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Sochineniia
– Survey –

In this part of TrotskyanaNet we provide some information about the Russian-language Sochineniia [Сочинения], being the first attempt at a Trotsky collected works edition which unfortunately was abandoned in 1927:

Literature used:
Nation, R. Craig: Approaching Trotsky's written legacy : a selective review of sources, in: Studies in Comparative Communism, 10.1977 (1/2), pp.216-221


Generalities and publication history of
Sochineniia (1924-27)

The Russian language edition of Trotsky's Sochineniia [Сочинения = Collected works] remains one of the main primary sources of Trotsky research, an impressive editorial venture. Work on this edition began in 1923 and from 1924 to 1927 altogether 12 volumes (not numbered in sequence, and some consisting of 2 parts) were published in Moscow and/or Leningrad by the Soviet Gosudarstvennoe Izdadel'stvo — Gosizdat [State Publishing House]. While some of the published volumes chiefly contain wide-known material which is available in book format elsewhere, too (in Russian language as well as in translation), other volumes contain a considerable amount of lesser known articles, speeches, reports etc. from various, often hard-to-find, sources and were assembled thematically in Sochineniia for the first time.
A good deal of those articles were originally published anonymously or under pseudonym and was identified in Sochineniia as to authorship. Trotsky himself assisted with the assembling and editing of the material which are given with their exact original date of appearance and with their original sources.
All volumes are supplied with adequate annotations, chronological tables of events pertaining to the material assembled and with name indices. On an unnumbered page (following to page 477) of volume XII of Sochineniia there can be found a prospectus according to which this works edition should comprise altogether 23 volumes (tom) organized in 7 series. Here is a transliterated reproduction of this prospectus:


Prospekt sobraniia sochinenii L.D. Trotskogo

(transliterated from the schedule of publication as given in Sochineniia, Ser. 4, T. 12, p.[478]):

Seriia I. Podgotovlenie Oktiabria.

Tom I. O kharaktere russkoi revoliutsii
Tom II. 1905.
Tom III. 1917.

Seriia II. Pered istoricheskim rubezhom.

Tom IV. Politicheskaia khronika.
Tom V. Vnutripartiinye voprosy.
Tom VI. Balkany i balkanskaia voina.
Tom VII. Na mezhdunarodnye temy.
Tom VIII. Politicheskie siluety.

Seriia III. Voina.

Tom IX. Voina v politike
Tom X. Frantsiia v voine.
Tom XI. Rabochee dvizhenie v epokhu voiny.

Seriia IV. Problemy mezhdunarodnoi proletarskoi revoliutsii.

Tom XII. Osnovnye voprosy proletarskoi revoliutsii.
Tom XIII. Kommunisticheskii Internatsional (Ot kruzhkov k partiiam: 1917-1921 gg).
Tom XIV. Kommunisticheskii Internatsional (Novyi etap: 1921-1924 gg).

Seriia V. Na puti k sotsializmu.

Tom XV. Khoziaistvennoe stroitel'stvo Sovetskoi respubliki
Tom XVI-XVII. Sovetskaia respublika i kapitalisticheskii mir (Vnutrennoe i mezhdunarodnoe polozhenie respubliki).
Tom XVIII. Na partiinye temy.

Seriia VI. Problemy kul'tury.

Tom XIX-XX. Kul'tura starogo mira.
Tom XXI. Kul'tura perekhodnogo perioda.
Tom XXII. Literatura i revoliutsiia.

Seriia VII. Lenin i leninizm.

Tom XXIII. Kniga o Lenine.


Factually published volumes of Sochineniia

In 1927 however, the Sochineniia publishing project was suspended when Trotsky was definitively defeated in the factional struggles of the CPSU and Comintern and eventually was expelled from the CPSU (1927), then banished to Alma Ata (1928) and eventually exiled to Turkey (1929). Thus, only those 12 volumes (tom) listed here (3 of them issued in two parts, thus summing up to a total of 15 volumes, organized in six Roman numbered series, altogether some 8.000 pages) were factually published.

Seriia I. Istoricheskoe podgotovlenie Oktiabria.

Seriia II. Pered istoricheskim rubezhom.

Seriia III. Voina.

Seriia IV. Problemy mezhdunarodnoi proletarskoi revoliutsii.

Seriia V. Na puti k sotsializmu.

Seriia VI. Problemy kul'tury.

