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The Left Opposition was a faction within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1923-1927. Leon Trotsky was the de-facto leader of the Left Opposition. It was formed as part of the power struggle within the party leadership that began with Lenin's illness and intensified with his death. After Stalin consolidated his power, the Left Opposition was banned, and its members were expelled from the party. Leon Trotsky was forced to leave the Soviet Union and go into exile.
In exile, Trotsky founded the International Left Opposition in 1930. It was meant to be an opposition group within the Comintern, but members of the Comintern were immediately expelled as soon as they joined (or were suspected of joining) the ILO. The ILO therefore concluded that opposing what it called Stalinism from within the communist organizations controlled by people who agreed with Stalin had become impossible, so new organizations had to be formed. In 1933, the ILO was renamed the International Communist League (ICL), which was the base of the Fourth International, founded in Paris in 1938.
See the article on the Fourth International for the history of the Left Opposition after 1933.
Leading members of the Left Opposition
- Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronstein) (1879-1940), People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, founder and commander of the Red Army and People's Commissar of War during the Russian Civil War, and de-facto leader of the Left Opposition.
- Karl Radek (1885-1939).
- Ivar Smilga (Ivar Tenisovich Smilga) (1892-1937), chairman of the Regional Committee of the Soviets in Finland in 1917, chairman of Tsentrobalt , Central Committee of the Baltic Fleet, 1917-1918).
- Yevgeni Preobrazhensky (1886-1937), the economic theoretician of the Left Opposition, the author of The New Economics book).
- Ivan N. Smirnov (1881-1936).
- Mikhail Boguslavsky (1886-1937).
- Sergei Mrachkovsky (1883-1936).
- Alexander Beloborodov (1891-1938).
- Christian Rakovsky (1873-1941).
- Lev Sosnovsky (Lev S. Sosnovsky ) (1886-1937), a journalist
- Nikolai Muralov (Nikolai L. Muralov ) (1877-1937), a hero of the Russian Civil War, once Deputy People's Commissar of Agriculture
- Georgy Pyatakov (1890-1937).
- Valerian Obolensky ) (also known as N.Osinsky) (1887-1938), one of the leaders of the Group of Democratic Centralism .
- Timofei Sapronov (? - ?), one of the leaders of the Group of Democratic Centralism .
- Vladimir Smirnov (1887-1937), one of the leaders of the Group of Democratic Centralism .
- Andrey Bubnov (1884-1938).
- Georgy Oppokov (also known as A.Lomov) (1888-1937).
- Yakov Drobnis (? - ?).
- Iosif Kosior (1893-1937).
- Chen Duxiu (1879-1942): led the Left Opposition movement in China, breaking away from the pro-Comintern Chinese Communist Party.
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