Leo Deutsch

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Leo Deutsch
Lev deich.jpg
Born (1855-09-26)September 26, 1855
Tulchyn, Podolia Governorate, Russian Empire
Died August 5, 1941(1941-08-05) (aged 85)
Moscow, Soviet Union

Lev Grigorievich Deutsch, also known as Leo Deutsch (Russian: Лев Григо́рьевич Дейч) (1855 – 1941) was a Russian revolutionary who was an early member of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party and one of the leaders of that organization's Menshevik factions.


Early life and political activities[edit]

Lev Grigorievich Deutsch was born September 25, 1855 in Tulchyn, Russia, the son of a Jewish merchant.

After converting to Marxism, he spent his time distributing propaganda in southern Russia.

His actions led to his being arrested in 1875, but he escaped from custody and over the next few years attempted to organize a peasant insurrection.

Deutsch joined the Zemlya i volya (Land and Liberty), joining the Black Repartition once it split into two factions. supporting a socialist propaganda campaign among workers and peasants. The majority of members joined Narodnaya Volya (People's Will), the group that favoured terrorism.

In 1880 Deutsch and other leaders of the Black Repartition group, including George Plekhanov, Vera Zasulich and Pavel Axelrod went to live in Geneva, forming the Emancipation of Labour group in 1883.

Deutsch was arrested in Germany in 1884 and extradited for trial by a Russian court for a terrorist offence he had committed in 1876. Found guilty, he was sentenced to 13 years of hard labour in Siberia.

Deutsch managed to escape from prison in 1901 and became active in the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. At the Second Congress of the Social Democratic Party in London, Deutsch joined George Plekhanov, Pavel Axelrod, Leon Trotsky, Irakli Tsereteli, Moisei Uritsky, Noi Zhordania and Fedor Dan in supporting Julius Martov creating the Mensheviks.

During the 1905 Revolution Deutsch returned to Russia but was arrested and imprisoned. However, on the way to Siberia he escaped and made his way to London, starting a period of foreign exile which lasted until the February 1917 Russian Revolution.

Exile and return[edit]

From October 1915 to September 1916, Deutsch edited a monthly newspaper in New York City called Svobodnoe Slovo ("Free Word").[1]

In 1917, Deutsch returned to Petrograd and joined George Plekhanov in editing Edinstvo ("Unity"). He also wrote his memoirs and edited a volume of documents associated with the Emancipation of Labour group.

Deutsch died on August 5, 1941.


  1. ^ Vladimir F. Wertsman, "Russians," in Dirk Hoerder with Christiane Harzig (eds.), The Immigrant Labor Press in North America, 1840s-1970s: Volume 2: Migrants from Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1987; pg. 132.

Other sources consulted[edit]