Gregory Bienstock

Gregory Osipovich Bienstock (1884-1954) was trained as a lawyer. He was a Bolshevik during 1904-07 and then adhered to the Mensheviks, becoming one of the ‘liquidators’ in that faction. During the First World War, he and other Russian socialists, including his wife Judith Grinfeld and fellow Menshevik David Dallin, worked in the Institute for the Study of the Social Consequences of the War in Copenhagen that was run by Alexander Helfand (Parvus). He returned to Russia in 1917, and worked with the future Bolshevik economist Yuri Larin. He left the Soviet republic in 1918, but returned to live in Odessa in 1921-22, and was then arrested and deported from Soviet territory. He was a contributor to the Mensheviks’ paper, the Sotsialistichesky Vestnik under the name G Osipov.

Bienstock settled in Germany, and became active in the German Social Democratic Party in Berlin. Somewhat oddly, whilst he stood on the right wing of the Mensheviks, he adhered to the left wing of the SPD, joined the Zukunft grouping, and at one point sought a personal meeting with Trotsky. He also held a keen interest in mysticism and eastern religion, as can be seen in at least one of the six essays reproduced below.

Bienstock wrote several books and pamphlets, including Deutschland und die Weltwirtschaft (Dietz, Berlin, 1931), Volk und Sozialdemokratie. Die innen- und aussenpolitischen Erfolge der Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands (Dietz, Berlin, 1932), Deutschland und Frankreich. Eine Europäische Auseinandersetzung (Werk und Wirtschaft, Berlin, 1932), Kampf um die Macht. Zur neuen Politik der Sozialdemocratie (Laubsche, Berlin, 1932), Zwischen den Weltkriegen (Zentralstelle fur das Bildungswesen, Prague, 1934, Europa und die Weltpolitik Die Zonen der Kriegsgefahr (Graphia, Karlsbad, 1936), The Struggle For The Pacific (Allen and Unwin, London, 1937 – available on-line at, provided a foreword to B Irlen (pen-name of the Menshevik Boris Sapir), Marx gegen Hitler (Vienna, 1933), and contributed, along with fellow Mensheviks Solomon Schwarz and Aaron Yugow, chapters in Arthur Feiler and Jacob Marschak (eds), Management in Russian Industry and Agriculture (Oxford University Press, London, 1944). The essays below appeared in the long-defunct journal The Nineteenth Century and After, which was published in London from 1877 to 1972, taking, somewhat belatedly, the title The Twentieth Century in 1951.

The above biographical details are drawn mainly from André Liebich, From the Other Shore: Russian Social-Democracy After 1921 (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1997).