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Ratner, Marc Borisovich


RATNER, MARC BORISOVICH (1871–1917), Russian lawyer and socialist. Born in Kiev, Ratner was brought up in an assimilated environment. He was expelled from high school because of clandestine Socialist activities. As a law student he was arrested and exiled for two years, but later graduated as a lawyer. In his student days he attracted attention with his articles in Russkoye Bogatstvo on the agrarian problem, Marxism, political economy, and labor legislation. He appeared as counsel for the defense in political trials and as civil prosecutor in the pogrom trials. The Kishinev pogrom brought him closer to Jewish affairs. He was among the leaders of the *Vozrozhdeniye and later the *Jewish Socialist Workers' Party, in which, with Chaim *Zhitlowsky, he represented the populist socialist-revolutionary trend. He fought for the inclusion of Yiddish in the curriculum of the *Society for the Promotion of Culture among the Jews of Russia, and was a candidate to the second *Duma. As a result of his activities during the 1905 revolution, he was compelled to leave Russia. Ratner was the initiator of the convention of the socialist parties of oppressed nations in Russia (1907). He represented the Jewish Socialist Workers' Party at the Congress of the Socialist International in Copenhagen (1910) and initiated the campaign for the recognition of a Jewish section of the International. The hardships of emigration (Switzerland, Vienna) ruined his health. A short while before his death he settled in Jassy, Romania.

In his works on the national question he rejected assimilationism and supported the idea of a national-personal, exterritorial, autonomy. Noteworthy are his "Evolyutsiya natsionalno-politicheskoy mysli v russkom yevreystve" ("The Evolution of National-Political Thought among Russian Jewry," in Serp, vol. 2, 1907); "Natsionalny vopros v svete sotsialisticheskago mirovozzreniya" ("The National Question in Light of the Socialist Weltanschauung," in Russkoye Bogatstvo, nos. 2–5, 1908); and articles on autonomism in Yevreyskiy Mir, nos. 6, 9, and 10 (1909).


Rejzen, Leksikon, 4 (1929), 187–93; O.I. Janowsky, Jews and Minority Rights (1933), index; Kniga o russkom yevreystve (1960), index; B. Borochov, Ketavim… 2 (1958), index.

[Moshe Mishkinsky]

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