Maurice Carrez, 2008. La Fabrique d’un Revolutionnaire, Otto Wilhelm Kuusinen (1881-1918): Réflexions sur l’engagement politique d’un dirigeant social-démocrate finlandais. (The Making of a Revolutionary, Otto Wilhelm Kuusinen, 1881-1918. Reflections on the Political Engagement of a Finish Social-Democrat Leader). Vol. 1: 466 pages – Vol. 2: 396 pages. ISBN: 2-912025-39-7 – Vol. 1 : 2-912025-40-0 – Vol. 2 : 2-912025-41-9. €40.
Otto Wilhelm Kuusinen is especially known as having been a Kommintern secretary and, later on, a member of the Polit-bureau of the Soviet Union Communist Party. Historians have often centred their studies on his activity as leader of the Finish Communist Party in the pre-war years and on his role as a reformer under Krustchov.
But before his career outside Finland, O. W. Kuusinen was one of the most well-known leaders of the Finish Social-Democratic Party for twelve years and outright leader between 1911 and 1913. Furthermore, his influence on political life was particularly important from March 1917 to March 1918. From this angle, he can be considered as one of the major protagonists of the road towards independence ant the revolution that followed.
The aim of this book, that arose from research from a work destined for the ‘Habilitation à diriger des recherches (HDR)’ qualification, is to come to understand how an upwardly mobile young man, at first under the influence of conservative nationalism, a man who came from humble origins, entered Socialism at the beginning of the 20th century and then went on to construct between 1905 and 1918 a relatively original political and intellectual career.
This work is no a mere biography of an individual, albeit a brilliant individual, it is a study that strives to relate the personal elements of his life with the social and cultural framework of the age, taking equally into account the political upheavals that shook Finland and the Russian Empire. Readers of this book will become familiar with the history of the Baltic region, at the extreme ends of the Scandinavian and Slav worlds before and during the First World War. They will find in these pages important representatives of the Nordic political world as well as the workers’ mouvement during the so called Belle Époque.
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