Contents of the published volumes

For a complete reproduction [PDF files] of the tables of contents and title pages of the published volumes of Sochineniia click on the respective volume number:

II,1 II,2 III,1 III,2 IV VI VIII IX
XII XIII XV XVII,1 XVII,2 XX XXI

Volume II (issued in two parts) contains Trotsky's writings about the 1905 Russian revolution and the critical phase preceding it. Most of the articles assembled in this volume were originally written between 1904 and 1909 and were also published in Trotsky's collection titled 1905.

Volume III (issued in two parts) deals with the revolutionary events of the crucial year 1917. Most of the writings, speeches etc. are dating from 1917, showing Trotsky as an outstanding agitator, orator etc. When the first part of volume III went to press in autumn of 1924, Trotsky added his polemical essay 1917 — Uroki Oktiabria [1917 — The lessons of October], a vitriolic attack on his then inner-party opponents, as author's introduction; thus launching or provoking a crisis within the party leadership which eventually would end in the defeat of the Left Opposition and thus of Trotsky himself.

Volume IV chiefly consists of writings from 1901 to 1914 which were originally published in the Russian, European and émigré press, thematically focusing on Russian politics and events. It contains a considerable number of articles which Trotsky had contributed to Vostochnoe Obozrenie, Iskra and to the Vienna Pravda.

Volume VI is a compilation of Trotsky's articles on the Balkan wars (1908-1913), many of them originally appearing in Kievskaia Mysl' and Vienna Pravda.

Volume VIII mainly contains sketches of contemporary political figures originally published, among others, in Kievskaia Mysl', Nashe Slovo, and Nachalo between 1908 and 1925.

Volume IX chiefly consists of writings which also appeared in Trotsky's collection Voina i revoliutsiia (1923) and which were written between 1914 and 1917 on the subject of European diplomacy and politics and the First World War; many items originally appeared in Nashe Slovo (Paris) and Novyi mir (New York).

Volume XII assembles writings from the early 1920s about problems derived from the experiences of the Russian revolution of 1917 and its aftermath, among them Mezhdu imperializmom i revoliutsiei (1922), Novaia ekonomicheskaia politika sovetskoi Rossii i perspektivy mirovoi revoliutsii (1922) and last not least Trotsky's vitriolic polemic against Kautsky, Terrorizm i kommunizm (1920).

Volume XIII compiles Trotsky's writings, speeches, and reports about the attempts to build up a new, Communist International; this volume is almost identical with the collection Piat let Kominterna which has been translated, too.

Volume XV reflects Trotsky's evolving ideas concerning the economic reconstruction of the young soviet republic (1919-1920), among them his writings and speeches on the so-called militarization of labour and on economic planning. In this volume many items from Pravda and from other official party and government publications have been reproduced, while other items have been taken from originally confidential party documents.

Volume XVII consists of two parts; they chiefly contain writings, speeches and other documents written during the years of the civil war (1918-1921) when Trotsky was creator and chief of the Red Army. An almost identical compilation is Trotsky's Kak vooruzhalas revoliutsiia [How the revolution armed].

Volume XX assembles writings from 1901-1902 and from 1908-1914 about literary, aesthetic and cultural subjects; most of these writings are represented, too, in Trotsky's famous collection Literatura i revoliutsiia (1924).

Volume XXI contains items on questions of literary criticism, culture, science and education written during 1923 and 1925.


Availability of Sochineniia

As a matter of fact, Trotsky's Sochineniia must be regarded as extremely rare; there is only a very limited number of libraries that hold a complete set of the original volumes published in the USSR between 1924 and 1927, while a few other libraries are in possession of some scattered volumes only. Some libraries, however, are in possession at least of a reprint edition (no longer available) which was produced by Bell & Howell (Cleveland, Ohio) in 1963.
People interested in acquiring a complete set of Sochineniia in microfilm format (3 reels) may order them from Datamics Inc. Micropublishers (5136 Macarthur Blvd., #40523, Washington, DC 20016);  this set is still available (as at 2004), for $ 225.00.
Volumes VI and XVII,2 are available in microfiche format (as at 2004) from Eastview Information Services Inc. (3020 Harbor Lane N, Minneapolis, MN 55447, E-mail: eastview@eastview.com) for $ 50.00 and $ 70.00, respectively.
Master films of Sochineniia are stored by Stanford University Library (Stanford, Cal.) and by Library of Congress (Washington, DC).
A digitized version of the complete Sochineniia can be found at
http://www.magister.msk.ru/library/trotsky/trotsky.htm (listed by the respective volume titles such as for example Evropa v voine)
Useful links with regard to digitalized works of Trotsky in Russian language can also be found at the site of Iskra Research

Wolfgang and Petra Lubitz, Aug. 2004
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