Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History


Christian Rakovsky, Roumania and Bessarabia, Second Edition, Workers International League, 1990, pp60, £1.00

This pamphlet was first published in February 1925 at a time when Rakovsky was Soviet Ambassador in London, and apologists for the Romanian government were trying to use his pre-War anti-Czarist writings to justify the Romanian seizure of Bessarabia from the Soviet Union. It was all the more necessary for Rakovsky to establish his position on this question because, apart from being a revolutionary of long standing, he was also a supporter of the Left Opposition, and he had been shunted off to the court of St James to get him away from Moscow. It is unclear whether it is because of this, or due to his diplomatic status, that the English version was published neither by the Soviet government nor by the British Communist Party here, but by W.P. Coates.

However ephemeral the occasion for its appearance, this pamphlet’s interest is greatly enhanced for us by what is happening in those regions at present, where national resentment against Great Russian domination wearing the threadbare disguise of Soviet internationalism, is clearly on the increase. It restates the classic Bolshevik position of national self-determination for the Soviet republics, up to and including separation from the union if necessary. It is also very valuable as a study specimen of the complex web of social, ethnic and national problems in the Balkans, and of how these interact with great power politics on the international plane.

Al Richardson

Updated by ETOL: 12.7.2003