Works About Ter-Vaganian

Articles, Reviews and Books Which Mention Ter-Vaganian

This section of the bibliography is far from complete. The amount of material about Ter-Vaganian is limited by several factors. Since he joined the Left Opposition at an early age in 1923, the next several years witnessed maneuvers to reduce Vaganian's access to publications. He was removed as an editor of "Under the Banner of Marxism," and the next journal which he edited, "Militant Materialist," had a short existence (five issues). After the XVth Party Congress in December 1927, Vaganian faced the same ordeals of expulsion, exile and general ostracism which his fellow oppositionists underwent. In the 1930s, references to Vaganian in the official press were sparse and almost uniformly negative. With his final arrest, trial, and execution, he fell into the category of "enemy of the people." That meant that his works were removed from libraries, none of his unpublished writings would be printed, and his name was mentioned only in the most pejorative terms.

One small example illustrates Vaganian's fate. If one opens volume eight of the first edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, column 536 contains the entry: «Ваганян, В., см. Тер-Ваганян.» [Vaganian, V., see Ter-Vaganian.] It should be noted that Volume 8 was published on November 1, 1927, before members of the Left Opposition were expelled from the Party. If one then turns to volume 54 of the same encyclopedia, published in 1946, between the entries for "Тербрюгген [Terbrugghen] and Тер-Гевондян [Ter-Gevodnian], there is no entry for Ter-Vaganian at the place one would expect according to the alphabet. He has simply been erased from history by the editors of the encyclopedia, one of whom was Andrei Vyshinsky, the chief prosecutor at the Trial of the Sixteen in 1936 where Ter-Vaganian was condemned.

After Vaganian's death, one might have expected to see his name appear at least in histories written outside of the Soviet Union. Attention has been slight, however. He is usually mentioned in passing in works that study Plekhanov's life and writings. It seems that no one has written an extensive biography about Vaganian, or made a serious study of his writings.

Fortunately, his widow, Klavdiia Generalova, wrote a long letter to Gorbachev in 1988, calling for Ter-Vaganian's rehabilitation. The biographical details contained in this letter are an irreplaceable contribution to Ter-Vaganian's memory. We hope that as time passes, more material will emerge from the archives in Russia so that we can fill in the gaps in our knowledge about this young Bolshevik whose life was cut short in 1936.


Ярославский, Эм., Ответ тов. Ваганяну, «Большевик», сентябрь 1927 г., № 18, стр. 80-102.
Лев Троцкий, «Как разлагают Комсомол», 31 октября 1927 [Из книги: «Архив Троцкого: Коммунистическая оппозиция, 1923-1927», т. 4, стр. 231-232] [Pdf]
Бобровников, Н. Пролетариат и культура, М.-Л.: Московский Рабочий, 1929, стр. 64-67, 94.
Разгром Левой Оппозиции в СССР. Письма ссыльных большевиков (1928). Публикация Ю. Фельштинского, «Минувшее», № 7, 1992, М.: Открытое общество Феникс, стр. 245-313 [стр. 265, 269, 289-293].