1883 (18th July)
Lev Kamenev was born Leo Rosenfeld or Lev Borisovich Rozenfeld to Boris Rozenfeld and his Russian wife in Moscow.
Lev attended the Gymnasium (Secondary School) in Tiflis, Georgia.
Lev began studying law at Moscow University. He became interested in politics, particularly the revolutionary politics that sought to reform Tsarist Russia.
Lev Kamenev joined the Social Democratic Party.
Lev made a trip outside Russia to meet prominent members of the Russian Social Democratic Party who were living in exile. He met Vladimir Lenin
during this trip.
Kamenev was arrested as a revolutionary. He never returned to university. He began using the surname Kamenev around this time.
Lev married Olga Bronstein, sister of Leon Trotsky
. She used the surname Kameneva after her marriage. They ghad two sons.
Lev Kamenev attended the 3rd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) in London.
Lev returned to St Petersburg where he organised rail strikes as part of the 1905 Revolution
1907 (17th May)
Lev Kamenev attended the two week RSDLP Party Congress in London. He was elected a member of the Central Committee of the Party.
Lev returned to Russia where he was arrested and imprisoned.
Kamenev was released from prison. He and his wife joined Lenin in Switzerland.
After Lenin disagreed with Alexander Bogdanov, Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev
became Lenin’s main assistants. They moved to Geneva and made the city their base.
In Geneva, Kamenev worked on the publication of the underground newspaper, Proletary.
Alexander Bogdanov was voted off the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party. This caused a split in the party between Bogdanov’s supporters and Lenin’s supporters.
Kamenev supported a move to try to reunite the Bolsheviks.
As part of the move to reunite the Bolsheviks, Kamenev began working on the newspaper Pravda, which was based in Vienna.
Kamenev resigned from Pravda.
1912 (5th January)
The sixth Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party was held in Prague. During the conference, Lenin and the Bolsheviks decided to form their own party independent to the Mensheviks. Kamenev and Zinoviev supported the split.
Lev Kamenev went to Krakow with Lenin. He published the book ‘The Two Parties’ which explained the split between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
Kamenev moved to St Petersburg where he furthered the cause of the Bolsheviks.
1914 (1st August)
World War One
Germany declared war on Russia. Following the assassination of heir to the Austro-Hungarian Emprie, Franz Ferdinand and his wife, by Serbian nationalists, Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Russia then backed Serbia and mobilised troops. Germany was allied to Austria-Hungary and declared war on Russia to support its ally.
1914 (1st September)
St Petersburg was renamed Petrograd because St Petersburg was considered too German.
Lev Kamenev was arrested, tried and sentenced to two years exile in Siberia.
150,000 workers took to the streets of Petrograd (Saint Petersburg had been renamed) on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday to protest at the desperate situation many were in – lack of food, poor living conditions and Russia’s continued participation in a war that was going from bad to worse.
Strikes and unrest continued in Petrograd amid calls for the Tsar to be overthrown.
1917 (22nd February)
20,000 workers from the Putilov Ironworks went on strike.
1917 (23rd February)
The annual International Women’s Day march from the suburbs to the centre of Petrograd turned increasingly political as they were joined by students, Putilov strikers and other disgruntled factory workers swelling the numbers of protesters to nearly a quarter of a million people.
1917 (23rd – 25th February)
People continued to demonstrate on the streets. Statues of the Tsar were toppled, people waved the red flags of the revolutionaries and called for an end to the Tsarist system
. Many also sang the anthem of the French Revolution
, the ‘Marseillaise’, sympathising with its call for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
1917 (27th February)
ordered troops onto the streets to remove protesters by force. Although some complied killing around 40 protestors, Nicholas’s move worsened the matter by inflaming the mood of the protestors even more. Moreover, around 65,000 of the soldiers ordered onto the streets were new recruits who sympathised with the masses and they simply refused to fire on the demonstrators and joined them instead.
1917 (27th February)
A meeting of the Duma discussed the future of Russia. They established a Provisional Committee of The Duma and demanded that the Tsar abdicate immediately. At the same time the army generals ordered the soldiers off the streets telling them to support the Provisional Committee instead.
