Christian Rakovsky

Christian Rakovsky

Christian Rakovsky, the son of extremely wealthy parents, was born Kotel, Bulgaria, on 13th August, 1873. With the considerable fortune left to him by his father, he travelled all over Europe before studying to become a doctor.

Rakovsky developed radical political views and became the leader of the Bulgarian revolutionary movement. He believed the best way of achieving Bulgarian independence was to support revolutionary groups in Russia. He therefore used his wealth to fund newspapers such as Iskra and Pravda.

His revolutionary political opinions made him unpopular with governments and was expelled successively from Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and France.

During the First World War Rakovsky adopted a pacifist position and was one of the prime movers of the Zimmerwald Conference. Throughout the conflict Rakovsky called for "a peace without indemnities or annexations, based on the principle of self-determination of the peoples". Rakovsky was arrested in Romania in 1916 and remained in prison until being rescued by Russian soldiers in May, 1917. With the help of Bolshevik volunteers, Rakovsky attempted to provoke a revolution in Romania. However, with the arrival of the German Army Radovsky was forced to flee to Russia.

In January, 1919, Vladimir Lenin put Rakovsky in charge of the Ukrainian Soviet Government. He successfully kept the area for the Bolsheviks against the White Army during the Civil War.

Rakovsky was a supporter of Leon Trotsky and in 1925 Joseph Stalin arranged for him to become Soviet ambassador to Paris. At the Fifteenth Party Congress he was expelled from the party and exiled to Central Asia.

In 1937 Rakovsky, Nickolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov, Genrikh Yagoda and Nikolai Krestinsky were all arrested and accused of being involved with Leon Trotsky in a plot against Joseph Stalin. He was found guilty and sentenced to twenty years hard labour.

Christian Rakovsky was executed in 1941.