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Vadim Z. Rogovin

Vadim Zakharovich Rogovin (10 May 1937, Moscow – 25 September 1998, Moscow) was the greatest Soviet and Russian Marxist sociologist and historian of the second half of the twentieth century.

Rogovin’s greatest work was accomplished in the aftermath of the dissolution of the USSR. Beginning in 1992, he began publishing what would become a seven-volume history of the revolutionary Marxist opposition, led by Leon Trotsky, to the Stalinist degeneration of the USSR. Covering the years from 1923 to 1940, Rogovin’s Was There an Alternative? is an unsurpassed work of historical scholarship, indispensable for an understanding of the Stalinist regime and the deep-rooted socialist opposition to its betrayal of the principles and program of the October Revolution. Rogovin documented the immense popularity of Trotsky, even after his exile from the Soviet Union in 1929, and established that the principal purpose of Stalin’s bloody terror in the 1930s was the eradication of Trotsky’s political influence.

Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Rogovin had been working for many years, albeit under very difficult circumstances, on a sociological analysis of Stalinism. For much of his career, he was a scholar at the Institute of Sociology in Moscow. He entered the discipline of sociology out of a desire to find a setting in which he could study and write about the problem of social stratification in Soviet society. His research focused on inequalities in lifestyles and consumption, the social and political roots of the USSR’s problems with labor productivity, and the meaning of social justice.

Rogovin’s contributions to sociology, which were published widely in major journals and press outlets, consisted of such titles as, “Justice as a Social-Philosophical and Socio-Economic Category” (1982), “The Human Factor and the Lessons of the Past” (1984), and “On Social Benefits and Privileges” (1989). His open commitment to the defense of equality won him widespread popularity, a fact widely acknowledged in the USSR at the time and even noted by Western scholars.

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