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Gelfond, Alexander Lazarevich

GELFOND, ALEXANDER LAZAREVICH

GELFOND, ALEXANDER LAZAREVICH (pseud. Parvus ; 1869–1924), activist in the Russian and German revolutionary movements. Gelfond was born in Berezino, Belorussia. He graduated from the Basel university in 1891 and lived in Germany, where he joined the left wing of the Social-Democratic movement, He wrote and edited periodicals for the movement and became known as a Marxist economist. In 1905 he returned to Russia, and became a member of the workers soviet in Peterburg. Together with Rosa *Luxemburg he developed the theory of the "permanent revolution," which was adopted by *Trotsky. In December 1905 he was arrested and exiled for three years to Siberia but fled to Germany. In 1910–17 he lived in Turkey and the Balkans, where he made a fortune in trade. During wwi he lived in Berlin and busied himself supplying the German army. He tried to get the German Foreign Office to support the Russian revolutionary parties and helped transfer German funds to them. He tried to return to Russia after the October 1917 Revolution, but was prevented from doing so by Lenin, who was afraid that Gelfond's financial transactions would be discovered. In 1918 he tried to settle in Switzerland, but was sent back to Germany and ceased his political activity. After his death he was accused by Lenin and Gorky of being "immoral, chauvinistic, and an adventurist in politics."

[Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]

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