The ABC of Communism

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The ABC of Communism
Nicholas I. Bukharin - The ABC of Communism.jpeg
AuthorNikolai Bukharin and Yevgeni Preobrazhensky
Original titleRussian: Азбука коммунизма
Publication date
Originally published 1920

The ABC of Communism (Russian: Азбука коммунизма Azbuka Kommunizma) is a book written by Nikolai Bukharin and Yevgeni Preobrazhensky in 1919, during the Russian Civil War.[1] Originally written to convince the proletariat of Russia to support the Bolsheviks, it became "an elementary textbook of communist knowledge".[2][3] It became the best known and most widely circulated of all pre-Stalinist expositions of Bolshevism and the most widely read political work in Soviet Russia.[4][5]


In the October Revolution, part of the Russian Revolution, an armed insurrection occurred. It is traditionally dated to 25 October 1917 Julian calendar (7 November 1917 Gregorian calendar).[6] It was the second phase of the overall Russian Revolution of 1917, after the February Revolution of the same year. The October Revolution overthrew the Russian Provisional Government and gave the power to the Soviets dominated by Bolsheviks. It was followed by the Russian Civil War (1917–1922) and the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922.

The revolution was led by the Bolsheviks.[6] Bolshevik armed forces began the takeover of government buildings on 24 October;[6] however 25 October JC was the date when the Winter Palace (the seat of the Provisional government located in Petrograd, the capital of Russia) was captured.


The ABC of Communism was written during the civil war, and was written to convince the citizens of Russia.[2] In keeping with the period in which it was written, its mood was that of war communism, a militant optimism. It was a statement of Utopian hopes, not Soviet reality.[4]

Association with Bukharin[edit]

Preobrazhensky's co-authorship eventually became "half-forgotten", and The ABC soon became inextricably associated with Bukharin, spreading his fame and giving rise to his reputation.[4]

English translations[edit]

The first English translation by Patrick Lavin was published by the Marxian Educational Society, of Detroit, Michigan in 1921. A second English translation by Cedar and Eden Paul was published by the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1922.


  1. ^ Nikolai Bukharin and Yevgeni Preobrazhensky: The ABC of Communism. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  2. ^ a b The ABC of Communism: can socialism work?. Socialist Worker, 17 July 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  3. ^ Goodwin, James (1993). Eisenstein, Cinema, and History. University of Illinois Press. p. 99. ISBN 9780252062698.
  4. ^ a b c Cohen, Stephen F. (1980). Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938. Oxford University Press US. pp. 64–65. ISBN 9780195026979.
  5. ^ English, Robert D. (2000). Russia and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals, and the End of the Cold War. Columbia University Press. p. 35. ISBN 9780231110594.
  6. ^ a b c "SparkNotes: The October Revolution" (timeline), SparkNotes LLC, 2006, webpage: SN-5: accessed 2007-01-28.