1888 (27th September)
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was born to Ivan Gavrilovich Bukharin and Liubov Ivanovna Bukharina in Moscow. His parents were schoolteachers and were able to give him a good education.
Nikolai Bukharin enjoyed exploring the countryside and learning about flora and fauna. He also loved reading and art.
Nikolai Bukharin spent some time in Kishinev, Bessarabia when his father worked there as a tax inspector. However, his father did not like the city and they soon returned to Moscow.
Bukharin took part in student demonstrations at Moscow University.
1905 (22nd January)
Father Georgy Gapon had organised a peaceful march to present a petition to the Tsar
to ask for measures to be put in place to treat the Russian people more fairly. The marchers included men, women and children carrying banners of the Tsar singing religious hymns. However, when the marchers reached the Winter Palace they were met by a line of armed Cossacks who opened fire on the demonstrators. More than 200 demonstrators were killed and more than 500 injured. Father Gapon escaped and left Russia.
1905 (late January)
The events of Bloody Sunday had sparked a wave of protests, demonstrations, strikes and unrest across the Russian Empire. Bukharin joined protests in Moscow.
Bukharin joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. The party had split into two groups in 1904 – the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Bukharin joined the Bolshevik faction.
Bukharin organised the National Youth Conference in Moscow.
Bukharin became a member of the Moscow Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party.
Bukharin was arrested while at a committee meeting. He was later released.
Bukharin married Nadezhda Mikhailovna Lukina.
Bukharin was exiled to Onega in Arkhangelsk but managed to escape to Hanover.
Bukharin spent time in Vienna where he worked with Joseph Stalin on an article ‘Marxism and the National Question’ published by Stalin.
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.
Nikolai Bukharin went to New York where he edited the newspaper ‘Novy Mir’.
Nikolai Bukharin published ‘Imperialism and World Economy’. Lenin was very impressed with his work.
150,000 workers took to the streets of Petrograd (formerly Saint Petersburg) 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 (early April)
Bukharin left New York and began the journey back to Russia.
1917 (3rd April)
Lenin also returned to Russia after having exiled himself for the past 10 years.
1917 (7th April)
Lenin’s April Theses which set out his ideas for Russia were published in Pravda.
The Provisional Government lost popularity because it had not taken Russia out of World War One.
1917 (early May)
Bukharin arrived back in Moscow where he took up a seat on the Moscow City Committee. He also became a member of the Moscow Regional Bureau. He soon became the most prominent leader in Moscow.
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 (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.
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.
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)
A meeting of the Bolshevik Central Committee which included Bukharin called for a Bolshevik Revolution.
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 which appointed the first Soviet government and appointed Lenin as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars. Joseph Stalin was made Commissar for Nationalities and given an office close to Lenin’s. Bukharin took over as editor of the newspaper Pravda. Leon Trotsky was made People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
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.
Lenin changed the name of the Bolshevik party to the Russian Communist Party.
1918 (7th, 8th January)
Bukharin was a leading critic of the harsh demands placed on Russia by Germany to end the war. 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. Bukharin considered having Lenin arrested but decided against this action.
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.
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 (17th July)
The Romanov family were executed and buried in shallow graves.
1918 (30th August)
Lenin survived an assassination attempt by Fanya Kaplan but was badly injured.
Lenin introduced the Gulag system of labour camps to contain opponents of his regime.
Stalin returned to Moscow.
Stalin attended the launch of the Communist International by Lenin. The organisation was to help spread Communist revolution through Europe. Stalin disagreed with Lenin that other European countries would fall to Communism.
Bukharin became a member of the Comintern executive committee.
The Bolshevik Reds had won the war against the whites.
Bukharin published ‘The ABC of Communism’ with Yevgeni Preobrazhensky.
Bukharin wrote ‘The Politics and Economics of the Transition Period’.
Nikolai Bukharin and Nadezhda Mikhailovna Lukina divorced.
Bukharin married Esfir Gurvich.
Bukharin supported Lenin’s New Economic Policy despite the fact that many of the measures in the policy went against his core beliefs.
A daughter, Svetlana, was born to Nikolai Bukharin and Esfir Gurvich.
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. Although often critical of Stalin, leading members of the Politburo supported Stalin’s appointment since they presumed that the post would be insignificant.
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. The effective leader of the party was Kamenev
who took the Chair of the Politburo. He worked with Stalin and Zinoviev
to sideline Trotskyism.
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. Bukharin supported this alliance.
Lenin’s wife kept the Testament secret in the hope’s that Lenin would recover and be able to deliver it himself.
1924 (21st January)
Vladimir Lenin died.
