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Pavel Borisovich Axelrod was one of the few early leaders of Russian Marxism to come from the lower classes. These origins no doubt made it easier for him than for his comrades to identify fully with the masses he hoped to liberate economically, spiritually, and morally. This is the first full-scale biography of Axelrod, who was the chief ideologist and tactician of the Menshevik party. Abraham Ascher traces and analyzes the development of Menshevism, describes the other radical currents in Russia, including Bakuninism, and illuminates both the ideological struggles and the practical problems of the Marxist leadership. Ascher bases his study on Axelrod’s personal archive as well as on extensive primary and secondary materials.