Vadim Z. Rogovin

Vadim Zakharovich Rogovin (10 May 1937, Moscow – 18 September 1998, Moscow) was a Soviet Marxist sociologist and historian.

Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Rogovin had been working for many years, albeit under very difficult circumstances, on a sociological analysis of Stalinism. His research focused on inequalities in lifestyles and consumption, the social and political roots of the USSR’s problems with labor productivity, and the meaning of social justice. His open commitment to the defense of equality won him widespread popularity in the USSR.

However, due to the combined impact of Stalinism and Pabloism, he and other socialist intellectuals and workers in the Soviet Union remained isolated from the Trotskyist movement throughout the post-war period.

Rogovin’s greatest work was accomplished in the aftermath of the dissolution of the USSR, once he was finally able to establish contact with the Trotskyist movement. Working in close collaboration with the International Committee of the Fourth International, he helped lay the foundations for the Trotskyist movement’s fight against the post-Soviet school of historical falsifications.

In 1992, he began publishing what would become a six-volume history of the revolutionary Marxist opposition, led by Leon Trotsky, to the Stalinist degeneration of the USSR. Rogovin documented the immense popularity of Leon Trotsky, even after his exile from the Soviet Union in 1929, and established that the principal purpose of Stalin’s political genocide in the 1930s was the eradication of Trotsky’s political influence. Covering the years from 1923 to 1940, Rogovin’s Was There an Alternative? remains indispensable for an understanding of the Stalinist regime and the deep-rooted socialist opposition to its betrayal of the principles and program of the October Revolution.

More about the Left Opposition
Tributes to the life and work of Vadim Rogovin
Rogovin’s world lecture tour, 1995-1996

In contrast to all other political tendencies, the International Committee of the Fourth International insisted that the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked not the “end of socialism” but the end of Stalinism, and the beginning of a new period of imperialist wars and socialist revolutions. The twentieth century, the International Committee argued, was not over with the end of the USSR. Rather, it had remained “unfinished“.

A critical component of the ICFI’s response to the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the initiation of a campaign in defense of historical truth. Vadim Rogovin’s work on the struggle of the Left Opposition and the political genocide carried out by Stalinism of its socialism opponents were an indispensable part of the struggle to establish the historical record of the revolutionary movement. In 1995-1996, Rogovin gave lectures at universities in the US, Australia, Germany and Great Britain. Organized by the ICFI, the lectures drew audiences of hundreds of students.

Following Rogovin’s premature death in 1998, the ICFI continued this struggle, including through the publication of his works in English and German, and with major works by David North, most notably, “In Defense of Leon Trotsky”.

Vadim Rogovin lecturing at Bochum University, Germany, in 1996
Vadim Rogovin with Helen Halyard, then the assistant national secretary of the Workers League, upon his arrival in Detroit in February 1995. (c) WSWS Media
Was There an Alternative? Rogovin’s account of the Left Opposition to Stalinism
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