Marxist Writers: Vitaly Vygodsky

Vitaly Vygodsky

23 December 1928 - 8 May 1998


Based on a memorandum prepared for the Российская Экономическая Академия by Svetlana Masunina using a Биографический очерк [Biographical Sketch] written by Ludmila Vasina. Ludmila Vasina also prepared this Библиография  [Bibliography] of Vygodsky's  writings. Dr Vasina is a staff member of the Russian State Archive of the Social and Political History (RGASPI), Head of the MEGA-Team at RGASPI.

MIA is very grateful for Dr Vasina's help with this project.

When Vitaly Solomonovich Vygodsky graduated from high school in 1946 with a silver medal, the teacher pointed out his obvious mathematical skills and his future seemed to be in theoretical mathematics. But things turned out differently. He joined the Physics Department of Moscow State University, studied there three years, but when it came to the practical exercises in the lab, realized that physics was not his vocation. Subsequently, he used to joke that he had two left hands. Officially, he interrupted his studies due to illness, but did not return to the Physics Faculty and in 1950 joined the department of political economy at  MGEI (Moscow State Economics Institute).

His scientific and political proclivities were displayed as a student. He was an active member of the FNL faculty, student member of the editorial board of a scientific journal and a union and Komsomol organizer. His first work was published in the scientific notes for students at MGEI in 1955. Vygodsky graduated with honors from the institute and successfully passed the competitive examination to become a postgraduate external student at the Economics Institute. Simultaneously, on the recommendation of Professor PK Figurnov he was employed at the Institute of Marx - Engels - Lenin - Stalin (from 1956 - the Institute of Marxism-Leninism). It is here that Vygodsky worked for more than 35 years, having gone through all steps of career - from junior to senior researcher to head of the group working on theoretical problems of Marxism.

Starting work, Vitaly immediately showed himself as a talented Marxologist. His subsequent direction of research included the genesis of the economic studies of Marx and the history of the creation of Capital. The results of this was his Ph.D. and first monograph «The place of Theories of Surplus Value in the economic legacy of Karl Marx» (1961).

A particularly important part of the work, to which he gave considerable energy, was his involvement in the international group of MEGA - the complete edition of works by Marx and Engels in their original languages. Vitaly was a great promoter of economic theory. His books, such as «The Story of a Great Discovery. How Karl Marx wrote "Capital"», «On the History of the Creation of« Capital », and many others have been translated and published in Italy, Germany, China, Mexico, Japan and many other countries. The full bibliography of works by Vygodsky includes over 180 titles.

In 1972 he became a Doctor of Economic Sciences. He was awarded the title of Honored Worker of Science. He died on 8 May 1998.

Vygodsky is of particular significance to English-speaking students of Marx as  Editor of Volume 31 and Scientific Editor of Volumes 30, 32 and 34 of the English edition of Marx - Engels Collected Works.


On the Fourth Volume of Capital: on K Marx's 'Theories of Surplus-Value', О четвертом томе "Капитала". (О "Теориях прибавочной стоимости" К. Маркса.), 1958.*
The Place of 'Theories of Surplus-Value' in the Economic Legacy of Karl Marx, Место "Теорий прибавочной стоимости" в экономическом наследии Карла Маркса, 1963.*
The Story of a Great Discovery, 1965.
das Kapital, Unknown (late '60s, early '70s).
Lenin's Karl Marx, Unknown (late '60s, early '70s).
Surplus Value, Unknown (late '60s, early '70s).
Marx's Wage Labour and Capital, Unknown (late '60s, early '70s).
The Economic Substantiation of the Theory of Socialism, Экономическое обоснование теории научного коммунизма, 1975.
The Everlasting Significance of Marx's Capital, 1975.
The Economic Legacy of Karl Marx: History, Content, Methodology    Экономическое наследие Карла Маркса (история, содержание, методология);  1976 (co-author: Georgij Bagaturiya)*
Marx' Work on Capital in 1863–1865. In: An Outline of the History of K. Marx's Capital, 1983 (Vygodsky was the author of a chapter in this monograph)     Работа Маркса над "Капиталом" в 1863–1865 гг. In: Очерки по истории "Капитала", 1983.*
The First Versions of Capital  (Vygodsky was one of the editors, author and co-author of some chapters in this monograph) Первоначальный вариант „Капитала“ (Экономические рукописи К. Маркса 1857–1859 годов), 1987.*
Marx on the Proletariat's Economic Struggle in Capitalist Countries, 1988
Überlegungen zu einigen Dogmen der Marx-Interpretation. In: Beiträge zur Marx-Engels-Forschung. Neue Folge 1993. Marx-Engels-Forschung im historischen Spannungsfeld. Hamburg, 1993. S. 107–121.
What Was It Actually That Engels Published in the Years 1885 and 1894?, Was hat Engels in den Jahren 1885 und 1894 eigentlich veröffentlicht? In: MEGA-Studien, 1995/1. S. 117–120.1995.

* - In Russian