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Karl Radek

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Karl B. Radek
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Karl B. Radek

Karl Bernhardovich Radek (1885 - 1939) was a Bolshevik and an international Communist leader.

He was born in then L'viv, Poland, as Karol Sobelsohn. He took the name 'Radek' from a favored character in a book. A member of the RSDLP (Russian Social Democratic Labour Party) since 1898, he participated in the 1905 revolution in Warsaw. He took an anti-war stand during WWI while living in Switzerland, and supported the Bolsheviks and joined the party in 1917 after the October Revolution. He was in Germany in 1918-20 organising the German Communist movement. He returned to Russia and joined Comintern but his influence decreased and he lost his place on the Central Committee in 1924 and was expelled from the party in 1927.

Radek was re-admitted to the party in 1930 and helped to write the 1936 Soviet Constitution, but during the Great Purges of the 1930s, he was accused of treason and confessed at the Trial of the Seventeen (1937, also called the Second Moscow Trial). He is thought to have died in prison, in a fight with another prisoner, though some believe he lived on until the 1950s.

He is also reported as having created a large number of political jokes about Stalin.

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