Lyubov Axelrod

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For another leading Menshevik with the same last name, see Pavel Axelrod.

Lyubov Isaakovna Axelrod (born Emther Axelrod; Russian: Любо́вь (Эмтер) Исаа́ковна Аксельро́д, penname Orthodox Russian: Ортодо́кс; 1868–1946) was a Russian revolutionary, Marxist philosopher and an art theoretician.

Axelrod was born in the family of a rabbi in Vilenkovichi, a village in the Vilna gubernia of the Russian Empire, now in Pastavy Raion, Belarus. She became involved with the narodnik organization at age 16 and took part in unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Alexander III of Russia. In 1887 she emigrated to Switzerland and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Bern University in 1900.

In 1892 she became a Marxist and joined the Geneva-based Emancipation of Labor group, becoming a close associate of its leader Georgi Plekhanov. When the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks at its Second Congress in 1903, she sided with the Menshevik faction.

In 1906 Axelrod returned to Russia and became a leading Russian authority on Marxist philosophy, second only to Plekhanov. She was critical of both Alexander Bogdanov and Vladimir Lenin during their debate over Empiriocriticism in 1908-1909, branding their ideas anti-Marxist.

In the 1920s she first worked at the Institute of Red Professors and later at the Soviet Institute of Philosophy. In the 1930s her version of Marxism was officially denounced as a Mechanistic revision of Marxism and she faded into obscurity.

She died on 5 February 1946 in Moscow.

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