1917 (28th February)
A meeting took place and a Provisional Executive Committee was elected.
1917 (2nd March)
Nicholas II reluctantly abdicated as Tsar. He named his younger brother Mikhail as the new Tsar, a position which Mikhail refused. The Royal family were placed under virtual house arrest.
1917 (2nd March)
The First Provisional government was formed, led by Prince Lvov, a member of the Kadet party.
1917 (25th March)
Following the overthrow of the Tsar, Kamenev was released from exile and returned to Petrograd. He, Stalin
and Muranov took control of the newspaper Pravda.
1917 (late March)
Kamenev wanted the Bolsheviks to support the Provisional government and try to re-unite with the Mensheviks.
1917 (3rd April)
Lenin returned to Russia.
1917 (7th April)
Lenin’s April Theses which set out his ideas for Russia were published in Pravda. Kamenev initially did not support Lenin’s Theses but eventually was persuaded that it was the right move.
The Provisional Government lost popularity because it had not taken Russia out of World War One.
1917 (May to June)
Workers saw no improvement in their working conditions and were becoming increasingly dissatisfied. In June 175,000 workers went on strike.
1917 (2nd July)
Kamenev’s brother-in-law, Leon Trotsky
, joined the Bolsheviks.
1917 (3rd – 4th July)
Stalin helped to organise a series of demonstrations against the government. Workers were joined on the streets by soldiers and the Kronstadt sailors calling for power to the Soviets.
1917 (4th July)
Prince Lvov, head of the Provisional government resigned.
1917 (5th July)
The Government blamed the July days on Bolshevik leaders and many, including Trotsky, were arrested. Lenin escaped to Finland. Stalin evaded capture, remained in Russia and took control of the Bolsheviks.
1917 (18th July)
The Socialist Alexander Kerensky took over as head of the Provisional government.
The Russian royal family were moved to Tobolsk in Western Siberia.
1917 (18th August)
Lenin established the Narrow Composition to direct the Revolution. There were just seven members, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Stkolnikov and Bubnov.
Alexander Kerensky was persuaded to release those Bolsheviks that had been imprisoned following the July Days.
Leon Trotsky became leader of the Petrograd Soviet. He worked closely with Lenin to plan a Bolshevik takeover. Kamenev and Zinoviev did not support an armed revolution.
Throughout the late Summer and early September support for the Bolsheviks had grown and by the end of September membership had reached 200,000.
1917 (7th October)
Lenin returned to Petrograd.
1917 (9th October)
The Bolsheviks established a Military Revolutionary Committee led by Trotsky.
1917 (10th October)
Kamenev and Zinoviev were out-voted and the Bolshevik Central Committee called for a Bolshevik Revolution. Lenin called for them to be expelled from the party but it was not carried out.
1917 (24th October)
Armed workers, Bolshevik Red Guards and the Kronstadt sailors occupied key buildings around the city of Petrograd.
1917 (25th October)
Armed Bolshevik supporters entered the Winter Palace and arrested members of the Provisional Government.
1917 (26th October)
A congress of Soviets was held at which Kamenev was Chairman. The Congress appointed the first Soviet government. Lenin was voted Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, Kamenev was voted Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, Joseph Stalin was made Commissar for Nationalities and Leon Trotsky was made People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
1917 (late October)
Stalin countersigned many of Lenin’s decrees which included the closing of newspapers that were critical of Communism.
1917 (5th November)
Kamenev and Zinoviev disagreed with Lenin over whether or not to negotiate with the railroad union that had threatened a strike. They resigned their positions. Lenin was furious and called them both deserters.
1917 (6th December)
The Cheka (Communist secret police) was established. Its main purpose was to arrest, imprison and execute opponents to Lenin.
1917 (14th December)
Lenin used the Red Army to take control of all the banks.
1917 (22nd December)
A Bolshevik peace delegation led by Alfred Joffe began negotiating a peace with Germany to take Russia out of World War One.
Kamenev became chairman of the Moscow Soviet.
Lenin changed the name of the Bolshevik party to the Russian Communist Party.
