrosive". On the other hand, the left wing of the party around Trotsky advocated the rapid abolition of the NEP and collectivization with forced expropriations .

With the help of the “Right”, Stalin initially succeeded in removing Trotsky from all offices between 1924 and 1926, then in 1926 the other “Left Oppositionists” and others were replaced. a. Kamenev and Zinoviev were expelled from the Politburo, and in 1929 Trotsky was expelled from the USSR.

Now Stalin turned against the "right wing" Bukharin, Tomsky and Rykov. On April 23, 1929, Bukharin was dismissed as Comintern chairman, on June 2, 1929 Tomski was removed from his position as trade union chairman, on November 17, 1929 Bukharin lost his membership in the Politburo, and finally on November 25, 1929 the so-called “right” surrendered "By a statement in Pravda:

“We consider it our duty to declare that the party and its Central Committee were right in this dispute. Our views [...] have been proven wrong. We acknowledge these mistakes of ours and will use all our forces to wage a determined struggle with the entire party against all deviations from the general line of the party, especially against right-wing deviations. "

In 1929 Tomsky was "demoted" to chairman of the All-Russian Association of the Chemical Industry. On July 13, 1930, Tomsky was also expelled from the Politburo and the Central Committee, and in 1930 Rykov lost his offices in the Politburo and as chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (head of government). In 1932 Tomski was deported to the post of head of the Association of State Publishing Houses, which he held until March 1936.

In the first Moscow trial of Zinoviev and Kamenev in August 1936 , he was mentioned as having "terrorist connections". Tomski sent an address of devotion to Stalin in which he called him the "most consistent and clear-sighted student of Lenin", but this no longer helped him. In view of the threat of arrest by the NKVD , he shot himself on August 22, 1936 in Bolshevo near Moscow. He was posthumously convicted of treason and other crimes in the 3rd Moscow Trial (March 1938) against Bukharin and Rykov and declared an " enemy of the people ".

In 1988, during perestroika , Tomski was rehabilitated.

Works in German

  • Treatises on the trade union movement in Russia , Verlag der Kommunistische Internationale, Hamburg 1921. (digitized version)
  • The current state of the trade union movement in Russia , Führer Verlag, Berlin 1923.
  • On the problem of the unity of the international trade union movement , international publishing house "Die Einheit", Brussels 1926.
  • Union movement. Party and State , Central Council of Trade Unions of the USSR, Moscow 1927.


  • Leon Trotsky: Stalin - A biography . Pawlak-Verlag and Kiepenheuer & Witsch,
  • Simon Sebag-Montefiore : Stalin: At the court of the red tsar . S. Fischer-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2005, ISBN 978-3-10-050607-8
  • Michel Tatu: Power and Powerlessness in the Kremlin: From Khrushchev to Collective Leadership . Ullstein, Frankfurt, 1967, DNB 458302872
  • Merle Fainsod : How Russia is governed . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1965, DNB 451203852

Web links

Commons : Mikhail Tomsky  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Dimitri Wolkogonow : Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy; a political portrait . Brandenburg publishing house, Berlin, 1990