Who was he: Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov was a central figure in the early days of the Bolshevik movement within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. Bogdanov is considered one of its cofounders, and was Lenin's rival until he was expelled in 1909. During the first two decades of the Soviet Union, Bogdanov was an influential Marxist opponent of the government.
After the collapse of the Russian Revolution of 1905, Bogdanov led a group within the Bolsheviks for four years, called ultimatists or recallists. The group firmly demanded a recall of Social Democratic deputies from Duma. That's when Bogdanov challenged Lenin; he wanted to be the leader of the Bolshevik faction. The internal riff within the Bolshevik movement was irreconcilable. By 1908, most of Bolshevik leaders supported Bogdanov, but some remained undecided. Lenin focused on undermining Alexander's reputation as a philosopher that year. Lenin published a scathing book of criticism entitled Materialism and Empiriocriticism in 1909. The book accused Bogdanov of philosophical idealism. In June of that year, Bogdanov was defeated at a Bolshevik mini-conference in Paris, and was expelled from the Bolsheviks.
Background: Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov was born Alyaksandr Malinovsky on August 22, 1873 in Hrodna, which was part of the Russian Empire. He joined the paramilitary revolutionary group, Narodnaya Volya while he was a medical student at Moscow University, and was briefly exiled to Tula. He resumed his medical studies at the University of Kharkiv in the Ukraine, but decided to get involved in revolutionary activities. He published his controversial work Brief Course of Economic Science in 1897. Bogdanov graduated as a medical doctor in 1899, and published Basic Elements of the Historical Perspective on Nature that year. He was arrested by the Tsar's police for his revolutionary messages, and was exiled to Vologda where he spent six months in prison.
Bogdanov's goal was social justice so he began studying economics and philosophy and began to use the pseudonym Bogdanov. In 1903, he joined the Bolshevik movement within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, and for six years he was an important figure that influenced the early Bolsheviks. His influence was as important as Vladimir Lenin's to some Bolsheviks. He published three volumes of the philosophic treatise called Empiriomonizm from 1904 to 1906. He tried to blend Marxist philosophy with the philosophy of Wilhelm Ostwald, Richard Avenarius and Ernst Mach. Bogdanov is credited with affecting the work of a number of Marxist theoreticians.
He joined his brother-in-law, Anatoly Lunacharsky, and other recallists on the island of Capri, and they started a school for Russian factory workers. Bogdanov and his supporters moved the school to Bologna in 1910, and continued teaching classes until 1911. Bogdanov left the recallists in 1911 and stopped his revolutionary activities. He returned to Russia in 1914 after six years of political exile in Europe.
During the First World War Bogdanov served as a physician at a Russian hospital. He was not involved in the Russian Revolution of 1917, but when the Bolsheviks took control in October 1917, Bogdanov turned down several offers to rejoin the party. He actually denounced the new regime.
Bogdanov became a professor of economics at the University of Moscow in 1918, and was named a director of the newly established Socialist Academy of Social Sciences. In 1923, Bogdanov was arrested by the secret police on suspicion that he was behind the secret oppositionist group Worker's Truth, but he was released due to lack of evidence.
In 1924, Bogdanov started experimenting with blood transfusion. He was looking for the eternal Fountain of Youth or at least some sort of physical life extension. Lenin's sister was one of many volunteers that took part in Bogdanov's experiments. He underwent 11 blood transfusions, and remarked that his eyesight and hearing had improved and his hair stopped receding. Some friends said he looked ten years younger.
Bogdanov founded the Institute for Hematology and Blood Transfusions in 1925. In 1928 he took a blood transfusion from a student suffering from tuberculosis and malaria, which cost him his life. Some scholars say that his death was a suicide, because Bogdanov wrote a emotional political letter shortly before the incident. Others attribute his death simply to blood type incompatibility, which was not clearly understood at the time.
Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov was a central figure in the early days of the Bolshevik movement within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. Bogdanov is considered one of its cofounders, and was Lenin's rival until he was expelled in 1909. During the first two decades of the Soviet Union, Bogdanov was an influential Marxist opponent of the government but in 1917 he renounced the Bolshevik regime.