1918 (7th, 8th January)
The harsh demands placed on Russia by Germany were not well received. Germany wanted to take the Baltic states as well as Poland and Ukraine from Russia, a move that would result in the loss of one third of Russia’s population and agricultural land as well as half of its industry. Lenin faced opposition in his government over the continuation of the peace negotiations but eventually won the opposition over.
1918 (23rd February)
Trotsky formed the Red Army. It was comprised of workers and peasants.
1918 (3rd March)
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
This treaty ended Russian involvement in World War One. The signing of the treaty ended the left Socialist Revolutionary’s support of Lenin.
1918 (5th March)
Fearing a possible foreign invasion in support of the Romanovs, Lenin moved the capital of Russia to Moscow. The royal family were moved to Ekaterinburg.
Kamenev was sent to England and France to explain the Soviet government’s position. The English expelled him while the French refused to recognise his authority.
Lenin’s government was facing opposition from a number of forces collectively known as the ‘White’ forces. Based in the south, they had been led by Kornilov but following his death were led by Deniken. Another ‘White’ force led by General Yudenich were forming near Petrograd.
1918 (22nd April)
Compulsory military service was introduced for all workers and peasants that did not hire labour.
1918 (late Spring)
While making his way back to Russia, Kamenev was captured in Finland. The Finns used him to trade the release of captured Finns.
1918 (17th July)
The Romanov family were executed and buried in shallow graves.
Kamenev eturned to Russia where he joined Lenin in Moscow.
1919 (25th March)
Lev Kamenev was elected a member of the Politburo.
The Red Army had virtually defeated the White force led by Kolchak.
The Bolshevik Reds had won the war against the whites.
Kamenev was sent to London at the head of a trade delegation.
Kamenev’s had an affair with Clare Sheridan, a British sculptress. The affair caused a rift with his wife, Olga Kameneva.
1920 (late August)
Following defeat in the Russo-Polish War, there was conflict between Stalin and Trotsky. Trotsky blamed Stalin for failures in his handling of the Russo-Polish war while Stalin blamed Trotsky for signing a peace with Poland. Kamenev leaned towards supporting Stalin.
Kamenev returned to Moscow with Clare Sheridan.
Kamenev was made Deputy Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars and the Council of Labour and Defence.
1922 (1st January)
In a bid to combat rising inflation a new Russian Ruble was introduced. 1 new ruble was worth 10,000 old rubles.
Lenin created a new post, General Secretary and chose Joseph Stalin for the post.
1922 (25th May)
Lenin suffered a stroke while recovering from surgery to remove a bullet that had been lodged in his neck since a failed assassination attempt in 1918.
Lenin’s health began to recover.
Lenin began a part time return to work.
Lenin suffered a second stroke that left him paralysed on his right side. He withdrew from politics though he remained leader of the Communist Party. Kamenev became the effective leader of the party as Chair of the Politburo. He worked with Stalin and Zinoviev to sideline Trotskyism. The alliance was known as the Triumvirate.
1922 (29th December)
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was created. It comprised the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the Ukrainian Social Republic, the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Lenin completed his Testament. A document that proposed changes to the structure of Communism and also gave his thoughts on his possible successors. Lenin indicated that he was uncomfortable with Joseph Stalin and suggested that he be replaced as General Secretary. The document was to be read out at the 12th Party Congress.
Lenin suffered a third stroke that left him totally paralysed and unable to speak.
1923 (after March)
Although Lenin remained the leader of the Communist Party he could take no part in the actual government of the country. There emerged a power struggle between the Right and Left of the party. Stalin formed an alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev known as the Triumvirate which became the dominant faction. Trotsky who was left wing opposed the Triumvirate.
Lenin’s wife kept the Testament secret in the hope’s that Lenin would recover and be able to deliver it himself.
Declaration of the Forty Six
This was a document written by forty-six left-wing communists expressing their concern about the lack of democracy in the party.
1924 (21st January)
Lenin died following a heart attack.
1924 (26th January)
Petrograd was renamed Leningrad to honour Lenin.
1924 (27th January)
Kamenev was one of the pall bearers at Lenin’s funeral.
1924 (7th March)
A new gold ruble was introduced to stop inflation. This new ruble was equivalent to 50,000 old rubles.
