Who is Alexander Herzen?

Who is Alexander Herzen?

November 30, 2020 Off By Felso

Full name is Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen , Russian-born philosopher, journalist and writer. He used the nickname “Iskander” in his works . He is the founder of the first revolutionary movement known as Narodism.


Born in Moscow in 1812, Ivan Yakovlev, a wealthy landowner and Russian noble, and Henriette Wilhelmina Luisa Haag, a German Protestant from Stuttgart who was a babysitter. Herzen left Russia in 1847, never to return, due to the pressures of the Russian Tsarist rule, and settled in Paris.

Herzen, who witnessed the 1848 revolutions and corresponded with Giuseppe Mazzini in the 1850s while he was exiled in Paris and Italy, the capital of European revolutionism, is the leader of the Russian exiles in London.

While at university, he met Nikolay Platinovic Ogarev, a socialist and poet, and thus came under the influence of socialist understanding.

He was exiled with Ogarev because of his socialist ideas. After returning to Moscow, he published his philosophical essay (Enthusiasm in Science-1843), a study book on natural sciences (Letters on the Study of Nature – 1845), and his political-social novel (Who is Misdemeanor? – 1846). “Who’s the fault?” He described the suffering, irresponsible people of an oppressive society, frozen in the mold of the past.


It is noted that Marx did not like Herzen, whom Marx described as a liberal and ambitious person, and did not meet with him. However, Herzen stated that he preferred reason and freedom rather than admiration for Europe. He works with Bakunin , himself a Russian, who settled in London in 1852 . Here, it concentrates on its work with confidentiality. He founded the secretly distributed magazine called Kolokol (Çan) and called the exiled Russians to fight against the Tsarist Regime.

In 1865, when Herzen decided to move his headquarters to Geneva to be close to the younger generation of Russian exiles, he broke off from him and traveled to Italy. Before he left, he befriended Marx again and agreed with him to work for the First International in Italy. But there it is said that he gave himself to conspiracy. Meanwhile, he joins an international organization called the Peace and Freedom League, which was originally headquartered in Geneva. It soon leaves with the left wing of this League and applies to join the First International under the name of the International Alliance for Socialist Democracy (or Socialist Alliance). He was finally accepted into the First International from the Basle Congress in 1869. From this date on, this time Switzerland, France,With the support of the Russian exiles in Spain and European countries and with its own unique methods, it sets its mind to take over the rule of the First International, to impose its own principles (program) and the form of organization in its mind (the self-command of organization under the name of federation principle), in the name of complete freedom of action and initiative. It causes divisions in the national sections of the International.

Disappointed in Europe, Herzen pinned her hopes on the revolutionary movement in Russia. So the future of socialism was in Russia according to him.

Herzen did not believe in historical determinism. He tied their hopes more on the creative power of being. Despite his weakness for westernism, he kept faith in the Russian peasant tradition. He saw the village community as the foundation of socialism based on agriculture and considered this community an institution that should be protected and developed for Russia.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım