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Marxism before Marxism: Nikolaj Sieber and the birth of Russian social-democracy

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Allisson François, D'Onofrio Federico, Raskov Danila, Shirokorad Leonid,
Project Redefining classical political economy: The Swiss and Russian economist and sociologist N. I. Sieber
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal European Journal of the History of Economic Thought
Volume (Issue) 27(2)
Page(s) 298 - 323
Title of proceedings European Journal of the History of Economic Thought
DOI 10.1080/09672567.2020.1720765

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


The Swiss-Russian economist Nikolaj Sieber was one of the first who wrote about Marx in Russia. In this article we reconstruct the development of his thought by mobilising evidence about the intellectual and political context he lived in. We document his involvement within the Ukrainian national movement of the 1870 s and argue that this closeness was consistent with his take on the capitalist evolution of the Russian Empire. We discuss his importance in the Russian debates on the future of the peasant commune and of Russia and conclude that his interpretation of Marx and capitalism was crucial for the development of the Russian social-democratic party.