1924 (23rd May)
Lenin’s wife handed over Lenin’s Testament for it to be read out at the 13th Party Congress. The document was critical of the main contenders for party leader but they were reluctant to suppress it so soon after Lenin’s death especially as Lenin’s widow was insistent that his wishes should be carried out. A compromise was reached where it was read out but largely ignored. Kamenev and Zinoviev stated that Stalin had changed and that Lenin’s comments were no longer relevant. Trotsky was defeated and Stalin accepted as new leader.
Stalin announced that he wanted to pursue a new theory of Socialism in one country. Kamenev and Zinoviev could not accept this, both sharing Lenin’s ideal that Russia was just the first of many countries to embrace Socialism and so the Triumvirate split. Zinoviev and Kamenev now formed a new opposition to Stalin who allied himself with Nikolai Bukharin
Stalin removed Trotsky from government and also from his position as head of the Red Army.
At the fourteenth party congress Kamenev and Zinoviev opposed the NEP and advocated large scale industrialisation. They also put forward arguments in favour of World socialism rather than socialism in one country. However, their arguments were easily put down by Stalin and Bukharin and they were removed from the Politburo.
Lev Kamenev and Zinoviev became closer to Trotsky and together they formed the United Opposition.
The United Opposition were defeated during the fifteenth Party Conference. Kamenev was removed from the Politburo.
As a result of strikes and the unrest of the past few years there had been a shortfall in grain production. As a result the price of grain had risen alarmingly. The United Opposition again argued for a change in policy but were defeated.
In a bid to keep state expenditure low, grain procurement prices were lowered. Additionally a rumour that there could be war with Germany led to people hoarding food.
At the fifteenth Party Congress Kamenev called for a reconciliation between the factions. His plea was ignored. He, Zinoviev, Trotsky and many other Oppositionists were removed from the Communist Party.
Lev Kamenev and his wife Olga divorced. Soon afterwards Lev married Tatiana Glebova.
After writing letters admitting they were wrong for opposing the Communist party Kamenev and Zinoviev were readmitted to the Communist Party.
A son, Vladimir Glebov, was born to Lev Kamenev and Tatiana Glebova.
Stalin rejected Lenin’s New Economic Policy, split with Bukharin and began working against him. Bukharin tried to ally himself with Kamenev but when Stalin discovered this he used it to dismiss Bukharin.
Kamenev was excluded form the inner workings of the Party and confined to a clerical role.
Leon Trotsky, who had not apologised for his opposition to Stalin, was exiled to Kazakhstan.
Stalin introduced his first five year plan.
Stalin knew that Russia needed to modernise to become more efficient and also self-sufficient. Steel and iron production was to be increased considerably as was the production of energy and tools. To achieve his aims factories were to name and shame those that did not meet required production quotas. Any worker that was absent due to illness or who did not output quotas required was deemed to be working against the state and could be imprisoned or executed.
Trotsky was found guilty of being a counter-revolutionary and was banished from the Soviet Union. He was given refuge in Turkey and settled near Istanbul. While in Turkey he published his “History of the Russian Revolution
Kamenev and Zinoviev were again expelled from the Communist Party for failing to inform on the oppositionist activities of Martemyan Ryutin.
Kamenev and Zinoviev were readmitted to the Communist Party.
1934 (1st December)
Sergei Kirov was assassinated at his office. Kirov was a member of the Politburo who had disagreed with some of Stalin’s policy. It is likely that the assassination
was carried out on Stalin’s orders. Stalin had become increasingly distrustful of those close to him. This event marked the beginning of the Great Terror
Kamenev and Zinoviev were among a number of Russians accused of complicity in Kirov’s assassination.
Kamenev, Zinoviev and others were tried. Kamenev was sentenced to five years in prison and Zinoviev was given ten years imprisonment.
Kamenev’s jail sentence was extended by ten years.
1936 (19th – 26th August)
The first ‘show trial’, The Trial of the Sixteen saw Kamenev, Zinoviev and fourteen others who had been arrested in January 1935, confess and be found guilty of crimes against the state, notably the assassination of Kirov, plotting to disrupt the five year plans and conspiring with foreign powers to overthrow the government.
1936 (25th August)
Lev Kamenev was executed by firing squad.