Portrait of Karl Radek

from The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library.

from The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library.

“Life provides material for its agitation which makes its general views comprehensible to the masses.” - Karl Radek

Karl Radek was a prominent figure of the Communist International (Komintern or III International).

Born in Ukraine in 1885, Karl Radek was a revolutionary. He joined Lenin during his exile in Switzerland ; after the October Revolution, he came back to Russia and became Vice-Commissar for Foreign Affairs. In 1920, he became the Secretary of the Komintern. A political opponent of Grigori Zinoviev, he was ousted from the Executive Committee of the Communist International in 1924. A supporter of Trotsky, he was seen with suspicion by Stalin, and was expelled from the Party in 1927. However, he regained a political influence in the early 1930s, becoming Stalin's foreign policy advisor. He collaborated in the preparation of the Soviet Constitution in 1935, but the following year he was charged with treason in Stalin's Great Purge, and sentenced to imprisonment. He disappeared in 1939, while in prison.

The document is a reproduction of a photo made by photographer V. Shabel'skii.