1924 (26th January)
Petrograd was renamed Leningrad to honour Lenin.
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. Furthermore, Stalin’s supporters in the Triumvirate, Zinoviev and Kamenev stated that Stalin had changed and that Lenin’s comments were no longer relevant. Trotsky was defeated and Stalin accepted as new leader.
Bukharin published ‘Historical Materialism’.
Stalin announced that he wanted to pursue a new theory of Socialism in one country. Zinoviev and Kamenev 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 and Bukharin.
Stalin removed Trotsky from government and also from his position as head of the Red Army. Stalin knew that Trotsky was his main rival and did not want him able to influence either policy making or the army. Indeed Stalin feared that Trotsky could use the army to remove Stalin and make himself head of the government.
At the fourteenth party congress Zinoviev and Kamenev 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. Bukharin worked closely with Stalin.
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 argued for a change in policy but were defeated.
Nikolai Bukharin, his wife Esfir Gurvich and their daughter, Svetlana, spent the summer with Joseph Stalin at Zubalovo.
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.
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.
Stalin rejected Lenin’s New Economic Policy, split with Bukharin and began working against him. Bukharin continued to argue in favour of the New Economic Policy but his view was not popular.
Trotsky was exiled to Kazakhstan.
In a bid to undermine his position, Stalin began removing Bukharin’s followers and supporters from the party.
Bukharin won a victory against Stalin during the Central Committee meeting. Stalin stopped grain requisitioning.
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.
Nikolai Bukharin and Esfir Gurvich divorced.
Bukharin was removed from the Comintern.
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
Bukharin was removed as editor of Pravda.
1929 (17th November)
Bukharin was removed from the Politburo.
Bukharin tried to regain favour with Stalin but was unsuccessful.
1930 (25th April)
The GULAG was officially established. Correctional forced labour camps had been used previously but were now to be called gulags. They were to be used to house those individuals that were a threat to or disrupted the functioning of the Soviet State. They began housing kulaks immediately
Stalin announced that his first Five Year Plan, introduced in 1928, had been such a success that he was ending it a year early.
The production of armaments was increased in response to Hitler’s seizure of power and the re-arming of Germany.
Stalin had secret talks with Hitler.
Nikolai Bukharin married Anna Mikhailovna Larina, who was 26 years younger.
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
Zinoviev and Kamenev were among a number of Russians accused of complicity in Kirov’s assassination.
A son, Yuri was born to Nikolai and Anna.
Stalin sent Bukharin to Paris to negotiate the pruchase of the Marx and Engels archives. He considered exiling himself in France but decided against it.
1936 (9th March)
The Politburo passed a resolution to protect the USSR from spies. A Commission chaired by Nikolai Yezhov was given the power to purge spies from the USSR.
1936 (25th March)
The head of the NKVD, Yagoda, put forward a measure to remove all Trotskyists to remote camps.
1936 (20th May)
The Politburo approved the measure to remove Trotskyists to remote camps.
1936 (19th June)
Yagoda sent a list of 82 Trotskyists which included Kamenev and Zinoviev to the Politburo.
1936 (19th – 26th August)
The first ‘show trial’, The Trial of the Sixteen saw Zinoviev, Kamenev and fourteen others 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. They were executed.
1936 (26th September)
On Stalin’s orders Yagoda was replaced by Yezhov as head of the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs. Yagoda was demoted to be People’s Commissar for Postal and Telegraph.
1936 (4th October)
The first ‘sentencing by lists’ saw 585 Trotskyists and Zinovievists whose names were on a list sentenced without a trial.
1936 (6th December)
Trotsky, who had been sentenced to death by the USSR, was offered refuge in Mexico.
The Trial of the Seventeen was the second ‘show trial’ that dealt with those former allies of Trotsky including Radek, Piatakov and Sokolinokov. They were accused of plotting with foreign powers, sabotage and maintaining contact with the exiled Trotsky. Thirteen were executed the others were sent to gulags where they later died.
1937 (27th February)
Bukharin and Rykov were arrested and charged withg conspiring to overthrow the Soviet regime.
Nikolai Bukharin’s wife, Anna, was arrested and exiled.
The Trial of the Twenty-One was the third ‘show trial’ that accused rightists and Trotskyists of attempting to overthrow Socialism and complicity in the murder of Kirov. Bukarin , Yagoda and Krestinsky were all tried. Bukharin was also charged with attempting to assassinate Lenin. They were found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. All those that had been close to Lenin during the years of Lenin’s Communism were now dead.
1938 (15th March)
Nikolai Bukharin was executed by firing squad.